June 8, 2014
Vandy Bound for Omaha
By Gary Johnson
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
For the second time in four years, the Vanderbilt
Commodores are headed to the College World Series.
Two big innings at the plate led the way as
Vanderbilt claimed a 12-5 win over Stanford on Sunday afternoon
in the Nashville Super Regional. It was the third sellout of the
Nashville Super Regional with 3,626 in attendance, not including
hundreds of fans gathered in a parking garage overlooking right
“First, I congratulate Stanford,” Commodores
coach Tim Corbin said. “I say that for a lot of different
reasons, not just because they won [the Bloomington Regional],
but because of the road they took to get here. It was not easy.
That’s a tough group. They had to do a lot of traveling during
exams. They had to come through Indiana, which was not easy at
all. You witnessed a very resilient team that kept coming back
and forth. They’ve also been the model for this program. I say
that with all due respect. That’s a guy [Coach Mark Marquess]
that’s been doing this for 37 years.
“I’m happy for the kids as always. Hayden Stone
picked us up today in a huge way. The offense was good, I’m
happy for Johnny Norwood. There’s a lot of emotions, but I’m
just happy for this group and for Vanderbilt University.”
Stone, a Commodores reliever, entered in the
fourth inning and was outstanding, pitching the final six
innings without an earned run. The freshman right-hander allowed
three hits while striking out eight with only a pair of walks.
When asked what pitches were working well for
him, Stone said, “My breaking ball with two strikes and just
locating my fastball pretty well, too. Especially with the great
defense behind me. It was just easy to pump the zone, and just
let them work.”
Vanderbilt (46-19) batted around and rallied for
five runs on six hits in the first inning, chasing Stanford
starter Logan James after just two outs.
Second baseman Dansby Swanson led off with a
line-drive single up the middle, stole second base on a pickoff
attempt then advanced to third on a fielder’s choice by Bryan
Reynolds (3 for 5, 2 R, RBI). Vince Conde (3 for 5, 2 R, 2 RBI)
ripped a single up the middle to score Swanson then stole
second. Zander Wiel followed with a RBI double into right field
to score Conde. Xavier Turner hit a single to put runners on
first and third, and Rhett Wiseman laid down a safety squeeze to
score Wiel and advance Turner to second. John Norwood (3 for 4,
2 R, 2 RBI) collected the Commodores fifth hit of the inning to
score Turner. Norwood stole second and scored on Jason Delay’s
single for a 5-0 lead.
Vandy starter Walker
Buehler gave up a pair of singles but managed to strikeout the
side in the bottom of the first.
The Cardinals (35-26) got on the board in the
bottom of the third when Tommy Edman and Danny Diekroeger (3 for
4) singled before Alex Blandino doubled to score Edman. Zach
Hoffpauir reached on an error at second by Swanson that led to a
pair of runs. Wayne Taylor stepped up to the plate and tripled
to score Hoffpauir to cut the lead to 5-4.
Norwood led off the fourth with a double and
later scored when Reynolds singed to increase the lead to 6-4
The Cardinal answered in the bottom half. Brett
Michael Doran struck out but advanced on a wild pitch. Edman
singled and both runners moved up on a pickoff attempt at first.
Blandino’s sacrifice fly scored Doran to make it 6-5.
Vanderbilt struck for four runs in the seventh to
go up 10-5.
Swanson led off with a single then Reynolds
belted a double off the wall as Swanson advanced to third.
Conde’s infield single scored Swanson and moved Reynolds to
third. Wiel reached on a fielder’s choice, and Reynolds scored
on a throwing error. Conde later scored on a Turner sacrifice
and Wiel stole third, and Norwood added an RBI single.
The Commodores added two more in the eighth as
Swanson walked and Reynolds singled, both scoring on throwing
errors for a 12-5 edge.
“First of all Congratulations to Vanderbilt,”
Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. “They did a great job. We
couldn’t stop them all day. They hit the ball, they run the
bases well. We came back and had a chance, we got within one.
They kept the pressure on us and played a great game.
“I’m sure they will do really well in the College
World Series. They have a little bit of everything pitching,
defense, they can swing the bat. So congratulations to them,
they beat us every which way they could today.”
Corbin said he learned a few things on the
Commodores first trip to Omaha, which came in 2011.
“I thought we played pretty well the first time
to be honest with you. We ran into a very good Florida team and
we couldn’t get through them. I thought the kids handled it very
well. I’ll probably go back and look at how we did that. I made
a lot of notes, a lot of suggestions to myself before, after,
during, what have you, but it’s really all about playing good
baseball and not being enamored with the circumstances once you
get out there.”