IRVINE, Calif.—I speculated earlier that UC Irvine might start closer Eric Pettis today, as the junior righthander has thrown just 15 pitches all weekend (all on Friday), and he’s worked extended outings many times in his career. But Anteaters coach Mike Gillespie opted to go with lefty Noel Avison against Virginia, saving Pettis for either relief work tonight or a potential start tomorrow. Avison has looked pretty good so far, but Virginia got to him for a run in the fourth on Franco Valdes’ RBI double down the left-field line.
Virginia senior righty Andrew Carraway has been stellar so far, holding the Anteaters hitless through the first three innings. He allowed a one-out single in the fourth, then made a beautiful play on a Ronnie Schaeffer nubber down the third-base line, whirling and firing a strike to first base for the second out of the inning. Sitting here in the bleachers again, I overheard an Irvine fan behind me say, "Nice play! Jeez, man, they don’t make any errors!"
Jeff Cusick followed with an RBI single to right field on a three-and-two pitch to tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. That energized the Irvine fans, who seemed a bit nervous a few moments ago but have now started chanting, "Let’s go, Eaters!"
GREENVILLE, N.C.—East Carolina has climbed the mountain that is winning two games in one day. Now they’ve got one more to go. The top seed and host of the Greenville Regional, ECU topped No. 2 seed South Carolina 8-6 to force a winner-take-all game Monday night, with a trip to Chapel Hill for a super regional against North Carolina on the line. The Pirates’ offense exploded early, but they had to hold on late as the Gamecocks mounted a furious rally in the ninth.
It’s always impressive when a team can pull off the two-wins-in-a-day routine, but ECU’s path is even more impressive when you consider this was actually its fourth game in two days. East Carolina’s opener Friday night against No. 4 seed Binghamton was rained out, forcing the teams to play at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The Pirates won that game, but couldn’t match South Carolina in the nightcap, falling 12-2. They wouldn’t come up short Sunday.
"I told our guys just to believe," East Carolina coach Billy Godwin said. "I told them we didn’t have to win three games, we had to win one. And when we won Game One (against Binghamton), I said we’ve got to win one. So now we’re sitting here with one game to go and we’ve got to win one."
Texas has won yet another game in dramatic fashion. The Longhorns trailed upstart Army 10-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth before rallying to tie the score on Brandon Loy’s three-run double. Three batters later, Preston Clark ended it with a walk-off grand slam, giving Texas a 14-10 win.
The Longhorns will host Texas Christian in super regionals, as the Horned Frogs just completed their own walk-off victory. Jason Coats broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning against Oregon State with an RBI single to left, scoring Bryan Holaday.
FULLERTON, Calif.—Cal State Fullerton has added five more runs in the fifth to make it 12-1 Titans over Utah. This has been one heck of an impressive display from Fullerton, and I don’t envy the winner of tomorrow’s Louisville-Vanderbilt game, who will come out here for super regionals next week. I’ll stand by my national champion pick—North Carolina certainly took care of business in impressive fashion this weekend—but I feel awfully good about the Titans reaching the title game, where I’ve got them in my bracket. And if they play like they did this weekend for the rest of the postseason, nobody is going to beat them. You can count on that.
Utah just went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth, and I’m heading out of here. I expect UC Irvine to start righty Eric Pettis tonight against Virginia’s Andrew Carraway; that could be a good one.
FULLERTON, Calif.—For three years, I’ve heard reports from coaches and scouts out West raving about Khris Davis’ huge power potential. "You should see this guy take BP," they’d tell me.
Davis played sparingly the last two years, so I never got to see what he could do in a game—until this weekend. Davis hit a laser out to left field for a solo homer yesterday, and he crushed a towering shot to left again in the fourth inning today, sparking a four-run Fullerton rally. The rumors are true: Davis has serious juice.
The Titans look just about unstoppable right now, hitting the ball with authority to all fields, taking extra bases and stealing at will, executing small ball perfectly, and getting great pitching. Freshman righthander Tyler Pill is the real deal; he has shown terrific command of an 88-91 mph fastball, a big-breaking curveball that he can add and subtract from, and an above-average changeup. He’s given up just one hit through three innings of work while striking out four—three on perfectly located fastballs, and one on a curve. The Titans lead Utah 7-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth. I was planning to hang around until the postgame press conferences, but if the Titans keep pouring it on, I might head back over to Irvine before this one reaches its grisly end. The Utes have had a great run, but they’re just plain out of pitching; their starter in this game is lefty Stephen Streich, one of yesterday’s heroes after throwing 51 pitches over four strong innings of relief against Georgia Southern.
It looks like there’s going to be a rematch between Virginia and UC Irvine, as the Anteaters lead San Diego State 13-3 in the eighth inning of that elimination game.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—North Carolina is headed to a super regional for the fourth straight year after shutting down Kansas in the final game of the Chapel Hill Regional on Sunday, 12-1.
Senior right fielder Garrett Gore blasted two home runs and drove in five as UNC took control of the game with a seven-run third inning.
"We played extremely well today," UNC coach Mike Fox said. "It was a team effort, and I thought we left no doubt today."
UNC (45-16) loaded the bases before Kyle Seager and Ryan Graepel brought in three runs with consecutive singles. Three batters later, with the bases still loaded, Gore stepped up to the plate and ripped a fastball over the center-field fence for a grand slam.
"I’ve hit some a whole lot better than that and didn’t even come close to going out," Gore said. "But it went over, and I don’t even remember rounding the bag."
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Two football powers met on a baseball field. The result was a football score, with Florida State beating Ohio State 37-6 to win the Tallahassee Regional.
Florida State did not want to take any chances with an Ohio State team that had already eliminated both Marist and Georgia from the NCAA tournament. The Seminoles scored 32 unanswered to open the game, leading 32-0 after 4 1/2 innings.
Florida State righthander Mike Mcgee (6-2) got the win after being spotted the 32-run lead. "I never thought I would see anything like this," McGee said. "Let alone ever be a part of anything like it." [...] Continue Reading »
FULLERTON, Calif.—On Saturday, Utah came back from a 9-4 deficit to beat Georgia Southern and keep its season alive. On Sunday, the Utes led 9-4 and watched as Gonzaga began chipping away at their cushion. But this rally ran out of gas, and Utah held on for a 9-7 win to earn a rematch with Cal State Fullerton this evening.
Gonzaga starter Ryan Carpenter flashed plenty of potential, striking out seven over 4 1/3 innings, but he also surrendered five runs on eight hits, as his stuff dropped off in the middle innings. Meanwhile, Utah lefthander Bryn Card (7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) held the Zags at bay with an excellent changeup and good breaking ball.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes," Gonzaga catcher Tyson Van Winkle said of Card. "He was getting ahead, throwing three pitches for strikes, keeping us off balance. We came up with a number of hits—we scored seven runs—and we had a lot of opportunities we didn’t take advantage of. We didn’t get big hits when we needed them. Hats off to (Card); he did a great job." [...] Continue Reading »
GREENVILLE, N.C.—Kyle Roller homered twice in the fifth inning to spark East Carolina to a 16-9 win over Binghamton, staving off elimination for the Pirates and setting up a rematch with South Carolina tonight at 6 p.m. The Gamecocks battered the Pirates 12-2 last night.
Sunday afternoon’s game didn’t start off according to plan for the Pirates. Second baseman Ryan Wood’s throwing error on a potential double play ball opened the door for a four-run rally to put the Bearcats on top 4-2 in the third. The Pirates responded with a single run in the top of the fourth, but Binghamton answered immediately, getting a clutch two-out, bases-clearing double from first baseman Dave Ciocchi to build the lead to 7-3.
That’s when Roller took over. The junior DH led off the top of the fifth with a solo shot to right to bring the Pirates closer at 7-4, and ECU went on to score seven more runs in the inning to take the lead for good.
FULLERTON, Calif.—I’ve been in Orange County since Tuesday, and until the last 10 minutes, I hadn’t seen the sun since Tuesday afternoon. The locals call it the "May gray," and apparently it’s followed by the "June gloom," starting tomorrow. You can go days at a time without seeing the sun this time of year, but by mid-summer you’re likely to get blue skies every day. Anyway, the sun has broken through the thick layer of clouds here at Goodwin Field, and by golly, there are actual blue skies visible over the field.
The outlook has gotten considerably sunnier for Gonzaga as well. Utah jumped on Bulldogs starter Ryan Carpenter for two runs in the top of the third, but the Zags have answered back with three in the bottom of the frame, highlighted by Tyson Van Winkle’s two-run double to left field.
This is my first look at Carpenter, a touted freshman lefthander from Arizona, and I can see why Gonzaga is so excited about him. He’s sat around 89-91 mph with his fastball, touching 93, and has pitched effectively off a 78-82 slider. He’s even mixed in a few 74-78 changeups. He’s big and physical, and his arm works well—you can really dream on him. He also showed impressive toughness in the second after giving up a leadoff triple to Devin Walker, striking out the next three batters in order on a changeup and a pair of sliders. We’ll see what Carpenter can do with a 3-2 lead against Utah’s potent offense.
I’ll be here at Goodwin Field for the rest of the day, barring a blowout for either team in the late game. Dave Perkin will provide insights from Irvine.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Georgia came into Sunday’s elimination game against Ohio State expecting to play Florida State at 4 p.m. A funny thing happened on the way to that game for the Bulldogs: Ohio State’s bats woke up. It will be Ohio State taking on the Seminoles after eliminating Georgia 13-6.
Ohio State had hit .330 during the regular season, but just .279 in the regional. Today the Buckeyes pounded out 13 hits. "We really put pressure on them today," Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. "They just could not handle it."
The Buckeyes showed up early scoring seven total runs through the first four innings. In the bottom of the seventh Ohio State put the game away with a six spot. [...] Continue Reading »
Tony Thompson went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a single and a solo homer in the eighth inning as Kansas stayed alive in the NCAA tournament Sunday, beating Coastal Carolina 5-1.
Thompson, a sophomore third baseman, hit his 20th homer in the eighth to account for the final score. He also ignited Kansas’ game-winning, three-run seventh inning rally with a double. Kansas now advances to face North Carolina in the early evening regional championship. [...] Continue Reading »
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—That didn’t last long. Kansas has responded to Coastal Carolina’s game-tying run in the top of the seventh, putting up a three spot to take a 4-1 lead. Kansas third baseman Tony Thompson—having a big season at .378/.343/.723 entering the game—led off with his third hit of the game, his second double, and Kansas got a bases-loaded run-scoring groundout by nine-hole hitter James Stanfield to take the lead. Junior shortstop David Narodowski then lined a two-run single to left to break things open off Coastal reliever Bobby Gagg.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—It’s an elimination game at the Chapel Hill regional, and third-seed Kansas and second-seed Coastal Carolina have both played their best today.
That’s not to say there haven’t been mistakes, as in the sixth inning, when Kansas ran into an inning-ending double play that should have been a sacrifice fly. Instead, in the top of the seventh, Coastal catcher Jose Iglesias tied the game up with a solo homer, knotting the game 1-1. Righthander Cameron Selik, a burly righthander who entered the game 1-2, 5.12, pitched 6 2/3 innings scoreless before giving up Iglesias’ homer. He gave up just three hits.
Bobby Gagg has come on for Coastal Carolina out of the bullpen. We’ll wrap this one up when it’s done, and the winner sticks around to face North Carolina at 5 p.m.
College baseball fans will remember Saturday for many years to come because of the epic clash between Texas and Boston College in the Austin Regional, but it was a great day of college baseball for a number of reasons. Here’s a quick look back at the day’s action, plus a look ahead to Sunday. All times are Eastern.
(2) Elon over (4) Georgia State, 4-3 (Georgia State eliminated)
(3) Southern Mississippi over (1) Georgia Tech, 10-7
3 p.m.: Elon vs. Georgia Tech.
7 p.m.: Southern Mississippi vs. winner of early game [...] Continue Reading »
I left Goodwin Field in the of of the fifth inning Saturday, with Cal State Fullerton leading Gonzaga 4-2, but BA’s Dave Perkin hung around to watch the end and checked in with a report afterward. The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer by Anthony Synegal, but Fullerton scored runs in each of the next three innings to win 7-4. Catcher Dustin Garneau led the CSF offense, going 5-for-5 with three runs scored and a momentum-changing double in the sixth.
In the post-game press conference, Perkin asked Garneau if he enjoyed playing on the big stage, considering he was an all-Los Angeles City high school quarterback and played in the city baseball championship at Dodger Stadium in 2004.
Garneau’s response: "Nothing beats this." [...] Continue Reading »
Henceforth, it shall be known as the Austin (Wood) Regional.
Wood, Texas’ senior lefthander, turned in the greatest performance in a game jam-packed with superlatives, striking out 14 over 13 innings of scoreless relief in Texas’ 3-2 win over Boston College. Maybe it was the best postseason college baseball game ever, maybe it wasn’t—but it was officially the longest game in NCAA history, lasting 25 innings. The game began at 7:02 p.m. EDT Saturday and concluded 7 hours, 3 minutes later at 2:05 a.m. Sunday.
"I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” Boston College coach Mik Aoki said in the post-game news conference afterward. "In fact, nobody in college baseball has been part of anything like this." [...] Continue Reading »
IRVINE, Calif.—Few college baseball teams in America play defense better than UC Irvine. The Anteaters rank eighth in the nation in fielding percentage (.977), and they pride themselves in making all the routine plays and then some.
That’s why it was so jarring to see Irvine commit four errors in a 5-0 loss to Virginia on Saturday night. Virginia exploited two of them to break a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a pair of runs, then benefitted from another error (by rock-solid shortstop Ben Orloff, no less) in a three-run sixth. Virginia’s Franco Valdes provided the big blow with a two-run single to center.
"Part of our story this year is we’ve played very, very well on defense, and at times played highlight defense," UCI coach Mike Gillespie said. "So this is very atypical for us." [...] Continue Reading »
IRVINE, Calif.—The UC Irvine-Virginia game started about four hours later than the Texas-Boston College game, but this game is over at Anteater Ballpark, and the Eagles and Longhorns are still going in the bottom of the 24th inning. I promise you, I will have a blog post later tonight with actual insights on Virginia’s 5-0 win, but it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the proceedings in Austin. Sadly, I’m going to have to put aside my video feed to attend the post-game press conference here. I’m sure the Texas-BC game will be waiting for me when I get back . . .
By the way, that is now the longest game in NCAA baseball history, postseason or otherwise. The previous record was a 23-inning contest between Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State on March 27, 1971.
IRVINE, Calif.—In Austin, Boston College finally got a hit against Austin Wood after 11 2/3 hitless innings. After a two-out walk to Matt Hamlet, BC’s Tony Sanchez slapped a single through the left side of the infield. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, but Wood struck out Mickey Wiswall to send the game to the 20th.
I’m sitting in the bleachers at Anteater Ballpark, watching the video of the BC-Texas game on CBS College Sports online. The Virginia and Irvine fans around me are just as entranced by the game on the laptop as the game on the field—and this is a good one, scoreless in the fifth inning. But the game in Austin might go down as the best regional game ever.
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