Vanderbilt only had three hits against a dominant TCU pitching staff. Fortunately for them, they only needed one.
Zander Wiel's seventh-inning home run was the difference in Vandy's 1-0 win over TCU on Tuesday night. His solo blast gave Philip Pfeifer all the breathing room he needed to pick up his third win of the postseason and bring the Commodores one win from a return trip to the College World Series finals. Now, they'll have to wait for the winner of Thursday's TCU/LSU rematch before returning to TD Ameritrade Stadium in Omaha.
Vanderbilt failed to get to TCU starter Alex Young in the first six innings. The lefty absolutely killed the Commodores with a dropping slider that led to a career-high 12 strikeouts on the evening. The 'Dores were able to load the bases in the third inning thanks to a strikeout/error combination that put Jeren Kendall on first, a Karl Ellison bunt that first baseman Jeremie Fagnan couldn't handle, and a Ro Coleman walk. However, Rhett Wiseman and Dansby Swanson both struck out to let the Horned Frogs off the hook.
That lasted until the seventh when Wiel broke up Young's no-hit bid by depositing a 2-1 pitch into the TCU bullpen. Bryan Reynolds kept that momentum moving forward with a single one batter afterwards, but the Commodores weren't able to bring him home to pad their 1-0 lead. They'd end Young's night one inning later thanks to a Rhett Wiseman double, but Swanson struck out on three pitches to end the Vandy threat.
Philip Pfeifer matched Young's output step for step, allowing only infield singles and flared pop-flies as the Frogs failed to square up on his breaking pitches. He left the game with the lead behind seven shutout innings, seven strikeouts, and only four TCU hits. Kyle Wright, the Commodores' closer, took the mound for his second appearance in as many days with a potential two-inning save on the line. Wright ran into trouble after striking out the first two batters he faced, but a slow roller back to the mound left two Horned Frogs on the basepaths and protected that one-run lead heading into the ninth.
Wright's ninth inning wasn't as dramatic. A ground ball and two strikeouts tolled the final bell for TCU and pushed Vanderbilt into college baseball's final four.
With the win, Vanderbilt gets a few days off to await the winner of LSU and TCU. That game will take place on Thursday evening and will determine who plays the 'Dores with a spot in the College World Series final on the line.