Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- It’s no surprise that the best-of-three game championship series between Vanderbilt and Mississippi State is going the distance, both teams have a reason to win it all.
After Vandy took Game 1, the Bulldogs’ bats came alive on Tuesday night, taking down the Commodores 13-2, setting up for a “winner takes all” scenario on Wednesday night, in Omaha.
And this championship game is expected to be a battle, with Vandy Boys’ ace Kumar Rocker getting the start on the bump.
This isn’t Rocker’s first rodeo in Omaha. Out of the 10 players that remain from the 2019 title team, he was the only Vandy Boy who played in a game. His resume proves that he can carry the weight in pressure situations; 3-0 in elimination games in his career, striking out 41 in 21 1/3 innings while allowing eight hits and two runs.
While it’s not official until the lineup comes out, Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin is confident his right-hander is ready for the spotlight.
“He’ll compete,” Corbin said. “Give him the ball, he’ll compete.”
Even Mississippi State head coach Chris Lemonis knows Rocker will be tough to beat.
“He’s probably one of the best to ever play in college baseball,” he said. “I keep telling our guys it’s going to be a tough road. We’ll have to beat the best if we want to win a national championship,” said Lemonis.
All eyes will be on Rocker, but he should feel confident in the support around him. Vanderbilt has seen tremendous effort out of the bullpen, and the players who closed out Game 1; Luke Murphy, Chris McElvain and Nick Maldonado, should all be available in the championship game.
If the Vandy Boys can take down the Bulldogs, it will be their second championship in three years, and their third in program history. And there is no question that Kumar Rocker will be forever be remembered as a true Commodore”ROCKstar.”
First pitch is set for 6pm (CT), the game can be seen on ESPN2.