We'll start the Friday roundup with a look at the action in the five power conferences:
• Danny Hultzen (7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) carried a shutout into the eighth inning, when Levi Michael delivered an RBI single to tie the game, then scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly to give North Carolina a 2-1 win over top-ranked Virginia. UNC, which sits atop the Ratings Percentage Index rankings, handed Virginia its first series loss of the season and put itself in stellar position to earn a national seed. Kent Emanuel (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 7 K) was strong in a no-decision for the Tar Heels.
• Georgia Tech failed to capitalize on the UVa. loss, falling to Virginia Tech, 7-5, to remain a game back of the Cavs in the ACC's Coastal Division. Since Virginia won the head-to-head series against the Yellow Jackets, the Cavs clinched the top seed in the ACC tournament with Tech's loss Saturday. Jed Bradley (3.2 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) struggled for the second straight week for Tech.
• Will Lamb (3-for-5, 2 RBI) and Chris Epps (2-for-3, RBI) homered in support of Justin Sarratt (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), as Clemson evened its series at Florida State with a 7-4 win.
• Dennis O'Grady (7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R) out-dueled Eric Whaley (8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) in Duke's 2-0 upset at Miami, leveling the series.
• Texas clinched the top seed in the Big 12 tournament with a 6-4 win against Texas A&M, securing the series victory. The Aggies chased Cole Green (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) with three runs in the sixth, but Texas answered with three in the bottom of the frame to chase Michael Wacha (5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER), highlighted by Kevin Lusson's pinch-hit two-run single. After an hour and a half-long rain delay, Paul Montalbano delivered a tie-breaking RBI sinle in the seventh, and Hoby Milner (2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief. Texas now leads the Big 12 by a game over the Aggies and can clinch the title outright with a win Saturday.
• Oklahoma evened its series at Baylor with a 5-4 win. Garrett Buechele (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI) led the OU offense and delivered a game-tying RBI double in Oklahoma's decisive two-run ninth.
• Zach Johnson (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) led Oklahoma State to an 11-10 win at Texas Tech in the series opener in Lubbock. The Red Raiders (10-15) are clinging to the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament by a game over Kansas, which lost its own 11-10 slug-fest, in 10 innings at Kansas State.
• Surging Missouri clinched a spot in the Big 12 tourney with a 10-5 win at Nebraska in the resumption of Friday's suspended game. The Tigers are seeking their fifth straight series win, but they'll have to wait until Saturday to do it, because Friday's regularly scheduled game was postponed.
• Rice secured the top seed in the conference tournament with a 16-2 walloping of Southern Miss, clinching the road series. Like Texas, Rice now leads its league by one game with one to play, and the Owls can win the title outright with a win Saturday. J.T. Chargois (4-for-6, 4 RBI) spearheaded Rice's 16-hit barrage, and Abe Gonzalez (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief of Matthew Reckling (3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER). USM starter Geoffrey Thomas (2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 2 ER) struggled for the second straight week. Rice now finds itself in outstanding shape to host a regional, while Southern Miss might find itself on the road for regionals—though the Golden Eagles still have hope.
• East Carolina clinched a road series at Tulane with a 6-2 win, effectively killing Tulane's at-large chances. Seth Maness (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER) improved to 8-3 for the Pirates.
• Central Florida avoided a home series loss to Marshall with a six-run rally in the eighth inning Friday, powering the Knights to a 13-10 win.
• Brady Rodgers (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K) threw his first career complete-game shutout in Arizona State's 6-0 win at Washington. Joey DiMichele's two-run homer capped ASU's five-run third inning.
• Jared Norris (3-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Brian Stamps (1-for-3, 3 RBI) homered in support of Sam Gaviglio (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), leading No. 2 Oregon State to a 7-2 win against Southern California.
• Erik Johnson (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K) out-dueled Gerrit Cole (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) in California's 4-0 win at UCLA. Andrew Knapp's pinch-hit three-run double in the eighth broke open the close game. Cole fell to 5-7 on the season.
• Kurt Heyer (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K) and Mark Appel (8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K) were steller in no-decisions, and Stanford broke a scoreless tie on freshman Brett Michael Doran's walk-off two-out single off the left-field wall in the 11th, giving Stanford a 1-0 win against Arizona.
• Gridlock returned to the top of the standings in both divisions, with one day left in the regular-season schedule. Kentucky pounded Hudson Randall (4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER) and the Florida bullpen in a 14-1 rout, evening the series and sending the Gators back into a three-way tie for first place with South Carolina and Vanderbilt, which both won Friday. Alex Meyer (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) cruised to his seventh win for the Wildcats.
• Grayson Garvin (2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K) was wild for Vandy, but the Commodores rode a balanced 15-hit attack to a 9-3 win at Georgia, which fell back to one game over the all-important .500 mark. Freshmen T.J. Pecoraro and Kevin Ziomek combined for 6.1 innings of three-hit, shutout relief for the 'Dores.
• South Carolina broke open a 3-1 game with three runs in the eighth, highlighted by Evan Marzilli's two-run double, as the Gamecocks leveled their series at Alabama with a 6-3 win. Forrest Koumas (5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) improved to 6-0 for South Carolina. With the loss, Alabama (14-15 in the league) fell back into a three-way tie atop the SEC West with Mississippi State and Auburn.
• After getting blown out Thursday, Mississippi State rebounded with a 6-5 win against Louisiana State. The Bulldogs came from behind with two runs in the ninth, capped by Jaron Shepherd's walk-off RBI infield single. The loss eliminated LSU from SEC tournament contention, but the Tigers' regional hopes are still alive. Saturday's rubber game could determine whether or not LSU's season continues in two weeks.
• Auburn bashed Tennessee, 13-4. Tony Caldwell (3-for-6, HR, 6 RBI) led Auburn's 18-hit barrage in support of Derek Varnadore (6.2 IP, 19 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K).
• Mississippi and Arkansas were rained out and will play a doubleheader Saturday.
AROUND THE NATION
• A week after throwing a complete game to beat Gerrit Cole and UCLA, Mike McCarthy (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K) dazzled in a complete-game shutout of Fresno State, as the Roadrunners won 6-0. But Fresno still clinched a share of the WAC regular-season title thanks to Hawaii's 18-8 loss to New Mexico State. The Bulldogs carry a half-game lead into Saturday, when Hawaii wraps up its regular-season slate with another game against the Aggies. This is the sixth straight year Fresno has won at least a share of the WAC regular-season crown.
• Texas Christian blasted New Mexico, 25-16, in a football score that evoked the hitter-happy days of 2009. Jantzen Witte (6-for-7, 4 R, RBI) led TCU's 26-hit onslaught, but Frogs starter Andrew Mitchell (3.2 IP, 10 H, 7 ER) was hit hard in a no-decision.
• George Springer (2-for-4, 2 RBI) hit his 12th homer in No. 15 Connecticut's 9-5 win at Cincinnati.
• Belmont upset Stetson, 5-2, evening the series. The Hatters cannot afford to drop this series if they are to have a legitimate chance to host a regional.
• The A-Sun's two bubble teams both sustained significant setbacks Friday, losing series to Mercer and Kennesaw State, respectively. The Bears pounded the Bucs, 12-2, while the Owls topped the Dolphins, 5-3.
• Michigan State retained its one-game lead over Illinois in the Big Ten with a 10-1 win over Northwestern.
• Charlotte and Dallas Baptist were suspended by rain in the seventh inning with DBU leading 10-6. The Patriots are playing for their at-large lives.
• Matt Summers (9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K) was brilliant in UC Irvine's 12-0 win at UC Riverside.
• Charleston Southern upset Coastal Carolina, 4-3, but the Chanticleers still clinched the Big South title outright thanks to Radford's 3-1 win against Liberty.
• James Madison clinched at least a share of the CAA title with a 5-0 win at Northeastern. Old Dominion needs to sweep a doubleheader from Hofstra on Saturday and hope for Northeastern to beat James Madison in order to catch the Dukes.
• Wright State split a doubleheader against Butler, and Illinois-Chicago swept a twin bill from Youngstown State, so the Raiders and Flames enter Saturday tied atop the Horizon standings.
• David Lyon's walk-off homer in the 12th gave Kent State a 6-5 win against Akron. The Golden Flashes, who clinched the top seed in the MAC tournament on Thursday, have won 30 of their last 34 games and all eight conference series.
• Ty Blach (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) improved to 10-1 and matched the longest outing of his career in Creighton's 3-1 win against Missouri State, as the Bluejays clinched at least a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title for the first time since 2005. They can win the championship outright with a victory Saturday; otherwise they will be co-champs with Wichita State, which allowed just one run in a doubleheader sweep at Bradley on Friday.
• Elon clinched its third Southern Conference title in the last four years with a 14-0 shellacking of Furman. Neal Pritchad and Ryan Kinsella combined for seven RBIs for the Phoenix.
• Bubble-dweller Southeastern Louisiana was pounded by Northwestern State, 13-3, evening the series. The Lions need to take Saturday's rubber game to remain on the right side of the at-large bubble.
• Oral Roberts clinched the top seed in the Summit League tournament with a 12-2 win against Southern Utah. The Golden Eagles can win the championship outright with a win Saturday; otherwise they will share the title with South Dakota State for the second straight year.
• Florida Atlantic evened its series at Florida International with a 2-0 win behind Paul Davis (9 IP, 9 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K). The Owls needed to avoid getting swept this weekend to keep their RPI in at-large range, but they can put themselves in much better position with a win Saturday. FIU should be in regardless.
• Gonzaga edged Pepperdine 3-2 behind Ryan Carpenter (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K). The Bulldogs (13-3) moved percentage points ahead of idle San Francisco (14-4) in the WCC; the two teams go head-to-head next weekend, in a series that will determin the league's champion and winner of its automatic bid.
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