SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The Toreros knocked off No. 6/7 Vanderbilt 3-2 to open the 2017 season Thursday evening at Fowler Park. Going against preseason All-American pitcher Kyle Wright, the Toreros scored three runs in the first three innings and then held on for the big win. Vanderbilt had the tying run on third base in the ninth inning, but Troy Conyers struck out the final batter to seal the victory.
"It's a great victory any time you can beat a team like Vanderbilt and a guy like Kyle Wright," Head Coach Rich Hill said after the game. "I felt like our guys had great energy and didn't back down. It was just a great night and I'm really proud of our guys."
Vanderbilt wasted no time; leading off the game with a Jeren Kendall triple down the right field. Kendall came in to score two batters later on a Will Toffey sacrifice fly to center; despite a strong throw from Torero center fielder Colton Waltner.
In a matchup of preseason All-Americans, Riley Adams took Kyle Wright deep to left field to lead off the second inning, tying the game at 1-1.
The Commodores retook the lead in the top of the third inning. After striking out the leadoff batter, Nick Sprengel gave up a single and a walk to put runners on first and second. Then Toffey struck again; this time with a RBI single to left. Sprengel escaped further trouble by striking out Alonzo Jones with the bases loaded.
The Toreros immediately responded to take the lead. Jeff Houghtby tripled to left to bring home Jordan Abushahla and then came around to score on a Colton Waltner infield single, giving USD a 3-2 lead.
Conyers retired the first four batters he faced, but then ran into trouble in the ninth inning. After a leadoff walk and a single, Vandy's Jeren Kendall tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but popped it up behind the plate. Riley Adams caught it in foul territory and fired down to second base to finish the double play.
After a tough grounder up the middle, the Commodores had the tying run on third base with two outs. Conyers struck out Toffey swinging to end the game and give the big lefty a 2.1 inning save.
Nick Sprengel (1-0) struck out nine batters in five innings, giving up just two earned runs on five hits to earn the win.
"Nick was on top of his game," Coach Hill remarked. "He really showed how good his off speed stuff is."
Vandy's Kyle Wright (0-1) allowed three earned runs in five innings, coming out after 81 pitches.
"The highlight of the night is Riley Adams," Coach Hill praised. "All eyes were on him as a first team preseason All-American with over 30 scouts here and he hits a bomb and almost hits another one and then throws a missle to second base to double up Vandy [in the ninth inning]."
The Toreros continue their series against Vanderbilt Friday at 2:00 p.m., which was originally scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
USD Athletes Sing "Santa's Coming to Town"
Toreros show their talent out of uniform
Basketball: City Championship
Toreros play SDSU Thursday night at 8
Football: Week Fourteen
Football preps for second round of playoffs at NDSU
Football: NAU From the Sidelines
Toreros win in first round of playoffs at NAU
Football: Week Thirteen
Football travels to NAU for the first round of the FCS Playoffs
A day to give to Torero Athletics
Football: Week Twelve
Toreros gear up for last game of conference play
Football: Week Eleven
Toreros prep for game day
Torero Timeout with Summer Mason
USD junior women's soccer player takes a timeout during a study break
On Saturday We Dominate
Big wins for both USD Football and USD Volleyball Saturday afternoon
Torero Timeout with Henry Lander
Men's soccer sophomore Henry Lander takes a Timeout between classes
Football: Week Ten
Toreros gear up for home game against Drake
Men's and women's basketball teamed up to host a Halloween event
Football: Week Nine
Big day in the weight room for the Toreros
Seamus McFadden's Legacy
39 years in review by former players and coaches
Alumni, staff and the San Diego community gathered to celebrate Men's Soccer Head Coach Seamus McFadden
Sixth Man Night: The Event
Recap video of the October 12 fundraiser event
Women's Basketball: WCC Hoops Tip-Off
Coach Fisher and Maya Hood attend media day in Las Vegas
Men's Basketball: New Heights
Men's basketball celebrates the third era of the program
Alumni and family gathered together for an eventful Homecoming weekend
Torero Timeout with Kristen Gengenbacher
Take a Timeout with the senior setter at her house in South Mission Beach
Football: Week Seven
Football preps for this Saturday's Homecoming game
Torero Timeout with Jonathan Petersen
USD Football's Petersen strolls through Belmont Park during his bye week
USD Basketball: Practice No. 1
Check out what practice looks like for the Torero ballers
Football: Week Five
Toreros prep for big game against Dayton
Football: FaceTime with Lion's Jamal Agnew
USD Head Coach Dale Lindsey congratulates Torero alum Agnew on his first NFL touchdown
Football: Brian Fogarty PFL Classic
From tailgates to touchdowns, we got it all
Football: Week Four
Hard work follows these Toreros on and off the field
Cross Country: USD Invite
Missed Saturday's race? Don't stress, we have it right here
Football: Week Three
Sights and sounds of USD Football at work
USD Invite: Take a Lap
Men's and women's cross country host the USD Invite: the only home race for the Toreros
Football: Week Two
Football hard at work for their first away game at UC Davis
Three Games - One Day
Ole Weekend was one to remember for USD Athletics
Football: Week One
Toreros preps for their home opener against Western New Mexico
2017 Football Season Preview
Head Coach Dale Lindsey and Senior Ray Clark discuss upcoming season
USD Athletics Highlight Video 2016-17
Don't miss the best highlights from this past year in USD Athletics