OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Tyler Campbell never expected to even play in the College World Series. Turns out, he's become one of Vanderbilt's stars in Omaha.
Campbell's bases-loaded infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Commodores a 4-3 win over Texas on Saturday night and sent them to the finals against Virginia.
Campbell was in his second game filling in for third baseman Xavier Turner, who was ruled ineligible Friday for a violation of NCAA rules.
"As far as these past few days, it's just been fun," Campbell said. "From the time I got in, I've tried to stay focused and stay in the moment, and it's been all right."
All right, indeed.
Campbell had only 21 at-bats this season when he stepped to the plate in the 10th. He fouled off a pitch and took another before he grounded to shortstop. C.J. Hinojosa charged the ball, but couldn't get it to first in time to get Campbell.
Campbell waited behind the bag to be mobbed by teammates who came flooding out of the third-base dugout and bullpen.
"That's what these moments are about, when kids have been practicing all year and not getting in games. Then their number is called," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "Everybody is so happy for this kid. They wanted him to play, and just to see him succeed, the team is beyond happy."
Freshman Hayden Stone (3-0) struck out eight in 5 2-3 innings of relief of Carson Fulmer. Vanderbilt (49-20) gives the SEC a team in the CWS finals for the seventh straight year.
Vanderbilt, which avenged a 4-0 loss to the Longhorns (46-21) on Friday, survived a couple of scares to advance to the best-of-three CWS championship series, which begins Monday night.
In the fifth inning, Fulmer issued three straight walks to load the bases with one out. Stone came on and Ben Johnson grounded his first pitch to third, where Campbell started the inning-ending double play.
In the Texas 10th, Hinojosa drilled a ball deep to right, but Rhett Wiseman sprinted into the right-center field gap and extended his glove to make the catch before falling onto the warning track.