Heartbreak in Omaha
OMAHA, Neb. – A magical 2021 season came to a heartbreaking close on Wednesday from the 2021 College World Series, as Stanford (39-17) suffered a 6-5 walk-off victory at the hands of Vanderbilt (47-16).
Stanford was making its 17th appearance in the College World Series, including its first since 2008.
Stanford ace Brendan Beck worked the final 2 2/3 innings, and had Vanderbilt down to its final strike with nobody aboard in the bottom of the ninth, but a walk was followed by an infield single from pinch-hitter Spencer Jones and a game-tying RBI-single from Enrique Bradfield Jr. Jones, now at third following Bradfield's base hit, scored on a wild pitch on the ensuing play.
Beck dropped to 9-3 with the loss, and finished his season with a 3.13 ERA after allowing two runs on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts over his 2 2/3 innings.
The Cardinal led 4-0 headed to the bottom of the fourth after plating single runs in the first and third innings, and adding two in the top of the fourth.
Stanford took advantage of an error to get on the board in the first inning before sophomore Brock Jones launched his 18th homer of the season – a solo shot – in the third. A bases loaded walk and an infield single from Jones added the two runs in the fourth.
Jones would finish the game 3 for 4 with a double, the homer and three RBIs.
Stanford starter Quinn Mathews tossed the first 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts before not factoring into the decisions.
Vanderbilt managed to cut the Cardinal advantage in half at 4-2 with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, but Stanford responded with a run in the sixth on a Jones RBI-double that plated Adam Crampton.
Continuing to battle, Vanderbilt plated a pair of runs on four hits – including a two-out RBI-single from Parker Noland – to make it a one-run game at 5-4 after six innings.
Beck entered the game in the seventh inning after reliever Jacob Palisch hit the leadoff man. Beck proceeded to strike out the next three hitters, and retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth.
The right-hander retired the first two in the ninth without incident, but missed with three straight pitches after working ahead of Javier Vaz at 1-2 with two out. That walk began the chain of events that eventually eliminated the Cardinal from the College World Series.
Bradfield Jr., who had the game-tying RBI-single, finished the game 3 for 5 with a run scored and the one RBI.
Luke Murphy was credited with the victory after tossing a perfect 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 4-1 with the victory.