JACKSON — Vanderbilt combined a dominating performance by sophomore hurler Drew Hayes and a potent offense featuring four homers, two by Pedro Alvarez, to defeat Memphis 8-0 Tuesday night at Pringles Park.
The Commodores won their fourth straight to improve to 35-13, while the Tigers fell to 16-32.
Hayes, making his return to the Jackson area after attending McKenzie High and going to Bethel College his freshman year, held the Tigers to just two hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters with just one walk in a career-high seven innings of action.
“It was pretty dominating for him,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin on Hayes' outing. “I was really happy to see it. I thought his pace was really good. He threw a lot of strikes. He was working both sides of the plate and throwing his breaking ball for strikes. It just shows how far he’s come this past year. We got a great outing out of him.”
Hayes’ 12 strikeouts also tied the single-game high this season set previously by Mike Minor and Nick Christiani.
“Everything leading up to it and going into the game was really exciting,” said Hayes. "Once I got on the mound, it was just like any other game. It’s just like pitching at Hawkins Field. Just go out there and make pitches and do everything you do at home. Enjoy it before and after the game, but once you get on the mound, you have to pitch like any other game.”
Alvarez blasted two homers on the night, the first a two-run opposite field shot in the third inning to give VU an early 2-0 lead.
Shea Robin added a RBI double in the fourth and Brad French belted a two-run homer to left, his first of the year, to make it 5-0.
Alvarez hit his second homer of the game, fifth of the season, over the scoreboard in right field to push the lead to 6-0. The homer was estimated to have gone 430 feet. It was his 45th career homer putting him all alone in third place on the school’s all-time list.
Vanderbilt vs. Tenn. Tech
Wednesday, 6 p.m.