Fans came into Saturday's Super Regional game between Vanderbilt and #6 Illinois expecting a pitcher's duel. They ending up watching a one-sided fireworks show instead.
Vanderbilt jumped all over Illini starter Kevin Duchene and took advantage of the home team's mistakes to roll Illinois 13-0 in game one of the Champaign Super Regional. Vandy starter Carson Fulmer shook off a rocky start to hold Illinois scoreless in 6.1 strong innings on the mound.
The Commodores struck quickly to silence a home crowd that clocked in at over two times the listed capacity of Illinois Field. Duchene walked in the first run of the game before allowing a Bryan Reynolds single and a Jeren Kendall RBI groundout to give the visitors a 3-0 lead three outs into this game. They got one more in the third when Will Toffey scored on a Duchene balk.
Vanderbilt doubled up their lead in the fifth inning when Duchene threw a Kendall bunt wide of first base to open the floodgates for the Commodores. Another RBI groundout, a run via catcher obstruction, and a Rhett Wiseman single pushed three more runs across to make it 8-0 Vandy after five. Tyler "Mr. June" Campbell added a solo home run in the seventh - just his second of the year - to make it 9-0 'Dores. A two-run Kendall blast in the ninth and a two-run Kyle Smith double capped the Vandy scoring at 13 runs for the game.
Fulmer found his groove in the middle innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Head coach Tim Corbin left his starter in the game despite a triple-digit pitch count and had to squirm as his ace put two runners on base with one out. Collin Snider entered in relief and induced an inning-ending double play to keep Fulmer's shutout performance intact. Ryan Johnson came into to close out the final two innings in the win.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8pm CST. If Vanderbilt wins, they'll punch a return trip to Omaha for the College World Series. If Illinois wins they'll face a deciding game three on Monday night.