Vanderbilt advances to CWS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vanderbilt Commodores weren't quite sure what to think of themselves a few weeks ago.
They entered the NCAA tournament having lost six of their last 11, but thanks to some fresh faces and some big wins, Vanderbilt is riding high and headed to the College World Series.
Vince Conde and John Norwood had three hits and two RBIs each and Vanderbilt combined for six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat Stanford 12-5 Sunday to advance to Omaha for the second time in program history and first since 2011.
"It was amazing," said freshman Hayden Stone, who pitched six innings of three-hit baseball to close the game and earn the win. "Just the opportunity to be out there in that certain time. Just daydreamed about it all the time. I'm glad I got to accomplish that."
Corbin credited Bryan Reynolds, a freshman all-American, and fellow freshmen Stone and catcher Jason Delay for their vital roles Sunday.
"You look at three of the key components today: freshmen," he said. "Those kids do not act like freshman. They haven't been here very long, but they fit in nicely."
Reynolds finished 8-for-12 in the three-game series.
Corbin, who is in his 12th year guiding the Commodores, said his players have developed into a team as of late.
"I think what's happened with the kids is that they developed an identity," he said. "As I told them before the SEC tournament, it's never too late, it's never too late to develop into a team and not because we're winning, but I think that the personalities are starting to grow together a little bit more than the beginning of the year and the middle of the year."
Stone finished with eight strikeouts, two walks and was charged with one unearned run. He entered in the fourth after Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler battled through the bottom of the third, giving up four runs. The Commodores had opened with five runs off six hits in the first, but Buehler's struggles allowed the Cardinal to pull within 5-4.
"They have great arms and they throw a lot of strikes and it's tough," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said. "What you get off them, you've got to earn it. You don't usually get a lot of them."
The teams traded runs in the fourth, but the Commodores pulled away in the seventh. Dansby Swanson led off with a single and the Commodores scored four runs to send Stanford scrambling. The Cardinal used five pitchers in the inning before Brett Michael Doran snagged a grounder from pinch-hitter Karl Ellison for a double play, but the damage had been done and Vanderbilt led 10-5.
After Stone worked through the side, Vanderbilt tacked on two more runs in the eighth on what looked like a wild Little League play when Swanson scored on an errant pickoff attempt. Reynolds kept chugging from first after the bad throw and slid into third, but the ball popped loose toward the Stanford dugout -- so Reynolds hustled home to score after another Cardinal throwing error by third baseman Alex Blandino.
"That's a do-or-die thing," Marquess said. "That got away from us in that one inning where we just threw the ball around."
Reynolds, Conde and Norwood all had three hits in the win in front of the third straight sellout crowd in Nashville.
Stanford was led by Danny Diekroeger's three singles.
Texas Tech 1, College of Charleston 0: Two days. Two games. No runs allowed.
Dylan Dusek turned in his fourth consecutive scoreless start and Texas Tech advanced to the College World Series for the first time with a 1-0 victory over the College of Charleston on Sunday.
Dusek (8-0) worked five-plus innings, gave up three hits and walked one as Texas Tech (45-20) swept the best-of-three series with back-to-back 1-0 triumphs over the Cougars. Cameron Smith, Dominic Moreno and Jonny Drozd combined to work the final four innings for the Red Raiders.
"When I get home later this evening, I'm sure it will hit me," second-year Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said.
Adam Kirsch's RBI double in the fourth inning was the game's lone run. It marked the Raiders' third straight shutout in the postseason and fourth in their past five outings.
Bailey Ober (10-3) took the loss for College of Charleston (44-19), scattering six hits in eight innings.
"This was another tough loss, especially to end the season," College of Charleston coach Monte Lee said. "Give Texas Tech a lot of credit. Dusek and their bullpen and one of the best catches I've seen in 14 years as a head coach was the difference."
In the fourth, Tyler Neslony led off with a single to center. With one out, Kirsch laced a double down the right-field line that brought Neslony home.
"I was just trying to get on with no outs and give us a chance to score," Neslony said. "One or two runs are tough to get -- especially this late in the year."
The Cougars pushed the tying run to second base in the sixth and seventh innings, but Tech withstood the threat each time, needing a spectacular diving catch from center fielder Devon Conley in the right-center field gap that preserved Tech's lead and ended the seventh.
"It was full extension," Conley said of his catch. "I saw the ball go up, and we had just shifted that way. I saw the ball was hit pretty hard, so I just put my head down, ran and fully extended. It landed perfectly in my glove. It was huge. It kept us in the lead.
"It was a do-or-die situation."
Added Dusek: "I saw that and I was not expecting it to happen. That's how awesome it was. It was one of the greatest catches that I've ever seen."
Dusek left after surrendering a single to Blake Butler to open the sixth. Smith came on and allowed a single by Brandon Murray, putting two on for the Cougars for the first time in the game. Smith, though, got Carl Wise to line out to center field and then struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
"Our pitching staff had a little to do with it today," Tadlock said. "They had Wise up in the sixth with two on, and he hit it square but right at someone."
No Cougars baserunner reached third base in the game.
"Our two starting pitchers were outstanding in this series," Lee said. "But give Tech credit. They made big pitches when they had to make them and made big plays in key situations when they had to. Give their staff a lot of credit. This was probably the best defensive club we've played all year and the best pitching staff we've faced."
The game was delayed 90 minutes at the start by lightning and rain.
Virginia 7, Maryland 3: Kenny Towns had three hits, Artie Lewicki pitched 3 1/3 innings of solid relief and Virginia beat Maryland 7-3 Sunday to force a deciding Game 3 of the NCAA Charlottesville super regional.
The Cavaliers (48-14) had 17 hits, including four in a decisive seventh inning as they sent eight batters to the plate and scored three runs. Towns, Derek Fisher and Brandon Downes came through with RBIs.
The 17 hits in an NCAA tournament game are the second-most in Virginia history. Mike Papi and Daniel Pinero also had three hits apiece. Papi is batting .550 with a home run and six RBIs in this NCAA tournament.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "We've got a veteran offensive group and I knew last night, going into today, personally I had a really good feeling that this team would rise up today.
"Certainly, there's a lot of talent on those ball club and they showed that today."
Lewicki relieved starter Brandon Waddell (9-3) with two outs and runners at first and second base in the sixth with Virginia holding a 2-1 lead. The right-hander left those runners stranded and then retired seven straight until the ninth inning.
It was Lewicki's first bullpen appearance since April 8 at James Madison. He scattered two hits and didn't give up an earned run.
"It's been a while since I came out of the pen so I was definitely excited," Lewicki said. "It was a different feeling, but I was just trying to go out there and throw strikes and it worked out."
Maryland starter Mike Shawaryn (11-4) gave up five runs on a season-high 12 hits. The Terrapins (40-22) got three hits and an RBI from Brandon Lowe.
Game 3 is Monday.
Neither O'Connor nor Maryland coach John Szefc have announced their starting pitcher.
Virginia is 2-1 all-time in deciding super regional games. Maryland is playing in its first super regional in program history.
"You just kind of have to regather and flush this real quick and come back very mentally prepared tomorrow," Szefc said. "That's obviously what we plan on doing."
Pepperdine 3, TCU 2: Aaron Brown pitched seven scoreless innings and made a game-saving throw from center field as Pepperdine beat TCU 3-2 on Sunday night, forcing a deciding third game in the NCAA Fort Worth Super Regional for a spot in the College World Series.
Brandon Caruso had a pair of run-scoring hits and Hutton Moyer scored twice for the Waves (43-17).
Brown (13-1), the two-way player who was the West Coast Conference pitcher of the year and a third-round pick by Philadelphia as an outfielder, won his 10th consecutive decision. The lefty scattered five hits with four strikeouts and two walks while throwing 119 pitches.
After Brown went to center field, his strong throw home cut off the tying run for TCU (46-16) to end the eighth inning.
Game 3 is Monday.
After Brown was done on the mound and went to center field, reliever Chandler Blanchard allowed four of the six batters he faced to reach base. The Frogs had already scored twice when Keaton Jones singled to center. But Brown fielded the ball and made a strong throw home to cut down the tying run, with Jerrick Suiter tagged out when trying to dive over catcher Aaron Barnett.
Eric Karch worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save.
Big 12 pitcher of the year Preston Morrison (9-4) struck out six in 6⅔ innings, while allowing three runs and five hits.
TCU (46-16), the No. 7 national seed, had its 10-game winning streak snapped and lost for only the fourth time its past 35 games. The Frogs went to their only College World Series four years ago.
Pepperdine has been to Omaha twice, and won the 1992 national title in its last trip when current Waves coach Steve Rodriguez was an All-American infielder for the Waves.
Moyer had a leadoff single in the fifth and scored on Caruso's single for a 1-0 lead.
After Moyer was hit by a pitch in the seventh, Jack Ross singled and Pepperdine took advantage of an error before Manny Jefferson's sac fly and Caruso's RBI double that chanced Morrison.
White had a leadoff walk in the eighth, and scored when Pepperdine made two throwing errors on Garrett Crain's grounder. Suiter then had an RBI single.
Brown got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third with consecutive strikeouts.
Sophomore right-hander Jackson McClelland (8-3) is scheduled to start Monday for Pepperdine. The Frogs will counter with freshman lefty Tyler Alexander (10-3), who has given up only six runs his past seven starts and has consecutive complete-game victories -- in the NCAA regional clincher last week and the Big 12 tournament before that.
Mississippi 5, Louisiana-Lafayette 2: LAFAYETTE, La. -- Pinch hitter Colby Bortles broke open the game with a two-run single in Mississippi's three-run eighth inning as the Rebels beat Louisiana-Lafayette 5-2 on Sunday night to tie their super regional series.
The teams will play a deciding Game 3 on Monday night.
Ole Miss scored the go-ahead run when center fielder Seth Harrison dropped a fly ball hit by Will Allen. Sikes Orvis then singled to load the bases, setting it up for Bortles -- the younger brother of Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
"That's the game and the game has crazy things that happen to it," Rebels coach Mike Bianco said. "If you're there for 60-something games, you see all kinds of stuff. Some of those breaks go your way. You just have to keep battling and that's what the kids did.
"We locked in and hung in there."
Preston Overbey hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to put the Rebels (45-19) up 2-1.
"My job is when the pitcher makes a mistake to capitalize on it," Overbey said. "He left it up and I got it."
But Blake Trahan answered for the Ragin' Cajuns (58-9) with an RBI single in the eighth, scoring Mike Strentz from second to tie it at 2.
Christian Trent (9-0) went seven innings for the win, while Carson Baranik (11-1) took the loss.
Overbey said the Rebels have been in this situation before and the experience allowed them to stay up and get the three-run eighth.
"We knew it was a matter of time before it exploded," Overbey said. "We came back in the dugout and told everyone to stay up, keep positive and get someone on."
Ole Miss scored in the first inning when Allen doubled to right field, scoring Austin Anderson from first base and giving the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
A pair of errors by the Rebels scored Louisiana-Lafayette's first run when Overbey had an errant throw to first allowing Harrison to reach. Dylan Butler then doubled and Harrison ran past third. The throw to Allen, the Ole Miss catcher, was in time, but he dropped the ball and Harrison scored.
"Nobody could get the right hit at the right time," ULL coach Tony Robichaux said. "We gave them a little crack and they crawled through it. Give them credit."
Trent allowed four hits in seven innings and said he felt strong, even with the pressure involved in an elimination game.
"My routine stayed the same and I felt the same going out there," Trent said. "Nothing really changed. Normally off-speed plays a bigger role, but tonight the fastball was what I used a lot."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.