NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt used 15 hits and a strong pitching performance from Sonny Gray to shut out Belmont 10-0 at the Nashville regional of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
Vanderbilt (48-10), the sixth seed nationally, jumped out in front in the first inning and Gray did the rest. The right-hander retired 14 straight batters before giving up a two-out single to Greg Brody in the fifth inning. Gray (11-3) gave up three hits, let just one baserunner reach second and struck out three in six innings.
The Commodores were playing in their sixth straight regional and were ahead 2-0 heading into the fourth. They pulled away in that frame, scoring six runs on five hits.
Belmont (36-25), playing in its first regional in program history, looked shaky in the inning — especially starting pitcher Matt Hamann. The right-hander gave up five singles, threw two wild pitches and committed two errors on two sacrifice bunts. He skipped a throw to first base and later failed to get the ball out of his glove on an attempt to throw out a runner at home plate. Trying to make a play, he threw to first but plunked Vanderbilt's Anthony Gomez in the back of the head.
Hamann (9-2) allowed 14 hits and 10 runs — seven earned — in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Vanderbilt, which shared the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, had eight batters record a hit. Six batters had multiple hits, as Gomez led the way with three singles. Curt Casali drove in three runs as his two-run double down the right-field line started the scoring in the first inning.
Belmont had just six hits off four different Vanderbilt pitchers. Greg Brody led the Bruins with two singles.
Belmont had been on a roll, winning six straight and 11 of its last 14. The Bruins won their last two regular-season games to qualify for the sixth and final spot of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. They then became the first No. 6 seed to go undefeated and win the league championship since 1997.
Belmont, which transitioned from the NAIA to Division I 15 years ago, has never won an NCAA Tournament game in any sport. The Bruins will get another chance on Saturday when they play Oklahoma State, which lost 9-2 to Troy earlier on Friday. Vanderbilt will play Troy in the winner's bracket. The Commodores are trying to win their second straight regional and third in school history.