NCAA Baseball Tournament: Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3 -- The Favorite Becomes the Underdog?

USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 seed in the country is now on the ropes after losing its first game. Just how serious is the threat to Vanderbilt's shot at Omaha?

It all falls apart in an inning sometimes. And that's all it took for the first game of the Nashville Super Regional to get away from Vanderbilt -- a four-hit, three run seventh inning that powered Louisville to a 5-3 win on Saturday and put the Commodores on the brink of elimination.

We've already talked about how important it is to get the first win in the super regionals, so there's no need to belabor the point. Suffice it to say that the No. 2 seed is no in very serious danger of not making it to Omaha, with the only solution being to now sweep a team that hasn't lost outside of the Big East tournament in almost a month and a half. You could call that an uphill battle.

Louisville does have the advantage now of having broken the Ziomek-Beede duo that was one of the biggest edges Vanderbilt had in the super regional. But there's still another leg of that challenge to go, and it means that Vanderbilt has to be favored to at least force a third game by winning tomorrow. After that, both teams would be facing elimination and it would simply be a single, winner-take-all game.

Vanderbilt ended up with precisely that situation in its regional, and did just fine. It was perhaps more difficult than the Commodores and their fans had anticipated, but they lost the first game of the regional finals only to come back and win the second.

Still, it wasn't an ideal situation then, and it's not an ideal situation now. Vanderbilt came into Saturday needing only a win each from their best two starting pitchers. After losing the first game, they now need something else.

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