Welcome to second base Sam Lind. Thanks for stopping by.
But don’t get too comfortable.
Despite a three-hit, three-RBI performance during No. 1 Vanderbilt’s 10-3 victory over Tennessee-Martin on Tuesday night, Lind simply joined the carousel at second base. He did not secure that spot on the infield.
The sophomore made his first start at that position this season — his first start at any spot in the field. He did get the nod as designated hitter four times.
Lind is the fourth different Commodore to start at second base as Anthony Gomez (11 games), Riley Reynolds (nine) and Bryan Johns (five) have all called the spot home for multiple games.
Gomez seems to be a staple at shortstop now. The sophomore, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games, has started the last 14 games there after coach Tim Corbin moved Jason Esposito from there to third base.
So, right now it is a three-man rotation at second — a position Corbin tweaks depending on whom the Commodores are playing.
“We got Riley, Johns and then Sam Lind. Yep. That is about it,” Corbin said. “I’m pretty comfortable with Riley and Bryan Johns playing defensively there. I’m going back and forth, according to the pitcher. I like what they can do defensively.”
Lind helped set the tone in this one when he doubled over the left fielder’s head and drove in two runs with two outs in the first.
Vanderbilt (23-3) scored four runs in the opening frame, all of them unearned due to an error by the right fielder to start the inning.
Tennessee-Martin (5-19) finished with five errors as five of Vanderbilt’s runs were unearned. The Commodores weren’t much better as they committed three errors in a game Corbin described as “gross” and “sloppy.”
Lind, though, was a bright spot offensively. In addition to the double, the 6-foot, 175-pounder from Hartford, S.D., drove in another run with an RBI single in the third and snuck a single through the right side in the fifth inning.
“That was nice to see,” Corbin said of Lind’s performance. “We wanted to get him in there, get some repetitions, hit the ball and see what he could do in a starting role.”
Lind, who has been practicing at third and second base, said he would like to be in the second-base conversation but said an error in the eighth didn’t help him.
“You can’t make an error every four chances,” Lind said. “I’ve been working hard and we’ve got some good infielders so we’ll see [about getting another start at second]. We’ve got some good defensive infielders. Defense is huge here and we have a lot of good players. It is not so much that I am competing against them but just kind of competing with them. They want to play just like I want to play. Just as long as we win, that is all that matters.”
Lind, who bats left-handed but throws with his right, was pulled after the eighth inning. Reynolds replaced him at second and Corbin said that was the plan in order to get Reynolds more repetitions at the position.
In fact, Corbin was complimentary of Lind’s defense, despite the error.
“He actually did make a couple of decent defensive plays,” Corbin said. “I know [there was] the one error but outside of that I thought he was pretty good and I’m happy for him.”
Lind transferred from Central Arizona College after being named the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference’s player of the year. The year before, he was at the University of Missouri. He redshirted his freshman season and was ready to return for another but did not get offered a scholarship so he decided to move on.
Now he is hoping he has found a home at Vanderbilt. In 16 games, he is batting .381 in 21 at-bats with five RBIs.
“I love it here,” Lind said. “Hopefully I won’t be four schools in four years. Hopefully I’ll be here for the next few years.”
• Lipscomb edges MTSU: Two first-inning runs were enough for Lipscomb to squeeze past Middle Tennessee State for a 2-1 victory on Tuesday at Ken Dugan Field.
After Richie Goodenow singled and Diego Martinez walked, each advanced a base on a passed ball. Then Josh Chism singled up the middle, knocking both runners in.
Lipscomb (10-15) recorded only three hits and MTSU (5-17) had just five. The Blue Raiders’ lone run came after Ryan Stephens stole second, and came all the way around to score on two overthrows by the Bisons.
It was the first time since March 7, 2009, that the Bisons won a game when scoring two or fewer runs. Lipscomb has won three straight after nine consecutive losses.
“We want to get that streak going, keep some momentum going into the weekend [against Atlantic Sun Conference rival North Florida],” Chism said. “[MTSU] traditionally has a good program and they fought well [Tuesday] so it is a good one for us, for sure.”