LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Vanderbilt used a four-run second inning and a strong starting pitching performance by senior Nick Christiani to defeat Louisville 8-4 in NCAA tournament action Sunday night at Patterson Stadium.
The win extended the Commodores (37-26) season at least for another day as the teams will play on Monday at 6 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to face Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regionals next weekend.
Christiani (6-6) gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings of work with four strikeouts and two walks. It was the 20th win of his career, tying him with Mike McLochlin for 10th on Vanderbilt's all-time list.
"I am really proud of Nick (Christiani). I just really wanted something good to happen for him. He was the right guy at the right time and he pitched well and kept us in the ballgame. We did a nice job of stopping a tough team in a tough environment."
The Commodores took a 1-0 lead in the first courtesy of three consecutive two-out single by Curt Casali, Steven Liddle and Andrew Giobbi, the latter an infield RBI hit to short.
The Cardinals tied the game in the bottom half on Phil Wunderlich's RBI single to right. Josh Richmond singled to right-center to start the inning and moved to second when Andrew Clark walked. VU starter Nick Christiani narrowly missed giving up a three-run homer to Chris Dominguez who hit a deep fly ball to left that was caught at the fence by Joe Loftus. Wunderlich then hit the two-out single to tie the game at 1-1.
VU took advantage of two errors by the Cardinals in the second to score four runs to take a 5-1 lead. Joe Loftus reached on an error to lead off the inning, Jason Esposito followed with a bunt single back to the pitcher and Riley Reynolds singled up the middle to bring in a run. Brian Harris hit a RBI single through the left side and then Jonathan White followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt that was fielded by Revesz who threw to third for the force. Chris Dominguez dropped the ball at third for the Cards second error of the inning and Curt Casali made them pay with a RBI single to left. Andrew Giobbi capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center to score Harris.
Harris' solo homer in the fourth, his ninth of the year, extended the lead to 6-1.
The Commodores added two more runs in the sixth to push the advantage to 8-1. Riley Reynolds singled and two outs later, Curt Casali walked before Steven Liddle lined an opposite field double to score both runs.
Louisville plated two runs in the sixth to cut the lead to 8-3. Adam Duvall and Andrew Clark singled to lead off the inning and Chris Dominguez walked to load the bases. Phil Wunderlich then grounded into a double play to Reynolds at second base, with Duvall coming into score. Next, Ryan Wright singled through the left side to score Clark and make it 8-3. Christiani then got Jeff Arnold to strike out to end the inning.
The Cardinals added another run in the eighth on a RBI single by Wunderlich to cut the lead to 8-4. They had runners on first and third with one out when Chase Reid entered the game in relief of Drew Hayes. Reid struck out Ryan Wright and pinch hitter Alec Lowery to end the threat.
He continued his clutch pitching into the ninth striking out John Dao and Drew Haynes before getting Josh Richmond to ground out to short to end the game. Reid picked up his second save in his last two outings and finished with 1.2 innings of hitless work with four strikeouts.
Vanderbilt 140 102 000 - 8 12 1
Louisville 100 002 010 - 4 8 3
Christiani, Hayes (7), Reid (8) and Giobbi. Revesz, Mathis (4), Holland (7) and Arnold, Cheesebrough. W- Christiani 6-6, L- Revesz 4-2. Sv- Reid (2). HR: VU: Harris (9)