Vanderbilt baseball sweeps season-opening four-game set in California

Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 9:52pm
Staff reports

The Vanderbilt baseball team couldn’t have asked for a better start to what they hope will be an historic season.

The Commodores, who were ranked as high as fourth in several  national preseason polls, finished off a four-game sweep out West with two wins at San Diego on Sunday. They won the first 3-1 and took the nightcap 7-3. That after a 7-3 victory against San Diego State on Saturday and a rain-shortened, five-inning 4-3 victory against San Diego, ranked 28th by Collegiate Baseball, to open the season Friday.

On Sunday, Vanderbilt (4-0) got two strong pitching performances. First, Taylor Hill allowed one run on five hits and no walks. He left in the eighth inning and relievers Mark Lamm and Navery Moore closed out the win. Moore picked up his first save of the year as he worked around a single in the ninth. Offensively, Bryan Johns knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh with a double and later in the inning Tony Kemp drove in Connor Harrell with a single.

In the second game, Grayson Garvin took a perfect game into the seventh inning before an infield single went off his glove. He did not give up a run until the ninth, when he allowed three (one unearned).  He allowed five hits and struck out 10 in 8.1 innings. Lamm got the last two outs.

Vanderbilt scored six runs through the first four innings as Kemp, Aaron Westlake and Mike Yastrzemski each had two hits.

On Saturday against San Diego State, the Commodores rallied from one down and scored the last five runs. They tied it with one in the eighth and then pulled away with four in the ninth. Jason Esposito had three hits and two RBIs, and Lamm got the win in relief. Freshman Kevin Ziomek made his first collegiate start and allowed two runs — one earned — on four hits, while he struck out and walked just one in 5.1 innings.

On Friday, Vanderbilt ace Sonny Gray went 4.1 innings. He endured a tough first,  in which he allowed three earned runs, and gave up just four hits, walked two and struck out six. Will Clinard finished the contest, which went just five innings due to rain, to get the save. Anthony Gomez led the Commodores with two hits and one RBI. He also scored the go-ahead run on Harrell’s single in the third.

Vanderbilt will play its home opener at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Belmont. The Bruins (2-2) split a home series against Illinois State this weekend.