Tim Corbin was happy to see Anthony Gomez at third base in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday. He was even happier to see his freshman second baseman go.
Following a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, Gomez took advantage of two wild pitches and scored the only run in Vanderbilt’s 1-0 victory over Middle Tennessee State before 2,069 at Hawkins Field.
That snapped a string of 15 scoreless innings for the Commodores, who have managed just five hits in their last two outings.
“The ball he scored on, I would have attached him to my hip and ran to the plate with him at that point to score the run,” Corbin, who coaches third base, said. “It was just a matter of doing whatever you could to change the bagel on the scoreboard that we’ve seen for (15) innings.”
Both wild pitches came from redshirt-freshman Daniel Palo, who was pulled just two pitches – both balls – after Gomez scored. Still, the right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out five – both season-bests – in 5.1 innings, the longest outing of his career.
“(Palo) seemed to start losing his touch and bouncing a lot of balls,” Gomez said. “I got to third on a wild pitch, and same thing – I was just looking for a pitch. … You have to take what you can get at this point.”
Vanderbilt got just one base runner the rest of the night – catcher Drew Fann was hit by a pitch in the seventh – against three Blue Raiders’ relievers.
Commodores’ starter Drew Hayes, though, pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, and – after Richie Goodenow got the final out of the seventh – Russell Brewer kept MTSU off the board and recorded the final six outs.
That gave the Vanderbilt (27-8) its second straight shutout against the Blue Raiders. Their previous meeting was a 6-0 Commodores’ victory in an elimination game at the 2009 NCAA Louisville regional.
MTSU (20-13) has gone a total of 20 straight innings since its last run against VU.
“Hayes was the right guy (Tuesday) night,” Corbin said. “He did a nice job. I’m very proud of him.
“It’s just a good rivalry between two teams that want to beat one another. … I just have a great amount of respect for their ball club. I really do. They’re tough to beat.”
It’s a little easier when they don’t score – but not much.