Ninth inning Commodore Rally Falls Short in 4-3 opening loss to Michigan

CJ Rodriguez
CJ Rodriguez

The rematch of the national championship from a season ago was as good as expected as Vanderbilt fell to Michigan 4-3. It was a game with multiple lead changes that was constantly within one run for either team.

By DT Yates

A late eighth inning two run homer by Matt Schmidt was all the Wolverines would need for a 4-3 victory. This game had all the makings of a western classic going down to the wire as the ‘Dores started a two-out rally in the ninth inning that led to and unfortunately ended with the bases loaded.

Mason Hickman had an excellent first outing for Vanderbilt through five innings pitched with three hits, zero earned runs and three strikeouts. The Commodores drew opening blood in the first inning to go on top early 1-0.

Freshman Spencer Jones got a hold of one in a nice display of things to come but was a little too much underneath it.

Austin Martin picked up where he left off a season ago with a solid defensive outing. Though, after starting 0-4, he was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning that denied him an opportunity to bring home the tying or winning run.

An error after an attempt at a double play ball in the top of the 4th led to Michigan tying the game at 1-1.

Hickman showed grit in the 5th after a one out double from Michigan’s Matt Schmidt was followed up by a strike out on the Wolverines designated hitter Jimmy Obertop and a popup to get out of the inning unscathed.

Michigan followed it up in the next inning with a dose of small ball for the ‘Dores who now had Ethan Smith on the mound. Riley Bertram was able to make it to second for Michigan on a sacrifice bunt. He stole third and was nearly thrown out but just made it in time after reviewing the replay. A passed ball was able to bring him home and give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.

Vanderbilt responded big and Michigan may have felt the impending onslaught when they pulled Jeff Criswell in the bottom of the 7th. Criswell ended the night giving up two hits, one earned run, five strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched.

Freshman Parker Noland tied it up in the seventh with an RBI single. Harrison Ray followed that up with a beautiful suicide squeeze down the first base line and made it aboard while bringing home Justyn-Henry Malloy for the go-ahead run to put Vanderbilt up 3-2.

It would not be enough for the ‘Dores as a two-run home run by Matt Schmidt put Michigan up 4-3 in the ninth. Though Vanderbilt was far from done as a two out rally started by Cooper Davis beating a throw to first base led to the bases loaded after CJ Rodriguez and Austin Martin were hit by pitches. Isaiah Thomas popped up to right center to end the game.

The Commodores will face off tomorrow against UConn which fell to Cal Poly State 5-0.

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