Nashville, Tenn. -
Vanderbilt used early offense and solid pitching to win both ends of a doubleheader Saturday at Hawkins Field winning the first game 9-4 and the second game 8-0 to clinch the Commodores' first series win of the season.
Vanderbilt starter Drew VerHagen dominated over a career-long eight innings in the second game of the twin bill to earn his second win of the year. The big right-hander allowed only one hit with four walks and struck out a career-high six in the win. The Rams had only two batters reach scoring position against VerHagen before freshman Jared Miller finished off the Dores' first shutout of 2012. Rams' starter Kevin Lee was pegged with the loss after allowing five runs on four hits over five frames.
The Commodores jumped on the Rams early in both games, combining for 10 first inning runs Saturday including a three-run first in the second game. Anthony Gomez drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly before Mike Yastrzemski blasted his third home run of the year with a two-run shot. Yastrzemski has now matched his home run total from last season in just nine games. Vandy put two runs on the board in the fifth and put the game away with a three-run sixth despite having just one hit in the inning. Andrew Harris helped lead the offense, reaching base four times and scoring two runs in his second start of the season.
The Dores wasted no time getting the offense going in the first game, scoring a season-best seven runs in the first inning. Back-to-back singles from Spencer Navin and Tony Kemp set the table for the big inning with Yastrzemski driving in a run with a single and Connor Harrell's base clearing, three-run double delivering the lead. Navin's second hit of the first inning, a double, capped the rally and made Navin the first Commodore to have two hits in an inning since Harrell turned the trick against Florida last May. Navin later added another double to finish the first game with a career-high three hits. The Commodores' offense produced a season-high 16 hits in the win with seven players notching multi-hit games, including Kemp, Gomez, Conrad Gregor, Yastrzemski, Riley Reynolds and Vince Conde who all had two-hit games.
Vanderbilt's seven-run first was more than enough for starter Kevin Ziomek. The lefty worked a career-best 7.1 innings before being chased in the eighth. Ziomek struck out a career-high nine batters while allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and one walk for his first win of the season. He dominated the Rams early in the game, striking out five of the first nine batters he faced. Rhode Island starter Chris Pickering was pinned with the loss giving up nine runs, six earned, on 14 hits over 4.2 innings.
The Commodores' doubleheader sweep is the first since taking two from Brown last season at Hawkins Field. Spencer Navin hit leadoff in both games for the first time in his career with Tony Kemp sliding to the two-spot in the order. The Vanderbilt program now needs five wins to reach 2,000 in its history.
The series finale between Vanderbilt and Rhode Island is slated for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Hawkins Field. Left-hander Sam Selman is scheduled to pitch for the Commodores.