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 in an 8-4 victory over Oklahoma State on Friday night in an NCAA super regional at Stillwater, Okla..
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. Oklahoma State pulled within four in the eighth after Tanner Krietemeier's three-run homer. The Cowboys continued to threaten, loading the bases again with one out, but Bryan Case grounded into a double play.
The Commodores (45-18) moved a win away from advancing to the College World Series. Stanford (34-25) walked five of Vanderbilt's first nine batters as the Commodores scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second and three in the third to take a 10-0 lead. The Cardinal responded, scoring two runs in the fourth and four in the fifth, but then had only one hit the rest of the way.
John Hochstatter started for Stanford and gave up five earned runs in one inning plus, walking five.
Texas 4, Houston 2: Nathan Thornhill pitched seven solid innings, fellow senior Mark Payton hit a two-run homer at Austin and the Longhorns moved within a victory of returning to the College World Series.
Thornhill, a right-hander, gave up two runs and seven hits for Texas (42-19), 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. Houston is 48-16.
Louisville 5, Kennesaw State 3: Freshman Nick Solak hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Cardinals rally in their super regional opener at Louisville, Ky.
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.
The Owls (40-23), who lost for only the third time in their last 29 games, are in their first NCAA tournament appearance.