OMAHA, Neb. — Mason Hickman and Jake Eder combined for 14 strikeouts, Vanderbilt knocked out Michigan ace Karl Kauffmann in the fourth inning, and the Commodores won the College World Series with an 8-2 victory in Game 3 of the finals Wednesday night.
Vandy (59-12) won its second title in its four CWS appearances, all since 2011. The other one came in 2014.
Hickman struck out 10 in six innings and limited the Wolverines (50-22) to one hit after he gave up three in a row to start the game.
Kauffmann, making his third start in the CWS, struggled with his control, and Vandy broke open the game with three runs in the third inning and two in the fourth.
When Ako Thomas flew out to center to end the game, the Vandy dugout and bullpen emptied and catcher Philip Clarke sprinted to the mound to embrace Eder.
The Commodores were a model of consistency from start to finish this season. They swept the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament titles, set the league record for wins, tied the record with 13 draft picks and lost back-to-back games just twice.
“It’s maturity,” coach Tim Corbin said. “It’s maturity and the ability to stay centered for a long period of time. I don’t have any other word for it. It helps having seven seniors back, and the seven seniors deserve this. It came full circle for them and I’m very happy for them.”
Freshman Kumar Rocker, who was dominant in two CWS starts for the Commodores, was named Most Outstanding Player.
Vandy is the sixth national champion from the SEC since 2009 and 12th overall, second only to the 18 won by the Pac-12 and its previous iterations. At No. 2, Vandy became the highest national seed to win it all since Miami in 2001.
The loss ended a surprising postseason run for Michigan, which went from being one of the last four teams picked for the 64-team NCAA Tournament to becoming the first Big Ten team to play in the finals since Ohio State in 1966.
Michigan coach Erik Bakich was an assistant to Corbin for seven years at Vanderbilt, and the two remain close friends.