DUKE 18, VANDERBILT 5
— by Niesha Middlebrooks
The Duke Blue Devils had their way in the 8th inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regionals. The Blue Devils dropped a 10-spot on the Commodores, leading to a stunning 18-5 victory. Philip Clarke hit his eighth homer of the season and two RBIs to the lead the Commodores offensively in the game. Stephen Scott had a double and Austin Martin had three RBIs, as well. Drake Fellows lost on the pitching mound. He pitched four innings, allowed seven hits, seven run, one home run, walked four and struck out three.
ARKANSAS 11, OLE MISS 2
— by Robert O’Neill
Led by Seattle Mariners second round draft pick Isaiah Campbell’s strong pitching performance, the Razorbacks opened their super regional with a thumping of the Rebels. After giving up a home run to Grae Kessinger with one out in the first inning, Campbell settled in and give the Razorbacks 8.1 innings of two-run ball, striking out seven along the way. It helped that Arkansas spotted their ace six runs in the first two innings, as Ole Miss starter Will Ethridge had a rough outing, lasting just 3.1 innings.
Jack Kenley brought in three of Arkansas’ four first inning runs with one swing of the bat when he launched a 1-1 Ethridge pitch over the right field wall. Kenley was one of two Arkansas players with 3 RBIs in the win, with Matt Goodheart also driving in three runs.
AUBURN 11, NORTH CAROLINA 7
— by Christopher Novak
Auburn plated a combined nine runs in the final two innings to roar ahead of the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tigers came back and won 11-7 on Saturday afternoon to take a 1-0 lead in the Chapel Hill Super Regional, as they’re now one step away from going to Omaha.
The Tigers headed into the top of the 8th inning trailing 5-2 to the Heels. Auburn themselves were on their heels, as they’d been pretty well stymied heading into that frame. But they got things started right away with a double by Kason Howell. Judd Ward would reach on a fielder’s choice afterwards, and then Ryan Bliss singled to put two on. Conor Davis then stood in and doubled to bring Ward in to score the first run of the inning. A wild pitch then would allow for a walk, and a Will Holland walk kept the bases jammed. Edouard Julien then walked to load the bases, and Rankin Woley cleared ‘em up with a double, allowing for the Tigers to take a 7-5 lead.
In the top of the 9th, things got started with Howell, as he walked this time to lead off the inning. Bliss would single two batters later and then advance on a balk to put two on in scoring position. Conor Davis would walk on four pitches, allowing for Holland to hit a sac fly to bring Howell in. Then, Julien smacked a three-run bomb to propel Auburn to an 11-5 lead. And while UNC answered for two runs in the bottom frame, the Tigers walked away victorious after a very dramatic win in Chapel Hill.
FLORIDA STATE 6, LSU 4
Reese Albert played a pivotal role in Florida State’s 6-4 victory over LSU.
The Seminole slugger cranked out two homers in the late innings, a three-run bomb of the game-tying variety and a solo bomb of the go-ahead variety. Albert’s homers were the difference in their matchup with LSU, and the Seminoles are now a game away from Omaha.
LSU was put on their heels in a big way with this one. They didn’t fare so hotly on the scoreboard or on the statsheet in general. Their pitchers recorded 10 walks to just eight strikeouts, as they certainly struggled mightily on the mound. Compare that with the three walks that FSU issued and the six strikeouts they had, and you can see some of the difference in the game, at least. Plus, LSU left eight runners on base, and while FSU left nine, they were certainly better in cashing in their chances.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 6, STANFORD 2
Led by RBIs from five different players, the Bulldogs opened their super regional with a victory over Stanford Saturday night. The Cardinal got on the board first in the top of the first inning, but Mississippi State responded with a run in the second, two in the third, and three in the fourth to extend their lead to 6-1. That was more than enough for starting pitcher Ethan Small who struck out eight batters in six innings of work and allowed just five hits.
VANDERBILT 3, DUKE 0
After being demolished in the first game of their super regional, giving up 18 runs to the Duke Blue Devils, the Vanderbilt Commodores sent star freshman Kumar Rocker to the mound to try and save their season.
Did he ever deliver and then some.
Rocker threw a no-hitter, striking out 19 hitters to force a Game 3 on Monday. Rocker now has a 3.50 ERA with 97 strikeouts in 87.1 innings.
This game was scoreless until the fifth inning. Ethan Paul hit a two-out single, stole second, and came home to score on a single by Philip Clarke, and that was all Rocker needed, but for good measure, the ‘Dores added two in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Scott and a single by Julian Infante.
The rubber match is slated for 2 p.m. ET, and the Commodores are likely to pitch Patrick Raby, who has a 2.90 ERA in 15 starts.
NORTH CAROLINA 2, AUBURN 0
The UNC Tar Heels evened things up with Auburn with their 2-0 win on Sunday afternoon.
The Heels scored two runs in the 1st inning and didn’t look back from there. The runs came off a single by Ike Freeman, as he plated both Michael Busch and Aaron Sabato. Freeman’s single was his only hit in five at bats on the afternoon, likewise the case for Busch who led off with a single. Sabato had walked on four pitches to set up the game-winning hit.
Austin Bergner was a little shaky on the mound, but Austin Love was able to hold things down. Bergner, who pitched 4.1 innings, struck out five but walked four of the 21 batters he faced. Love stepped in and pitched 4.2 innings and allowed just two hits. He struck out six of the 15 batters he faced, and walked none and saw no one get extra bases.
The deciding Game 3 will take place on Monday.
VANDERBILT 13, DUKE 2
The Vanderbilt Commodores are going back to Omaha.
The Commodores’ 13-2 win in the deciding Game 3 on Sunday punched their ticket to the 2019 College World Series. Following a dynamite performance by Kumar Rocker, a combined effort from the Dore pitchers was damn good too.
Mason Hickman, Patrick Raby, Zach King and Tyler Brown combined for 16 strikeouts and five walks over the course of the game. Hickman allowed the only two runs of the game, but struck out nine of the 18 batters he faced.
Austin Martin, JJ Bleday and Ethan Paul combined to go 6-for-12 on the day. Martin drew two walks, so they reached base in eight of their 14 plate appearances on the day. Martin hit two homers and Paul was able to club a double to boot. Patrick DeMarco fared pretty well himself, as he went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Stephen Scott also went deep, as did Julian Infante, as Vandy hit five homers in the blowout win.
OLE MISS 13, ARKANSAS 5
The Rebels evened up the Super Regional on Sunday night as they avoided elimination with a big performance.
Ole Miss answered Arkansas’ two first inning runs with eight of their own over the next two innings to take an 8-2 lead into inning number three, which was more than enough support for Ole Miss starter Doug Nikhazy. Nikhazy lasted five innings and struck out eight before Houston Roth came in for the final four innings, allowing just two hits in a dominant closing performance.
The middle of the lineup did the heavy lifting for Ole Miss, as Tyler Keenan and Cole Zabkowski combined for seven RBIs and both hit home runs in the win.
Arkansas starting pitcher Connor Noland lasted just one inning in the loss. The teams will meet again Monday in a win-or-go-home game.