2021 College World Series: Vanderbilt holds off shorthanded NC State to force Saturday showdown

 Barry Allen   in Baseball

(Vanderbilt Athletics)

The Covid-19 protocols knocked out half the North Carolina State lineup on Friday at the College World Series.

Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker took care of the rest.

Rocker held the Wolfpack to one run on five hits through six innings with 11 strikeouts. 

He struck out the first six NC State hitters and had eight strikeouts the first time through the batting order. 

Rocker is the first pitcher to strike out the first six batters in a CWS game since Virginia’s Danny Hultzen did it against South Carolina in 2011.

He improved to 7-0 in his eight career NCAA Tournament starts.

NC State played the game with only 13 players after 14 players were placed into quarantine due to Covid protocols. 

The Vandy bullpen was dominant again, tossing three scoreless innings and getting out of jams in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

Luke Murphy allowed two hits and walked two batters, but recorded the final seven outs for his ninth save. 

The Wolfpack left the bases loaded in the seventh and stranded two base runners in the eighth and ninth innings. 

NC State left 12 runners on base in the loss. Vandy stranded 13 runners. 

Vandy snapped a scoreless tie with two unearned runs in the fourth inning. CJ Rodriguez had a RBI single and later scored on a wild pitch.

NC State trimmed the lead to 2-1 on a DeAngelo Giles sac fly in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Commodores got a run back on Parker Noland’s RBI single in the sixth. 

The teams will square off again on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the CWS Finals on Monday.