Nashville, Tenn. – Vanderbilt used a stellar start from freshman Patrick Raby on Wednesday night to beat Eastern Illinois 9-1 at a chilly Hawkins Field.
Making his first collegiate start, Raby was magnificent over seven innings allowing only an infield single and striking out 11 to earn his first career win. The big right-hander retired the Panthers (0-4) in order in the first but ran into his only trouble of the night in the second inning issuing a pair of walks. He walked the leadoff hitter to open the inning but struck out the next two batters before walking a second batter to put a runner in scoring position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native then finished off the side with his third strikeout of the inning to start a streak of 14 consecutive retired before an infield single broke up his no hit bid with one out in the seventh. The freshman quickly bounced back, however, to get the next two Panthers to end the inning.
While Raby was keeping the Eastern Illinois bats on ice the Vanderbilt (5-0) offense struggled to get going on a chilly, damp night on West End. The Commodores scratched out a run without a hit in the second to take the lead on a Tyler Campbell bases loaded walk but had to wait until the sixth inning to score again. Campbell came up for the third time in the game with runners in scoring position and the senior made it count, dropping down a perfect two-strike suicide squeeze bunt to score Karl Ellison from third.
Vandy stretched the lead in the seventh with Jeren Kendall leading off with a double down the right field line followed by a Bryan Reynolds triple to center field. Reynolds trotted home on Alonzo Jones sacrifice fly to center for a four-run VU lead. Five runs in the eighth put the game away for the Dores. Ro Coleman’s two-run triple opened the scoring with Jones’ single through the left side capping the rally.
Reynolds led all players with three hits in the win, coming a home run shy of the cycle while scoring two runs and driving in one. Jeren Kendall reached base three times scoring two runs and stealing his eighth base of the season. The Vanderbilt offense was again balanced as nine Commodores recorded hits in the win. Vandy has now scored 58 runs in the team’s first five games of the season while allowing 18.
Eastern Illinois starter Ben Hughes took the loss allowing one run on one hits and three walks over three innings. Josh Turnock drove in the lone EIU run in the ninth inning.
Up next for the Commodores is a weekend series with UIC. Vanderbilt is set to host the Flames Friday at 4 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday’s games slated for noon.