|Nashville, Tenn. | Hawkins Field
|Win: Hayden Stone (2-0)|
|Loss: Logan James (3-4)|
|Danny Diekroeger - 3-4|
|Alex Blandino - 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI|
|Wayne Taylor - 1-3, 3B, RBI|
NASHVILLE -- Stanford's wild postseason ride ended with a 12-5 loss to Vanderbilt Sunday afternoon in the third and deciding game of the Nashville Super Regional. The Cardinal falls one win short of its 17th College World Series appearance, while Vanderbilt advances to Omaha, Neb., for the second time in program history.
"We couldn't stop (Vanderbilt) all day," said Mark Marquess, the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball, after congratulating the Commodores. "They played a great game. I'm sure they will do really well at the College World Series."
Stanford (35-26) ends the 2014 campaign with its 10th Super Regional appearance and 20th 30+ win season in the last 21 years. The Cardinal, which started a freshman pitcher in 45 of 61 games, was the last Pac-12 team standing.
Vanderbilt (46-19) is among the nation’s final eight for the first time since 2011. The Commodores will square off against fellow No. 1 seed Louisville June 14 at 5 p.m. PT in Omaha.
The Commodores opened a 5-0 lead in the first inning on six hits,as the Cardinal fell behind for the fifth straight game. Logan James (3-4) started, but could not get out of the first inning, before Marc Brakeman came on. Brakeman was stellar in the relief, allowing only one more run to cross before the seventh.
"If there is one thing I’ve learned about this team is it's resilience."
Stanford, as it has done all postseason, bounced back and quickly turned the possible blowout into a close game. Tommy Edman singled, Danny Diekroeger did the same and Alex Blandino doubled home Edman to start a third-inning rally, while still trailing by five runs.
"If there is one thing I’ve learned about this team is it's resilience," said Blandino. "We battled the whole year. We never quit, especially in the playoffs where we had some unbelievable runs."
After a strike out, Zach Hoffpauir sent a bouncing ball off the turf that the second baseman could not handle and two batters later Wayne Taylor tripled to suddenly put the tying run on third base.
The Cardinal could not push the evening score another 90 feet in the third and had the same outcome in the next frame. The teams traded single tallies in the fourth, but Stanford once again stranded the the tying run at third. Alex Blandino hit a sac fly to center with runners at second and third to advance both, before Austin Slater struck out to keep Vandy ahead 6-5.
Hayden Stone (2-0), who had relieved Vanderbilt starter Buehler in the fourth, clung to the one-run lead, before the Commodores sprung for four more runs in the seventh. Stone went the final 6.0 innings, while allowing one unearned run on three hits, walking three and striking out eight in a winning effort.
The bullpen of Stanford struggled to find an answer past Brakeman. Five arms threw in a four-run seventh inning for Vandy, and another two in the eighth when the Commodores broke the game open. It took eight Cardinal pitchers to finish the game.
Brian Reynolds, Vince Conde and John Norwood led Vanderbilt's 15-hit attack with three hits apiece.
Stanford's magic ran out after four straight elimination game victories, including a thrilling walk-off home run from Wayne Taylor Saturday against Vanderbilt and Tommy Edman's walk-off homer to clinch the Bloomington Regional against Indiana.
"All you had to do is look at the box scores in the regional to understand how powerful they were and how they could come back because that Indiana team was very, very good," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "For Stanford to do that, it had to have a special group of players."