Pitching Dominates again as Vanderbilt tops Billikens

Greg Arias

Once again the starting pitching was dominant for the Vanderbilt Commodores as sophomore Ethan Smith threw five masterful innings at the visiting St. Louis Billikens on Wednesday in a 10-2 blowout at Hawkins Field.   

Smith needed just 70 pitches on a cold afternoon to shut out the Billikens while allowing only two hits and walking three as he earned his second win of the season. 

The Commodores dented the scoreboard first, when in the second when Parker Noland led off the inning with a single that began a five-run inning highlighted by Austin Martin's three-run homer over the monster in left. Isaiah Thomas also scored in the frame before Martin's shot that delivered both Carter Young and Cooper Davis.

It was the second round-tripper of the young season for Martin and gave him seven RBI on the season.  

The Commodores would tack on three more runs in the third when Thomas walked to lead off the inning followed by a Harrison Ray double. One batter later an error on Billikens shortstop 

Matthew Harp allowed Carter Young to reach. Daivs then delivered a perfect sacrifice bunt, scoring Thomas and setting the table for catcher CJ Rodriguez who doubled home two runs to push the Commodores advantage to 8-0 after three innings of play. 

Martin would add another home run to his day, going 2-3, with four RBI on the day.  

Nick Maldonado replaced Smith in the sixth and gave up two hits, but was able to get out of trouble striking out Sam Polk swinging to end the threat. He would work the seventh as well, allowing two Billikens runs in the frame.

 Erik Kaiser finished the game, pitching a perfect eighth and ninth inning, striking out all six batters he faced on just 25 total pitches. 

Entering Wednesday's contest, the Commodores pitching staff sported a team ERA of just 1.56 and did nothing to hurt that against the Billikens. 

The Commodores now turn their focus to the weekend and a three-game home series with the Hawaii Rainbows (7-3) who took two of three games from Washington State over the weekend. 

This trip to Nashville will mark the first games the Rainbows have played outside of the state of Hawaii so far this season. 

First pitch for the series opener on Friday is set for 4:30 Pm, with Saturday's game at 2 pm and Sunday scheduled for noon at Hawkins Field.