Baseball: Vanderbilt 14 Vermont 1

Nick Christiani (VM/Stan Jones)

NASHVILLE-- Vanderbilt used a five-run fourth inning and a solid starting pitching performance by Nick Christiani to defeat Vermont, 14-1, in baseball action Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.

The Commodores (5-3) won their fourth straight game and completed the three-game sweep of the Catamounts (0-3).

Christiani (1-0) pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and just one walk. Mark Lamm and Navery Moore followed with their first outings of the year and both pitched a scoreless inning. Jack Armstrong closed the game out with a 1-2-3 ninth.

"We have been pitching really well," said Christiani when asked about the starting pitching this season. "We have a bunch of older guys that understand themselves and are able to use the defense and pump strikes and it has been pretty successful thus far."

Vanderbilt led 3-0 heading into the fourth when Riley Reynolds walked, Brian Harris was hit by a pitch and Steven Liddle walked to load the bases. Curt Casali then doubled down the left field line to score all three runners. Aaron Westlake followed with a RBI double to center and he later scored on a Joe Loftus single to left to make it 8-0.

The Commodores outhit the Catamounts 11-6 and also walked 10 times in the game. For the weekend series, VU outscored UV 35-6 with 12 doubles, eight stolen bases, 21 walks, seven hit by pitches and just eight strikeouts in the three games.

"We have a lot of team at-bats this year," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. When guys are on base, there are balls put in play on the ground and in the air to move runners. I don't see them swinging out of the zone too much with my barometer being games against Stanford and Cal. They seem to handle the strike zone pretty well so we will see if we continue to get better. The competition will start to pick up and hopefully we will pick up with it.

Vanderbilt's pitching staff allowed just five earned runs with 24 strikeouts and six walks in 27 innings, while the defense only made two errors in 115 chances (.983 fielding percentage).

Brian Harris led off the first with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. A groundout to short advanced Harris to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Curt Casali.

Vanderbilt added two more runs in the second on a two-run single by Steven Liddle to make it 3-0. Liddle finished with two hits on the day and ended the weekend with seven hits in eight at-bats with six RBI.

Vermont scored its lone run of the contest in the fifth on an infield RBI single by Tom Jackson.

The Dores got the run back in the sixth on a sacrifice fly RBI by Joe Loftus and then plated two more runs in the seventh to take an 11-1 lead. Aaron Westlake and Jason Esposito both had sacrifice flies in the inning, part of five on the day for the Commodores.

Alex McClure added a two-run single in the eighth after Alex Hilliard walked and Joey Manning doubled to lead off the inning.

In addition to Liddle's two hits, Westlake, Esposito and Loftus each had two hits on the afternoon. Westlake finished the weekend with 10 hits in 12 at-bats with three doubles, two RBI and six runs scored.

The Commodores will be back in action Tuesday against Lipscomb at 4 p.m. at Hawkins Field. The game opens a stretch of five games in six days as Illinois-Chicago comes to town for a four-game series starting on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Vermont      000 010 000-163
Vanderbilt   120 511 20x-(14)(11)0            


Dean, McCullough (3), Lutton (5), Kelly (7) and Nolet, Tufts. Christiani, Lamm (7), Moore (8), Armstrong (9) and Westlake, Fann. W- Christiani 1-0, L- Dean 0-1. Sv- None HR: None.

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