NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt defeated Eastern Illinois 12-2 at Hawkins Field on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd to open NCAA Tournament action.
Devin Futrell (W, 8-3) tossed five innings and struck out seven Panthers while holding EIU to one earned run. Thomas Schultz (S, 2) didn't allow a run over the final four frames and recorded five strikeouts while allowing just two hits.
Davis Diaz went 2-for-5 with a home run and two runs driven in. Alan Espinal went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
The Panthers got off to a hot start in the first inning. Eastern Illinois hit a leadoff triple followed by a double, both to left-center, to take a 1-0 lead.
Vanderbilt answered quickly in the bottom half of the first. Enrique Bradfield Jr. singled to lead off the inning and Diaz followed with a double to the corner in left field to put runners on second and third with nobody out.
RJ Schreck evened the score at 1-1 with a sac fly to bring home Bradfield. Parker Noland then gave Vanderbilt the lead with a single to right field that brought Diaz in from second.
Vanderbilt batted around in the bottom of the third. After a leadoff double to right-center by Bradfield, Diaz launched his ninth home run on the season, a two-run shot to left, to put the Dores on top 4-1.
The inning continued with two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. Troy LaNeve worked another walk to score Noland and Espinal emptied the bases with a double that brought three more runs across the plate to put Vandy on top 8-1.
Eastern Illinois scored its second run of the game with the help of an error in the top of the fifth.
The Commodores were held scoreless until the bottom of the seventh. Espinal earned a leadoff walk and Jonathan Vastine hit a no-doubt homer to center field to give the Commodores a 10-2 lead. Vastine has five home runs this season, two of which have come in the last five games.
The Commodores would scratch across two more runs on a hit and an error in the bottom of the eighth to win 12-2. Vandy has scored double-digit runs in three consecutive games. Vanderbilt has won 19 of its last 22 regional games at Hawkins Field.
Vanderbilt improves to 42-18. The Commodores will face Oregon at 8 p.m. CT Saturday. Eastern Illinois falls to 38-20 and will meet Xavier at 2 p.m.