After two days of the 2014 College World Series, all of the eight teams in Omaha have played their opening matchups. That means four of them entered Day 3 just one loss away from elimination.
Monday's slate started with Texas and Louisville facing off in the losers bracket. After both the Cardinals and Longhorns lost their opening matchups on Saturday, the loser of Monday's game saw their season come to an end.
That's not all that's on tap for Monday, though, as Vanderbilt and UC Irvine face off in the winners bracket for a spot in the semifinals.
Let's break down the Day 3 results.
|2014 College World Series: Day 3|
|Game No.||Matchup/Result||Time (ET)||TV|
|5||Texas 4, Louisville 1||-||ESPN2|
|6||Vanderbilt 6, UC Irvine 4||-||ESPN2|
Day 3 Results
Texas 4, Louisville 1
The Texas Longhorns entered Monday with their backs against the wall in an elimination game, but they stood tall and brisked past the Louisville Cardinals in a 4-1 victory.
NCAA Baseball captured the result:
Parker French was the hero for Texas. The Longhorns' starter pitched 7.1 innings, allowing just four hits and keeping Louisville's bats at bay long enough to preserve the victory. His only earned run came after leaving the mound in the eighth with a three-run lead.
French had to outduel another ace on the mound for Louisville. Anthony Kidston got the start for the Cardinals and pitched a masterful eight innings, allowing just six hits and striking out five.
But as far as keeping runners off the basepaths, he was far from perfect in keeping Texas at bay. In the third inning, the Longhorns struck when Zane Gurwitz scored off a sacrifice fly from Ben Johnson to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
With the Longhorns drawing first blood, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt put Louisville's recent CWS struggles into perspective:
Fielding errors for the Cardinals doomed them in the next inning, as a throwing error to first scored another Texas runner in the fourth to make it 2-0 Longhorns.
Louisville committed yet another error in the fifth, allowing Texas to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Longhorns cruised into the stretch of the game with that lead, but it was far from safe. The Cardinals put two runners in scoring position when French came off the mound for good, as Perfect Game's Kendall Rogers lauded his performance:
French left his team in a jam, but they quickly got out of it and retired the side. In the top half of the ninth, Texas added an insurance run to make it 4-1 and firmly shut the door on any sort of late Louisville opportunity in the bottom of the ninth—effectively ending the Cardinals' season.
Texas head coach Augie Garrido summed up what made the difference in the game, per Texas Baseball:
Texas will now get a shot at redemption, facing the loser of the nightcap between UC Irvine and Vanderbilt. Should UC Irvine lose, the Longhorns will have a chance to eliminate the Anteaters—the team that drew first blood on Texas in the tournament opener.
For Louisville, it's just another chapter in its book of disappointing showings in Omaha.
Vanderbilt 6, UC Irvine 4
A pitcher stole the show in the first winners bracket game of the College World Series, but it wasn't a starter. Vanderbilt's Walker Buehler came on in relief and took over, allowing the Commodore bats to power them to a 6-4 win.
Vandy Baseball captured the team heading to the field to celebrate:
Tyler Beede started the game on the mound for Vanderbilt, but the Commodores ace didn't get off to a strong start to say the least.
Vanderbilt gave him two runs in the top of the first, but Beede conceded four in the second inning as UC Irvine took an early 4-2 lead. After 3.2 innings and Vandy in a hole, Buehler came on in relief.
Immediately upon entering, Buehler shut things down. He pitched 5.1 innings of hit-less action, striking out seven and offering stability to the Vanderbilt defense when it needed it most.
Things were out of whack until Buehler arrived, per ESPNU:
Not only did Buehler's presence shut down the Anteater bats, but it also invigorated the whole team, per 102.5 The Game's Willy Daunic:
In the top half of the fifth, the Commodores finally struck to give Buehler a lead to work with. Two doubles and a single in the fifth brought home three runs to give Vandy the 5-4 lead.
One more insurance run in the seventh, and it was up to Buehler to keep his fastball dominant and his pitches away from UC Irvine batters. He did just that.
UC Irvine's best chance to close the gap late came in the eighth, putting two runners on board. But Buehler struck out his seventh batter to oust the opportunity. That was as close as the Anteaters would get in the closing moments.
After the game, Baseball America's Aaron Fitt was enamored with Buehler's performance:
UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie didn't even think it was as close as it was, per Perfect Game's Kendall Rogers:
It certainly wasn't ideal for Vandy to have to give extensive action to two of its most valuable arms, but with three days off, the Commodores will be able to rest. With two wins in two games, they're sitting pretty and on into the semifinal round.
As for UC Irvine, it will have to rebound for an elimination game. The Anteaters will put their season on the line against Texas, the team that they beat to open up play in Omaha who will be looking for revenge.
Follow Steven Cook on Twitter.