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Vanderbilt Routs Radford, 21-0, to Win the Nashville Regional

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Vanderbilt took an early 20-0 lead and blew past an inexperienced Radford team to win the Nashville Regional 21-0. They advance to face #6 Illinois in Champaign next weekend.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

An extra day of rest did Radford no good. Vanderbilt jumped all over Highlander starter Mitchell McKeith and didn't let up until any chance of late-inning drama had been erased and blown off the table like unsettled dust. The Commodores rushed out to a 20-0 lead in the first five innings and booked their ticket to the Super Regional before this game was even halfway over.

Every Commodore but Will Toffey had recorded at least two hits before the sixth inning began and Walker Buehler twirled five shutout innings to end the Highlanders' first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Buehler struck out seven batters to keep Radford scoreless, but the headline of this game was his team's offense.

Vandy blasted off to a 3-0 lead when Zander Wiel tripled home Ro Coleman and Dansby Swanson and came home two batters later on a Will Toffey sacrifice fly. Rhett Wiseman made it 5-0 one inning later with a two-run home run. One inning later, two errors, a hit batter, and a bases-loaded walk pushed that lead to six and started the sunset on Radford's Super Regional hopes.

By the time Buehler gave up a hit, Vanderbilt already led this ballgame 10-0. They busted that lead wide open with a seemingly never-ending fifth inning that saw three walks, two hit batters, an error, two home runs, three Radford pitchers, and 10 Commodore runs. If you're a masochist, check out the official box score from the top of the fifth, courtesy of VUCommodores.com:

Reynolds grounded out to 3B (3-1 BBBK).
Toffey lined out to RF, SAC, RBI (1-1 FB); Wiseman scored, unearned.
Wiel singled to left center, RBI (0-1 K); Swanson advanced to second; Wiseman advanced to third; Coleman scored.
Swanson reached on a throwing error by 2B (1-2 FBS); Wiseman advanced to second; Coleman advanced to third.
SUBSTITUTION: Maxwell, J. to P for McQueen,T.
Wiseman walked (3-1 BKBBB); Coleman advanced to second.
Coleman singled to center field, RBI (2-1 FBB); Campbell scored.
Campbell tripled to left field, RBI (1-0 B); Delay scored.
Delay walked (3-0 BBBB).
Kendall struck out swinging (0-2 FSFS).
Reynolds homered to right field, 2 RBI (0-0); Toffey scored.
Toffey walked (3-1 FBBBB).
Wiel homered to left field, 3 RBI (1-1 KB); Swanson scored; Wiseman scored.
SUBSTITUTION: McQueen,T to P for Ross,A.
Swanson hit by pitch (3-2 SBBF).
Wiseman advanced to second on a throwing error by c, advanced to third; Coleman scored.
Wiseman hit by pitch (1-0).
Coleman tripled to right field (0-0).


The 'Dores were quiet in the sixth, but a single and three hit batters would put the extra point on Vandy's third touchdown and make it 21-0 in the seventh. That led Tim Corbin to insert ace pitcher Carson Fulmer into the game...as a left fielder. That lasted for one out before Corbin pulled the stud righty and potential #1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson to a raucous ovation. Both players left the turf at Hawkins Field for what was probably the final time on Monday afternoon. Philip Pfeifer and Karl Ellison earned the same treatment in the ninth inning.

Vanderbilt advances to face #6 Illinois in Champaign next weekend. The Illini tore through the Big Ten this season with a 21-1 league record and a 27-game winning streak. However, they showed vulnerability in the league tournament when they went 2-2 in the first round of the postseason. That didn't last - Illinois swept through their Regional - but it could be the blueprint that Corbin follows to get Vandy back to the College World Series.