It seemed like Stanford was living on the edge of a razor blade the entire game.
Cardinal ace Cal Quantrill gave up a run early on a wacky error. Even when Stanford went up 4-1, Vanderbilt seemed to just be coiling up, a snake ready to bite.
And bite they did.
But Stanford made out like Indiana Jones once again, sucking out the poison and biting right back. Wayne Taylor's walk off blast kept the cardiac Cardinal alive for another day and now puts it one win from an appearance in Omaha.
Quantrill was superb, as per usual this season, giving up just two earned runs over 7 innings, and things were laregely calm, if uncomfortable calm, until he passed the ball to AJ Vanegas.
The Dodger draft pick got up to DEFCON 2 in the top of the 9th, loading the bases with a wild pitch on a strikeout, a walk and an infield single before giving up the rare game-tying hit by pitch. However, Vandy couldn't do any more substantial damage, setting the stage for Taylor to once again hit a critical homer when the Card needed it.
For one reason or another, luck seems to just be on the Cardinal's side this tournament. It certainly helped having Quantrill pitch the best of any Cardinal starter in the last three Super Regionals, but the rare blast of power that keeps saving the Cardinal's bacon is the kind of thing that gets analysts saying "they're peaking at the right time."
And Stanford finally has its chance to get to Omaha.
Teams of the past four years have been talked up much more than this one, but the race against luck and time and fate was never quite in those teams' favor. And now there's one game, win or go home, for Omaha and a place in Stanford history. And maybe even a realistic shot at an NCAA title.
Let's rub that lamp one more time and see what comes out. So far it's been pretty good to us.