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NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2011, Vanderbilt Vs. Oregon State: Vandy Advances To College World Series

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NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2011: Vanderbilt Vs. Oregon State: Commodores Crush Beavers

You could argue that Vanderbilt almost didn’t need the first two outs tonight. After all, the Commodores scored 10 of their runs with two men down — about five times as much as they eventually needed in a thumping of Oregon State in the first game of the Nashville Super Regional.

It was just part of what has been a pretty successful postseason for the SEC, which accounts for a quarter of the teams playing right now. Florida cruised past conference-mate Mississippi State in the first game of the Gainesville Super Regional on Friday, with South Carolina preparing to face Connecticut after sweeping through the Columbia Regional.

Oregon State starter Sam Gaviglio started off the evening by giving up four runs in the first inning — again, all with two outs — and the Beavers’ pitching never really recovered. They issued eight walks and gave up two home runs as part of the 11-run Vanderbilt romp.

The Commodores’ Sonny Gray, meanwhile, spun 6.2 innings of four-hit, one-run ball. Corey Williams held down the for for the last 2.1 frames, giving the rest of the bullpen critical rest with the Commodores only needing one more victory to head to Omaha.

So the first game ends exactly the way Vanderbilt would have liked it to and with Oregon State precisely where the Beavers didn’t want to be — with their backs to the walls. Maybe in Game 2, the Commodores will agree to start each game with two outs.

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NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2011: Vanderbilt Vs. Oregon State: Commodores' Lead Keeps Growing, Now 11-1

As we hit the seventh-inning stretch, things aren’t getting any better for Oregon State. Vanderbilt had already scored eight runs by the end of the fourth inning, and has apparently decided not to stop. The Commodores tacked on one run in the fifth with a Conrad Gregor double and Tony Kemp single to take a 9-0 lead.

Then came the home half of the sixth inning, and the Beavers’ dam once again broke. With two outs and one on, Jason Esposito smashed a two-run home run to left field, and suddenly the lead sat at 11-0.

Oregon State did finally end the shutout — and Sonny Gray’s night — in the seventh. Jake Rodriguez singled to drive home Danny Hayes, who had walked and then advanced to second on a ground out. Corey Williams came in and struck out Brian Stamps, leaving Oregon State essentially where they’ve been for several innings now — way behind.

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NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2011: Vanderbilt Vs. Oregon State: Yastrzemski Home Run Widens Vanderbilt Lead

It’s just not Sam Gaviglio’s night. After he managed a couple of innings of scoreless baseball — not effortless, but scoreless — the wheels came off again the Vanderbilt half of the fourth.

Despite a botched bunt attempt with nobody out and runners on first and second, Vanderbilt loaded the bases before Curt Casali grounded out to drive in the first run of the inning. Mike Yastrzemski — yes, he’s one of those Yastrzemskis — followed that up with a three-run home run that gave the Commodores an 8-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Sonny Gray is still pitching a great game for Vanderbilt. Despite a little trouble in the fifth inning, Gray has still held Oregon State to just three hits, and the Beavers are still struggling to get on the board.

It’s not over, even with the de-juiced metal bats that college baseball now uses. But as a man who once played against another Yastrzemski once said, it’s getting late early out there.

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NCAA Baseball Super Regionals 2011: Vanderbilt Vs. Oregon State: Commodores Take Quick 4-0 Lead

The first Super Regional game in Nashville started off quietly enough, with the first five batters retired in order. Then Oregon State's Sam Gaviglio walked Vanderbilt's Aaron Westlake with two outs in the bottom of the first, and things promptly fell apart. The remainder of the inning went walk, single, single, walk, single before Gaviglio managed to finally strike out the inning's ninth batter, Riley Reynolds.

Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray followed that up by getting two groundouts -- five of the six outs have come on the ground; the other was a fly ball -- and it's 4-0 right now in Nashville. Gaviglio did manage to avoid any further damage in the second inning.

For Vanderbilt, which had an SEC-high .857 OPS going into Friday's games, things are starting out pretty much as they would like them to -- and this was the matchup that Oregon State likely felt best about when it came to pitching.

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