CWS: Dominant pitching keeps Texas alive _lowres

Texas' Brooks Marlow celebrates his second-inning triple against Vanderbilt on Friday, June 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Omaha World-Herald, Brendan Sullivan)

OMAHA, Neb. — Augie Garrido’s Texas baseball teams are always built on pitching and defense, and the Longhorns sure are showing it at the College World Series.

Nathan Thornhill and John Curtiss combined for Texas’ second straight shutout, and the Longhorns forced a second-bracket final against Vanderbilt with a 4-0 victory Friday.

The Longhorns (46-20) and Commodores (48-20) will meet again Saturday, with the winner advancing to the best-of-three finals against Virginia or Ole Miss.

For the second game in a row, Texas pitchers didn’t allow a runner past second base. The Longhorns have held opponents scoreless 19 straight innings and have given up four runs in four games in Omaha.

Thornhill left after the eighth inning, having thrown 131 pitches on an 88-degree afternoon against a Vanderbilt team that was set on going deep into counts.

“It was a dominating performance,” Garrido said. “I do think they were trying to run his pitch count up because of the heat to get him out of the game. He has the kind of command where he can capitalize on something like that.”

Texas scored twice in each of the first two innings to lead 4-0, with a couple of the runs crossing the plate as a result of quirky plays. Thornhill took it from there, with Curtis pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Longhorns are batting just .198 at the CWS, but with the pitching staff operating as it is, no one in burnt orange is worried.

Chad Hollingsworth and Travis Duke held UC Irvine scoreless on four hits Wednesday, and Thornhill (9-3) allowed only six singles while leading Texas to its 13th shutout of the season.

Parker French (7-5), who gave up one run in 7.1 innings against Louisville on Monday, will go to the mound against Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Commodores will start Carson Fulmer (7-1), who got the win in the CWS opener vs. Louisville.

LIGHTNING SUSPENDS NIGHTCAP: Friday night’s game between Ole Miss and Virginia was suspended after a lightning delay of 1 hour and 33 minutes.

The game will resume at 2 p.m. Saturday, scoreless in the second inning.