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February 22, 2013

Ziomek pitches VU past Monmouth on Friday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt's Kevin Ziomek called the pitch "a slider," though from the press box, it looked more like a curve. His coach, Tim Corbin, called it "a slurve."

Whatever you call it, it was working in a big way on Friday.

Ziomek used that pitch to throw seven innings and strike out a career-high 11 hitters, as Vanderbilt defeated Monmouth by a 5-1 score at Hawkins Field on Friday evening.

VU had just six hits, but made them count. The Commodores scratch out one run in the third, fourth and seventh innings and two in the sixth, as VU improved its record to 5-1.

Ziomek gave up a run in the second inning, but fanned two of the last three hitters of that frame. From that point on, the Hawks had a terrible time trying to hit Ziomek's breaking ball, which helped him fan 10 of the next 12 hitters from the second out of the second inning on.

During Ziomek's spell of dominance, one Hawk hitter even ducked on a pitch that looked destined to hit him. Instead, it wound up catching the inside corner of the plate for a strike.

"During the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, he got rolling along and mixed his pitches pretty well," VU coach Tim Corbin said. "He did throw some great breaking balls for strikes. I thought he had command of two pitches, and occasionally a third, too, that he used."

Jack Lupo was the only VU player to record multiple hits, and five different players knocked in runs.

Ziomek's start, however, was a bit rocky. After Craig Sweeney singled and Chris Perret bounced a double over Gregor's head down the first base line, Monmouth scored the game's first run in the second when Owen Stewart grounded out to short.

Vanderbilt got on the board in the first when Dansby Swanson lined a ball to right-center, and hustled to second. Tony Kemp grounded out to move him over, and when Xavier Turner squibbed a ball back to pitcher Andrew McGee, the left-hander was wild as he went home for the out as Swanson slid home safely to tie.

VU took the lead in the fourth when Mike Yastrzemski was hit by the first pitch, stole second, took third on a fly-out by Connor Harrell, and scored when Vincent Conde punched a single to right.

The Commodores widened the margin when Conrad Gregor walked to start the sixth, and Navin was hit by a pitch. Yastrzemski sacrificed them over a base before T.J. Hunt relieved McGee. Hunt bounced a wild pitch to the right of catcher Kyle Perry to score Gregor.

Later in the inning, Lupo bounced a single through the hole at short to make it 4-1. In the seventh, Yastrzemski's sac fly to left scored Turner with another run.

Swanson's double was VU's lone extra-base hit on Friday. McGee, a lefty, gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, even though he gave up just six base runners.

"This was the first time we've had some offensive adversity... I think it was a good game from that standpoint, because we really had to pitch and play defense with these guys," Corbin said. "They gave us a few extra bases and we took advantage of it, but we didn't hit the ball well tonight."

Freshman Carson Fulmer finished the final two innings, pitching two perfect frames and fanning three.

The game lasted just 2:12, as pitchers for both teams worked quickly on a 61-degree day.

Saturday's game is at 2 p.m. Central, with Tyler Beede facing Monmouth's Dan Smith.

  • Ziomek got in first-inning trouble with men in first and second, and when No. 3 hitter Jake Gronsky grounded to short on a hit-and-run, he caught Swanson moving towards the bag at second as the ball was hit to Swanson's right. Swanson slipped briefly as he changed direction, but got to the ball, threw to Kemp at second, and started a 6-4-3 double play. He turned another 6-3 twin killing in the sixth.
  • Turner got down 0-2 in his first at-bat, took three straight balls (one right on the inside corner), and then ripped a single to right-center.
  • Starting with the fourth batter of the second inning, Ziomek fanned 10 of the next 12 hitters, with a 5-3 ground-out in between.
  • Corbin said that Adam pitcher Adam Ravenelle, who hasn't pitched this season, is getting closer to returning to the mound. Ravenelle has had a nerve issue in his elbow and hasn't pitched this spring.
  • Starting pitcher T.J. Pecoraro has been temporarily removed from the rotation, and will be replaced by Phil Pfeiffer on Sunday. Corbin expects Pecoraro to only be out a week.
  • Starting shortstop Joel McKeithan, who tweaked a hamstring that he originally hurt in January, was out again Friday. Corbin did not give a timetable for a return.
  • Announced attendance was 2,225.

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