OMAHA, Neb. – Vanderbilt scored the most runs yet at the 2014 Men’s College World Series and beat UC Irvine 6-4 in the winner’s bracket at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The Commodores used a three-run fifth inning to take the lead, and pitcher Walker Buehler (12-2) neutralized the Anteaters to pick up the win, allowing no hits in 5 1/3 innings of relief while striking out seven.
Trailing 4-2 in the fifth, Vanderbilt put up a three-spot that would prove to be the difference in the game. Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds led off with a double and a single, respectively. Vince Conde grounded out to the shortstop to plate Swanson, then Zander Wiel doubled to left to drive home Reynolds. Xavier Turner walked and Rhett Wiseman took first on a hit by pitch to load the bases and chase Irvine starter Elliot Surrey from the game. John Norwood followed with a sac fly RBI to give Vandy the 5-4 lead before reliever Evan Brock struck out Karl Ellison to end the inning.
Surrey (8-5) took the loss for Irvine, giving up five runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout.
Vanderbilt jumped out to an early lead in the first inning on a series of hits and bunts. Swanson led the game off with a walk. Reynolds hit a single to left field, and Conde pushed the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Wiel singled for an RBI, and then Turner squeezed for a sacrifice fielder’s choice, allowing Reynolds to beat the tag at home. Wiseman then bunted for a single before Norwood grounded into a double play that ended the inning.
Wiel and Norwood had two RBI each for the Commodores, while Swanson scored twice, hit a pair of doubles and stole a base. Together, the Commodores combined for five stolen bases and two sacrifice bunts.
UC Irvine had the most productive inning in the 2014 CWS so far with a four-run second. With one out, Jonathan Munoz reached on a hit by pitch and Grant Palmer singled to right. Another single to right scored Munoz, and Palmer advanced to third on a wild pitch. With a squeeze bunt by Adam Alcantara, Palmer slid in to home ahead of the tag to tie the game. Taylor Sparks then raised the stakes with a two-RBI single up the middle, making it 4- 2 Anteaters.
Vanderbilt starter Tyler Beede’s day was done in the fourth inning after walking two batters and hitting his third batter of the game. The first-round draft pick finished with four runs on three hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
However, the Anteaters were unable to recover the lead once they lost it, and Vanderbilt tacked on an insurance run in the seventh. Wiseman hit a double into the right field corner and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Norwood then drove him home with his second RBI of the game, a single to left field.
With the win, Vanderbilt (48-19) moves into the bracket one championship at 2 p.m. on Friday. Irvine (41-24) faces Texas at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in an elimination rematch.
Be sure to check out our other coverage from Virginia’s walk-off victory: