Monday was a big day for college baseball. The first day of the draft is always exciting for college players and fans, and two players—Connecticut's George Springer and Matt Barnes—were selected in the first round while they were in the middle of a regional final against Clemson. Five more regionals were decided Monday. Three winners are very familiar (Texas, Florida State, South Carolina), while two others are headed to their first super regionals (Dallas Baptist, California). The last regional final between Texas A&M and Arizona was postponed by rain until Tuesday.
Here's a roundup of Monday's action:
No. 1 Texas over No. 3 Kent State, 5-0 (Texas wins regional)
Six Texas pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout, as the Longhorns beat Kent State for the second straight day to reach their eighth super regional since 2000. Sam Stafford (3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) got the start and got the 'Horns off to a good start. Texas brought back Cole Green (who threw 103 pitches Sunday against Texas State) and Taylor Jungmann (who threw 85 pitches in Saturday's loss to Kent) for one perfect inning apiece in the later innings. Freshmen Mark Payton and Erich Weiss recorded two hits and one RBI apiece to lead the Texas offense. The 'Horns will host Arizona State in a tantalizing super regional matchup between two of college baseball's traditional powers.
No. 2 Connecticut over No. 1 Clemson, 14-1 (UConn wins regional)
The Huskies jumped on Clemson freshman Kevin Pohle for three runs in the first inning and never looked back, out-hitting the Tigers 17-6 in a game that got out of hand in UConn's five-run fifth, and further out of hand in a six-run eighth. Ryan Fuller went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs to lead the Huskies, who got a strong start from Greg Nappo (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). This is an upset, for sure—but it's worth noting that Connecticut ranked No. 9 in BA's preseason rankings, while Clemson ranked No. 10, so it's not exactly a colossal upset. UConn heads to its first super regional at defending national champion South Carolina.
No. 1 South Carolina over No. 2 Stetson, 8-2 (South Carolina wins regional)
In the resumption of Sunday's suspended game, South Carolina wrapped up its perfect run through regionals. See Jim Shonerd's College Blog report from Columbia for more details.
Fort Worth Regional
No. 3 Dallas Baptist over No. 4 Oral Roberts, 11-9 (DBU wins regional)
The Patriots blitzed ORU for eight runs in the first inning on five hits, three errors and two walks, but that was just the opening salvo in this one. ORU fought back with four in the bottom of the first to chase DBU starter Jordan Staples, but Stuart Pudenz (5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) stabilized things out of the pen. The Patriots stretched their edge to 11-4 in the third, and again the Golden Eagles clawed their way back into the game, but ace Brandon Williamson (1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and closer Chris Haney (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) preserved DBU's win. The Patriots, in their second regional appearance, head to their first super regional against California, at a site to be determined Tuesday.
No. 3 California over No. 2 Baylor, 9-8 (Cal wins regional)
In perhaps the weekend's most stunning, frantic finish, Cal trailed 7-1 in the sixth inning and 8-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth but stormed back to win on Devon Rodriguez's walk-off two-run single.
"I don't even know if I'll be able to sleep tonight, I've got so much adrenaline flowing through my body," Cal coach David Esquer said afterward. "God, what a feeling; what a feeling."
Baylor contributed mightily to its own demise in the ninth. After Chad Bunting's leadoff single, Darrel Matthews hit a grounder to second base that looked like a routine double-play ball, but it went through second baseman Steve DalPorto's legs. Later, Bunting was caught in a rundown between third and home, but Baylor botched it and Bunting scored on the play.
"You could add up four or five little things that happened that inning that gave us a chance," Esquer said, "but good for us that we were able to capitalize on those, because we're not always able to do that."
As thrilling as the finish was for Cal, it was just as heartbreaking for Baylor.
"Nobody died tonight, all right?" Baylor coach Steve Smith said. "I mean, nobody died. But it's pretty darn painful. It's a rich pain."
Cal, whose program was on the chopping block just a few months ago, now heads to super regionals against Dallas Baptist at a site to be determined Tuesday.
No. 1 Florida State over No. 3 Alabama, 11-1 (FSU wins regional)
In the resumption of Sunday's suspended game, Florida State completed its dominating win against Alabama to advance to super regionals for the 11th time in the 13 years of the 64-team era. FSU extended its winning streak in regional games to 11, dating back to its loss to Bucknell in 2008. Florida State pounded out 19 hits against the Tide, led by Mike McGee (3-for-5, 3 2B, 3 RBI) and Taiwan Easterling (4-for-4, 2 R, RBI). McGee (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) earned the win with five strong innings Sunday, and Scott Sitz (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R) cruised when play resumed Monday. FSU will host the Texas A&M-Arizona winner next weekend.
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