Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt used a strong start from Ryan Johnson to record the Commodores' national-best 10th shutout of the season and match the school record with a 4-0 win over Middle Tennessee State Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.
In his first start in over a month, Johnson was sharp out of the gate working a quick first inning getting a double play and fly out to start a streak of nine straight batters retired. The lefty navigated one-out hits in the fourth and fifth then sat down 10 in a row to work into the eighth inning. The Blue Raiders (23-17) finally put consecutive base runners on with singles from Austin Bryant and Will Schnure with two down in the eighth but Will Toffey's defense picked up Johnson and the Commodores (30-12). Toffey made a sliding play to his left then threw the runner out at first to end the inning and the threat. Johnson earned his fourth win of the season with a career-best eight innings. The lefty scattered five hits over his eight innings, striking out three with no walks. He becomes just the third VU pitcher this season to pitch at least eight innings in a start, joining Carson Fulmer and Walker Buehler.
Kyle Wright finished off the shutout working around a two-out walk in the ninth. The 10th shutout of the season matches the school record set in 2004. Since 2011, Vanderbilt has 33 shutouts.
The Vandy offense scratched out a run in the third inning when Zander Wiel laced a double into the left-center field gap to score the first run of the game. Ro Coleman's third hit of the night broke the game open in the eighth inning. Coleman smashed a two-run double down the left field line to score Toffey and Jeren Kendall with two outs. The Dores' designated hitter reached base four times on the night and is hitting .353 over his last 15 games. Toffey and Kendall each added two hits in the win.
Middle Tennessee starter Garrett Ring took the loss allowing two runs on six hits over four innings. The Blue Raiders were limited to just six base runners in the game.
Vanderbilt hosts Missouri this weekend in a showdown of two teams tied atop the SEC East standings. First pitch on Friday night is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.