April 29, 2012
Watch Harrell's Grand Slam | Recap
On Saturday, Vanderbilt saw its three-run lead against No. 3 Kentucky disappear in the top of the eighth inning only to rally for the game-winning run in their next at bat. Sunday, Vanderbilt found itself in a very similar situation.
The Commodores took a 1-0 lead in the third inning and kept Kentucky off the scoreboard until - you guessed it - the eighth inning. The Wildcats scored once in the top of the inning to even the score at one. And once again, Vanderbilt answered in the eighth inning. But this time, their answer was a little more emphatic.
Mike Yastrzemski singled to right field and then Anthony Gomez walked. With two runners on base and nobody out, the Wildcats went to the bullpen for closer Trevor Gott, who was sporting a near-spotless ERA of 1.32.
Sunday was not his day.
Gott struggled with his control and walked Conrad Gregor to load the bases. Against the next batter, Gott plunked Spencer Navin on a 2-1 pitch to force home the go-ahead run.
Vanderbilt led 2-1, but the damage was far from done.
Into the batter's box stepped Connor Harrell. He became the first player to ever hit a home run in a College World Series game at TD Ameritrade Park last season, but his power numbers have been down in 2012. After cranking nine homers in 2011, Harrell had just three entering Sunday. To make it worse, Harrell has been mired in a slump and was batting just .235.
It is safe to say, the slump appears to be over. Harrell finished the series with Kentucky 5-for-10 from the plate, and no hit was larger than his only one on Sunday.
The righty cranked Gott's 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a grand slam, which put the game out of reach by giving the Commodores a 6-1 lead heading to the ninth inning.
"We knew he liked his fastball, he's been throwing it all year," Harrell said of his grand slam. "He's 94, 95 and he kind of just left it over the plate and I got it up there, and it felt good."
Watch Harrell's grand slam