NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt and Stanford came into Friday’s Super Regional opener with a pair of first-round draft picks in their starting lineups. However, those achievements were tucked aside this afternoon as both respective lineups came out swinging, attacking either side’s starting pitching – but it was Vanderbilt who attacked earliest and most often, coming away with the 11-6 victory over the Cardinal.
The Commodores came out of the gate both patient and aggressive. Three of Vanderbilt’s first four hitters to step in the box drew a walk from Stanford starter John Hochstatter and sure enough, after a Xavier Turner fielder’s choice, Rhett Wiseman walked with the bags juiced to plate the first run of the game. A wild pitch by Hochstatter and a John Norwood two-run single plated two more for Vanderbilt.
After walking Karl Ellison to open the second, Hochstatter was pulled from the game in favor of Chris Viall. However, the Commodores loaded the bases once again and proceeded to plate three more runs to extend their lead to seven heading into the top of the third.
Viall surrendered a pair of runs in the third before exiting in favor of Brett Hanewich, who despite surrendering an RBI single to Zander Wiel, proceeded to turn in a rather impressive relief outing. Despite the offensive display by Vanderbilt, their pitching took a hit of its own.
After being selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 14th overall pick in the MLB Draft last evening, Vanderbilt’s Tyler Beede came out of the gate on Friday looking like a first-round talent. Beede retired nine of 11 Stanford batters to start the game, but soon reverted to the inconsistencies that plagued much of his junior season in the top of the fourth.
Alex Blandino, the 29th overall selection by the Cincinnati Reds, got things going with a leadoff single to left, followed by an Austin Slater base hit to right. Beede responded by getting Zach Hoffpauir to pop out and Brant Whiting to ground into a fielder’s choice, but runners were now on the corners with Blandino just 90 feet away from home.
Noticeable was Beede’s waning command, particularly on his off-speed stuff, as he followed by surrendering a two-run triple to Wayne Taylor, while hitting Dominic Jose on the first pitch of the at-bat to follow. Beede got out of the inning with a Brian Michael Doran grounder to third, but his command further struggled in the fifth.
Tommy Edman and Danny Diekroeger drew walks to open the frame, while two batters later Slater wore a pitch to load the bases. Hoffpauir grabbed an infield single to score Diekroeger, while Whiting plated Blandino on a sac fly to right. A walk by Taylor reloaded the bases, followed by a two-run single by Jose to bring the Cardinal within four runs of the lead.
Tyler Ferguson came into the game in relief of Beede and took over the game, turning in a strong relief outing in his own right. Ferguson worked a mid-90s fastball and upper-80s slider that kept Stanford batters honest over 2 2/3 scoreless innings. His relief adversary on the Cardinal side was quite impressive, working 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, throwing water on the fire that was Vanderbilt’s offensive attack early in the game.
Brian Miller tossed 1 2/3 perfect innings to close out the game and seal the 11-6 victory for the Commodores, who take a 1-0 lead in the Nashville Super Regional and will look to advance to Omaha with a victory in tomorrow’s matchup at 3:00 p.m. (EST).