NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Xavier Musketeers must have wondered what hit them in their NCAA baseball tournament opener Friday night.
It wasn't the lightning that delayed the start of the game for nearly two hours.
It was the Vanderbilt offense that put up nine runs over the sixth and seventh innings and turned a close game into an 11-0 rout.
Xavier (29-28) plays Clemson (36-24) at 2 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN3) in the losers' bracket of the double-elimination tourney, while the host Commodores (42-18) play Oregon (43-18) in the winner's bracket. Oregon clobbered Clemson 18-1 Friday afternoon.
Xavier will face Clemson's top pitcher, right-hander Daniel Gossett (7-1, 1.78 ERA). The Musketeers would have to win four straight games Saturday and Sunday to reach the super-regional round of 16 next weekend.
Vanderbilt right-hander Tyler Beede, expected to be a top pick in next week's major league draft, allowed three hits and walked one in eight innings.
Beede (8-7) struck out a career-high 14 with an overpowering 95-mph fastball that topped out at 97.
Xavier had only four hits and put only six on base.
Xavier starter Vinny Nittoli (6-4) was knocked out in Vanderbilt's seven-run sixth inning after allowing five runs on six hits and four walks. The Musketeers used four pitchers.
Nittoli matched Beede through the first three innings, but then Nittoli gave up a walk and hit a batter in the fourth. Vandy's Xavier Turner poked an RBI double that clipped the top of Joe Forney's glove.
A single, double and wild pitch in the fifth resulted in the Commodores' second run.
Then the floodgates opened.
Nittoli allowed John Norwood's RBI single, jump-starting the Commodores' sixth. Vanderbilt used 12 batters against three pitchers, and reliever Eric Stiene gave up a run on a balk before he even threw a pitch.
Xavier's best scoring opportunities came in the third and eighth innings. Stephen Schoettmer and Michael Moore delivered consecutive one-out singles in the third. But a strikeout and fly out ended the opportunity.
Moore doubled with two outs in the eighth and Mitch Elliott followed with a walk. But that was that.
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