The Commodores (45-15) beat East Carolina 4-1 on Saturday at Hawkins Field to win their Super Regional and advance to the College World Series. Vandy, national champions in 2019 and 2014, will be one of eight teams playing for a national title starting June 18 in Omaha, Nebraska.
On Saturday, Vanderbilt got a brilliant pitching performance from Jack Leiter and a two-run, game-winning single by Carter Young in the fifth inning. The Dores are now 24-7 in their last 31 postseason games.
Enrique Bradfield added an RBI double to right giving Vandy some insurance in the ninth. Dominic Keegan walked with the bases loaded later in the inning to put the game out of reach.
Leiter, now third in Vanderbilt history for strikeouts in a single season with 156, went seven innings and gave up the one earned run while limiting East Carolina to two hits. The sophomore walked three and struck out 10 while throwing 94 pitches, 61 of which were strikes.
Vanderbilt improved to 43-1 this season when leading after eight innings and the one run by the Pirates (44-17) was the fewest Vandy allowed in a Super Regional since Illinois scored just two in 2015.
Both teams remained relatively quiet at the plate Saturday until Javier Vaz and Jayson Gonzalez walked, respectively, with one out in the fifth. Matt Bridges came out of the East Carolina bullpen to face Bradfield.
Bradfield struck out looking, but Vaz and Gonzalez both stole in front of Young. Young hit a two-strike pitch to right-center making it 2-0.
Leiter was cruising until the seventh when Josh Moylan crushed a moon shot of a home run to right making it 2-1 and giving the Pirates life.
But Vandy got that run back – and then some – in the ninth thanks to the RBI double by Bradfield and Keegan’s walk. That provided the final margin.