Nashville, Tenn. (VUAD)– Kyle Wright dominated in a 2-0 shutout victory over No. 12 Florida on Friday night at a sold out Hawkins Field to even the series.
For the second straight year, Wright blanked the Gators (23-12, 7-7) on three hits to even the series with Florida. The junior topped last year’s performance on Friday night, however, striking out a career-high 13 batters and issuing no walks to earn the win.
Wright was outstanding from the beginning, striking out his second batter to end the first inning and set off a streak of 10 straight retired Gators. A leadoff single from Nelson Maldonado snapped the streak but Wright bounced back to get the next 12 batters to reach the ninth inning. Back out for the ninth for the first time this season, the right-hander yielded a leadoff single before a fielder’s choice erased the base runner. Wright finished his night with an exclamation point by striking out Austin Langworthy looking for his 13th strikeout. Over his last two starts against the Gators, Wright has allowed six hits over 18 scoreless innings with 23 strikeouts.
While Wright was putting up zeroes on the scoreboard, the Commodores’ (22-14, 7-7) offense was trying to solve Florida starter Brady Singer. Vandy missed a chance in the fourth by leaving two runners in scoring position but finally broke through in the fifth to scratch out a run. Jason Delay started the inning with his second hit of the night, shooting a double inside the first base bag and into the right field corner. An Ethan Paul single pushed Delay to third but it was a gutsy suicide squeeze with two strikes from Connor Kaiser that plated the only run the Dores needed. Kaiser’s bunt rolled just far enough away from home plate to allow Delay to score.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the seventh when consecutive singles from Delay, Paul and Kaiser loaded the bases to start the inning. Jeren Kendall wasted no time, lifting a fly ball to center field on the first pitch to score Delay from third.
Delay led the Commodores with three hits and scored both runs in the game. Will Toffey chipped in two hits as the home team racked up 11 hits in the victory.
Singer was the tough-luck loser for the Gators despite a complete game of his own. The right-hander allowed two runs on 11 hits over eight innings in the loss.
The two teams are set to decide the series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. on ESPN2. Drake Fellows gets the nod for the Commodores against Florida’s Jackson Kowar. Prior to the game, Vanderbilt will honor the late Donny Everett with a ceremony.