NASHVILLE -- Freshman pitcher Cody Crowell earned the win in his first collegiate start Tuesday at Hawkins Field as the Commodores defeated the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 14-5 in non-conference action. Vanderbilt improved to 18-6, while Jacksonville State is now 9-13.
The Gamecocks scored twice in the first inning off the left-handed Crowell, but would not score again until the top of the ninth.
Ranked No. 23 in the country, Vanderbilt scored in all but one inning, with the knockout blow coming in a six-run fourth inning. First baseman Mike Baxter homered off the right-field fair pole in the first inning to get the ’Dores on the board. Hitting a team-high .383 entering today’s game, freshman infielder Alex Feinberg scored in the second inning when catcher Carter Hawkins grounded out to short. In the third inning, centerfielder Antoan Richardson would score his first of three runs on the day. Richardson had a breakout day going 3-for-4 with three stolen bases. He has yet to be caught stealing in 11 attempts this season.
A disastrous six-run fourth inning proved to be a back-breaker for the visiting Gamecocks. Sophomore Stephen Shao hit is first career home run, bringing in Feinberg who had walked earlier in the inning. The blast knocked starting pitcher Matthew Darwin out of the game. Jacksonville State’s Donovan Hand took over on the mound and quickly loaded the bases on a hit batsman and two singles. Designated hitter Rucker Taylor reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Matt Zeller. Hawkins would also score on an errant throw to home from first baseman Brian Haskins. Commodore second baseman Warner Jones singled in Taylor before being picked off at first to end the inning.
In the sixth, Baxter doubled in Richardson who had reached on a single, stole second and moved to third on a fly by Taylor. In the seventh, freshman Dominic De La Osa hit his third homer of the season, and senior outfielder Matt Zeller would hit a double to left field and eventually score on a wild pitch. In the eighth inning, freshman infielder Brad French singled and later scored on an RBI single to left by De La Osa. Sophomore Bill Kleinschrodt hit an RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring freshman Ryan Davis, who had singled through the left side earlier in the inning.
Commodore closer Ryan Rote, who notched his 16th career save – a school record – over the weekend, loaded the bases in the ninth and gave up three earned runs before the game ended on a called third strike. Matthew Darwin (0-2) took the loss for the Gamecocks.
Also seeing action from the Commodore bullpen were senior Jeff Sues (two innings, no runs, no hits, three strikeouts), freshman lefty Cameron Betourne (one inning, no runs, no hits), right-handed freshman Ty Davis (one inning, no runs, one hit, two strikeouts) and sophomore righty Michael Wagner (one inning, one hit, no runs, three strikeouts).
Commodore ironman third baseman Tony Mansolino missed only his second start of his four-year career at Vanderbilt. He pulled a muscle in his side in the final game of the Alabama series .
Tonight’s offensive performance was the most runs the ’Dores have scored in a single game this season, and they have combined to score 22 over the past two games.
The Commodores return to action Friday (April 1) at 6 p.m. to face the Ole Miss Rebels.
Vanderbilt’s 14 runs are the most scored this season and the most since a 14-8 victory over Arkansas last season (April 18).
The Commodore’s recorded 10+ hits for the 14th time this season. VU totaled a season-high 16 hits which matches its output vs. UT-Martin Feb. 23
Antoan Richardson led the team with three hits (3-4) and also stole three bases. He has stolen 43 bases in two seasons and is seven shy of 50 to move into VU’s All-Time Top 10.
Three Commodores hit home runs in the game. Mike Baxter hit his fourth home run of the season, while Dominic De La Osa hit his third. Stephen Shao hit his first career home run. Baxter’s four home runs surpass his 2004 total of three.
Senior third baseman Tony Mansolino did not start the game due to a slight muscle strain in his side. It is the first start he has missed this season and only the second in 192 games. In his four-year career, Mansolino has started 190 of 191 games.
Redshirt freshman Cody Crowell recorded his first career win in his first career start. He went 3.0 innings and gave up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Six Commodore pitchers saw action, including Jeff Sues, Cameron Betourne, Ty Davis, Michael Wagner and Ryan Rote. Sues and Betourne did not give up a hit, while Davis and Wagner each gave up one hit. Rote gave up three runs on one hit and struck out two while wakling two.
The Commodore pitching staff struck out 13 batters. It marks the 15th time this season the Commodores have struck out at least 10 batters in a game. The season high is 15 vs. VMI and Lipscomb.
23 Commodores played in the contest. David Macias saw his first action as a Commodore.
The Commodores host Ole Miss this weekend in Southeastern Conference action. Friday’s game begins at 6 pm; Saturday’s game begins at noon; and Sunday’s game is scheduled for 1 pm. The Saturday contest will be televised by CSS TV. Prior to the Saturday game, there will be a tribute to Charlie Hawkins.