NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Xavier baseball team exploded for a 13-run inning on the way to the biggest victory in Musketeer diamond history Saturday afternoon.
A 15-1 win over heavily-favored Vanderbilt in their NCAA tournament opener sent them into the winners' bracket against Cal-Santa Barbara. But another rainout Saturday night pushed the game back to 3 p.m. ET Sunday. The loser will play Washington (33-22) at 9 p.m. ET after Washington eliminated 11th-ranked Vanderbilt 9-8 on Saturday.
A win over UCSB (39-18-1) would put Xavier (31-28) in the driver's seat, needing only one win in two remaining games to advance out of the regional for the first time in three trips to the NCAA tournament.
Xavier nursed a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning against Vanderbilt (43-18), the top seed in the four-team regional and considered the class of the field. It won the College World Series two years ago and was runner-up last year, and was playing on its home field.
Then the earth shook. The Musketeers batted around twice, led by a grand slam from Rylan Bannon. They had six hits and took advantage of four walks and two errors against three Vanderbilt pitchers.
Xavier lefty Zac Lowther gave up four hits and three walks in seven innings and matched his career high with eight strikeouts.
Vanderbilt's losses came two days after freshman pitcher Donny Everett drowned while fishing with teammates Thursday. The Commodores left a spot open in memory of Everett during pregame introductions and had his jersey in the dugout.