OMAHA, Neb. — Vanderbilt was no nervous newcomer to the College World Series.
Connor Harrell hit the first CWS home run in the new TD Ameritrade Park to break a sixth-inning tie and three relievers held North Carolina scoreless on three hits the last five innings in the Commodores’ 7-3 victory Saturday.
After first baseman Aaron Westlake made a diving stop of Chaz Frank’s hard grounder and touched the bag for the final out, there were just the normal handshakes and backslaps behind the pitcher’s mound.
The Commodores (53-10) will save the dogpile for, they hope, the championship game in about 10 days.
“That was a big victory for us,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “You never know how you’re going to react the first time.”
Vanderbilt played as it has for most of the season — including its knack for scoring big runs with two outs — and North Carolina (50-15) got a so-so start from Patrick Johnson and left 16 runners on base.
“That’s pretty much the tale of the game for us, offensively,” North Carolina coach Mike Fox said.
Conrad Gregor tied it with two outs in the sixth with his double off the top of the wall, and Harrell followed with his two-run homer. Two-out singles by Tony Kemp and Anthony Gomez produced two insurance runs in the eighth.