It was an eventful weekend in college baseball.
Conference championships were decided the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced, a Hoosier State rivalry got heated, and Vanderbilt pulled off a rare triple steal.
Vandy’s Triple Steal
Vanderbilt entered the ninth inning of its SEC Tournament game against Florida trailing 4-3. The Commodores put together a five-run rally, stealing six bases in the ninth, on their way to an 8-4 win and a chance to face Mississippi State for the conference championship. (Mississippi State won.)
Incredibly, three of Vandy’s six final-inning steals came on one play.
With two outs and a 5-4 lead, Vanderbilt shortstop Anthony Gomez stole home. During the ensuing commotion, Vandy’s Conrad Gregor stole third and Spencer Navin took second.
Old Oaken Brawl
Meanwhile, at the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, rivals Purdue and Indiana faced for the league title. (Purdue had beaten Indiana early in the tournament and the Hoosiers would have had to beat the Boilers twice to win the title and the Big Ten’s automatic bid.)
In the ninth inning with the score tied, one out, and runners on first and third, Purdue’s Eric Charles hit a grounder to third. The Boilers’ David Miller took off for home but was tagged out in a rundown. During the rundown the first-base runner, Anthony Dixon, rounded second. Thanks to a wild throw, he was safe at third and easily ran home for the go-ahead run.
Charles took off for third on the wild throw and rammed into Indiana shortstop Michael Basil. Charles was ejected for the hard slide but not before the sparking a brawl that cleared both benches. Indiana third baseman Dustin DuMuth was also ejected.
The Big Ten is reviewing the incident to determine whether further discipline is warranted. For Purdue, who hosts a regional in Gary, this could mean losing Charles for one or more NCAA Tournament games.
Purdue won the game, eliminating Indiana from post-season play. Michigan State was the only Big Ten team other than Purdue to earn an NCAA bid.
Elsewhere in the Midwest, the Missouri Valley Conference earned three bids, thanks to bid-thief Creighton who got an automatic bid as the MVC tournament winner despite having a losing record. Indiana State and Missouri State both received at-large bids.