Nashville, Tenn. – The No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores opened the 2013 campaign with a convincing 10-4 victory over Long Beach State Friday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Dirtbags (0-1) scratched out a run in the second inning off Vandy starter Kevin Ziomek to draw first blood. The Commodores' (1-0) offense, however, did not take long to give the lefty some support putting up five runs in the third inning to take the lead and never look back. The VU rally started when Joel McKeithan reached on an error by the third baseman and Xavier Turner followed with his first collegiate hit, a single to right that put runners on the corners. Tony Kemp's fly ball looked to have tied the game on a sacrifice fly but Long Beach State center fielder Josh Guerra dropped the ball allowing McKeithan and Turner to score with Kemp moving into second base. Spencer Navin then knocked in a run on a perfectly executed hit and run play that saw the ball roll through the vacated spot at second base for a 3-1 VU lead. Mike Yastrzemski's two-run triple capped the rally as the Dores batted around in the third.
After a shaky start, Ziomek (1-0) settled in after getting a 5-1 lead. The lefty did not allow a hit after the third and retired the final 11 batters he faced to earn his first win of 2013. Ziomek battled out of a jam in the third, with two runners aboard he struck out the next two batters to start his streak of 11 consecutive retired Dirtbags. The junior fanned seven over six innings while allowing four hits and one walk.
The Vanderbilt offense did not stop after a big third inning, stretching the lead to 8-1 with a three-run fourth. Kemp was again in the mix driving in a run with a single and scoring on Conrad Gregor's base hit. The Dores pulled off a double steal for the third run of the inning with Jack Lupo swiping home. Connor Harrell crushed his first home run of the year in the fifth with a towering drive into the wind and over the scoreboard in left field. Nine different Commodores had at least one hit led by Kemp and Yastrzemski, who had two each. In all, 22 of the Dores' 35-man roster saw the field with six true freshmen getting their first collegiate action. Freshmen Turner and Tyler Campbell both picked up the first hits of their career.
For the Dirtbags, Richard Prigatano and Jeff Yamaguchi led the way with a pair of hits apiece. Starter Jon Maciel (0-9) was pinned with the loss giving up 10 runs, five earned, on nine hits over four-plus innings.