The last time Vanderbilt came to Omaha, they left with a national title. Their quest to defend it continues tonight at the College World Series.
Vanderbilt will face off with Cal State Fullerton in the first-ever meeting between two of the nation's elite baseball programs. The Titans squeezed by Commodore rival Louisville to return to Omaha and set up a showdown between old money and new money when it comes to diamond dominance. Fullerton is making their 17th appearance on college baseball's biggest stage.
Tonight's matchup projects to be a low scoring affair. Both Vanderbilt and Fullerton have used elite pitching and crafty defense to battle their way to Omaha. The Titans have given up just 3.56 runs per game this season - a mark approximately equal to Vanderbilt's 2015 mark. These two teams will be even stingier with their best pitchers on the mound.
The Titans will start All-American Thomas Eshelman, who was last seen twirling an inning of relief to close out the Louisville Super Regional. The ace started game one and allowed only a single run over seven innings before notching the first save of his season two days later. The Commodores will counter with SEC Pitcher of the Year and #8 overall MLB Draft pick Carson Fulmer. Fulmer is a strikeout machine who has only allowed one earned run in the NCAA Tournament. He's struck out 16 batters in 13.1 innings over that span.
Tonight's game starts at 7pm CST and can be found on ESPN2. If you're looking for the sweet melody of Joe Fisher's strikeout calls, you can listen to the game on 95.9 FM or online on VUCommodores.com. As always, we'll be here in the comments, so stop by if you'd like to discuss just how filthy Carson Fulmer is on the mound.
Vanderbilt: Carson Fulmer (13-2, 1.82 ERA, 152 Ks in 114 innings)
Cal State Fullerton: Thomas Eshelman (8-5, 1.58, 131 Ks in 131.1 innings)