NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS/AP) — Stanford knows how to walk off as winners, and now the Cardinal have done it in two of their last three games.
They accomplished the feat in the Bloomington Regional last week and again to force a deciding Game 3 in their super regional.
Wayne Taylor hit a home run to the right-center stands in the ninth lifting Stanford to a 5-4 win. A berth to the College World Series is on the line Sunday in the finale of this best-of-three series.
“I think as a team we are very confident in our ability,” said Taylor, who also had an RBI-single in the seventh. “I think it’s great that now at the biggest part of the season we’re kind of starting to play really good baseball.”
Pitching woes nearly cost Stanford (34-25) late.
The Commodores (45-19) tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the ninth when Cardinal reliever A.J. Vanegas hit Xavier Turner with the bases loaded in a rally that started when Dansby Swanson reached first on a wild pitch after striking out.
“We couldn’t get the out there; it was tough, but that happens,” Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. “Unfortunately we gave them, again, we gave them a lot. Base on balls, hit by pitch. We are just real fortunate.”
Rhett Wiseman grounded out to second to leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning for Vanderbilt.
“We did not get the timely hit we needed to secure that game,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “We were put in that position because the walk, but we didn’t get the timely hit that they did.”
Turner’s chopper to second drove in one run in the top of the eighth, and a bases-loaded walk two batters later by Vanegas scored another. Vanegas, who earned the win, relieved starter Cal Quantrill after a single and walk opened the inning.
The freshman Quantrill pitched seven innings, scattering six hits with five strike outs and three walks.
Vanderbilt’s run ended in the eighth when Brett Michael Doran snagged Karl Ellison’s floater toward second for the final out of the inning.
“The game is sometimes separated by inches,” Corbin said. “It’s tough sometimes, but that’s the way it goes … We didn’t give them anything.”
Whiting doubled, singled twice and drove in two runs for the Cardinal.
Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer struck out a career-high nine batters in 6 1-3 innings. After throwing three scoreless innings while allowing one hit, Fulmer allowed three straight hits in the bottom of the fourth. The third, Whiting’s double, drove in two runs to catapult the Cardinal in front, 2-1.
The Commodores took the early lead in the top of the second when Stanford shortstop Tommy Edman threw high to first base for the error to score Wiseman, who had reached on the game’s first hit.
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