Walker Buehler pitched 5 1/3 innings of no-hit relief, and John Norwood drove in the go-ahead run and another for insurance in Vanderbilt’s 6-4 win over UC Irvine at the College World Series in Omaha on Monday night.
Buehler took over for struggling first-round draft pick Tyler Beede and helped move Vanderbilt within one win of the CWS championship round. The Commodores (48-19) will play in a bracket final Friday against the winner of a Wednesday elimination game between Irvine (41-24) and Texas.
Irvine, one of the last four teams selected for the 64-team NCAA tournament, beat Texas, 3-1, in its CWS opener but now must win three games to reach next week’s best-of-three finals.
Buehler (12-2) retired the first nine batters he faced and finished with seven strikeouts in only his third relief appearance of the year. Only two balls were hit out of the infield against him.
Norwood’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth inning put Vanderbilt up 5-4, and his two-strike, two-out single in the seventh made it a two-run game.
Elliot Surrey (8-5) took the loss, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings in just his third start.
Beede, the 14th overall draft pick by the San Francisco Giants, continued to struggle with his command. He failed to make it past the fifth inning for a second straight start and sixth time in 18 outings. He walked three and hit three in 3 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs. He’s walked 24 and plunked 10 batters in his last 37 innings.
The Anteaters had no answer for Buehler, though. The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder mixed a biting curveball with a fastball in the mid-90s.
Buehler’s biggest challenge came in the eighth when he issued a walk and hit a batter with two out. He ended the threat by striking out Adam Alcantara on three pitches.
Surrey came into the game having given up no runs in eight innings and two in his previous 15. But Vanderbilt turned three singles and a walk into a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Irvine batted around while taking a 4-2 lead in the second. The Anteaters tied it when Grant Palmer scored from third on Alcantara’s bunt, and Taylor Sparks gave them the lead with a two-run single for his fourth hit in his first six CWS at-bats.
The Commodores regained the lead in the fifth, tying it when Bryan Reynolds scored from second after Zander Wiel hit a ball over Alcantara in left field for a double. After Evan Brock relieved with the bases loaded, Norwood’s sacrifice fly to left gave Vanderbilt the lead.
Texas 4, Louisville 1: Parker French and Travis Duke limited Louisville to four hits, and Texas manufactured runs in three straight innings to beat the Cardinals in a CWS elimination game at Omaha.
The Longhorns (44-20) ended a four-game CWS losing streak dating to 2009. Louisville (50-17) went 0-2 in the CWS for the second straight year and is 1-6 in three appearances in Omaha.
French (7-5) held the Cardinals to four singles in 7 1/3 innings, and Duke retired their last five batters for his first save.
Louisville sophomore starter Anthony Kidston (9-1) lost for the first time in 15 decisions as a collegian and the Cardinals committed four errors.
Texas opened the scoring on Ben Johnson’s sacrifice fly after Zane Guritz doubled leading off the third inning. The Longhorns added a run in the fourth on Kacy Clemens’ RBI groundout and another in the fifth when Mark Payton came home on second baseman Zach Lucas’ throwing error.
Louisville pulled to within 3-1 in the eighth on Cole Sturgeon’s groundout, but the Longhorns scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth to make it a three-run game again.
French turned in another strong performance after working six shutout innings in a win over Houston in super regionals. He has allowed three runs in 20 innings in three NCAA tournament appearances. The Longhorns’ pitching staff has a 1.35 earned-run average over its last eight games. Louisville had won 12 of 13 games this season, and 17 of 19 the last two seasons, in games started by Kidston.