Vanderbilt showed its resilience Monday night and the payoff was an opportunity to host Louisville in a best two-of-three Super Regional at Hawkins Field next weekend.
The Commodores had been handcuffed 5-0, limited to two hits by Georgia Tech pitcher Josh Heddinger Sunday to force Monday night's all or nothing game.
Just when it appeared Vanderbilt might have hit a wall at the worst possible time, they came out 24 hours later and took care of unfinished business by ending Tech's season with a convincing 7-1 win.
It was a typical Tim Corbin coached game. Monday night they Commodores played small ball, manufacturing single runs in the first two innings, adding two more single runs in the fifth and sixth before plating three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Corbin had his team chipping away for runs the whole game. The Commodores took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth. With Philip Pfeifer and Brian Miller in control on the mound, it would be enough.
Vanderbilt pitching and defense was sound all night. Georgia Tech's lone run was unearned, coming when the Jackets were down 4-0 in the top of the seventh. Tech was held to four hits and Vanderbilt turned two double plays in the game.
Vanderbilt put them away with the three-run seventh, opening the discussion on the Commodores next foe, Louisville.
Louisville comes in with a 49-12 record. The eighth seeded Cardinals scored 12 runs on 12 hits as they routed Oklahoma State, 12-3, in Louisville on Sunday. Going through their regional undefeated in three games, the Cards earned an extra day of rest.
The Cardinals scored six runs in the eighth inning to put the Cowboys away. The first five batters in the Cards lineup combined for nine hits and 10 RBI.
The two teams play similar styles and Louisville's home field is an artificial surface, as is Hawkins Field, as speed will be prevalent on both sides.
Pitching will also be a premium in the series as the Cards staff is every bit as good as Vanderbilt's.
Both teams are two wins away from a trip to Omaha for the College World Series. It would be Vanderbilt's second time to make college baseball's biggest stage under Corbin.
Vanderbilt needs to take care of business and tie up some uncharacteristic loose ends that showed in its last two games.
They have the right stuff to win it all, but first they have to handle a Louisville team that also has its eyes trained on Omaha.
Contact wkrn.com. Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.