No. 1 Tennessee, 4 other teams lock up NCAA regional titles
Tennessee was right where it was expected to be Sunday night, celebrating an NCAA regional title on its home field and eager to continue one of the most dominant runs in college baseball history.
The No. 1 national seed Volunteers, No. 4 Virginia Tech, No. 5 Texas A&M, Texas and Notre Dame closed out their regionals and advanced to super regionals beginning Friday.
No. 6 Miami was the first top-eight seed eliminated, losing 4-3 to Arizona in Coral Gables, Florida.
Tennessee (56-7) beat Georgia Tech 9-6, never leading until it scored six runs in the ninth inning. Next up is a best-of-three series against Notre Dame.
Virginia Tech broke through for its first regional title, defeating Columbia 7-2 to complete a dominant three-game run. They’ll host Florida or Oklahoma next.
Texas A&M took the lead with a seven-run ninth inning and first-year coach Jim Schlossnagle’s Aggies knocked out TCU, his former team, 15-9. The Aggies will host Louisville or Michigan in supers.
Texas’ Ivan Melendez became the first player to hit 30 homers since San Diego’s Kris Bryant in 2013, connecting in a five-run first inning that sparked a 10-1 victory over Air Force. The Longhorns will play Coastal Carolina or East Carolina.
Notre Dame, which got 7 2/3 strong innings from John Michael Bertrand, is heading to super regionals for the second straight year after edging Texas Tech 2-1.
No. 2 Stanford, Oklahoma State, Maryland, Florida, Louisville, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina, Southern Mississippi and Vanderbilt won Sunday night to set up winner-take-all finals Monday.
Stanford beat Texas State 8-4, with Pac-12 home run leader Carter Graham connecting twice and driving five runs as the Cardinal kept alive their hopes for a third straight super regional.
Roc Riggio and David Mendam each homered and drove in three runs as Oklahoma State avenged Saturday’s meltdown against Arkansas with a 14-10 win.
Nick Lorusso’s bases-loaded single in the 11th inning gave host Maryland a 7-6 walk-off victory over Connecticut, a No. 3 regional seed bidding for its first super regional since 2011.
Carsten Finnvold took over for struggling starter Timmy Manning after three batters and pitched nine innings of relief in host Florida’s 7-2 victory over Oklahoma.
Host Louisville beat Michigan 20-1 to put itself on the cusp of its seventh super regional in nine years.
Nick Parker and Reece Maniscalco combined on a four-hitter as Coastal Carolina rolled past No. 8 East Carolina 9-1. Parker pitched eight innings and struck out 10, both career highs, and allowed three hits.
Host North Carolina beat No. 3 regional seed VCU 19-8 with Vance Honeycutt homering for the ninth time in 10 games.
Justin Storm pitched five innings of two-hit shutout relief to lead host Southern Mississippi past LSU 8-4.
Vanderbilt staved off elimination for the third straight game, beating No. 3 national seed Oregon State 8-1.
Auburn’s final against UCLA was suspended until Monday because of rain with the Tigers leading 9-0 in the sixth.
Prodigious offense once again was on display at regional sites across the country. Another crazy game in Stillwater, Oklahoma, was Example A.
Oklahoma State came back from a 12-0 deficit to beat Missouri State 29-15 in an elimination game. It was the highest-scoring game in tournament history and happened less than 24 hours after the Cowboys blew a 10-5 lead entering the seventh and lost 20-12 to Arkansas.
The Cowboys’ turnabout against the Bears was complete when Griffin Doersching hit a grand slam for a 17-14 lead in the seven-run sixth inning. They pulled away with 12 more runs in the eighth and ninth.
Oklahoma State has scored 65 runs and allowed 50 in four regional games and Nolan McLean has hit five homers.
Last year during regionals, there were an average of 12.84 runs per game (both teams). Through Saturday’s games, the average was 14.57 — and that number will go up after Sunday.
THEN THERE’S TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech managed to score just eight runs in four games. The Red Raiders entered the tournament 10th nationally in scoring at 8.7 runs per game. They hadn’t scored so few runs since they put up five runs in their last four games in 2014.
Florida picked up a huge run in its 6-5 elimination game win over Central Michigan when Josh Rivera stole home for a 5-0 lead in the fifth.
With Mac Guscette on first, the Gators put on a double steal. Chippewas lefty Ryan Palmblad was distracted as Guscette took off, and by the time he turned around to see what was going on, Rivera was sliding across the plate.
It was Florida’s first steal of home since 2018 and Guscette’s first steal in 55 career games.
This is the time of year when teams come up with all sorts of good luck charms. For Southern Mississippi, it’s the “Rally Paddle.”
As the Golden Eagles poured out of the dugout to celebrate Christopher Sargent’s bases-loaded single in the 10th inning to beat Kennesaw State 4-3, reserve infielder Charlie Fischer ran onto the field holding a yellow boat paddle high in the air.
A Southern Miss spokesman said the paddle is used to stir the team’s Powerade mix in the clubhouse. Somehow the paddle found its way to the dugout, and you can be sure it’ll be with the team Monday.
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