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Vanderbilt baseball reaches College World Series with 4-1 win over East Carolina

Aria Gerson
Nashville Tennessean

Vanderbilt's 2021 team includes few players returning from the 2019 national title team. But on Saturday, the 2021 team completed the super regional sweep over East Carolina, 4-1, to earn a trip to Omaha and continue writing its own story.

Jack Leiter was masterful for seven innings, Carter Young came through with a cutch hit in the fifth and the Commodores tacked on insurance late to become the first team this season to clinch a spot in the College World Series.

[ By reaching CWS, Vanderbilt finally steps out of shadow of 2019 national title team ]

[See Vanderbilt baseball celebrate reaching 2021 College World Series after win over ECU ]

Another pitchers' duel

  during the XXX inning of game 2 of the NCAA Super Regionals at Hawkins Field Saturday, June 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

Like on Friday, both starting pitchers shined. Leiter and ECU starter Carson Whisenhunt spent the first few innings trading zeroes. Whisenhunt pitched 4⅓ innings, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He was pulled from the game in the fifth after allowing back-to-back walks.

Leiter pitched seven innings and allowed one run on two hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts. It was the second consecutive game with double-digit strikeouts for the Pirates after not doing so since April 11.

Leiter's one blemish was a home run in the seventh to East Carolina designated hitter Josh Moylan, which he followed with a four-pitch walk. But he got out of the inning with a flyout and a double play. Though his pitch count was only at 94, he was replaced by Nick Maldonado in the eighth.

The Pirates had just two hits: the home run by Moylan and a leadoff single by second baseman Connor Norby in the first.

Young plays hero

Young had struggled since returning from a dislocated shoulder suffered in mid-May, but he was exactly what Vanderbilt needed in the fifth inning. With runners on second and third after two walks and a double steal, Young poked a line-drive single into right-center to score both runners with two outs and give the Commodores at 2-0 lead.

Insurance in the ninth

East Carolina brought in its best reliever, Cam Colmore, for the ninth inning, but Vanderbilt tagged him for some insurance runs. CJ Rodriguez walked to lead off the inning. After a sacrifice bunt and groundout, Jayson Gonzalez hit an infield single and Enrique Bradfield doubled Rodriguez home. Gonzalez scored when Colmore walked Dominic Keegan with the bases loaded to put the Commodores up, 4-1.

Aria Gerson covers Vanderbilt athletics for The Tennessean. Contact her at agerson@gannett.com or on Twitter @aria_gerson.