Taylor Sparks hit his nation-leading ninth triple of the season during UC Irvine’s three-run eighth inning on Saturday in the Anteaters’ 3-1 victory against Texas in the opening game of the College World Series.
Texas starter Nathan Thornhill (8-3), 13th round draft pick by the Phillies, held the Anteaters silent for seven innings, holding onto a 1-0 lead. Evan Brock (9-6) earned the win, pitching 2.1 innings of no-hit relief and striking out the side in the ninth for UC Irvine.
Texas scored its only run in the second inning on a squeeze play.
In Saturday’s second game, Dansby Swanson doubled in two runs and Adam Ravenelle pitched 2.1 innings of shutout relief to help Vanderbilt beat Louisville 5-3.
Louisville’s pitching staff issued nine walks and two wild pitches, one resulting in a run. Vandy jumped out to a 4-0, and a passed ball cut their lead to 4-3 in the seventh inning.
Louisville, the only returning team from the 2013 CWS, came to Omaha having won their past three against the Commodores. The Cardinals swept them in Super Regionals last year and beat them again last month.
Louisville plays Texas in an elimination game on Monday afternoon. UC Irvine and Vandy play in the winner’s bracket.