Nashville Regional roundup: Vandy advances, Clemson eliminated
JUN 01, 2014 12:52a ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Super pitching has Vanderbilt one win away from a second-straight super regional in the NCAA baseball tournament.
Not to be outdone by teammate Tyler Beede's pitching gem in the Nashville Regional opening win on Friday over Xavier, sophomore Carson Fulmer carved out one of his own on Saturday, guiding the top-seeded Commodores to a 7-2 win over No. 2 Oregon.
Fulmer (6-1), a reliever turned starter this season, allowed only three hits over eight innings with five strikeouts. A night earlier, Beede (8-7) had a career-high 14 strikeouts while scattering four hits over eight frames.
"Like (Friday) night, it starts on the mound," said Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, whose team is seeking a third super regional berth in four years. The Commodores made their only trip to the College World Series in 2011.
"Carson certainly did that," Corbin added. "He came out and established his pitches and got ahead (in the count). He was very aggressive as always."
The Commodores (43-18) advanced to a regional championship game on Sunday night at Hawkins Field. They play the winner of Sunday's noon elimination game between Oregon (43-19) and No. 4 Xavier (30-28), which knocked No. 3 Clemson out of the tourney with a 6-4 win.
The Commodores hope to get a starting pitching hat trick when they are expected to send sophomore Walker Buehler (10-2) to the mound, although Corbin left open the option to instead start Tyler Ferguson (7-3), another sophomore.
Should 20th-ranked Vanderbilt lose Sunday night, the same two teams play a winner-take-all title game Monday night to advance to a super regional next weekend. Last season, the Commodores lost in three games to visiting Louisville with a second trip to the College World Series on the line.
A day after the Ducks pounded out a season-high 20 hits in the rout of Clemson, they struggled against Fulmer, who won his fifth straight game as a starter. He also leads the team with 10 saves.
"(Oregon is) a very aggressive team," said Fulmer. "I knew coming out of the gate they were going to jump on first-pitch fastballs and try to get their hits early in the count. Early on, I was able to make my secondary stuff work.
"Later on in the game, I decided to pitch to contact and let my defense work."
That's because the Commodores had blown the game open with a five-run fifth inning that gave the Commodores a 6-0 cushion. In that frame, they chased Ducks starter Jeff Gold (10-3), who only gave up two earned runs in taking the loss.
The big blow for the Commodores was a two-run double by right fielder Rhett Wiseman, who greeted reliever Trent Paddon with the line shot into the left-field corner. Oregon freshman shortstop Mark Karaviotis made two costly errors in the inning.
All-SEC Freshman team member Bryan Reynolds led the Commodores with three hits and two RBI. Vince Conde, Rhett Wiseman and John Norwood had two hits each.
"Carson Fulmer, as advertised, was a handful for us," said Oregon coach George Horton, whose team beat Clemson 18-1 in its opener Friday. "It was unbelievable stuff he was throwing up there.
" ... (It's) a tough challenge against a guy that's a three-pitch mix and velocity and arm strength that he has. Besides being really good, (he has) competitiveness, athleticism."
Oregon scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. After tripling into the right-field corner, A.J. Balta scored on an infield single by Steven Packard.
But Vanderbilt quickly got that run back in the top of the seventh inning for a 7-1 lead. Dansby Swanson's two-out double was followed by the same Reynolds.
The Commodores got on the board first with one run in the second inning. Wiseman led off with a double and was driven home when John Norwood followed with a double off the left-field wall. But Gold shut the door quickly with three straight outs to close the inning.
Xavier 6, Clemson 4
Playing in just its second NCAA baseball tournament, Xavier stayed alive earlier in the day while eliminating Clemson. The game was delayed in the seventh inning for an hour and 48 minutes because of lightning.
Xavier, the Big East Conference tournament champion, got three hits and two RBI from Daniel Rizzie, while Brian Bruening went 4-for-4. Musketeers starting pitcher Scott Klever (7-6) allowed two earned runs on six hits over 6.1 innings to get the win.
Clemson was the first team ousted from the double-elimination tournament. Tigers starter Daniel Gossett (7-2) gave up three runs on nine hits over six innings after entering the game with a 1.78 ERA.
Xavier opened the game with a three-run seventh inning, but Clemson kept it interesting with a two-run home run by second baseman Steve Wilkerson in the eighth. Despite that blip, Tigers closer Sean Campbell worked the final 2.2 innings to get his first save of the season.
"Our guys are pretty locked in," said Xavier coach Scott Googins, whose team lost 11-0 Friday night to Vanderbilt. "I'm pretty emotional about it because I like being around them, they like being around each other. We've got great leadership, the guys play hard.
"I've never had to get on them this year about effort. I was telling them on the speech on the bus, 'Let's don't let this thing end.'"