College baseball: Vanderbilt beats sluggish Stanford in super regionals opener


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt Commodores took advantage of Stanford’s sputtering start on Friday to beat the Cardinal 11-6 and put themselves one win away from their first College World Series berth since 2011.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling, we just have to play how we’re playing and everything will work out,” Vanderbilt freshman Bryan Reynolds said.

Game 2 is Saturday.

Reynolds matched his career-best with four hits and two RBI.

“He’s a guy that can do a little bit of everything,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said.

Stanford, coming off a walk-off win in regionals at Indiana on Monday, couldn’t have started much worse. The Cardinal walked five of Vanderbilt’s first nine batters as the Commodores (45-18) took a 10-0 lead through three innings.

Cardinal coach Mark Marquess said starter John Hochstatter was out of sync in his “poorest outing” this season. The junior walked five and allowed five runs in one inning of work.

“We just gave them too much early,” Marquess said. “Obviously, you can’t give a quality team like Vanderbilt many free base runners, and we did.”

Stanford (34-25) had strung together six straight runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull to 10-6. Reynolds broke a stretch of three scoreless Vanderbilt innings with a hit to right to drive in Dansby Swanson in the bottom of the seventh.

Commodores starter Tyler Beede, drafted 14th overall Thursday night by the San Francisco Giants, pitched three scoreless innings before faltering, giving up back-to-back singles to open the fourth and consecutive walks to start the fifth. Tyler Ferguson came on in relief with two outs in the top of the fifth and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win.

UC IRVINE 8, OKLAHOMA STATE 4

STILLWATER, Okla. — Taylor Sparks had four hits and scored twice, and Adam Alcantara’s two-run single in the fourth inning gave UC Irvine a lead it would not relinquish against Oklahoma State.

After their upset win over national No. 1 seed Oregon State in last week’s Corvallis regional, UC Irvine (39-23) carried an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before Oklahoma State (48-17) made it a little closer.

UC Irvine, in its fourth trip to the super regionals in the last eight years, is one win away from its first College World Series appearance since 2007, with Game 2 of the best-of-three series Saturday.

LOUISVILLE 5, KENNESAW STATE 3

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville freshman Nick Solak hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Cardinals rally to a win over Kennesaw State.

The Cardinals (49-15) scored three runs in the eighth to come from behind and move within a victory of their second straight College World Series berth and third since Dan McDonnell was hired as coach in 2007.

Kyle Funkhouser allowed three runs — two earned — and three hits in seven innings for the Cardinals. He struck out seven and walked five. Kyle McGrath (2-1) got the win in relief.

The Owls (40-23), who have won 26 of their last 29 games, are one game from elimination in their first NCAA tournament appearance since transitioning from Division II in 2007. The teams play again Saturday. Reliever James Connell (7-4) took the loss.

TEXAS 4, HOUSTON 2

AUSTIN, Texas — Nathan Thornhill pitched seven solid innings, fellow senior Mark Payton hit a two-run homer and Texas moved within a victory of returning to the College World Series by beating Houston.

Thornhill, a right-hander, allowed two runs and seven hits for Texas, which is trying for its record 35th appearance in the College World Series. Payton had three hits, connecting in the first inning for his second home run in 415 at-bats.

Game 2 of the Super Regional is Saturday.

The Longhorns (42-19) made it 4-0 by the time Houston (48-16) scored its only two runs in the fifth, starting the inning with three straight singles off Thornhill.