San Diego, Calif. – No. 7 Vanderbilt’s offense erupted on Sunday afternoon to claim the team’s first series of the season with an 11-1 win at San Diego.
The Commodores (2-1) evened the series to start the day, finishing off the resumption of Friday night’s suspended game with an 8-2 victory. In the series finale moments later, the offense wasted no time in support of freshman starter Drake Fellows, putting two runs on the scoreboard in the second and blowing the game open in the third with four more runs.
Julian Infante’s two-run double to deep center field started the day’s scoring in the second but it was the Dores’ fourth that set the tone for the rest of the day. Jeren Kendall led off the inning with a single and was immediately followed by a single from Connor Kaiser. After a walk to Will Toffey, Ethan Paul doubled the VU lead by shooting a two-run single into right field to make it 4-0. Freshman JJ Bleday capped the rally, lacing a double over a leaping San Diego shortstop to score two more runs and push the Vandy lead to six runs.
The Commodores’ offense put the game away in the sixth with a four-run inning, sending nine men to the plate and registering six hits. Jason Delay started the rally with one of his two doubles in the game, narrowly missing a home down the left field line. Ro Coleman’s bunt single put runners on the corners for Kendall, who smashed a ball to deep right-center field for his second triple of the weekend and two more RBIs. Kaiser singled in a run and Infante’s single drove in the fourth run of the frame with the team’s sixth hit.
Fellows became the first Vanderbilt freshman pitcher to earn a spot in the opening weekend rotation since Tyler Beede in 2012 and he never broke stride Sunday afternoon, turning in six scoreless innings in his collegiate debut to earn the win. The right-hander breezed through the first two innings untouched before a double led off the third, he responded by striking out the side. The Toreros (1-2) finally put two runners aboard in the fifth after Fellows’ first walk with two outs but a bouncer up the middle to Alonzo Jones, who flipped to Kaiser at second base, ended the threat. Fellows finished like he started, by retiring the final three Toreros he faced in order in the sixth. He scattered two hits over his six scoreless innings with one walk and five strikeouts for the victory.
Fellows was one of four Vanderbilt freshmen to make their collegiate debuts with fellow pitcher Zach King tossing a scoreless eighth inning. Ty Duvall and Alex Brewer each saw their first action at catcher and first base, respectively. Harrison Ray lined the first pitch he saw into left field in the eighth inning for his first career hit before taking over at second base.
San Diego starter CJ Burdick took the loss, allowing two runs on one hit in one-plus inning. The Commodores torched the Toreros bullpen for nine runs on 15 hits over eight innings. San Diego’s offense was held in check all day with just three hits.
Vanderbilt returns home to Hawkins Field for the home opener on Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Evansville and hosts UIC for a three-game series beginning Friday.