ETSU’s Jeremy Taylor (6) catches a fly ball for an out behind as teammate Derek Niesman gets out of the away during Friday’s NCAA regional game against Vanderbilt in Nashville. (AP Photo)
NASHVILLE — Conrad Gregor and Connor Harrell each drove in two runs and Kevin Ziomek pitched seven strong innings, leading No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt to a 9-1 victory over East Tennessee State in an NCAA baseball regional opener Friday night.
The Commodores (52-9) strung together six singles, including five straight, in the first inning off starter Jimmy Nesselt to take a five-run lead. Gregor’s two-run single up the middle sparked the inning.
Nesselt retired 15 straight batters before giving up three unearned runs in the seventh after a throwing error. His night ended when Harrell hit his team-leading 12th home run, a two-run shot. Nesselt (2-3) started in place of Kerry Doane (13-1), who was a late scratch.
Ziomek (11-2) allowed just one run on three hits, struck out five and threw 101 pitches.
ETSU’s Derek Niesman extended his hitting streak to 17 games and Dylan Tritsch had a pair of hits for the Buccaneers. Clinton Freeman went 1-for-3 and drove in the lone ETSU run when his sacrifice fly in the sixth brought home Jeremy Taylor.
The Bucs (36-23), Atlantic Sun tournament champs who are playing in their first regional since 1981, will take on Georgia Tech in an elimination game Saturday at 3 p.m. The Yellow Jackets lost 6-4 to Illinois earlier on Friday.