On Tuesday. Vanderbilt couldn't even manage a single base hit against TCU's starting pitcher. On Friday, they chased Horned Frog starter Tyler Alexander after only seven outs en route to a 7-1 win and a berth in the College World Series championship.
Walker Buehler had his finest outing of 2015 to carry the Commodores to a return trip to the CWS finals. Bryan Reynolds went 3-4 with two RBI and Rhett Wiseman added a two-run home run to help lift Vanderbilt over TCU. The 'Dores will now await the winner of tomorrow's game between Virginia and Florida to find out who they'll face with a national title on the line.
Vanderbilt wasted no time, striking in the first inning after Ro Coleman walked and Rhett Wiseman blocked a fastball from hitting the fans behind the backstop with his throat. Dansby Swanson struck out and Zander Wiel fouled out, but Bryan Reynolds, who had just been moved into the #5 spot in the lineup, came through with a clutch single to make it 1-0 Commodores.
The 'Dores padded that lead in the third, but left some runs on the basepaths thanks to a controversial call. Three straight singles gave Reynolds another RBI opportunity, and the sophomore delivered with a hard ground ball that extended the lead to 2-0. Will Toffey struck out in the next at bat, but Jeren Kendall brought Swanson home with a single to keep the bases loaded with one out.
Then, things got weird. Jason Delay lifted a fly ball to center field, seemingly scoring Wiel from third and advancing the runners from first and second base on the sacrifice fly. However, TCU threw over to third on appeal, suggesting that Wiel left the bag early. The umpire agreed, negating the run and ending Vanderbilt's rally with runners in scoring position. Replays would later show that Wiel's foot was still on the base when TCU's center fielder caught the ball, contradicting the call on the field.
That reversal of fortune looked as though it may shift this game's momentum when the Horned Frogs put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the fourth, but Evan Skoug grounded into a double play to end TCU's offensive threat.
Vandy got their groove back the very next inning. Tyler Campbell laced a leadoff single before Wiseman - whose super powers are only unlocked after getting hit in the throat - blasted a pitch over the TCU bullpen to make it 5-0. Vandy extended that lead to seven when Jeren Kendall turned a potential double-play into a run. The freshman beat out the throw to first to keep the Commodore rally alive and then stole second base on the next pitch. An errant throw from home moved him to third base and he then scored on Jason Delay's sacrifice fly two pitches later.
Meanwhile, Walker Buehler showed everyone why he was the 24th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. The junior starter struck out eight batters through 6.2 innings and allowed just one run before ceding the mound to John Kilichowski. Kilichowski inherited runners on first and third, but he got two quick strikes and then corralled a line drive back to the mound to squelch the Horned Frog rally in the seventh.
Kilichowski pitched around a leadoff double to keep the score at 7-1 headed into the bottom of the eighth. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to push Vanderbilt to victory.
With the win, Vanderbilt advances to the College World Series Championship for the second straight year. In 2014, they defeated Virginia to win the team's first-ever NCAA title. TCU's season is over at 51-14. The Horned Frogs can hang their hats on a final four finish on college baseball's grandest stage.