The Most Important Game of the Year: Vanderbilt v. Texas

Players sure do look a lot thinner in the post-steroid age. - @VandyBaseball

At 7pm CT (ESPN), Carson Fulmer will take the mound in an elimination game. All. I. Need. To. Say.

Vanderbilt faces their first elimination game since just under two weeks ago against Stanford.  Texas faces their 4th elimination game in a row.

Let's get all the tension out right now:

Yesterday, we ran afoul of Murphy's Law.  First, we found out about an hour before game time that our starting 3B, Xavier Turner, had been gambling on intercollegiate Russian Roulette matches and/or reimbursed a graduate assistant who purchased a parking pass for his family (or literally anything else, as we have no idea what's going on here).  Second, Tyler Ferguson had his magic over-sized orange foam hat stolen, had to don a regular sized hat, and consequently hit everyone in a fit of white-hot rage.  Also, Auggie Garrido kept calling him "Burt Reynolds," and... that's not his name.  Thirdly, an umpire who decided to position himself directly in front of Dansby Swanson took a one in the chest for the Longhorns and turned a clear double play ball into a, "Uhh... we're not sure what happened here, so we're going to give all the runs to Texas and take some outs away while we're at it" rule single.

In the second inning, our corner outfielders decided to try out for the first act of the next Bad News Bears film.  They damn well get the parts, as a combination of a banana-peel-slip by Reynolds and a futile-dive by Wiseman turned into back-to-back triples.  Both runs scored.

The top four batters in our lineup combined for one hit - a one out single in the first inning.

(Screams into a pillow)

Here's the silver lining:

Tyler Campbell, the man tabbed to replace Turner last minute, went 2-3 and played a fine third base, Brian Miller went 7 and a third innings of four hit ball (and three of those hits were on either laughable defensive mistakes or a poor interpretation of the tag rule), and Nathan Thornhill won't be throwing any 6"+ off the corner strikes today.  Further, we're one day past being startled by the news that Turner would be ruled ineligible for the rest of the year, and if the players are anything like me, they've already gone through the first 7 stages of grief and have moved onto the 8th: the "Tyler Campbell Looked Damn Good, Actually, and I'm No Longer Concerned" stage.

The Really Good News:

Carson Fulmer, a man who hasn't lost as a starter, will take the mound on full rest.

Dansby is still The Mansby.  He will not be going 0-4 today.

Junior RHP Parker French, while a good pitcher in his own right, is 7-5 with a 2.37 ERA.  Their Saturday starter has also hit 15 batters on the year, has let up the most doubles of any Texas pitcher, and his BA against is 23 points higher than Thornhill's.  In other words, there's the slightest chance he can be rattled.

And finally... Texas was credited with 5 hits yesterday.  The first hit an umpire.  The next two were due to outfielder errors.  On the fourth, the batter was tagged out, but the ball slipped out of Miller's glove after the 2nd barrel roll on the ground.  That's one non-controversial, non-defensive-mistake, non-Bad-News-Bears-ian hit of the five credited.

And today, Fulmer is on the mound.

*Update: Tonight's winner will face University of Virginia in the CWS Finals starting Monday.

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