Connor Harrell hit the first CWS home run in the new TD Ameritrade Park to break a sixth-inning tie and three relievers held North Carolina scoreless on three hits the last five innings in the Commodores' 7-3 victory Saturday.
After first baseman Aaron Westlake made a diving stop of Chaz Frank's hard grounder and touched the bag for the final out, there were just the normal handshakes and backslaps behind the pitcher's mound.
The Commodores (53-10) will save the dogpile for, they hope, the championship game in about 10 days.
"That was a big victory for us," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "You never know how you're going to react the first time."
Vanderbilt played as it has for most of the season -- including its knack for scoring big runs with two outs -- and North Carolina (50-15) got a so-so start from Patrick Johnson and left 16 runners on base.
"That's pretty much the tale of the game for us, offensively," North Carolina coach Mike Fox said.
Conrad Gregor tied it with two outs in the sixth with his double off the top of the wall, and Harrell followed with his two-run homer. Two-out singles by Tony Kemp and Anthony Gomez produced two insurance runs in the eighth.
"Coach Corbin told us to prepare like any other game, like another SEC home opener," Kemp said.
FLORIDA 8, TEXAS 4
Brian Johnson and Bryson Smith drove in two runs apiece, Hudson Randall turned in another strong start as Florida (51-17) defeated Texas (49-18).
Johnson's two-out double in the seventh broke open a close game. Smith's second RBI single the next inning gave reliever Nick Maronde a four-run cushion going into the ninth.
Randall (11-3) followed up a terrific eight-inning outing in the super regionals against Mississippi State with another 6w strong innings against the Longhorns, who are in the CWS for a record 34th time.
Randall scattered five hits, walked none and struck out five. Only one of the four runs against him was earned.
Randall, Greg Larson and Maronde limited Texas to five hits, with Maronde earning his third save with two innings of no-hit relief.
Randall retired 13 consecutive batters starting in the third inning. Jacob Felts broke through with a two-out single in the seventh, and Jordan Etier followed with a run-scoring double to cut Florida's lead to 5-4 and bring on Larson.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound right-hander caught Tant Shepherd looking at strike three to end the threat.
Taylor Jungmann (13-3), the Milwaukee Brewers' first-round draft pick, had a third straight rough outing for the Longhorns. He went 4q innings for his shortest start of the season, and four of the five runs against him were earned.
Jungmann, who started the season 13-0, had come into the CWS off losses in his previous two starts.