Three power conferences that produced 20 of the NCAA tournament's 64 teams have gotten off to strong starts. Through two days of regional play, the ACC and SEC are each 11-3, while the Pac-10 is 9-3. The only other conferences with winning records are the Big West (3-1) and the MAC (2-0). And, of course, the field's lone independent team is 2-0.
Which leads us to a roundup of Saturday's fascinating action. As we mentioned yesterday, teams that start 2-0 have gone on to win regionals 82 percent of the time since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1999. Ten top seeds have started 2-0 this year, as well as four No. 3 seeds and two No. 2 seeds. Interestingly, of the four regionals in the state of Texas, the top seed remains unbeaten in just one of them (College Station), as the other three were upset Saturday.
No. 1 Georgia Tech over No. 2 Southern Mississippi, 6-2 (USM eliminated)
No. 3 Mississippi State over No. 4 Austin Peay State, 8-3
The Yellow Jackets scored five runs in the second in support of Jed Bradley (7.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), as USM's once-promising season ended with its eighth loss in the last 10 games. Mississippi State scored seven runs in the fourth to chase APSU ace Jeremy Dobbs (3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER), and freshman Evan Mitchell (8 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 8 K) shined in Atlanta, less than 30 minutes from his hometown.
No. 2 Texas State over No. 4 Princeton, 3-1 (Princeton eliminated)
No. 3 Kent State over No. 1 Texas, 7-5
Mitchell Pitts (7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) helped keep the Bobcats alive in the early game. The second game was one of the weekend's biggest stunners—not because a good Kent State team upset Texas, but because of the way it happened. Texas carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning with ace Taylor Jungmann (0.95 ERA entering the game) on the mound, but the Flashes tied it up, then surged ahead when David Lyon hit his first career grand slam over the left-field fence at cavernous Disch-Falk Field. Jungmann (5.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER) took the first home loss of his brilliant three-year career and saw his ERA balloon to 1.40. Ace Andrew Chafin (8.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) earned the win for the Flashes, who held off Texas' late charge in the ninth.
Chapel Hill Regional
No. 4 Maine over No. 2 Florida International, 4-1 (FIU eliminated)
No. 1 North Carolina over No. 3 James Madison, 14-0
No. 2 East Carolina over No. 4 Navy, 6-1 (Navy eliminated)
No. 1 Virginia over No. 3 St. John's, 10-2
Seth Maness (9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) turned in a gem for ECU, which broke open a close game on Chase McDonald's seventh-inning grand slam. Steven Proscia and David Coleman combined for six hits and seven RBIs behind Danny Hultzen (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K), as Virginia cruised into the title round.
No. 2 Connecticut over No. 4 Sacred Heart, 13-3 (Sacred Heart eliminated)
No. 1 Clemson over No. 3 Coastal Carolina, 12-7
Ryan Fuller (4-for-5) led UConn's balanced 18-hit attack, and the Huskies were able to lift starter Greg Nappo (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R) with an 8-0 lead after three innings. Clemson jumped on Keith Hessler (1.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 ER) early and cruised past Coastal Carolina, with Richie Shaffer (3-for-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2B, HR) leading the way for the Tigers.
College Station Regional
No. 2 Arizona over No. 4 Wright State, 13-0 (WSU eliminated)
No. 1 Texas A&M over No. 3 Seton Hall, 6-3
Five Wildcats recorded multiple hits in support of Kyle Simon (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K), as Arizona cruised in the elimination game. Matt Juengel (3-for-5, 2 RBI) led the A&M offense against Joe DiRocco (6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER), helping Ross Stripling (9 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) pick up his national lead-tying 13th win.
No. 3 North Carolina State over No. 4 Georgia Southern, 5-2 (GSU eliminated)
No. 1 South Carolina over No. 2 Stetson, 11-5
No. 3 Georgia over No. 4 Arkansas-Little Rock, 7-3 (UALR eliminated)
No. 1 Oregon State over No. 2 Creighton, 5-1
Brett DeLoach hit a three-run homer in Georgia's critical four-run fifth inning, and Alex Wood (8 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) kept UALR's offense at bay. Sam Gaviglio (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K) bested Ty Blach (6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) in the late game. Gaviglio set an Oregon State record for most strikeouts in a postseason game, and he improved to 12-2 on the season in his fourth complete game of the year.
Fort Worth Regional
No. 4 Oral Roberts over No. 2 Oklahoma, 7-0 (OU eliminated)
No. 3 Dallas Baptist over No. 1 Texas Christian, 3-0
In perhaps the most surprising regional of the tournament, the third and fourth seeds pulled off upsets against 2010 Omaha teams. The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two innings against Burch Smith (0.2 IP, 3 ER) and Dillon Overton (0.1 IP, 3 R, 1 ER), and Drew Bowen (8 IP, 6 H, 0 R) stymied the Sooners' bats. DBU's Jared Stafford (8.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) carved up the Horned Frogs with an 81-83 fastball and the ability to throw three secondary pitches in any count, according to DBU pitching coach Bob Keller. Matt Purke (5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) got a no-decision for TCU.
No. 4 Illinois over No. 3 Kansas State, 5-3 (KSU eliminated)
No. 2 Stanford over No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, 1-0
The Illini eliminated Kent State behind a gem from John Anderson (8 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER), a fifth-year walk-on who arrived at Illinois as a kicker for the football team. Stephen Piscotty's solo homer in the sixth provided all the offense in the nightcap, as Jordan Pries (7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K) out-dueled Noe Ramirez (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K).
No. 3 Jacksonville over No. 4 Manhattan, 5-4 (Manhattan eliminated)
No. 1 Florida over No. 2 Miami, 5-4
Adam Brett Walker (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) led the Jacksonville offense in support of Steve Eagerton (7 IP, 9 H, 2 ER), and Chris Kaminski wriggled out of an inherited bases-loaded jam in the ninth to preserve the win. In the second game, Florida broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth, taking advantage of an error, a balk, a walk and a wild pitch to set up Nolan Fontana's walk-off RBI single.
No. 3 California over No. 4 Alcorn State, 10-6 (Alcorn eliminated)
No. 2 Baylor over No. 1 Rice, 3-2
Cal overcame an early 4-0 deficit with six runs in the third and held on for the win, as Justin Jones (6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K) was strong in relief of Kevin Miller (1.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). Baylor did all its scoring in the first three innings against Austin Kubitza (7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K), and Josh Turley (9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) made it stand up. The Bears are one strong Brooks Pinckard start away from the regional championship.
Los Angeles Regional
No. 1 UCLA over No. 2 Fresno State, 3-1 (Fresno eliminated)
No. 3 UC Irvine over No. 4 San Francisco, 4-3
See the College Blog for details about Trevor Bauer's typically brilliant outing (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K) against Fresno—his ninth consecutive complete game. In the late game, Drew Hillman's two-run homer highlighted Irvine's three-run sixth in support of Matt Whitehouse (8.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), and Jimmy Litchfield ended USF's ninth-inning comeback bid with a strikeout, stranding the tying run on second.
No. 4 Belmont over No. 2 Oklahoma State, 3-2 (OSU eliminated)
No. 1 Vanderbilt over No. 3 Troy, 10-2
Belmont grabbed a 3-0 lead through three innings against Brad Propst (7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 K) and held on for its first-ever NCAA tournament win behind Chase Brookshire (8 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). In the second game, Grayson Garvin (6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) broke Vandy's single-season wins record with his 13th, and Aaron Westlake and Curt Casali homered in the final two innings to help the Commodores break the game wide open.
No. 2 Central Florida over No. 4 Bethune-Cookman, 16-5 (B-CU eliminated)
No. 1 Florida State over No. 3 Alabama, 9-5
Jonathan Griffin (4-for-5, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 2B, HR) hit his 20th homer of the year to lead UCF's 20-hit onslaught in support of Danny Winkler (5.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). James Ramsey (4-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI) led the Florida State offense behind Sean Gilmartin (7 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K).
No. 2 Arkansas over No. 4 New Mexico, 3-0 (UNM eliminated)
No. 1 Arizona State over No. 3 Charlotte, 16-1
Jarrod McKinney (3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI) led the Arkansas offense in support of ace D.J. Baxendale (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K) in the first game. Xorge Carrillo (5-for-6, 4 R, 3 RBI, HR) spearheaded Arizona State's 19-hit barrage in the late game, and Kramer Champlin (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 9 K) cruised against the 49ers.
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