Legends On Deck

Wiseman, Bowden Lead Commodores to Victory in Florida

They scoffed at us in jetBlue Park’s press box Friday afternoon.

“You’re going to a BASEBALL GAME tonight? A college baseball game?”

Not just a baseball game, the defending champions who took Omaha by storm last June. My friend and co-worker with the Boston Red Sox, staff photographer Brita Meng Outzen grew up in Nashville and has been a Vanderbilt Commodores baseball fan her whole life. Imagine working in spring training and basically having the team you used to watch back when they were perennial losers suddenly appear 45 minutes away, “at a ballpark near you” as they say. When she texted me the night before and asked me if I wanted to go, I was in immediately.

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Brita Meng Outzen couldn’t pass up watching her Vandy team.

Junior Rhett Wiseman’s 9th inning walk-off single led the defending NCAA Division One College World Series champion Commodores to a 3-2 victory over Indiana State at the Tampa Bay Rays spring training home in Port Charlotte Friday night. Vanderbilt is currently 3-1 thus far in the young season, losing the second game of last week’s opening series to Santa Clara.

Vanderbilt moved the three game series versus the Sycamores which continued Saturday and concludes Sunday at 1PM from their Nashville home due to weather concerns.

A small but enthusiastic crowd of mostly Vandy alumni and fans including Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Pedro Alvarez, and Rays catcher Curt Casali along with a number of other ex-Commodores currently in Tampa Bay’s minor league system cheered their team, the Sporting News Baseball Yearbook preseason second ranked collegiate squad despite heavy losses from last year’s team to the MLB Draft.

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Vandy Pitcher Carson Fullmer. Photo by Autumn Allison/The Tennessean.

All-American and Golden Spikes Award candidate Carson Fulmer started for the Commodores. A native of Lakeland, Florida who pitched for All Saints Academy in Polk County, Fulmer had a large group of family and friends watching as he battled through five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six. He threw 94 pitches.

Lefthander Phillip Pfeiffer pitched two scoreless innings and Lynn, Massachusetts native Ben Bowden entered a tie game and pitched out of a jam in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for Wiseman’s heroics in the bottom of the inning earning Bowden his first collegiate victory.

Wiseman ended the evening 2 for 4 with all three of Vandy’s RBIs. Junior shortstop Dansby Swanson was 2 for 4 and designated hitter Tyler Green was 2 for 2. The singles were Green’s first two hits as a Commodore.

Indiana State’s Jeremy McKinney pitched 3 1/3 innings in relief allowing one hit and striking out four. Center fielder Landon Curry was 2 for 4 for the Sycamores, who are now 2-2.

Hanging out with my friend Brita Meng Outzen.

Hanging out with my friend Brita Meng Outzen at the game.

 

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015