Middle Tennessee falls to Vanderbilt, 5-1

Blue Raiders out-hit Commodores, 8-6

April 17, 2012 · Athletic Communications
Final Box Score (PDF)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Blue Raider baseball team out-hit the Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday night, but fell in a 5-1 decision at Hawkins Field. Middle Tennessee collected eight hits compared to the Commodores’ six, but stranded eight base-runners in the contest.

Justin Guidry and Johnny Thomas each finished 2-for-4 at the plate, with Thomas driving in Guidry for the Blue Raiders’ (21-16) lone run.

Vanderbilt (17-20) took an early 4-0 lead, capitalizing on three hits and four walks in the first frame. Tony Kemp opened the game with a leadoff walk and Anthony Gomez reached on a bunt single before a walk to Conrad Gregor loaded the bases. Mike Yastrzemski snuck a single past a diving Johnny Thomas through the right side to score two, then the Commodores added a run apiece on a base-hit from Chris Harvey and a bases-loaded double-play ball.

“It got away from us in the first inning, but the bullpen kept us in the game,” head coach Steve Peterson said. “(The relief pitchers) allowed us to compete at the plate and not just get at-bats. But we’re not hitting or pitching in the clutch, and we’re not doing the little things. We’ve got a find a way to battle through this.”

MT got on the board in the third on an RBI-single from Thomas. Guidry reached on a two-out base-knock to left, then stole second. Thomas sent a sharp bouncer just past third baseman Vince Conde to plate Guidry and make it a 4-1 contest.

After the opening inning, the game turned into a pitchers’ duel over the final eight frames. The Blue Raiders worked out of a jam in the fourth, as the defense turned a double play to help reliever Paul Mittura out of a bases-loaded situation. Mittura replaced starter Cody Tollison in the first inning then tossed 4.0 innings, scattering two hits with a pair of strikeouts.

Although the Blue Raiders tagged Vandy starter Sam Selman (4-3) for seven hits and a run, he fanned nine through 5.2 innings to pick up the win. Brian Miller held MT to one hit in the final 3.1 to pick up the save.

“We ran into two very good pitchers,” Peterson said. “Selman has got a big-league arm. We haven’t faced anybody that throws as hard as he does. Miller has got so much poise and he moves the ball around well.”

The Commodores added an insurance run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly and held the Blue Raiders at bay despite allowing seven hits over the final eight innings.

Tollison (0-2) took the loss after tossing two-thirds of an inning and giving up four earned runs on two hits.

MT returns home for another midweek contest against an in-state foe on Wednesday. The Blue Raiders will host Austin Peay at 6 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.