NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt Commodores took advantage of Stanford’s sputtering start on Friday to beat the Cardinal 11-6 and put themselves one win away from their first College World Series berth since 2011.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling, we just have to play how we’re playing and everything will work out,” Vanderbilt freshman Bryan Reynolds said.
Game 2 is Saturday.
Reynolds matched his career-best with four hits and two RBI.
“He’s a guy that can do a little bit of everything,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said.
Stanford, coming off a walk-off win in regionals at Indiana on Monday, couldn’t have started much worse. The Cardinal walked five of Vanderbilt’s first nine batters as the Commodores (45-18) took a 10-0 lead through three innings.
Cardinal coach Mark Marquess said starter John Hochstatter was out of sync in his “poorest outing” this season. The junior walked five and allowed five runs in one inning of work.
“We just gave them too much early,” Marquess said. “Obviously, you can’t give a quality team like Vanderbilt many free base runners, and we did.”
Stanford (34-25) had strung together six straight runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull to 10-6. Reynolds broke a stretch of three scoreless Vanderbilt innings with a hit to right to drive in Dansby Swanson in the bottom of the seventh.
Commodores starter Tyler Beede, drafted 14th overall Thursday night by the San Francisco Giants, pitched three scoreless innings before faltering, giving up back-to-back singles to open the fourth and consecutive walks to start the fifth. Tyler Ferguson came on in relief with two outs in the top of the fifth and pitched 2 2-3 innings for the win.
Ferguson hadn’t played in three weeks because of Vanderbilt’s recent success on the mound. He walked the first batter he faced before forcing a fly out to end the Cardinal barrage.
“That first hitter was a little nerve-wracking,” Ferguson said. “Even though we were up 10-nothing, we knew they were going to fight back. They did that against Indiana.”
Ferguson wiped out a single to lead off the sixth with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out. He gave up a single and walk in the top of the eighth, but Brian Miller closed for Vanderbilt and got Austin Slater to ground into a fielder’s choice then struck out Zach Hoffpauir to end the threat.
Corbin said the Commodores just didn’t need their bullpen much last week in the regional with Ferguson not getting a chance in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
“So to get the baseball and pitch the way that he did, I was really proud of him and happy for our team that he was able to pick them up,” Corbin said.
Miller and Ferguson combined to pitch 4 1-3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.