UD baseball earns first top-10 win since 1996

Flyers off to a 3-1 start after victory at No. 6 Vanderbilt

The Dayton Flyers baseball team arrived home around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday after a bus ride home from Nashville, Tenn.

“Usually, when the guys get home that late, they’re a little grumpy,” seventh-year coach Jayson King said Wednesday afternoon, “but this time around, I think they were a little more upbeat than usual.”

The good feelings carried over from an 8-5 victory against No. 6 Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at Charles Hawkins Field. Dayton earned its first victory over a top-25 opponent in 17 years and its first victory over a top-10 opponent in 28 years.

“It was a lot of fun,” King said. “It’s nice to see the guys feeling good about something they’ve done. That make us feel good. I always think we have a chance. I think we have a talented enough team to beat anybody. But it really comes down to whether or not the players think that way, and I think on this particular night they did.”

In the fourth game of the season, Dayton overcame a 5-1 deficit with seven runs in the eighth inning. Junior Mason Dobie drove in three runs with a bases-loaded, ground-rule double. With two outs, freshman Ryan MacDougall’s RBI single tied the score. Junior David Pedanou then scored on a wild pitch to give Dayton a 6-5 lead.

Redshirt sophomore Alejandro Cazorla, who opened the rally in the eighth with a single, came to bat again with runners at first and second. He doubled to drive in two runs. Cazorla also homered in the fifth. He was 3-for-3 with three RBIs.

“Hitting is definitely contagious, for sure,” King said. “Our guys are talented. They can handle the velocity. It’s just a matter of them settling in. I think you could feel them settling in more as the game went along.”

Senior Nick Wissman, a Chaminade Julienne graduate, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to get the victory. He earned two saves in the series against Lindenwood.

“He’s the guy you want with the ball at the end of the game,” King said. “He’s crazy competitive. His stuff is very good. So it kind of worked out just exactly the way we wanted it to.”

Dayton, which was picked to finish sixth out of 12 teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll, improved to 3-1. It opened the season last weekend by taking two out of three games from Lindenwood University at Woerner Field in Dayton.

The Flyers finished 26-34 last season and were 0-7 against top-25 teams with three losses to No. 3 Tennessee, three losses to No. 9 Louisville and one loss to No. 10 Kentucky.

The Flyers last beat a ranked opponent on April 21, 2007, upsetting No. 23 Charlotte 7-1 in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte was 49-12 that season. Dayton finished 21-33.

On March 13, 1996, Dayton beat No. 1 LSU 7-6 in at Baton Rouge, La. The Flyers were 25-29 that season, while LSU finished 52-15 and won the national championship.

Vanderbilt (2-2) won two out of three games against Florida Atlantic in its opening series before playing Dayton. Vanderbilt has played in the last NCAA 17 tournaments. That’s the longest active streak in the country. It finished 42-20 last season. Vanderbilt won the College World Series in 2014 and 2019.

This was the first matchup between Vanderbilt and Dayton since 2019 when the Commodores won three games by a combined margin of 18-4.

Dayton plays another ranked team, No. 1 Wake Forest (3-1), in a three-game series starting Friday in Winston Salem, N.C.

“I coached Division II for so long, I always wanted to play the best teams,” King said, “and I think it’s really good for our guys to see what the best teams look like. It also creates these unbelievable opportunities like we had last night that we took advantage of. I’m not afraid to play anybody. We play really hard schedules and really good programs, but I think that’s what this is about.”

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