The defending national champions have taken Game 1 of the Champaign Super Regional. The Illinois Fighting Illini (50-9-1) played an uncharacteristically sloppy game as they lost the series opener to the Vanderbilt Commodores (46-19) by a final of 13-0. Vanderbilt's Carson Fulmer notched his 13th victory of the season while Illinois ace Kevin Duchene took the loss. The Commodores are now one win away from advancing to the 2015 College World Series.
Illini starter Kevin Duchene started things off with a strikeout, but it quickly went down hill from there. He allowed the next three Commodores to reach base before issuing a bases-loaded walk. Back-to-back hits by Bryan Reynolds and Jeran Kendall followed to give Vanderbilt an early 3-0 lead. Illinois had an opportunity to score in the bottom half of the first with runners on the corners and no outs, but they came away empty after an inning-ending double play.
Vanderbilt extended the hole in the third inning thanks to several Illinois mistakes. After reaching base on an error, Reynolds scored on a balk by Duchene to give the Commodores a 4-0 lead.
Duchene was eventually chased in the top of the 5th inning in what was perhaps his worst outing of the season. Sophomore RHP Cody Sedlock came on in relief, but Vanderbilt managed to tally four more runs in the top half of the inning. Tyler Campbell then proceeded to belt a solo home run in the seventh to increase the Commodore lead to 9-0.
The Illini bats had absolutely no answer for Carson Fulmer. The opposing ace logged 5 strikeouts and allowed just four hits in 6.1 scoreless innings of work. Illinois 'threatened' after he exited the game, but the Commodore relievers managed to preserve the shutout.
For good measure, Vanderbilt tacked on another four runs of support in the top of the ninth.
Super Regional Game 2
Game 2 of the Champaign Super Regional will take place on Sunday, June 7th at 8:00pm CT. Like Saturday, the contest will be broadcasted live on ESPNU.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Due to impending weather… Tonight’s Champaign Super Regional game time has been moved to 6 PM ET (5 PM CT), still on <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNU">@ESPNU</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RoadToOmaha?src=hash">#RoadToOmaha</a></p>— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) <a href="https://twitter.com/NCAACWS/status/607583574624071681">June 7, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The pitching matchup hasn't been announced yet, but there's probably a good chance that star LHP Tyler Jay (5-1, 0.60 ERA) will make his second start of the year for the Illini. Look for either Philip Pfeifer (4-4, 4.21 ERA) or Walker Buehler (4-2, 2.97 ERA) to take the bump for Vanderbilt.
Despite the contest being played in Champaign, Vanderbilt will be designated as the 'home team' after winning a coin flip on Friday--they'll also be the home team for Game 3 should the series be extended to Monday.