Wiel's blast backs Pfeifer's gem; Dores advance in CWS


Quotescamera.gifCorbin’s Speech | camera.gifHighlights | camera.gifWiel’s HR | camera.gifVU Press Conference | Notes

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Any other time, Zander Wiel’s home run to break up a no-hitter and produce the only run in a College World Series victory would have been all the talk after the game.

This night, circumstances dictated that Philip Pfeifer take the spotlight.

One year ago, Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin kicked Pfeifer off the team that would win the national championship because of a failed drug test. Corbin ordered him to get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.

Tuesday night, Pfeifer was on the mound at TD Ameritrade Park pitching seven shutout innings in the Commodores’ 1-0 victory over TCU.

“I have a lot of feelings about what Philip did,” Corbin said. “This kid drove to Omaha last year by himself just to watch this thing because he wasn’t a part of it. All I remember tonight was him walking back and forth in the dugout with a smile on his face saying, ‘Hey, guys, we’re in Omaha.’

“He was very tranquil on the mound, at peace with himself, executing his pitches. There isn’t anyone here who enjoys being in Omaha, being in this moment, more than him.”

Pfeifer’s job was to match the effort of TCU starter Alex Young (9-3), who had a no-hitter going until Wiel drove the left-hander’s 2-1 changeup just inside the left-field foul pole for his 15th homer of the season. Young left after Rhett Wiseman doubled with two outs in the eighth.

Pfeifer (6-4), a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kyle Wright allowed five singles and walked four, but the Horned Frogs went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Wright earned his fourth save.

Pfeifer stayed close to the team during his suspension and was reinstated last fall and became the Commodores’ No. 3 starter. What was the hardest part of the ordeal for the junior lefty?

“Coming to terms with the fact they didn’t need me to win last year,” he said. “Once I swallowed that, my ego deflated and I had a realistic appreciation for myself and my skills.”


Given his opportunity at the CWS, he relished it.

“Just visualizing being in this scenario in this situation tonight,” he said. “From one side of the ball you would love to have 20 runs score. From the competitive side, you want that 1-0 ballgame, and they gave it to us.”

The Commodores (49-19) earned two days off and would have to be beaten twice by either TCU (50-14) or LSU to be denied a second straight trip to the best-of-three finals. Those teams will play an elimination game Thursday.

Young (9-3) flummoxed Vanderbilt for six innings, striking out a career-high 12 batters. Wiel drove out the junior left-hander’s 2-1 changeup just inside the left-field foul pole for his 15th homer of the season.


“It was one mistake, and his bat ran into the ball,” Young said. “Every other pitch I was throwing for a strike. Just bad luck.”

It was the second straight narrow win for the Commodores. They came back from a 3-0 deficit on Monday to defeat Cal State Fullerton 4-3 on Jeren Kendall’s walk-off home run, and they made the most of their three hits against Young, a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Trey Teakell.

With Virginia’s 1-0 win over Florida on Monday, this marks the first year since 1972 that there have been two 1-0 games in the CWS.

TCU threatened in the seventh when Keaton Jones singled and took second on a throwing error. But Pfeifer got out of it, getting a flyout and strikeout before second baseman Tyler Campbell went into the outfield grass to pick up a grounder and throw out Cody Jones.

“Personally, I’m so overwhelmed by it because he’s here and playing for us,” Corbin said. “It’s such a good story of a human comeback, from a personal standpoint, that he can be wearing a uniform, going to school, living a normal life. That supersedes everything. Everyone is tremendously happy for him.”

BIG Z!!!

Vandy’s first hit is a BIG ONE… Zander Wiel takes one deep. #CWS http://t.co/8PweCPERLD

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 17, 2015

The final out of Vandy’s SHUT OUT victory! #CWS http://t.co/xySpytPAi7

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 17, 2015

#Reigning #VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/gwqOMb90sY

— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 17, 2015

And another one! #reigning #VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/BTqujlMhaD

— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 17, 2015

VU on three #reigning #VandyBoys https://t.co/XjpDRawL8Q

— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 17, 2015

That #VandyBoys #reign just won’t let up pic.twitter.com/RI9TKrBbpa

— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 17, 2015

“Zander got one in the wheelhouse!”

@IMGAudio of @Zander_Wiel‘s GW HR for @VandyBaseball http://t.co/oWQfyu6brU pic.twitter.com/7frHM6ybbB

— Joe Fisher (@joefishervu) June 17, 2015