Vanderbilt once again avoided elimination and is now one win away from making it to the College World Series finals. The Commodores defeated a COVID-depleted NC State team 3-1, handing the Wolfpack their first loss of the CWS. Vanderbilt and NC State will play again Saturday for a spot in the CWS championship series.

Star pitcher Kumar Rocker turned in another gem for the Vandy Boys. Rocker’s line in the win was 6IP, 5H, ER, 11K on 111 pitches.

Vanderbilt’s CJ Rodriguez broke the scoring ice in the top of the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single, plating Keegan. Rodriguez would score the second run of the inning, crossing the plate on a wild pitch.

NC State got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a sac fly. It was the only run allowed by Kumar Rocker.

The Dores answered in the top of the sixth. Parker Noland singled to left field, plating Javier Vaz to make it a two-run game again at 3-1 VU.

Vanderbilt used three pitchers in the seventh inning to contain the Wolfpack threat. Chris McElvain relieved Rocker to start the inning. McElvain faced the first four batters of the inning, retiring two, before being pulled for Hugh Fisher, who hit the only batter he faced, loading the bases. Luke Murphy came on and was able to get the key third out on a pop-up.

Murphy worked his way out of another jam in the eighth. NC State had two on with one out before Murphy recorded a strikeout and a grounder to end the threat and strand the Wolfpack runners to keep it 3-1.

NC State brought the winning run to the plate against Murphy in the bottom of the ninth after Jonny Butler singled to right-center field with two outs. Butler’s single was followed by Tresh drawing a walk, bringing Luca Tresh to the plate. Murphy retried Devonte Brown for the final out on a grounder to short.