May 30, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Delivering one of the finest outings of his career, Tyler Beede didn't need much offensive support on Friday night.
The Commodores supplied plenty of it anyway.
Beede struck out a career-high 14 batters over eight scoreless innings, and the Vanderbilt offense erupted for seven runs in the sixth inning as the top-seeded Commodores zoomed past No. 4 seed Xavier, 11-0, in their NCAA Tournament opener at Hawkins Field.
The victory sends Vanderbilt (42-18) into a Saturday night matchup (7 p.m.) against Oregon, which blasted Clemson, 18-1, in the first game of the day in the Nashville Regional. Xavier (29-28) will face Clemson in an elimination game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The start of Friday night's game was delayed nearly two hours due to lightning, but the wait didn't seem to bother Beede (8-7), who limited Xavier to four hits -- three singles and a double -- during his dominating outing.
The long delay also didn't seem to effect the Commodore offense, which tied the program's record for most runs in an NCAA game. Vanderbilt finished with 11 hits and also capitalized on the miscues committed by a quartet of Xavier pitchers. The four Musketeers combined to walk seven batters, plunk four more and throw three wild pitches.
Vanderbilt's John Norwood went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and Xavier Turner was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Bryan Reynolds added two hits and drove in two runs, and Jason Delay scored three times for the Commodores.
But despite all the offensive fireworks, Beede was the real story.
He kept the Xavier hitters badly off balance throughout the night, as evidenced by this stat: 13 of his 14 strikeouts were swinging. He fanned two batters in six separate innings and finished three strikeouts shy of the Vanderbilt NCAA tournament record. (David Price struck out 17 against Austin Peay in 2007).
Beede was lifted after the eighth inning, having thrown 114 pitches (75 for strikes). T.J. Pecoraro worked a scoreless ninth inning to complete Vanderbilt's eighth shutout of the season. Pecoraro recorded one strikeout, giving the Commodores a season-high 15 strikeouts for the game.
Beede was locked in a pitcher's duel with Xavier's Vinny Nittoli for the early part of the game, and the Commodores -- who are making their ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament -- owned a shaky 2-0 lead at the end of five innings.
Then the Commodores got rolling. They sent 12 batters to the plate during their eventful seven-run rally in the sixth, which was fueled by four hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly, a hit by pitch and two wild pitches.
Nittoli took the loss, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits. He walked four and struck out three.
The Commodores broke open a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth on Turner's RBI single to right field. Vince Conde, who reached base on a one-out walk and moved to second when Zander Weil was hit by a pitch, scored from second on Turner's hit.
The Commodores added another run in the fifth when Delay scored from third on a wild pitch with two outs. Delay, batting ninth in the Commodore lineup, connected for a one-out single and moved to third on Bryan Reynolds' two-out double to set up the run.
NOTES: Vanderbilt improved to 33-26 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 9-3 in the regional round over the past four seasons. ... Vanderbilt is now 5-2 all-time against Xavier.