It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. Vanderbilt eliminated Illinois State in an early game that featured nine total errors, 17 walks, three hit batters and countless runners left stranded. With the win, Vandy advances to play #1 Louisville in a rematch of last night's game, which the Cardinals won in dominant fashion. If the Commodores win, they'll force a deciding game seven tomorrow night against UL. However, if Louisville earns another victory, they'll move on to host their own Super Regional next weekend.
For the first eight innings, it was more of the same for Vanderbilt's offense - patient batters drawing walks, but countless men left on base. Through seven innings, the team had left 15 runners stranded on base, including bases loaded situations in the second, fourth, and seventh frames. However, things finally started to come together for the 'Dores in the ninth, as the offense exploded for five straight hits - four for extra bases. This included a three-run homer from Aaron Westlake, his second in just three Regional games so far.
On the mound, Vanderbilt exhausted more relievers after starter Jack Armstrong ran into trouble finding the strike zone. Armstrong gave up only one hit, but walked six batters in just four innings. Will Clinard, Drew Hayes, and Chase Reid were all effective in relief, but their appearances served to further wear down the VU bullpen leading into tonight's pivotal game with the Cardinals. As a result, pitchers like Navery Moore, Russell Brewer, and even outfielder Joe Loftus should be prepared to see action against a very tough Louisville offense.