Feb. 28, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Caleb Cotham flirted with a no-hitter through six-plus innings before giving up a hit in the seventh as Vanderbilt beat Vermont 14-3 Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
Cotham carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and recorded two outs in the frame before Jeff Nolet came through with a RBI single. Corey Moylan walked with one out and stole second as Ethan Paquette struck out looking for the second out. Nolet then singled down the right field line to break up the no-hitter and shutout.
“Caleb is good and every time he gets out there he just gets better and better,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “To me he is the most improved pitcher we have had in our program in quite some time. He just gets on the mound and works at a very good pace with command of two pitches. I feel very comfortable with him on the mound.”
Cotham (2-0) ended up pitching eight innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“I felt good pretty good out there today,” said Cotham. “It would have been nice to get it (no-hitter) but we got the win and that is more important.”
The Commodores were without the services of starting catcher Andrew Giobbi who broke his hand in his first at-bat of Friday night’s contest. He is expected to miss between four-to-six weeks according to Corbin.
Redshirt freshman Aaron Westlake made his first career start behind the plate in place of Giobbi and banged out four hits for the second straight day.
“It felt pretty cool behind the plate and I actually didn’t realize it (Cotham’s no hit attempt) until the seventh inning,” said Westlake. “Caleb pitched well and our defense did well behind him. The first inning I had some nerves but after three quick outs and with Caleb on the mound it became much more comfortable.”
The Commodores jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first with both runs coming in without the aid of a hit. Steven Liddle and Curt Casali both walked with one out before Aaron Westlake hit a bloop single down the left field line to load the bases. Liddle then scored on a wild pitch by UV starter Justin Albert. Jason Esposito grounded out to the right side, allowing Casali to score from third.
VU took advantage of a Vermont throwing error to score another run in the second and then broke the game open with three runs in the sixth to take a 6-0 lead. Liddle led off the third with a double, advanced on a balk and scored on an infield single by Curt Casali. Westlake followed with a single up the middle and both him and Casali scored on Jason Esposito’s double into the right field corner.
After Vermont plated a run in the seventh, Vanderbilt came back in the bottom half with three more runs to make it 9-1. Alex Hilliard had a RBI single and Alex McClure had a two-run single to account for the runs.
The Catamounts scored two runs in the eighth, the first off a RBI single by Brad Currier, and the second came via a fielding error by McClure at short that allowed Currier to score from second.
Vanderbilt added five more runs in the bottom half of the eighth to make it 14-3. Pinch-hitter Gabe Ortiz had a RBI single and two more runs came in courtesy of an error on Catamount third baseman James Katsiroubas with the bases loaded. McClure added a sacrifice fly RBI and Brian Harris closed the scoring out with a RBI double to center.
Westlake led the Commodores with four hits and three runs scored on the afternoon. Steven Liddle, Jason Esposito and Alex Hilliard each had two hits to help pace the Commodores’ 16 hit attack.
Freshman left-hander Grayson Garvin came on in the ninth and struck out the first two batters he faced. He ended up giving up one hit in a scoreless inning of action.
The Commodores and Catamounts will play the finale of the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Nick Christiani (0-0, 4.50 ERA) is slated to start for VU, while Vermont will counter with true freshman right-hander Bobby Dean.
Vermont 000 000 120 -3 3 2
Vanderbilt 213 000 35x -14 16 2
Albert, Rakus (6), Ozanich (7) and Nolet. Cotham, Garvin (9) and Westlake. W- Cotham 2-0, L- Albert 0-1. Sv- None HR: None.