Final: Vanderbilt 9, Evansville 8 (12)
March 3, 2015
Walker Buehler started the game and went two innings allowing no hits before Collin Snider came to relieve him. In the bottom of the third, Evansville saw their first pitching change after allowing Ro Coleman and Bryan Reynolds to reach base, and Dansby Swanson sent one over the centerfield wall to give Vanderbilt the 3-0 lead.
Collin Snider returned in the fourth to allow Evansville’s first hit of the game, a double by CF Kevin Kaczmarski. The hit eventually lead to a run, and after stringing together a couple of hits, along with an error and a sac-fly, Evansville tied up the game.
The Commodores stayed relatively quiet in the bottom half of the fourth as the fifth inning saw a pitching change. Matt Ruppenthal came in to walk the first batter he faced. With a little help from his defense, they managed to clear a double play as a hard hit ball didn’t reach the ground at second, and Penn Murfee fielded it perfectly to get the straggler off first. Ruppenthal had trouble laying off the walks, having walked another pair of batters, but a fly ball to center got him out of trouble.
Going into the bottom of the fifth, the Commodores entered a rare rain delay at Hawkins Field. After about 35 minutes of waiting, the game resumed with pitching changes and a runner already on. Vanderbilt loaded the bases and a walk by Zander Wiel forced in a run, while a sacrifice scored another. Going into the sixth, it was Phil Pfiefer who took the mound and cleanly executed a 1-2-3 inning for the Commodores. At the bottom of the sixth, a second rain delay was called.
The top of the seventh saw Pfiefer struggling in the rain, and two runs scored on an error on Rogers at centerfield. The damage was limited to that, though, and the rain continued to fall steadily going into the bottom of the seventh. Things stayed relatively quiet until the top of the ninth, when Evansville blasted a three-run home run over the left field wall to take the lead. A long game and some wet ballplayers went into the bottom of the ninth, the Commodores down by one.
A solo home run by Penn Murfee tied the game. With nothing else going for the Commodores in the ninth, the game went into extra innings. By the 12th inning, the bases were loaded intentionally for Zander Wiel. Don't ask why, because I couldn't tell you. Wiel blasted a long ball out over the left field wall, but it hooked foul. A trip to the mound and a wild pitch later, Ro Coleman came home to score the game-winning run.
It was an all around odd ballgame for the Commodores, of which they came out on top. They ended the game with nine runs on 15 hits and three errors, while Evansville had eight runs on four hits and three errors. We saw two rain delays and 13 pitching changes combined from both teams. The actual game (without delay) lasted four hours and three minutes.
The Commodores head to sunny LA to play UCLA, USC and TCU this weekend. Watch for a preview of the series later this week, and the recap on Monday.