TEMPE, Ariz. -- Oklahoma broke open a 3-2 game with four runs in the sixth en route to an 8-5 win over Vanderbilt in the opening game of the Tempe Regional Friday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The Commodores (40-21) fall into the loser's bracket where they will face the loser of tonight's Arizona State-Stony Brook contest tomorrow at 4 p.m. CT/2 p.m. MT.
The Sooners (35-24-1) will take on the winner of the above contest tomorrow night at 9 p.m. CT/7 p.m. MT.
OU starter Andrew Doyle allowed five runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work with two walks and two strikeouts in the winning effort to improve to 9-4 on the year. Chase Anderson pitched 2.2 innings of two-hit scoreless relief to pick up his second save of the year.
Vanderbilt had a 2-1 lead after three, but Oklahoma scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth before pushing through four in the sixth to take a commanding 7-2 lead.
Aaron Baker led off the sixth with a single and moved to third on a double down the left field line by Bryant Hernandez. Matt Harughty singled in a run, Jamie Johnson had a RBI fielder's choice, Mike Gosse added a sacrifice fly RBI and Casey Johnson closed the inning with a RBI single.
The Commodores rallied for three runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to 7-5. Alex Feinberg singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a groundout by Shea Robin. Jonathan White then singled home Feinberg to break a five inning scoreless streak. David Macias capped off the scoring with a two-run homer to right, his ninth round tripper of the year.
Gosse homered to right to push the lead up to 8-5 in the eighth and the Commodores could not cut it any closer as they dropped the opening game in the NCAA tourney for the first time in four appearances (1980).
"It affected the outcome of the game but it didn't determine the game," Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said about the sixth inning. We still got two runs out of it. I thought we had some momentum, at least until the point to where we could come back and capitalize the next inning. We really didn't. Once that inning was over, until the seventh, we didn't get anything going."
Oklahoma took advantage of a throwing error by shortstop Ryan Flaherty in the top of the first to score an unearned run. Lead off batter Jamie Johnson reached on the error and Aljay Davis walked before Mike Gosse's RBI single plated the first run of the game. Casey Johnson then walked to load the bases with no outs off of VU starter Caleb Cotham. He settled down to retire the next three batters in order to end the threat.
The Sooners tied the game up in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Matt Harughty. Jarod Freeman singled to left and Aaron Baker was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Bryant Hernandez bunted the runners over before Harughty's fly ball to center field.
OU took a 3-2 lead in the fifth scoring an unearned run on a RBI groundout by J.T. Wise. Aljay Davis singled to left to lead off the inning and Gosse followed with a single to right that Dominic de la Osa bobbled allowing Davis to move to third. After a strikeout, Wise then hit a sharp grounder to short to bring in Davis.
Cotham (7-6) gave up seven runs, five earned, on nine hits in 5.2 innings with three strikeouts and three walks in the losing effort.
"I felt pretty good," said Cotham when asked about how he felt on the mound. "I just tried to compete and battle. I tried to get some balls in some holes. I left it all out there so I can't really complain."