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Florida State Eliminates Vanderbilt 7-6 to Clinch a College World Series Berth

It's alright panda, I thought they were going to pull it off too. Next year, okay?
It's alright panda, I thought they were going to pull it off too. Next year, okay?

In the end, Vanderbilt just couldn't match up with Florida State's firepower. The Seminoles won Sunday's game 7-6 to eliminate the Commodores and book a trip to the College World Series next weekend. For FSU, the victory marked their 20th trip to Omaha and first since 2008. For the 'Dores, it was a disappointing end to a remarkable postseason.

Florida State led from start to finish, jumping on Vandy starter Jack Armstrong for four runs in the second inning and digging a hole that the #17 Commodores couldn't break out of. Despite threatening on several occasions, Vanderbilt couldn't push across the runs they needed to take the lead, twice leaving the bases loaded and letting the Seminoles' pitchers off the hook.

However, Vandy refused to go down without a fight. Trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the team still battled, putting their first two runners on base. After an Anthony Gomez strikeout, Aaron Westlake came up big again, ripping a line drive double to score pinch hitter Riley Reynolds. In a clutch situation, Jason Esposito struck out for the second out of the inning, but Curt Casali made it a one run game with a check swing single that snuck through the right side of the infield and drove in two. However, with the tying run on base, Joe Loftus couldn't capitalize, striking out on three straight pitches to end the game.

The loss capped off a tremendous series, with both Vandy's losses coming in one-run games that went down to the final at-bat. Despite some clutch hitting, the Commodores were unable to get it done in the highest-pressure situations they'd faced all year, dropping a pair of close, but winnable games to end their season. However, with such a young team, 2010's progress has to be considering an amazing point from which to grow, and the performances of underclassmen like Sonny Gray, Jason Esposito, Grayson Garvin, Mike Yastrezemski, and others has to make the 2011 Vanderbilt squad a favorite to win the SEC.