The Vanderbilt Hustler

In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

Photo+by+Brandon+Jacome-Mendez
Back to Article
Back to Article

In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

Photo by Brandon Jacome-Mendez

Photo by Brandon Jacome-Mendez

Photo by Brandon Jacome-Mendez

Photo by Brandon Jacome-Mendez

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

The cliché is that baseball is a game of inches.

On Friday night, the Vanderbilt Commodores got a few inches. Mississippi State got just one more.

That’s what made the difference in a wild, wacky 10-8 Bulldog win at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt never had a lead, but they sure never quit. Each team got the breaks they needed, but Mississippi State got the one that mattered.

With the game deadlocked at 7-7 in the bottom of the eighth, Mississippi State’s Jordan Westburg flew out to right field. Luke Alexander made a mad dash for third base. The throw came in a hair too late, leaving Alexander within 90 feet of the bag.

One inch.

On the next at-bat, Jake Mangum bounced a grounder just over the glove of first baseman Julian Infante, allowing Alexander to score and give the Bulldogs the lead.

Two inches.

In the top of the ninth, with Vanderbilt down to its last out, Pat DeMarco roped a ball that glanced off the wall in left field. He bolted for third base and stumbled, but the throw missed the bag.

An inch for Vanderbilt.

DeMarco made the heads-up play and dashed for home plate. The throw home was off, and the game was tied.

The inches are even.

“The cliché is 100 years old,” Mississippi State head coach Gary Henderson. “It’s a game of inches. I thought we had DeMarco out twice, maybe three times on that play. We had him out in the outfield, we had him out at third, we had him out at home. Add up all those inches. We didn’t get any of those outs, he scored. Those are the types of things that determine winners and losers when the game is close. We’ll probably have another close game tomorrow.”

Just when it looked like Vanderbilt had gotten their break, the Bulldogs weren’t ready to put away their ruler.

With one on and one out, regional hero Elijah MacNamee stepped to the plate. Down 0-2 in the count to Zach King, MacNamee caught a glimpse of something.

“I saw the pitcher wiggle his glove and it was the first time he wiggled his glove in three at-bats, so I knew he wasn’t coming with the fastball because that was the first time I’ve seen off-speed from him,” MacNamee said. “I just kept my hands back as long as I could and just got a pitch I could handle.”

With the off-speed pitch on the way, MacNamee drove the ball just over the left field wall.

The last inch. Game over.

It was an instant classic game that came down to something as small as the wiggle of a glove. In the regular season, that could bump someone’s record down by one game. In the postseason, it could mean the difference between Omaha and a longer-than-desired summer.

For Vanderbilt, all they can do now is focus on their end and in order to put a foot between them and their opponent in a game of inches.

“We’ll come back tomorrow and play well, that’s all,” head coach Tim Corbin said. “As a whole, we didn’t really play that well. Defensively, that was probably the worst game we played all year. For the game to be tight and come down to the last inning, it says something about the kids.”

“They’re very scrappy, they came back several times. They got some big hits, but we gave them some opportunities too and we took advantage of their opportunities too. It wasn’t the prettiest game, obviously. We’ll come back. I’m not worried about that.”

In a season defined by players with wisdom beyond their years, Vanderbilt’s young core will have to find something special to keep the season alive past tomorrow night.

Age is just a number at Vanderbilt.

“Doesn’t matter if we’re young,” Corbin said. “Throw that away.”

Game Two is scheduled for 8:30 PM CT on Saturday night. It will be televised on ESPN.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






About the Writer
Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

Cutler Klein ('19) is the Sports Editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler. He previously served as Assistant Sports Editor. He is majoring in Communication Studies...

Leave a Comment

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comments section on our website and social media platforms. However, The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that violate the outlined policy. Comments which contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or appear to be spam or commercial promotion will be blocked or removed by The Hustler. The comments section, both on the website and social media, is moderated by the Editor in Chief.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    Former pitcher JJ Bleday is now Vanderbilt’s home run king

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    Commodores stomping on home plate, trampling their opponents

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    Walker Grisanti’s strength: Both inside and out

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: #FreeCyrusWilson, baseball, Death Cab for Cutie, Bengali New Year Celebration & More

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    VU Sports Wired Season Finale: 2018-19 Vanderbilt Athletics Awards

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    The Hustler Sports 20 on VandyRadio Season Finale: Stacking up assistants

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    The lighter side of Vanderbilt Baseball

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    Vanderbilt Baseball wins critical SEC series against Arkansas

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    Vanderbilt loses late lead and drops series finale to Arkansas 14-12

  • In game of inches, Vanderbilt comes up one short against Mississippi State

    Baseball

    The Hustler Sports 20 on VandyRadio: Stackhouse and students

Navigate Right