Sports

No. 2 Vanderbilt sweeps Bears in season opener

By
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The baseball team (0-3) opened its season this weekend by suffering a three-game sweep at No. 2 Vanderbilt (11-1). The season-opener was low-scoring, and the Commodores defeated the Bears 3-1. In the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, Vanderbilt edged past Brown 6-5, and won 6-3 in an abridged seven-inning game later that afternoon to sweep the series.

 

Vanderbilt 3, Brown 1

Both schools sent out their number-one pitchers to duel  Friday. Pitchers Matthew Kimball ’11 and Sonny Gray of Vanderbilt did not disappoint and received pitcher of the week honors in the Ivy League and Southeastern Conference for their performances.

Returning to his native Nashville, Tenn., Kimball pitched seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits while striking out three. But he was outgunned  by Vanderbilt’s ace. Gray, a projected first round Major League Baseball pick, also allowed one run, but struck out 15 and lasted a full nine innings.

“(Gray’s) got the best breaking ball I’ve seen in college baseball,” Coach Marek Drabinski said.

Kimball kept the Bears in the game in the first seven innings, but Andrew Bakowski ’11, coming in to relieve Kimball, allowed a leadoff double that kicked off a two-run Vanderbilt eighth inning.  This proved to be all the support Gray needed, as he struck out two of the final three Bruno batters and led the Commodores to victory.

 

Vanderbilt 6, Brown 5

Due to rainstorms in the area, Saturday’s game was postponed, forcing the Commodores and the Bears to play a doubleheader Sunday.

Vanderbilt scored three unanswered runs, one coming in the second and two coming in the third, before Bruno retaliated with a run of their own in the fourth. That would be all the run support pitcher Kevin Carlow ’13 saw in his 5.2 innings of work, as the Bears waited until the eighth to mount a rally. Outfielder Matt DeRenzi ’14 began the inning with a pinch-hit single, which was followed by another single from Josh Feit ’11. Both Brown batters, along with captain Matthew Colantonio ’11, ended up scoring in the inning to cut the lead to one.

 But Vanderbilt came back with three hits in the bottom half of the inning and, despite Colantonio’s RBI single in the ninth, Brown lost 6-5.

 

Vanderbilt 6, Brown 3

After narrowly losing earlier in the day, the Bears struck first in the second game. First baseman Mike DiBiase ’12 and outfielder Wes Van Boom ’14, both of whom hit exceptionally well throughout the series, singled and scored in the top half of the second inning, giving Brown a 2-0 lead.

“Truthfully, I thought we had them,” Colantonio said. He finished the game one-for-four with a run scored.

Though Bruno’s starting pitcher Lucas Whitehill ’14 allowed a solo home run in the fourth, Brown was up 2-1 going into the fifth.

Utilizing precise bunting and solid hitting, Vanderbilt mounted an attack in the fifth and sixth innings that resulted in a combined five runs, a Brown loss and a series sweep.

Despite losing the season opener, Colantonio said he has hope for the rest of season.

It was “tough to lose three … but we had them on the ropes,” Colantonio said. “They were definitely scared.”  

“Playing the best competition will prepare us against Ivy League teams,” he added.

 The Bears will travel to Austin, Tex. to play No. 6 University of Texas.

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