NCAA Baseball Tournament : Vanderbilt baseball suffered a major blunder in its Nashville Super Regional opener, losing 18-5 to Duke.
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It marked the most runs the Commodores have allowed in a Super Regional game and the largest losing margin in 19 Super Regional games in program history.
“You guys saw the game,” coach Tim Corbin said. “They drilled us.”
Now Vanderbilt (52-11) must rally from a 1-0 deficit for the first time to reach the College World Series. In eight previous Super Regionals, the Commodores lost the series each of the five times it dropped the opening game.
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Game two of the best-of-three series is set for 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU, when Vanderbilt will try to avoid elimination. Vanderbilt freshman right-hander Kumar Rocker (9-5) and Duke sophomore right-hander Bryce Jarvis (5-1), a former Brentwood Academy standout, will match up on the mound.
“It was a loss,” Corbin said. “There are not extra points for winning that way. There are not less points for losing that way. It’s a loss. That’s all there is to it.
“We’ve got to move forward. We’re in the same situation as when we came in here — 18 innings (from advancing).”
Vanderbilt freshman Kumar Rocker pitched the first no-hitter in a Super Regional in NCAA Tournament history to keep the Commodores’ season alive Saturday.
Vanderbilt won 3-0 over Duke in game 2 of a best-of-three series in the Nashville Super Regional.
“Kumar was more than special,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “You can use every adjective you want to.”
It was the eighth no-hitter by a single pitcher in NCAA Tournament history. But it was the first no-hitter in a Super Regional, which was added to the tournament format in 1999.
The last no-hitter by a single pitcher in an NCAA Tournament game was by Florida’s Jonathan Crawford against Bethune-Cookman in a 2012 Regional. Doug Wessel pitched Vanderbilt’s last individual no-hitter in a 1971 game against Belmont.
Rocker (10-5) also had 19 strikeouts, breaking Vanderbilt’s NCAA Tournament program record of 17 set by David Price in 2007. Rocker tossed 131 pitches, well beyond his career high of 105. But he never labored or seemed to break rhythm.
“It was a historic performance by a young man who took our team and put us on his back,” Corbin said. “In 17 years I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.