NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chris McElvain was dominant on the mound and the Commodore offense punched in three runs to beat visiting No. 7 Oklahoma State 3-0 at Hawkins Field on Friday.
McElvain (1-0) went four innings and fanned 10 in what was the most strikeouts by a Vanderbilt starter on Opening Day in at least 15 seasons. The junior worked around four hits and a walk and exited after 79 pitches.
“I don’t know that the approach on my part was any different,” McElvain said. “Vanderbilt pitching coach (Scott) Brown is the one that is calling pitches and I have full faith in what he calls. My mindset the whole time was just attack.
“Everyone is going to be nervous. Everyone is going to have the first-game jitters and they’re going to be fired-up and ready to go. But at the end of the day it comes down to competing as a team and trying to do whatever you can to get a win.”
Tatę Kolwyck went 2-for-3 to lead the Vandy offense. The senior hit a solo home run in the victory.
Thomas Schultz (S, 1) picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The second-ranked Commodores (1-0) and Cowboys (0-1) are scheduled to resume the series at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought they competed well, and really that’s what it was going to take when you’re facing a guy that might be the best in the country,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “We knew this was going to be a tough task and we knew that the runs were probably going to be really expensive – which they were.”
On Friday, Enrique Bradfield Jr., walked to lead off the bottom half of the third and went to second and then third on consecutive wild pitches. Jack Bulger grounded an RBI single to the left of second giving the Commodores a 1-0 lead.
With two outs in the inning, Dominic Keegan corked a double off the wall in right to score Bulger from second and giving Vandy a 2-0 lead.
Kolwyck yanked a solo home run out to left to begin the third putting Vanderbilt up 3-0.
“Just that fastball – it was hot, had to get on-time with it,” Kolwyck said of his blast. “That was my approach coming into that second at-bat.”
Patrick Reilly came out of the Vandy bullpen and struck out the side in the fifth and the sixth. He threw four scoreless innings and worked around four walks and a hit.
Justin Campbell (0-1) pitched four innings, allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks. He fanned eight and was charged with two wild pitches.
Vanderbilt pitching recorded 18 strikeouts Friday, six short of the program record for strikeouts in a game. The Commodores fanned 23 hitters in a 16-0 win April 21, 1970, against Chattanooga.