Four Super Regional series kicked off across college baseball on Friday as the NCAA draws closer to naming a 2021 College World Series champion.
None of the four series lacked star power, brand-name programs or offense as Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Stanford and Arizona all cruised to Game 1 victories. All super regional matchups are best-of-three series, with all four winners on Friday one win away from a trip to Omaha.
Here's a look at how the action played out across the bracket on Friday.
Friday Super Regional Results
Nashville Super Regional: Vanderbilt def. East Carolina, 2-0 (Vandy leads series 1-0)
Fayetteville Super Regional: Arkansas def. NC State, 21-2 (Arkansas leads series 1-0)
Lubbock Super Regional: Stanford def. Texas Tech, 15-3 (Stanford leads series 1-0)
Tucson Super Regional: Arizona def. Ole Miss, 9-3 (Arizona leads series 1-0)
Full bracket available via NCAA.com
Vanderbilt def. East Carolina, 2-0
Commodores starter Kumar Rocker continues to prove he's worthy of a top pick in this summer's MLB Draft, tossing 7.2 innings with three hits, no runs allowed and 11 strikeouts, lowering his career postseason ERA to 1.58 with 72 strikeouts in eight games while picking up his 13th victory of the season.
MLB Pipeline ranks Rocker as the No. 5 overall prospect in this year's draft class and he continued to show why against East Carolina. The righty tossed 117 pitches with 72 of them going for strikes.
“[Rocker] gives us what we need at the time that we need it,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “This is a certainly a situation at the end of the year where you know that games are important and they’re closely-contested and there’s very little difference between teams. You need guys that are willing to get out there and leave it on the field. He’s done that continually."
Catcher CJ Rodriguez and Javier Vaz both went 2-for-3 at the plate with the former setting up his teammate for an RBI in the second inning on a ground out to put Vandy up 1-0.
Dominic Keegan brought home an insurance run another a fielder's choice in the eighth inning as ECU's Gavin Williams took the loss despite twirling 7.1 innings with 13 strikeouts.
Stanford def. Texas Tech, 15-3
Rocker and Williams were far from the only pitchers who dazzled on Friday. Stanford's Brendan Beck proved equally difficult to touch, going 7.1 innings with 13 strikeouts on six hits with one walk and two earned runs.
Before Lubbock Super Regional host Texas Tech could even attempt to catch up to Beck's stuff, the Red Raiders found themselves down 4-0 in the bottom of the first. Senior Tim Tawa uncorked a solo home run in the second at-bat of the game in what would be the first of five dingers between the two teams combined on the day.
The Cardinal scored two more in the sixth inning, five in the seventh, three in the eighth and one more in the ninth for good measure as TTU cycled through pitchers.
The Red Raiders used seven arms in Game 1 as starter Chase Hampton lasted just 3.2 innings with four earned runs on five hits allowed.
Arkansas def. NC State, 21-2
No team put on more of an offensive explosion than Arkansas, which couldn't help but score in bunches as the Razorbacks posted just three frames without a run on Friday.
Charlie Welch delivered a third-inning grand slam to crack the game wide open and turn a 3-1 Hogs lead into a 7-1 blowout. It would only get worse for the Wolfpack from there.
Arkansas hit four home runs on the night as Welch went 3-for-4 at the plate with four runs, two walks and four RBI. Amazingly the most productive bat in the lineup belonged to the man hitting behind him. Robert Moore went 4-for-5 with five runs, five RBI and one walk as sophomore starter Patrick Wicklander tossed six innings with six strikeouts and one earned run to grab the win.
The Wolfpack trotted out seven pitchers on Friday, with all but one, Andrew Tillery, tagged for an earned run.
Arizona def. Ole Miss, 9-3
A comeback in the desert closed out the day.
After Ole Miss went up 3-0 in the top of the first inning, the Rebels were held without a run for the rest of the evening as Arizona chipped away at the lead before taking its own.
With a run in each of the first two frames, the Wildcats finally knotted things up at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth—with Tony Bullard launching two solo shots over the fence—setting up Jacob Berry's two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to help U of A surge ahead.
Riley Cooper picked up the win, going 2.1 innings with no runs allowed, no hits and one walk in relief.
The Super Regionals continue on Saturday with eight games on tap beginning at noon ET with Virginia-Dallas Baptist on ESPNU and Vanderbilt-ECU on ESPN2.