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February 21, 2010The Vanderbilt Commodore baseball program could not have asked for more from their 2010 season-opening series. This afternoon, Vanderbilt completed the sweep of the Niagara Purple Eagles 21-3, bringing their season record to 3-0.
Commodore starting pitcher Jack Armstrong allowed three first inning runs on five hits, but it was all Vandy from then on. Armstrong settled down - and the VU offense settled in, pummeling six different Purple Eagle pitchers for 24 hits and 21 unanswered runs.
Vanderbilt utterly dominated a completely out-manned Niagara program for the three-game series. The Commodores out-scored Niagara 46-5, as VU's three starting pitchers each registered solid, though not perfect, performances on the mound.
"I thought today we came out and made better contact," said sophomore third baseman Jason Esposito, who went 4-for-6 on the day, scoring three runs and registering five RBI, including two doubles and a first inning home run. "I think we showed more patience at the plate and guys throughout the lineup came through."
In all, 19 different Vanderbilt players saw action on the day, including relievers Richie Goodenow, Russell Brewer, Will Clinard and usual left field starter Joe Loftus.
VU broke the game wide open in the bottom of the second, when the roster batted around for 10 runs on seven hits. The second featured two doubles by freshman Regan Flaherty that in and of themselves plated five Vandy runs.
Curt Casali registered his first homer of the new season in the 10-run second, when he lofted a soft fly ball that floated just inside the left field fly pole, landing on the roof of Memorial Gym. Casali, a catcher who played first base today, finished with two hits and four RBI.
Freshman right fielder Connor Harrell registered three hits and one RBI, and scored twice. Left fielder Aaron Westlake, VU's best returning hitter, started off his season on a high note with three hits and scored two runs.
The weekend series saw the Commodore defense allow just one fielding error, that on an errant throw by Armstrong in his three-run first inning.
Vanderbilt returns to action on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Austin Peay at Hawkins Field. VU will then head to Los Angeles next weekend to take on UCLA, USC and Oklahoma State in the first annual Dodgertown Classic.