Virginia (42-13) meets Princeton (27-18) at 7 p.m. ET in Friday's other first-round game. The winner of this weekend's three-day double-elimination tournament advances to Super Regional play, with a chance to advance to the College World Series in Omaha June 18-28.
The Commodores arrived in Charlottesville Wednesday in preparation for the weekend series. Vanderbilt practiced Thursday afternoon at Davenport Field, then attended a dinner held for all of the participating teams.
Between those two events, Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin met with the media at a press conference.
"They referred to this region as the SAT region on ESPN, and I take take that as a compliment," Corbin said. "You have four schools here that all have true student-athletes, and I think there is something to be said about that."
For Vanderbilt, the NCAA appearance is its first since 1980.
"It's been 20 years since Vanderbilt has been to a regional. It was a goal of ours to get here and try to do something.
"We've had a good year. We have three seniors and a mix of quality juniors. They have been here for three years and haven't had a winning season, so it was special for them going 42-17.
"We played consistent baseball all season. Out of our 17 losses, 12 were by two runs or less. We have played well, pitched well, played good defense and hit opportunistically. We are glad to be a part of this, and we will play as well as we can and represent Vanderbilt."
Schedule of games (All times Eastern)
Friday, June 4
3 pm - Game One - George Mason vs. Vanderbilt
7 pm - Game Two - Princeton vs. Virginia
Saturday, June 5
11 am - Game Three - Loser Game One vs. Loser Game Two
3 pm - Game Four - Winner Game One vs. Winner Game Two
7 pm - Game Five - Loser Game Four vs. Winner Game Three
Sunday, June 6
1 pm - Game Six - Winner Game Four vs. Winner Game Five
6 pm - If necessary