Connor Harrell hit a three-run home run, and Taylor Hill allowed four hits in seven innings as Vanderbilt avoided elimination with a 5-1 victory Thursday over North Carolina at the College World Series.
Harrell made it 4-0 when he drove a ball out to left center in the bottom of the second for his second home run of the tournament. His first broke a 3-3 tie and put Vanderbilt ahead of North Carolina to stay in the tournament’s first game.
Curt Casali made it 5-0 with a solo blast in the third.
The Commodores have hit three home runs in four CWS games at TD Ameritrade Park. The other seven teams in the field have combined for two.
Hill allowed four hits (two singles and two doubles) walked four and struck out four on a season-high 126 pitches in the latest of a string of strong postseason performances. The senior right-hander has allowed five runs and struck out 25 in his last three outings — the SEC Tournament, the NCAA regional and now the CWS.
Corey Williams pitched the final two innings and did not allow a hit.
With the victory, Vanderbilt advances to face Florida for the second time in the tournament and the sixth time this season. The Commodores need victories on Friday (1 p.m., ESPN) and Saturday (time, network TBD) in order to advance to the best-of-three championship series. They are eliminated with one defeat.
The Gators have won four of five against VU, including 3-1 in a second-round game that started Monday and finished Tuesday following a rain delay.
The three SEC teams in the field (South Carolina is the other) are a combined 6-1.
Harrell finished 2-for-3 and Conrad Gregor was 2-for-2 with a walk as Vanderbilt outhit North Carolina 8-4. Tony Kemp led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on an Anthony Gomez sacrifice fly.
The Tar Heels’ only extra-base hits were doubles by catcher Jacob Stallings, son of Vanderbilt men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings.