No. 25 VANDERBILT 9, ILLINOIS STATE 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Anthony Ruffolo's two-out, two-RBI single in the top of the eighth provided the only blemish for Vanderbilt starting pitcher Taylor Hill, and also provided the only runs in the Redbirds' 9-2 loss to No. 25 Vanderbilt in the Music City Classic at Hawkins Field.
Ruffolo accounted for two of the Redbirds' eight total hits, the second with a pair of runners on in the eighth after Hill had left the game, to help Illinois State (4-4) avoid being shutout for the first time this season. Hill scattered seven hits and struck out six Redbird batters in 7.1 innings while earning his third win of the season for Vanderbilt (9-1).
Illinois State starting pitcher Ryan Copeland was tagged with the loss despite striking out five with no walks in five innings. Copeland (0-1) allowed nine hits and was tagged for six runs, though only four were earned as Illinois State committed two errors. Ryan Court also had two hits in the game for the Redbirds.
Early on, the game had the makings of a pitcher's duel with each starter setting down the opposition in order in the first inning. In the second inning, both teams put their first runner on but the results were different. In the top half of the inning, Court singled with one out, but Hill induced an inning-ending double play ball. In the bottom half, Curt Casali reached on an error to leadoff and then later scored on a sacrifice fly by Riley Reynolds for the game's first run.
Vanderbilt continued to collect runs, pushing across one more in the third and then two each in the fourth and fifth innings. Illinois State reliever JD Learnard held the Commodores scoreless in the sixth inning, but Vanderbilt pushed the lead to 8-0 with two more runs in the seventh. The Commodores added a run in the bottom of the eighth after Ruffolo's two-RBI single.
Casali went 4-for-5 in the game with three runs scored and two RBI. Giobbi and Jason Esposito both had three hits as the Commodores pounded out 18 as a team. Will Clinard closed out the game with four strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
Illinois State concludes play at the Music City Classic at noon Sunday against Kent State. Both squads are looking for their first win of the tournament. Illinois State will likely send sophomore right-hander Ryan Camp to the mound against Kent State's David Starn.
OTHER SCORES FROM AROUND THE VALLEY:
Wichita State 5, Florida Gulf Coast 3
Southern Illinois 13, Purdue 12
Missouri State 15, North Dakota State 2
Indiana State 5, Tennessee Martin 4
Northern Colorado 10, Creighton 3
Bradley 12, Tennessee Tech 10
Missouri State 6, North Dakota State 1
Tennessee Martin 4, Indiana State 3