Baseball: Vanderbilt 16, Niagara 2

Taylor Hill (VW/Don Yates)

VU-Niagara Baseball: Round 2. It was another beautiful, sunny day at Hawkins field with a crowd roughly estimated at 45-50% of capacity. Fans were anxious to see if Vanderbilt's day two pitcher was as good as the day one pitcher. It would certainly take a Herculean effort to equal the performance of Sonny Gray on Friday.

Taylor Hill took the mound and was stellar. The game was never in doubt as Vanderbilt won 16-2. Hill had a fastball that maxed out at around 90 MPH and mixed up his pitches well and stayed near the plate. He pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He struck out 9, allowed 6 hits, and walked 2. Taylor certainly looked in command and will be instrumental for Vanderbilt to have a special season. Drew Hayes pitched in relief of Hill, entering in the seventh with the bases loaded and got a slow grounder to the mound from Niagara's Smith that ended the inning. Niagara's McCauley singled to right field in the eighth and Cramer, the next batter, homered over the short fence in left field to get Niagara their only 2 runs. Freshman hurler, Sam Selman started the 9th and allowed only 1 hit, a triple, before closing out the game.

The Vanderbilt bats were solid again. The Harris brothers (Brian and Andrew) combined to go 3-3 at the plate with 5 RBIs. Andrew helped break the game open in the seventh, entering the game with bases juiced, he drove a double down the left field line that cleared the bases. Regan Flaherty, entered the game in the seventh with the same sweet stroke of his older brother Ryan and dropped a double just inside the right field line that scored Casali.

Vanderbilt continued to flash the leather and completed another errorless game. Mike Yastrzemski continues to impress with his ability to cover the vast real estate out in center field. Curt Casali did catch in the eighth inning, but showed a bit of rust, allowing two past balls in the inning. Vanderbilt did benefit from several Niagara miscues, which allowed 10 walks, with 6 batters hit by pitches, 2 wild pitches, and 1 error.

Vanderbilt now has outscored Niagara 25-2. Sunday will be the last game with this team before the ‘Dores enter a tough week of early season baseball. Jack Armstrong will get the start on Sunday and fans will soon see if "Big Jack" has control of that big arm. Following Sunday, Vanderbilt has a home game on Tuesday with Austin Peay before leaving for the left coast on Thursday. They will open with UCLA on Friday, play USC on Saturday, and then Oklahoma State on Sunday. The season gets tough quick and Vanderbilt needs to just keep taking care of business.

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