Indiana utilized seven pitchers while Vanderbilt utilized five different pitchers. It was a battle that both coaches wanted to win.
Vanderbilt's bullpen was rock solid on the night as Richie Goodenow and Chase Reid combined to throw the final 5 innings. Goodenow pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless and hitless baseball. Reid followed that up with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, spreading out 3 hits with 5 strikeouts. Jack Armstrong started on the mound and went only 4 and 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 earned runs. If Chase Reid keeps throwing like he did this week, Coach Corbin just may have a difficult time keeping this young man out of the weekend rotation.
Vanderbilt was not very efficient on the night, stranding 16 runners on base over the 11 innings. It was nice to see Riley Reynolds break out of his slump, going 2 for 4 on the night, and scoring two of Vanderbilt's six runs. Jason Esposito also went 2 for 4 and scored the tying run in the 7th after a double down the left field line. But the offensive star of the night was Anthony Gomez who went 3 for 6 with 3 RBIs on the night. One of those RBIs was the walk off game winner as "Go Go" singled to right field to bring in Connor Harrell from third base. This weekend Brian Harris was ill and Gomez was forced into action. He responded by going 5 for 10 on the weekend and plating 4 big RBIs. Coach Corbin may be pressed to find a place in the lineup for a player with this kind of production.
Another big story with this game though was the injuries to Curt Casali and Aaron Westlake, Vanderbilt's No. 3 and No. 4 hitters. Casali appeared to pull a hamstring and his status is currently uncertain. Westlake injured a thumb sliding into 2nd and later reinjured his thumb in a great play to steal a hit off the left field wall from IU's Alex Dickerson in the 3rd inning. His status was also uncertain after the game.
After the game I had the opportunity to talk to Anthony Gomez and Coach Corbin.
Anthony "Go Go" Gomez
Craig Johnson: How does it feel to get the winning walk off hit?
Anthony Gomez: Felt great as it was my first opportunity to do that here
Craig Johnson: With the great weekend that you just had, do you now feel that you are ready to break into the starting lineup?
Anthony Gomez: Brian plays everyday and it is just not the same with him not in the lineup. I have accepted my role here. I have learned a lot from Brian and will continue to do my best and see what happens.
Craig Johnson: This weekend at the plate, the baseball must have looked more like a basketball coming at you?
Anthony Gomez: Yeah, it did (chuckles)
Head Coach Tim Corbin
Craig Johnson: Coach you knocked this IU team out of the NCAA regional last year. Did that play into today's game?
Tim Corbin: Yeah but these are completely different teams this year. Odd game though as you very rarely lose your three and four hole hitters in the middle of the game and you don't start your starting shortstop because he has been feeling really bad. It was just a weird game as we had to insert a lot of guys in the middle of the game like Anthony Gomez who came up big three times tonight with three hits and three RBIs. He hit some clutch RBIs and jumped on some high fastballs and put them in play. He plays with some savvy and is kind of a gamer and I am pleased with that. Chase Reid was great, showed great pace and did a great job so I was really happy with him.
Craig Johnson: Any update on Casali and Westlake?
Tim Corbin: I really don't know. Westlake bruised his thumb sliding into second base and he just went out there in the beginning and was hurt and then when he crashed into the wall he rebruised it and it was really hurting and he was not swinging the bat well. Casali, I do not know what happened yet, maybe a hamstring pull of some kind. I was also just trying to keep Brian off the field as much as possible but he was forced into play. He still felt lousy. It was a one run win. We talked a lot this season about winning one run games and we did.
Craig Johnson: Coach your 10-1 now; what is the best surprise on this team?
Tim Corbin: I do not know if there is any surprises as much as I am just looking at progress right now. Offensively we did not make a lot of progress tonight but that happens on Sunday after winning two. It is tough to sweep a team or sweep a tournament. No real surprise but if there is anything it is Williams and Clinard, getting them out there. If Garvin and Navery Moore were out there, we may not have seen those two kids yet. We will get Navery back in a week and a half and Grayson back in about three weeks then I think we will be a little bit stronger. We have been running on fumes a bit on our pitching. Brewer didn't get in. We figured we would pitch him tonight and he didn't get in.
Craig Johnson: Are you still feeling strong with Armstrong as your Sunday starter or will Chase Reid get a shot at Sunday?
Tim Corbin: Well every time we throw Chase out there, it was like he had another start tonight, I thought he was good. I do not know. Chase could be in that role. Jack is one of those guys that the more you get him out there the better he is going to be, he is just a raw kid. He will have his day so we are going to keep pressing him out there and see what happens. There are a couple more weeks before the SEC and we will make a decision before then, we just have to give Jack a chance.
Craig Johnson: So who pitches on Wednesday?
Tim Corbin: Good question. I don't know. Maybe Clinard or someone like that. We will see.