For the second day in a row,
For the second day in a row, it failed.
Repeating their Game 1 performance in the College World Series, the Titans jumped ahead by three runs Tuesday afternoon but couldn't maintain the lead, falling, 5-3, to
That marked the end of their run in the double-elimination tournament, the Titans blowing a lead in the ninth inning against
This time, after knocking freshman All-American Alex Lange around for three runs and four hits in the first inning, the Titans managed only two hits the rest of the way.
"We got beat. That's the way I look at it. We didn't lose. We got beat," Coach Rick Vanderhook said. "So we played two games here and didn't lose one. We got beat twice. And I can live with that."
Lange (12-0) struck out 10 batters in a 118-pitch complete-game effort. He relied on off-speed pitches and routinely got outs with a "spike" curveball that dove in the dirt and away from the Titans bats.
"I don't know if it was as much what he was doing as it was what we were doing," Vanderhook said. "We were chasing everything down. It's a hittable fastball, but we chased too much. We swung at pitches that you can't hit and took pitches you could hit."
That wasn't the case in the first inning, when the Titans took their early lead with the middle of the lineup attacking early in the count. After Tyler Stieb hit a one-out single, David Olmedo-Barrera jumped on the first pitch and tripled to right-center field to drive home the first run. Two pitches later, Jerrod Bravo beat the drawn-in infield with a grounder up the middle to drive in Olmedo-Barrera.
Bravo advanced to third base when Tanner Pinkston hit the first strike he saw through the right side for a single. Dalton Blaser got the third run across with a safety squeeze.
"Fastballs. That's what he threw in the beginning. We were really committed to that," Olmedo-Barrera said. "After that, I think we got away from it a little bit when he started throwing more off-speed. We chased it. And none of it was really for a strike."
The Tigers (54-11) struck in the fourth inning, putting together six singles and a sacrifice fly to take a 4-3 lead and chase starter Connor Seabold from the game.
The Tigers added a run in the seventh inning when pinch-hitter Danny Zardon hit a sacrifice fly to drive in catcher Kade Scivicque, who led off the inning with a double. And the Titans bats were silent.
"We're in Omaha. You know, it's a success," Vanderhook said of his 39-25 club. "At the end, ultimately, there's only going to be one team happy. We started off rocky. But then as it went along, we've gone toe to toe with everybody. They're going to be disappointed. But when it is all said and done they got to play in the College World Series, and that's a big deal."
Vanderbilt 1, Texas Christian 0: Zander Wiel's home run leading off the seventh inning broke up Alex Young's no-hit bid, and Philip Pfeifer (5-5) and Kyle Wright combined on a five-hitter.
The defending national champion Commodores (49-19) earned two days off and would have to be beaten twice by Texas Christian (50-14) or Louisiana State, which play an elimination game Thursday, to be denied a second consecutive trip to the best-of-three finals.
Young (9-3) kept Vanderbilt hitless for six innings, striking out a career high 12 batters. Wiel drove out a 2-and-1 breaking ball from the junior left-hander just inside the left-field foul pole for his 15th home run this season.
Associated Press contributed to this report