OMAHA, Neb. – After Florida's Steven Rodriguez pitched 4 1-3 innings of no-hit relief against Vanderbilt, the Commodores are looking forward to seeing him again.
Rodriguez and the Gators quickly finished off a 3-1 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday, completing a College World Series game suspended because of inclement weather.
Karsten Whitson and Rodriguez combined on a four-hitter and struck out a dozen Commodores. Rodriguez was especially effective, working the outside corner of the plate with a fastball in the low 90s.
"I've been in the league, and he is one of the better pitchers I've seen out of a bullpen staff for lefties," Vandy first baseman Aaron Westlake said. "So, just tip our caps to them, and we'll see them again."
Florida (52-17), which has won four of five meetings this season against its fellow Southeastern Conference member, will play the Commodores again on Friday if Vandy (53-11) beats North Carolina in an elimination game Wednesday.
All the games between the two teams have been since May 13. Florida beat the Commodores 5-0 in the SEC championship game.
"I don't want to travel you guys through history, but it's been very close with the exception of the SEC tournament," Vandy coach Tim Corbin said. "But today was a little bit frustrating just because we couldn't get off our swings. We couldn't get successive runners on base, and we couldn't utilize any type of skill game or offense against them."
Rodriguez (4-2) retired three batters before high winds and heavy rain disrupted the game in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday night. He struck out six of the 11 batters he faced Tuesday. He finished with seven strikeouts and walked one.
"Yesterday, when the sirens went off, I was kind of upset because I was dealing and I felt really good. I thought, 'God, I don't need this to happen right now,'" Rodriguez said. "It was super perfect today and things came out in my favor."
Rodriguez shut down a Vanderbilt club that came into the CWS as the field's top-hitting team and No. 5 nationally with a .319 average.
Preston Tucker's three-run homer off Vanderbilt starter Grayson Garvin (13-2) gave the Gators a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Corbin said the difference in the game was "one swing" — Tucker's.
"That is the way the game's played, particularly when you've got two very even teams," Corbin said. "And I know that they've had their way in terms of the outcome, but that doesn't change my opinion in terms of the evenness between Florida and Vanderbilt."
Anthony Gomez's RBI single in the fifth accounted for the Commodores' only run. Rodriguez took over for Whitson after Gomez's hit.
"When you get 12 strikeouts against a Vanderbilt team, in my opinion, that's an anomaly," Corbin said. "That is a kid that's executing his pitches. When kids like Aaron and (Jason) Esposito and Gomez don't get off good swings, there is a reason for that. It's like shooting poorly in basketball. If you can't get off a good shot because you have a hand in your face, then you're not going to be as successful."
Rodriguez faced four batters Monday night before umpires waved players off the field as dark clouds moved in from the south and winds began picking up.
Tornado sirens were heard as Mike Yastrzemski flew out to left field. No tornado warning was issued for the Omaha area, however. Local officials ordered the sirens turned on because of the high winds.
Many fans left the stadium or sought shelter in the nearby Qwest Center, and others stood in the concourse or sat in seats covered by the second-deck overhang. The game was suspended after a 2 1/2-hour delay.
"I was hopping around in the locker room trying to stay warm and hoping we could get back out there," Rodriguez said. "It didn't happen."
Garvin, the Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year, held the Gators hitless through three innings. He walked Nolan Fontana with one out in the fourth and Mike Zunino followed with an infield single before Tucker sent Garvin's 2-1 pitch into the seats above the right-field bullpen.
Tucker has five homers, six doubles and 18 RBIs in his last eight games.