It had been three weeks since Tyler Ferguson had a chance to pitch. But the ex-Clovis West High star knew Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin was ready to summon him at any time.
That day came June 6, against Stanford in Game 1 of a Super Regional.
Ferguson pitched 2 2/3 innings and got the win in relief of starter Tyler Beede — whose named popped up a day earlier when the San Francisco Giants made him their first pick in the June amateur draft — as the Commodores beat the Cardinal 11-6.
Vandy went on to clinch the best-of-three regional and advance to the College World Series, which gets underway Saturday in Omaha, Neb. In the second of two opening-day games, the Commodores (46-19) face Louisville (50-15) at 5 p.m.
"It's still kind of surreal knowing we're going to Omaha," Ferguson said. "Once we get there and get into a groove of things, everything will be fine.
Ferguson had been a rotation regular all season, making 14 starts. He's 8-3 with a 2.51 ERA, with 61 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings, including the one relief appearance.
"It was tough sitting around, but at the same time we had guys going out there, pitching great games," the two-time Bee All-Star said this week. "It was one of those things that you have to wait your turn. Then when it's your turn, do your best and capitalize."
Said Corbin after Ferguson's win over Stanford: "He's been dying to pitch. Proud and happy for him."
Ferguson, a two-time Bee Al-Star, went 8-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 60 innings as a Clovis West senior in 2012. The Golden Eagles ran away with the Tri-River Athletic Conference title, went 28-5 overall and finished ranked No. 12 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.
He also had scholarship offers from Oregon and Stanford.
"I chose Vanderbilt for a lot of reasons," he said. "What really sold me is the coaching staff here. They're great guys and Coach Corbin teaches a lot … more than baseball."
Karch joins pro ranks
Ex-Golden Eagles star Eric Karch and his Pepperdine teammates missed out on a CWS berth.
The Bee's 2010 Player of the Year had 16 saves for the Waves this season. He needed three outs for his 17th, but Texas Christian scored twice for a 6-5 win that clinched a Super Regional in Fort Worth, Texas.
Karch has a pretty good consolation prize. He was taken in the 22nd round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, signed a contract Friday and is joining the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers of the Class-A New York-Penn League.
"Now I can say I'm officially a Pirate," he said. "Start fresh and work my way up."
As a senior at Pepperdine, Karch was 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 30 appearances. He struck out 23 in 34 innings, holding opponents to a .185 average.
"It was unbelievable," said Karch of a season in which the Waves were 43-18. "We went to our first-ever Super Regional and put our school back on the map. We had a fun group of guys and worked hard. We were able to make a good run."
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