NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Illinois hung with No. 3 Vanderbilt for seven innings, but a disastrous eighth did the Fighting Illini in on Saturday night as the Commodores rallied for a 10-4 victory in an NCAA Regional baseball game..
The Fighting Illini entered the seventh trailing just 5-4 despite being out-hit 12-4 at that point, but two big errors helped Vandy turn four singles -- two that never left the infield -- into five runs.
Trouble started when Vandy catcher Spencer Navin singled to right to open the inning and Jack Lupo bunted for a hit. Speedy Tony Kemp followed by laying down a bunt that Illinois first baseman David Kerian fielded but then flipped a throw over the head of second baseman Reid Roper, who was covering first, into foul territory in right.
Two runs scored and Kemp wound up on third. He came home on Xavier Turner's looper to right. Turner later scored on a botched rundown by the IIllini on a ground ball hit back to pitcher J.D. Nielsen.
The Illini led 4-2 after four innings and chased Vanderbilt ace Tyler Beede. Illinois's runs came on an RBI ground-out by Justin Parr, a sacrifice fly by Parr, a single by Brandon Hohl and a Beede wild pitch that brought in Davis Hendrickson.
Vandy freshman flame-thrower Carson Fulmer came on to replace Beede in the fifth and shut down Illinois with a nasty slider and a mid-90s fastball. He threw five scoreless innings to pick up the victory, fanning four and walking two.
Illinois was out-hit 17-5.
Illinois starter John Kravetz (5-3) took the loss. The sophomore had six strikeouts and no walks, but after giving up just one hit the first time though the Vandy batting order, he allowed eight more hits before exiting with one out in the fifth.
The Illini play at 2 p.m. CT Sunday against Georgia Tech in an elimination game. Illinois beat Tech 6-4 on Friday.