Auburn starter Chris Dennis struggled, allowing six earned runs in only two and two/thirds
innings to get the loss. The Tigers fall to 12-14 overall, 1-4 in SEC play,
while Vanderbilt improves to 16-7 and
4-1 in conference action.
On a day when the Tigers were looking to wake up the bats and get some
offense going, Buschmann had his way from the early innings and never looked
back. Coach Tommy Slater said that while the senior was good, his guys didn’t
play well on Saturday and there’s no other way to put it.
”I don’t have a lot of good to say about today,” Slater said. “Buschmann was
good, no question, but I’m very disappointed in how we played. I don’t really
know what to say other than that right now.
Vanderbilt struck first on a cold Saturday afternoon as they added a single
run in the second inning off Dennis. Leading off Dominic de la Osa singled up
the middle on the first pitch he saw. The Commodores then played small ball to
perfection as a sacrifice bunt moved him to second, a ground ball to third, and
he later scored on a single by Shea Robin to make it 1-0 Vandy.
Chris Dennis struggled on Saturday in the Auburn loss.
One of only two scoring threats by the Tigers against Buschman came in the
top of the third inning as a one-out single by Tyler Johnstone put the Tigers in business. Up next, Russell Dixon scored a liner into right field that Parker Hanks made a diving grab for only to see the ball roll out of his glove.
Freezing on the play, Johnstone made it to third with just one out. That would
be as far as he would make it though as catcher Josh Donaldson popped up to the catcher for out number two and then Andy Bennett struck out to end the inning.
In his first start back after suffering from an inflammation in his chest
called pleurisy, Dennis struggled some with his location and that hurt him in
the bottom of the third. Leading off, impressive freshman Pedro Alvarez ripped a single to left field to get the Commodores off and running.
Friday night’s offensive star Brian Hernandez followed with a double that moved Alvarez around to third with
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Ryan Flaherty pushed across Alvarez to push the lead to two, but that would be
just the beginning for Vanderbilt as Dennis walked de la Osa before giving up a
double to Hanks, a triple to Ryan Davis and a double to Robin as the Commodores broke the game open. That
would be it for Dennis as reliever Clarence Nicely came to to get the final two outs of the inning, but not before
Vanderbilt had scored five runs to lead 6-0 heading to the fourth.
“He battled for us and gutted up for us,” Slater said of Dennis. “He just had
a hard time locating. He had a lot of balls in the middle of the plate there in
the third inning. Coming off an extra day’s rest, I’m not sure if that had
anything to do with it or not. He had good work in the middle of the week. There
were just a lot of balls left in the middle of the plate and when that happens
people are going to get hits.”
Vanderbilt would add two more in the fourth off Nicely before Auburn reliever
Paul Burnside came on to put out the fire. In three innings the freshman gave up
just one run as heading to the top of the eighth the Tigers trailed 9-0. Slater
said the pitching of Burnside and fellow reliever Ted Bryant was the one bright spot on the day for the Tigers.
“The one positive out of the day was Paul Burnside,” Slater said. “For a
freshman to come in and throw the ball like he did and run for us a little bit
in a time when we really needed him to in order to save our bullpen a little bit
for tomorrow, I’m very proud of Paul Burnside and the effort he gave us.”
Auburn would finally get on the board against the dominating Vanderbilt
pitching staff in the eighth inning. With 38 consecutive scoreless innings in
the book, Auburn scored a single run to break that up in the top of the eighth.
Leading off Johnstone singled, but was quickly erased on a fielder’s choice
off the bat of Dixon. Pinch hitter Josh Stapleton then singled for Auburn’s third hit of the day of Buschman to put
the Tigers in business. Another single, this one by Bennett, loaded the bases
with just one out. Unfortunately for the Tigers Dixon fell asleep at third and
was picked off for the second out of the inning with Mike Bianucci at the plate. Following a walk to Bianucci the Tigers would score
as Vanderbilt reliever Casey Weathers uncorked a wild pitch to score Stapleton from third. Derek Sain would strike out to end the inning though as the Tigers trailed 9-1.
That would be the way this one ended as the Commodores followed up Friday’s
dominating pitching performance by David Price with another one on Saturday by Buschman. On the day the Tigers got
just five hits with two coming off the bat of the senior Johnstone. Vanderbilt
was led by Alvarez and Hanks, who each had three hits.
The Tigers will be looking to avoid the sweep on Sunday when freshman