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WATCH: Kumar Rocker leads Vanderbilt past COVID-riddled N.C. State

Jun 25, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores starting pitcher Kumar Rocker (80) pitches in the second inning against the NC State Wolfpack at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores starting pitcher Kumar Rocker (80) pitches in the second inning against the NC State Wolfpack at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt rode its stellar pitching again and survived to fight another day at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on Friday.

The Commodores beat North Carolina State 3-1 — taking advantage of several Wolfpack players missing the game because of COVID-19 protocols — thanks to another standout performance by right-hander Kumar Rocker.

N.C. State had only four pitchers and nine position players available.

“The other guys are getting tested right now,” N.C. State coach Elliott Avent said on the ESPN2 broadcast. “Hopefully with negative tests they’ll be back tomorrow.”

Rocker struck out 11, walked one and allowed five hits and one run through six innings, and Luke Murphy worked a scoreless final 2 1/3 innings to lock down the victory.

The Wolfpack (37-19) and Commodores (48-16) meet again Saturday, with the winner moving to the CWS final series and the loser heading home.

Vanderbilt catcher C.J. Rodriguez singled in the Commodores’ first run in the fourth and scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.

Parker Noland was the only Vanderbilt batter to collect more than one hit, going 2-for-5 including a sixth-inning single that scored Javier Vaz with the team’s third run.

The Wolfpack threatened in the eighth inning when Devonte Brown singled and Carson Falsken drew a one-out walk, but Sam Highfill, who led N.C. State with three hits in the game, struck out, and Eddie Eisert grounded out.

Jonny Butler had a two-out single in the ninth and Luca Tresh walked. But Brown grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.

–Field Level Media