Vanderbilt gears up for familiar opponent in CWS Final

Sports

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin watches from third base in the eighth inning against North Carolina State during a baseball game in the College World Series Monday, June 21, 2021, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)

Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) — Vanderbilt is headed back to the College World Series Final for the fourth time in program history, but this time it happened in an unconventional way. The Commodores advanced after their game with North Carolina State was ruled no-contest due to several Wolfpack players testing positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday, Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin opened up the team’s press conference addressing the situation:

“We certainly sympathize with their team, their fan base too, understanding that we don’t know the level of hurt that they are exposed to right now, but we certainly recognize it. None of us wish to be in this particular position,” said Crobin. We’re one of the six teams that were matched up with them. We certainly would want to play them on the field or have played them on the field, but we didn’t. So we are in the situation where we move forward.”

And that’s what the Vandy Boys are doing, gearing up for their most-difficult bout of the season, a championship series with heavyweight Mississippi State starting at 6 p.m. CT Monday at TD Ameritrade Park at the College World Series.

“You see the pieces in the fall, you see the spring and the guys know where we’re going to end up and we’re here right now,” Vanderbilt junior pitcher Kumar Rocker said. “I think it means a lot for everybody and especially my class. Those guys have waited two years to play in this spot. Those are my guys I’m excited for.”

Vandy is making its fourth appearance in the College World Series championship series and second straight having won the 2019 national championship.

“We’re very proud to be part of something that is celebrated for the kids and on a (national) network and how we play the game of baseball,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “At the same time it’s joyous for both communities to be here together. I certainly respect Mississippi State a great deal. I enjoy their fan base. We have many friends from Mississippi State and we’ll stay that way.

“But we’re just proud. We’re proud to represent our bracket. Happy to be lined up against a very good opponent – we’re grateful and fortunate.”

While the two won’t admit their rivals, they are certainly familiar with one another. This season, the Dores took 2 of 3 from the Bulldogs at the end of April at Hawkins Field in Nashville.

But this is considered to be a ‘new’ season and both sides will be ready for all the bells and whistles on Monday night.

“We’re here for a reason,” Vanderbilt junior Dominic Keegan said. “We earned our spot here and we got here because of our abilities and what we can do. So (we’re) just not putting pressure on ourselves and just having fun. When this group’s having fun I think we’re at our best.”

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