UC Irvine suffered its first loss of the 2014 College World Series, falling to Vanderbilt, 6-4, in the winner’s bracket contest at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., in front of 20,792 fans.
With the loss, the Anteaters (41-24) move to the elimination bracket and face Texas (44-20), who beat Louisville earlier today, in a rematch of the CWS opener on Wednesday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m. (PT) on ESPN. The winner of that contest will then have to beat Vanderbilt twice to advance to the CWS Finals.
Anteater southpaw Elliot Surrey got into trouble right from the start, walking the first batter before Bryan Reynolds singled to left field. After a sac bunt by Vince Conde, Zander Wiel singled down right field to score Dansby Swanson. Xavier Turner drove in the second run of the inning of an RBI bunt.
After a one-two-three first inning, UC Irvine exploded in the second inning, scoring four runs to take a 4-2 lead.
Jonathan Munoz was hit by a pitch with one out and he advanced to third on a single to right by Grant Palmer. Kris Paulino followed with a single to right, scoring Munoz and advancing Palmer to second. Palmer then moved to third on a wild pitch and later scored on a squeeze by Adam Alcantara with Paulino going to second.
Another wild pitch sent Paulino to third and Alcantara to second. Taylor Sparks drove in his third and fourth runs of the College World Series with a two-run single to lift the Anteaters to a 4-2 lead.
UC Irvine threatened in the fourth after Tyler Beede walked two and hit a batter. Beede (3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4K) was relieved by Walker Buehler, who shutdown any chance of a rally, no-hitting UC Irvine for the final 5.1 innings.
“He pounded the strike zone and had command of his off-speed.,” stated Kris Paulino. “He was on.”
The three singles by the Anteaters in the second inning would be their only hits of the evening.
A fifth-inning rally by the Commodores ran Surrey (4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) off the mound. Vanderbilt kicked off the inning with runners on the corners thanks to a double by Swanson and a single by Reynolds. Both would go on to score and tie the game at 4-4. A walk and a hit-by-pitch would later load the bases with one out, allowing John Norwood to drive in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Vanderbilt added an insurance run in the seventh.
“He (Buehler) felt like a first-rounder waiting to happen,” commented head coach Mike Gillespie. “Vanderbilt was impressive up and down its line up and executed. “
The Commodores six runs is the most runs scored in a game so far in the 2014 College World Series and is the most runs allowed by UC Irvine in the postseason.