Chase Reid gave up the big hit for the second time in three days, surrendering a difference-making three-run double in the top of the eighth as Vanderbilt fell to Florida State 7-6 in the deciding third game of the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional on Sunday.
The loss ended the Commodores’ season as they fell one win short of reaching their first College World Series in school history. The Seminoles, on the other hand, advanced to their 20th World Series and second in three years.
Florida State led 4-3 with a runner on second with no outs in the top of the eighth when the game was delayed for an hour due to lightning in the area. When the game resumed, Reid came in for Goodenow after one batter. Reid retired the first two hitters but then intentionally walked Florida State’s dangerous leadoff hitter Tyler Holt to get to Sherman Johnson. Johnson, a former walk-on, laced a 2-2 pitch into the right center gap, clearing the bases and giving the Seminoles a huge four-run lead.
Though Reid wasn’t tagged with the loss - that went to Jack Armstrong - he gave up another big hit. On Friday, he allowed a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
On Sunday, Vanderbilt tried to mount its on walk-off. With one out and two runners on, Aaron Westlake doubled down the right field line to drive in Riley Reynolds as Brian Harris advanced to third. But Florida State closer Mike McGee, who entered in the seventh, struck out slugger Jason Esposito.
But Curt Casali, who was 7-for-14 in the three-game series, responded with a two-out double to right, driving in Harris and Westlake. McGee, however, answered again, striking out Joe Loftus swinging to end the game and Vanderbilt’s season.
Like Friday, the Commodores dug themselves an early hole. Vanderbilt starter Jack Armstrong was pulled in the second inning after allowing four runs on four hits. Travis Hayes relieved him and after giving up two hits in the second, only allowed two hits until he was pulled in the sixth inning. He went four plus innings, allowing no runs on four hits, while striking out three while walking four.
That allowed the Commodores to creep back into it. They scored once in the fourth on an RBI single by Jason Esposito. They then added two more runs in the seventh on RBU hits by Anthony Gomez and Westlake.
It was the fifth elimination game Vanderbilt faced during this postseason. The Commodores forced a decisive third game with a 6-2 victory on Saturday and won three must-wins last weekend during a regional at Louisville. Prior to Sunday, the Commodores were 7-1 in elimination games over the last two years.
SUPER REGIONAL RESULTS
Vanderbilt (46-20) vs. Florida State (47-18)
(at Howser Stadium, in Tallahassee, Fla.)
Friday: Florida State 9, Vanderbilt 8
Saturday: Vanderbilt 6, Florida State 2
Sunday: Florida State 7, Vanderbilt 6