NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Freshman Kumar Rocker pitched the eighth no-hitter in NCAA Tournament history striking out a career-high 19 as Vanderbilt beat Duke 3-0 Saturday night to force the Nashville Super Regional to a deciding third game.
Rocker tied his previous career best through five innings with 10 strikeouts, and his slider worked so well he retired 13 of 15 Duke batters. He struck out four in the fifth with one striking out only to reach first on a wild pitch. Rocker (10-5) had not thrown more than 105 pitches in a game, but he came out for the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side swinging.
He walked only two on 131 pitches with 89 of those strikes.
It was the first no-hitter in the NCAA tournament since Florida's Jonathon Crawford shut out Bethune-Cookeman on June 1, 2012.
Now Vanderbilt (53-11) will play Duke on Sunday trying to reach its fourth College World Series and first since 2015, while the Blue Devils (35-26) haven't been since 1961.
Rocker hit the second batter he faced with a pitch near the left eye of centerfielder Kennie Taylor. He went down in pain with the sellout crowd silent while trainers treated him. Fans gave him a standing ovation when Taylor sat up, then stayed silent until he stood up and walked off the field.
Taylor was back in the dugout icing the left side of his face by the eighth inning. TV announcers said he had gotten X-rays and a CT scan at the hospital.
Damon Lux replaced him as a runner, and Rocker struck out Matt Mervis with Philip Clarke throwing out Lux at second.
Bryce Jarvis, MVP of the Morgantown Regional after striking out 11 for Duke, grew up a Vanderbilt fan in Franklin south of Nashville. Jarvis got the first two outs of the fifth, then Ethan Paul singled. Paul stole second, then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Jarvis. He scored when Philip Clarke poked a single into right field for the first run of the game.
Pat DeMarco thought he had a 2-run home run to follow only to be robbed by Lux with a great catch at the wall .
Rocker struck out side in fifth inning to tie his career-high with 10 strikeouts, though Ethan Murray reached base on a pitch Clarke couldn't handle. That also set a Vanderbilt record for most strikeouts in a super-regional game, topping Carson Fulmer's nine against Stanford in 2014.
Vanderbilt added two in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Scott and a squeeze bunt by Julian Infante.
Jarvis (5-2) struck out nine through seven innings taking the loss.
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Henry Walker of the Aggies beats a throw to first base, which is manned by Charles Eyer in a photo published June 12, 1954.
Blair's Helen Rasmussen displays the CWS trophy in a photo published May 20, 1951.
This photo of Oklahoma State — then Oklahoma A&M — was taken during the 1954 College World Series.
Colorado State's big batters await their game in June 1955. Left to right: Lucas, Petersen, Lee and Hoien.
Cougar coach Buck Bailey and Captain Jerry Martin are greeted by CWS Queen Jody White in a photo published June 8, 1956.
Myers, Reed, Taylor and Sudderth — Texans that banked on pitching experience. This photo was published May 30, 1957.
Notre Dame's Duffy, Hurley, Cusack, Kohorst, Giarrantana, Senecal, Carideo, Johnson, Buinowski prepare for a game against Iowa State in a photo published June 8, 1957.
Coach Frank Sancet congratulates Arizona pitcher Donnie Lee, who brought a 13-0 mark into the 1956 CWS.
Janice Daly, a woman from Western Michigan, met Bob Mason, left, and Dick Sosnowski, in a photo published June 13, 1958.
Arizona State Coach Winkles took a victory ride.
Ringel of Holy Cross gets big welcome after two-run homer in a photo published June 16, 1958.
Arizona's Bob Wilson went high at first base and failed to land in time to catch Bob Andrew, Oklahoma State, in a photo published June 16, 1959.
Arizona pitchers Burdette Morago, left, Bob Encinas, Dave Baldwin, Norm Popkin and Jim Ward on June 12, 1959.
Happy Texas players gather around to greet Kal Segrist after his three-run homer in 1950.
Wixson, left, holds court for Oklahoma City writer Volney Meece, Coach Greene and World-Herald writer Robert Williams. The photo was published June 16, 1960.
A trio of players kneel. From left: Ron Causton, Larry Molsather, North Carolina's Larry Craver, in a photo published June 15, 1960.
Jubilant Arizona mates congratulated Ward (third from right) after he struck out 16 to tie an Omaha record. The photo was published June 11, 1960.
Engstrom, left, and Scott, have differing reactions in a photo published June 21, 1960.
Southern Cal players were caught smiling in 1960. From left: Dick Matern, Larry Himes, Coach Dedeaux.
In a photo published June 6, 1961, five players pose. Martin and Pellagrini stand in back, with, from left, Robinson, Kilroy and Coyle kneeling.
This photo featuring Dedeaux, left, and Hollowell, was published on June 17, 1963. The duo combined for four homers and nine RBIs in the CWS.
Ken Flanagan twisted to score Santa Clara's first run in 1962. Onlookers include catcher Joe Merullo and umpire Lew Weyer in a photo published June 17, 1962.
In a photo published June 16, 1963, Grant Hagwood, left, and Bob Gauna, both Arizonans, play a game.
Minnesota's Dick McCullough, left, and Archie Clark were caught in the rain in 1964.
Ringside seat for rain watching in 1964. From left: Minnesota's Duane Markus, Frank Broseau and Reni Valenciano.
Missouri's Woods, left, and Price peruse some magazines in 1964.
Mississippi's Mattina, left, and Higginbotham warm up with shuffleboard in 1964.
Suzy stands with Ole Miss's Larry Higginbotham, left, and Hancock in 1964.
Teammate and trainer Jack Ward helped Rees to dugout after being hit by a pitch in a photo published June 12, 1964.
Don Moucka, president of the Omaha Suburban Baseball Association, left , and Lloyd Martin, Little League player agent, back, distribute ticket coupons to brothers John and Jim North in 1965.
Schaefer, left, and Penders produced 40 percent of UConn's RBIs in 1965.
Julie Ann Proskocil, a Creighton student, left, and Nan Kristine Isaacson, a UNO student, were voted, respectively, the princess and queen of the 1965 College World Series.
1967 baseball smiles. From left: Janice Simmons, Janice Blauer, Q.V. Lowe and Mr. and Mrs. Scotty Long.
In this photo published June 17, 1967, Houston's dugout is featured.
Queen Michele Marqua "hides" behind 152 discarded baseballs in a photo published June 18, 1967.
CWS Queen Michele Marqua drew the names of the winners in 1967 World-Herald Bat Boy Contest.
The Buckeyes' Rein checked the rain situation before Ohio State's game in June 1966.
Cowboy Ron McCord scored in the eighth inning on pitcher Wally Gross' wild throw to catcher John Zarzocki in 1966.
David Hall of Texas proved a long reach can be helpful in 1968's 7-0 elimination of BYU. He apparently misjudged his dive back to first, but used his hand to regain the base ahead of a throw to Doug Howard.
Southern Cal's Bill Seinsoth dove in from the rear to tag Al Matson just before Redman reached first base. Pitcher Jim Barr tossed ball and applied brakes to avoid a collision after fielding a drag bunt. This photo was published June 14, 1968.
1968 bat girls From left: Michele Martin, Diana Tuel, Linda Svoboda, Christy Gee.
New York University has made two College World Series appearances. In this photo, from NYU's 1969 CWS, Jones, Marino and Coach Geracioti are pictured.
In this photo published June 6, 1969, Longhorns freshman Burt Hooton, a "strikeout wizard," is pictured.
Iowa State's Bob Case, left and Ray Wood, in a photo published June 14, 1970.
Iowa State's Larry Corrigan takes a futile belly slide. Dartmouth's Tim Hannigan kicks the plate on a force play and moves aside as the Cyclone creates a dust storm in the 1970 CWS.
Umpire Gus Steiner makes emphatic "out" signal as Ohio catcher Malcolm Smoot retains the ball while meeting the sliding contact from Longhorn Jack Miller in the 1970 CWS.
Southern Cal Coach Rod Dedeaux leads A cheer after a win in 1970.
A moment of glory for Delaware. Texas batsman David Hall looks on as ump Doug Cossey calls Lou Bagwell out on attempted steal of home as Dave Willard took an accurate throw from second base following a successful first half of a double steal in 1970.
Here's a shot of the 1970 College World Series crowd.
Texas baseball followers have had more ups than downs during the College World Series.
Umpire Bill Stewart listened patiently as Tulsa coach Gene Shell argued in vain on "out" call in 1971.
Out at the plate! Souther California's Frank Alfano tried to stretch a triple into a home run, but was tagged out by Tulsa catcher Mike Pemberton. The umpire pictured is Don Gust in a photo published June 16, 1971.
Umpire Doug Cossey grimaces in the 1972 College World Series heat.
Reggie Tredway jumped, steadied himself on the grandstand railing and made the catch. Harvard rivals look on in grudging admiration in 1971.
Keith Rosnovsky is pictured cheering for the Longhorns in 1972.
Clint Myers scored for Arizona State, who doubled in the second inning and was brought home by Jerry Mentlo's double. Teammate John Sain signaled no need to slide as Trojan catcher Sam Ceci stood by in 1972.
Texas catcher Bill Berryhill, left, threw throw to pitcher Jimmy Brown, who was covering at home. Runner Steve Dillard, of Mississippi, raced home safely after advancing on Brown's wild pitch in 1972.
Southern Cal Coach Rod Dedeaux protests call in 1972.
It must be the seventh inning. This unidentified fan had his picture published on June 11, 1973.
One treat wasn't enough for Denise Williamson in 1973.
Doug Keiser made plenty of noise in the 1973 CWS.
A western hat made Texas Norman Miner easy to spot in a contingent of Longhorn rooters in 1973.
A Georgia Southern quartet relaxed outside Blackstone Hotel in 1973. From left: John Tamargo, Rolando DeArmas, Steve Daniel and Keathel Chaucey.