Vanderbilt became known for their rallies in 2012, but it was NC State's comeback that ended their season in Raleigh Monday night.
The Commodores led 7-3 in the eighth inning, but a pair of three-run innings doomed Vandy as the Wolfpack completed an improbable comeback to advance in the NCAA Tournament. Their 9-7 win ensures that they'll head to Gainesville next weekend for a Super Regional showdown with top-seeded Florida.
Vandy trailed 1-0 and 3-1 early before putting together a big third inning to give the 'Dores a big lead. Tony Kemp and Connor Castellano each had clutch doubles to help the team plate five runs - but Vandy couldn't make that lead stand up.
Tyler Beede kept the Wolfpack off balance over 5.1 solid innings. The freshman got eight big strikeouts to seemingly put the 'Dores on track for a Super Regional. NC State trailed big heading into the eighth inning, but the Wolfpack had no plans to go down quietly.
Tarran Senay was inserted as a pinch hitter with a pair of runners on and no one out, and he responded with a big three-run homer to cut Vandy's lead to one run. One inning later, his two-RBI single would put State in the lead. The Wolfpack added an insurance run to make it 9-7 headed to the bottom of the ninth. Though Conrad Gregor would start things with a leadoff walk, the Commodores couldn't get anything going after that. Vandy went down in order to cede their place in Gainesville to a resurgent North Carolina State team.
The loss caps Vanderbilt's season at 35-28; quite an accomplishment for a team that started their season 1-7. 2012 was a rebuilding year for this young team, and they'll head into 2013 with an experienced team that should stand to gain quite a bit from this postseason play. The Diamond 'Dores gave their fans more than they could have expected this year, and while the final result was disappointing, it's difficult to be upset with how 2012 turned out. Vandy will likely only lose a few major contributors next season, and a tough loss Monday night should make for one hungry team when next February rolls around.