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.