OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Jayson Gonzalez singled through the infield with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning, giving Vanderbilt a 7-6 win over Arizona in the College World Series on Saturday night.
Gonzalez grounded a 1-2 pitch beyond diving shortstop Nik McClaughry’s glove to end the first extra-inning game at the CWS since 2014. It lasted 4 hours, 51 minutes, making it the fourth-longest game in CWS history.
Vince Vannelle worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the 11th, but the defending national champion Commodores (46-15) wouldn’t be denied in the 12th.
Isaiah Thomas led off with an infield single and Parker Noland bunted for a hit before Vannelle walked Javier Vaz. Gonzalez then came through for the second time in the game. He had hit a tying home run in the fourth inning.
Chris McElvain (5-1) held Arizona (45-17) scoreless in the top of the 12th after Donta Williams doubled to the wall leading off, getting a flyout and two strikeouts.
The game marked the roughest postseason start for Vanderbilt star Kumar Rocker.
Rocker, projected to be a top-10 pick in the Major League Baseball draft next month, gave up three runs in the first inning and was pulled after Ryan Holgate’s two-run homer in the sixth put the Wildcats up 5-3.
Vandy took a one-run lead in the seventh on Carter Young’s homer into the right-field bleachers, but Williams forced extra innings with a sacrifice fly for Arizona in the ninth.
Rocker walked none and struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings, and two of the five runs against him were unearned.
The 2019 CWS Most Outstanding Player entered the game having won all six of his previous NCAA Tournament starts, allowing three runs in 42 2/3 innings.
But he struggled locating his fastball in the first inning, and Arizona’s potent offense capitalized.
Williams reached on an error to start the game, Jacob Berry and Branden Boissiere hit back-to-back doubles and Daniel Susac delivered a two-out RBI single to make it 3-0.
Rocker ended the first inning with a strikeout, but not before throwing 36 pitches.
Vanderbilt got one run back in the bottom half, and it was tied 3-all in the fourth when Gonzalez homered to right center, punctuating his trip around the bases by stomping his right foot on the plate.
Holgate’s homer came after Rocker had rebounded to retire 15 in a row. That streak ended when Rocker hit Kobe Kato with a pitch, and Holgate followed with his tiebreaking, no-doubt shot deep to right.
Arizona: Plays Stanford in an elimination game Monday afternoon.
Vanderbilt: Plays North Carolina State on Monday night.
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