The last time Nathan Thornhill took the hill for Texas in Omaha, he didn't give up a run until the eighth inning but still got pegged with a tough-luck loss against UC Irvine. But the offense picked him up Friday afternoon, as Thornhill guided Texas to a 4-0 win against Vanderbilt to stave off elimination.
The Longhorns and Commodores will play a win-or-go-home showdown Saturday at 8 p.m. ET to decide who moves on to the national championship series.
On the other side of the bracket, Ole Miss and Virginia barely got into the second inning before lightening and heavy rain forced a postponement. The game will resume on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET with Virginia batting in the top of the second with men on first and second and no outs.
Thornhill was dominant in his eight innings against Vandy, allowing six hits and no runs while striking out five. Texas didn't allow a runner past second base for the second consecutive game and haven't allowed a run in their last 19 innings.
It was a nightmare start for Commodore starter Tyler Ferguson, who couldn't even get out of the first inning. Immediate control problems led to free passes to the first three batters he faced, loading the bases with no outs.
Ferguson managed a strikeout on the next batter then appeared to have escaped the inning when he coaxed what looked to be a double play ball in the air toward second. But before it made it into the second baseman's glove, the hard hit ball struck the umpire. By rule the ball was immediately dead, resulting in not only a run scored, but no out recorded. That left the bases loaded with one out. Ferguson walked another run home before being pulled from the game.
In the second inning, Texas put together consecutive triples and a squeeze bunt to plate two more runs, pushing the lead to four.
Thornhill kept it there for the next six innings, and John Curtiss pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close it out.
The winner of Saturday night's game will face the winner of Ole Miss and Virginia (Ole Miss must win two in a row) in the finals. Catch the complete bracket at NCAA.com.