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College World Series Opponent Preview: Vanderbilt (part deux)

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Meet the Commodores (again)... Fresh off a walk-off win in an elimination game

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Vanderbilt

Mascot: Yacht Club Presidents | School Location: Country Music HQ, TN | Conference: SEC

2021 Record: 47-16 (19-10, 2nd East) | 2021 RPI Rank: 2

2020 Record: 13-5 (0-0, T-1st East) | 2020 RPI Rank: 58

2019 Record: 59*-12 (23-7, 1st East) | 2019 RPI Rank: 1

*2019 SEC Regular Season and Tournament Champions; 2019 National Champions


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: TD Ameritrade Park (Omaha, NE)

Game Time(s): Fri, Jun 25 @ 2:00pm

TV: ESPN2

Radio: TuneIn | GoPack

Live Stats: NCAA Scoreboard | Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

I mean, it’s been less than a business week since we played these guys last, so I’m thinking the first preview should still be fresh enough for you: Read that bad boy right here.

Since that magnificent 1-0 Wolfpack win, Vandy played an elimination game against Stanford on Wednesday night. The Commodores fell behind 4-0 by the 4th inning after some uncharacteristically sloppy defensive play. A 2-run homer by Dominic Keegan in the bottom half of the inning cut the Stanford lead to 4-2. Stanford tacked on another run in the top of the 6th and Vandy answered with two in the bottom of that inning to make it a 5-4 ballgame.

The score stayed there and appeared to be the final tally as Vandy had two down, nobody on, and their hitter in a 1-2 count in the bottom of the 9th with Stanford ace Brendan Beck on the mound in relief. Beck unraveled from that point, though, throwing three straight balls to walk the batter, allowing an infield single to the pinch hitter in the next AB, a first-pitch RBI single to Enrique Bradfield, and then uncorking a wild pitch to allow Vandy to walk off with the win.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: RHP Kumar Rocker (JR)


Key Players:

You already know the key players, so let’s look at who the standouts were from Vandy’s 6-5 win over Stanford:

Offense

CF Enrique Bradfield Jr (FR) - 3-for-5, R, RBI. Bradfield’s speed is a gamechanger, but he came through with the big single in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game.

1B Dominic Keegan (JR) - 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. With Vandy down 4-0 and looking as hopeless as we’ve ever seen Vandy under Tim Corbin, Keegan answered the bell with a long home run to left field that re-energized the team.

2B Parker Noland (SO) - 2-for-4, RBI. He of the horrendous facial hair had a pair of hits.

Pitching

RHP Nick Maldonado (SO) - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Maldonado looked really shaky to start his outing, but still put up three innings of one-run ball in relief. It’s pretty impressive to call that a bad outing.

RHP Chris McElvain (SO) - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. Allowed three baserunners in less than two innings of work, but job well done as he didn’t allow any of them to cross the plate, granted with some help from...

RHP Luke Murphy (JR) - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Murphy was downright dominant, coming in to close out a bases-loaded situation in the 8th and then maintaining the deficit with a three up, three down 9th inning.


Prediction

Vandy will have one of their two aces on the mound in Kumar Rocker. The 2019 CWS MVP needs no introduction, and he can be absolutely devastating when he’s on, which is exactly why he’s projected as a Top 10 pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

NC State will send either Matt Willadsen or Reid Johnston to the mound opposite Rocker. Again, the Pack will need a gutsy outing from whoever is toeing the rubber.

Outcome: ???