Vanderbilt Stays Alive; North Carolina Eliminated …
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OMAHA (6/22/11) – With a 5-1 win over North Carolina in tonight’s Game 9 of the 2011 College World Series, Vanderbilt advanced to play Florida in Game 11 on Friday.
Weather conditions were near-perfect for baseball on this second full day of summer. After having experienced a stadium-clearing (and pressbox-clearing) storm on Monday and then a rain delay on Tuesday, this Wednesday-night game was overcast with temps in the low 60s and 20-plus mph winds at the batters’ backs.
Vanderbilt’s bats got hot early, scoring runs in each of the first three innings for a 3-0 lead at the end of three. The Tar Heels diddn’t answer until the fifth inning, with virtually every opportunity to get runners in scoring position thwarted by the superb fielding of Vanderbilt
The Commodores leadoff batter Tony Kemp tripled and scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Gomez. In the second inning, Connor Harrell extended the lead to 4-0 with a three-run blast over the 375-foot marker in left-center. Curt Casali followed in the next inning with a solo homer a few seats to the left of Harrell’s earlier landing spot.
The effort wouldn’t be enough and the Tar Heels now are headed home after their fifth College World Series appearance in the past six years. In its first CWS appearance, Vanderbilt remains among a field of five vying for the championship.
Vanderbilt pitcher Taylor Hill improved his season record to 6-1, while UNC’s Greg Holt (7-2) suffered the loss.
With Vanderbilt advancing. the SEC now has three teams (along with defending champion South Carolina and Florida) among the final four teams alive at the CWS. It’s the first time one conference has featured three (or more) teams still playing at this stage in the CWS.
Vanderbilt next will face Florida on Friday, while South Carolina awaits the winner of Thursday’s Virginia-Cal game. That game is Friday as well. If Vanderbilt and/or the Virginia/Cal winner wins on Friday, there will be “if necessary” game(s) on Saturday.
Four of teams remaining at the CWS have combined for 213 wins: Virginia 55-11, Vanderbilt 54-11, Florida 52-17 and South Carolina 52-14 (Cal is 38-22).
Tonight’s attendance: 24,394. Total attendance so far for 2011 CWS: 197,310. Avg, 21,923 per game (approximately 6,000 total ahead of the 2010 attendance).
– Quotable –
“The Tar Heels had one heck of a season. I give a lot of credit to Vanderbilt. I don’t think anybody expected us to be here at the beginning of the season. I learned a lot from these guys, especially the seniors. You don’t get here five-out-of-six years if you don’t have really good kids with good character. We’re gonna keep trying to come back and win this thing.” – North Carolina coach Mike Fox
“Obviously, I had the wind helping me tonight. We just try to hit linedrives and I got it up into the jetstream and into the seats.” – Vanderbilt centerfielder Connor Harrell in reference to his 3-run homer
To view more photos by Kirk Markus from the 2011 CWS visit our CB360 Shutterfly page.