The current Vanderbilt team officially distinguished itself from any of its predecessors Sunday when it won the NCAA regional and earned the right to host this weekend’s super regional.
The Commodores have advanced this far twice previously but both times, including last year, had to play on the road.
This year they will host Oregon State. It is one of just two matchups between teams that were top seeds in their respective regionals. A third is possible, pending the outcome of No. 1 Texas A&M and No. 2 Baylor, which was postponed by rain Monday.
For coach Tim Corbin, though, this team separated itself a long time ago.
“They treat workouts and practices completely different than any other team that’s been on this campus that I’ve coached,” Corbin said. “It’s just a different feeling. They get after it. They’re in the moment. They challenge each other. They press each other. They’re accountable. I like the way they confront each other.
“It’s their team. It’s our program but it’s their team, and they treat it that way. Because they treat it that way it’s like having a bunch of older brothers who are looking after their younger brothers.”
Oregon State (41-17) lost six of seven before it went 3-0 in the regional capped by a 6-4 victory over Georgia on Sunday.
It is the first time since 2007 the Beavers have reached the super regional. That year they became the fifth team in NCAA history to win the College World Series in consecutive seasons.
“I don't know if we can play any better just because of the fact that we go out and play our hardest every day,” VU junior third baseman Jason Esposito said. “Every game we're out there, we play it pitch-by-pitch, frame-by-frame. It's all about rallying behind the pitchers and scoring runs for them because we know that they're going to do the job.
“That's how we play; we play hard for each other.”
And, according to their coach, they practice like no other.
“I think they’re a team that deserves success because they do put a lot of time an effort into it,” Corbin said. “I’m not telling you that we do anything extraordinary than any other club in this country.
“But they’re different.”