Vanderbilt is one win away from reaching their third College World Series in school history. #6 Illinois will need to record their first-ever Super Regional win to stop them.
The Commodores routed the home team 13-0 in the opening game of the Champaign Super Regional on Saturday, putting Vandy in the driver's seat for the best-of-three series. Another explosive showing at the plate would send Tim Corbin's team to Omaha for a second-straight World Series berth.
The Illini realize the severity of their situation. They'll pull Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Tyler Jay out of the bullpen in order to start tonight's matchup against the defending champions. Vanderbilt won't be intimidated. They touched up Illinois's Kevin Duchene to the tune of seven runs over four innings to give the Illini ace his first loss in nearly three months. They'll hope to have a similar outcome against the left-handed Jay this evening.
Six Commodores had multiple hits last night as the visitors found holes throughout the Illini defense. Seven different players drove in runs. That 13-0 landslide continued a streak of unprecedented NCAA Tournament scoring for Vanderbilt; they've beaten their last four opponents by a combined score of 49-5 since losing the SEC Tournament final against Florida two weeks ago.
Tonight's game gets started at 5pm CST. You can watch it live on ESPNU. We'll be here in the comments to discuss whether or not it's a good idea to throw your All-American closer into the mix as a starter.
Vanderbilt: Philip Pfeifer (4-4. 4.21 ERA, 101 Ks in 77 innings)
Illinois: Tyler Jay (5-1, 0.60, 70 Ks in 60.1 innings)