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February 15, 2013

Vanderbilt eases by Long Beach State in season opener

Vanderbilt's Kevin Ziomek threw six innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball, and Mike Yastrzemski had a two-run triple as part of a five-run seventh inning, as the Commodores beat Long Beach State by a 10-4 score on Saturday evening at Hawkins Field in the opener for both teams.

The Commodores posted 11 hits and also scored three in the fourth and two in the fifth. It was more than enough for Ziomek, who walked just one and gave up four hits.

Yastrzemski and Tony Kemp each had two hits and two RBIs, and Connor Harrell added two RBIs of his own on a fifth-inning home run to left field.

All 10 runs were charged to Long Beach junior starter Jon Maciel, who posted a 1.27 ERA in 35 1/3 innings last season. Five runs were earned.

Vanderbilt trailed 1-0 after Long Beach strung together a single, a double and a ground-out to score a run, but Ziomek fielded a bunt and threw to first for the third out to prevent further damage.

The Dirtbags helped VU out in a big way in the fifth. With one out, Joel McKeithan reached on a throwing error by third baseman Juan Avila. Designated hitter Xavier Turner singled to right in his first collegiate plate appearance, putting runners on the corners. When Tony Kemp hit a long fly ball to center that Josh Guerra dropped, both runners scored.

With two outs, Conrad Gregor walked, Spencer Navin singled through the infield to right, and Yastrzemski tripled down the line to right. All five runs were unearned.

In the fourth, Kemp singled to left, scoring Vincent Conde, and Gregor singled through the right side of the infield for the seventh run. Later in the inning, Gregor stole second, and Jack Lupo, who stood on third, stole home as the throw went to second.

In the fifth, Yastrzemski singled to left-center and Harrell launched a towering blast to left for the game's only home run.
Vandy's ZIomek was rocky early, struggling to command a tight strike zone. But as the middle innings approached, his change-up and breaking ball started to become more effective, and he retired the last 11 men he faced.

VU freshman Tyler Ferguson, a California native, made his debut in the seventh. He gave up a run-scoring triple in his first inning, and three more hits that accounted for two runs in the eighth.

Lefty Steven Rice finished the game, giving up two hits but not allowing a run.

The Commodores and Dirtbags play again at 2 p.m. at Hawkins Field on Saturday.

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