Nashville, Tenn. – No. 25 Vanderbilt jumped on Central Arkansas in the first inning and cruised to a 9-1 win Wednesday at Hawkins Field.
The first five Commodores (9-5) all reached in the first inning with Jeren Kendall and Will Toffey each drawing walks. Kendall was picked off first base but Julian Infante and Stephen Scott each singled to load the bases in front of Reed Hayes, who was hit by a pitch to score the game’s first run. After a groundout from Ethan Paul scored a second run, Jason Delay pushed two more across with a single into right field. Harrison Ray, in his first career start in right field, capped the rally with a bouncer into left field to score Delay and put the Dores up 5-0 after one.
In his second start of the season, Chandler Day took the early lead and ran with it. The sophomore retired the first six Bears of the game before a pair of walks started the third inning. The defense picked him up with a double play before Day finished the inning with his fourth strikeout. Day danced out of a jam with another strikeout in the fourth and struck out the first two of the fifth inning. The Bears (6-8), however, pieced together a two-out rally beginning with Keaton Presley’s double. Back-to-back singles put UCA on the board with Hunter Strong’s single scoring the run. Day then wrapped up his first win of the season with his career-best eighth strikeout.
The Vandy bullpen finished off the team’s third straight victory by striking out eight over the final four innings. Paxton Stover struck out the side in his lone inning of work with freshmen lefties Michael Sandborn and Jackson Gillis each striking out two. Penn Murfee worked the final frame and struck out one to push the Dores’ total to a season-high 16 on the day.
Infante led a quartet of Commodores to post two-hit games with Scott, Ray and Connor Kaiser all registering two hits. The VU offense collected 21 hits and scored 19 runs in the two games against the Bears.
UCA starter Kaleb Schmidt took the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, on four hits and two walks while just recording two outs in the first.
Vanderbilt returns to action Friday afternoon at Hawkins Field against Saint Mary’s. Kyle Wright gets the ball for the home team against the Gaels’ Cameron Neff.