Regionals Roundup: No. 4 Seeds Rise Up

Saturday was crammed with compelling storylines. No. 4 seeds went 9-7 in Saturday’s action, giving them 12 wins in the first two days of the tournament—already a record, eclipsing the previous record of eight. Three of Saturday’s winners notched their first-ever NCAA tournament wins (Youngstown State, Sacramento State and Campbell). One No. 4 seed—College of Charleston—is 2-0 in sitting in its regional catbird seat at 2-0.

Two national seeds—No. 2 Florida and No. 5 Florida State—were sent packing. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1999, only three national seeds had gone 0-2 in regionals before Saturday (Georgia Tech in 2003, Nebraska in 2006 and San Diego in 2007). All three Sunshine State hosts lost, as Miami was knocked off by Texas Tech (though the Hurricanes are still alive). FSU and Clemson went 0-2 for the first time since 1984 and 1981, respectively.

Two other national seeds are fighting their way through losers’ brackets, as Louisiana-Lafayette lost Friday (but stayed alive Saturday), while No. 1 overall seed Oregon State was blown out Saturday by UC Irvine.

South Carolina saw its 28-game home winning streak in the NCAA tournament snapped by Maryland, which improved to 2-0 in its first regional since 1971.

And the night was capped by a 22-inning marathon between TCU and Sam Houston State that lasted six hours, 54 minutes, ending at 3:29 a.m. ET.

Here’s a look at all of the action.

BATON ROUGE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Southeastern Louisiana 2, Bryant 1 | Bryant eliminated
Game 4: LSU 5, Houston 1

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Southeastern Louisiana vs. Houston, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. LSU, 7 p.m.

Southeastern Louisiana scored the go-ahead run on Sam Roberson’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th, then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the frame to stay alive, and send the Bulldogs packing. With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Bryant’s A.J. Zarozny flew out to right field, and Dan Cellucci attempted to tag from third base, but Andrew Godbold threw him out at the plate to end the game.

In the night game, Aaron Nola (7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) improved to 11-1, as LSU beat Jake Lemoine (6.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER). Conner Hale (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Sean McMullen (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) led LSU’s 12-hit attack. The Tigers have won 10 straight and show no signs of cooling off.

BLOOMINGTON REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Youngstown State 5, Indiana State 2 | Indiana State eliminated
Game 4: Indiana 4, Stanford 2

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Stanford vs. Youngstown State, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Indiana, 6 p.m.

In one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, Youngstown State—which entered Saturday with a 16-37 record—earned its first NCAA tournament win in program history, giving the Penguins five wins in its last six games, including a 4-0 run to the Horizon League tournament title as the No. 6 seed. The Penguins built a 5-2 lead through four innings and got a strong start from fifth-year senior righthander Patrick O’Brien (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER).

A day after Kyle Schwarber paced the Indiana offense, fellow bash brother Sam Travis (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) led the top-seeded Hoosiers to a 4-2 win against Stanford. Ace lefty Joey DeNato (7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) improved to 13-1 for Indiana.

CHARLOTTESVILLE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Bucknell 5, Liberty 2 | Liberty eliminated
Game 4: Virginia 3, Arkansas 0

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Bucknell vs. Arkansas, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Virginia, 8 p.m.

Bucknell earned its second-ever NCAA tournament win (and first since its 2008 takedown of Florida State) behind a stellar outing from senior lefty Dan Weigel (9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). Jon Mayer (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI) led the offense for the Bison, who matched the program record for wins in a season (31). It was a disappointing finish to a banner year for Liberty, which got cold at the wrong time, losing six of its final nine.

In the night game, Nathan Kirby (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K) and Nick Howard combined on a two-hit shutout, and the Cavs jumped on Trey Killian (3.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER) for two runs in the first on Mike Papi’s two-run homer. With Brandon Waddell, Whit Mayberry and Josh Sborz yet to throw this weekend, Virginia is in great shape.

COLUMBIA REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Campbell 4, Old Dominion 1, 12 innings | Old Dominion eliminated
Game 4: Maryland 4, South Carolina 3

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Campbell vs. South Carolina, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Maryland, 7 p.m.

Campbell got a brilliant relief performance from Ryan Thompson (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1  BB, 5 K) to earn the first NCAA tournament win in program history, in the Camels’ second trip to regionals (the last was in 1990).

In the late game, Maryland took advantage of two South Carolina errors in the second to jump out to a 4-0 lead, then held on to snap the Gamecocks’ remarkable 28-game NCAA tournament home winning streak. Freshman Mike Shawaryn (6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) improved to 11-3 for Maryland, which turned a game-ending double play with the tying run at third in the ninth. Jack Wynkoop (1.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER) had a short outing for South Carolina, which got strong relief from Taylor Widener (6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R), leaving the pitching depleted for a run through the losers’ bracket. Now South Carolina must decide whether to start Wil Crowe against Campbell, or save him for a potential rematch against Maryland and roll the dice with a freshman (Reed Scott or Josh Reagan) in the first game.

CORAL GABLES REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Bethune-Cookman 6, Columbia 5 | Columbia eliminated
Game 4: Texas Tech 3, Miami 0

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Bethune-Cookman vs. Miami, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Texas Tech, 7 p.m.

Bethune-Cookman carried a 6-0 lead into the seventh-inning stretch and held off Columbia’s late rally to win its first NCAA tournament game since 2002, when it beat Florida International. Keith Zuniga (6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER) earned the win for the Wildcats, while Matt Noble (2-for-3, 3 RBI) powered the offense.

In the night game, Texas Tech recorded its first-ever NCAA tournament shutout (in 35 games) and became the first team to shut out Miami in the postseason since 1995. Freshman lefthander Dylan Dusek (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) did the heavy lifting, and the Red Raiders handed Chris Diaz (7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) his first loss of the year.

CORVALLIS REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: UNLV 2, North Dakota State 1 | North Dakota State eliminated
Game 4: UC Irvine 14, Oregon State 2

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: UNLV vs. Oregon State, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. UC Irvine, 11 p.m.

UNLV scored two runs in the first, highlighted by Morgan Stotts’ solo homer, and Bryan Bonnell (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and Brayden Torres (2 IP, 2 H, 0 R) made the lead stand up. The Bison had the tying run at third base with one out in the eighth, but Torres escaped with a strikeout and a pop out.

In the late game, UC Irvine’s Elliot Surrey (7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) turned in a strong start, and the Anteaters beat Pac-12 pitcher of the year Jace Fry (6.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER), then broke the game wide open with an eighth-run eighth inning, highlighted by Kris Paulino’s mammoth grand slam. The Anteaters took control with three runs in the fifth inning, scoring all three runs on squeeze plays—including two runs on one squeeze, as Chris Rabago came around to score from second base when Fry fielded Justin McClanahan’s bunt and threw to first for the out. The No. 1 national seed still has Ben Wetzler ready to start Sunday, but Oregon State is built to win a regional in three games, with its three stellar weekend starters doing the heavy lifting, and the Beavers could be hard-pressed to complete a run through the losers’ bracket.

FORT WORTH REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Siena 9, Dallas Baptist 8 | Dallas Baptist eliminated
Game 4: TCU 3, Sam Houston State 2 | 22 innings

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Siena vs. Loser of Game 4, 2:30 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. TCU, 7 p.m.

In one of the most stunning games of the weekend, Siena stormed all the way back from an early 7-0 deficit to beat DBU in extra innings, earning the Saints their first-ever NCAA tournament victory in head coach Tony Rossi’s 45th year at the helm. After the Saints (27-32) surged ahead 8-7 on John Rooney’s two-run single in the seventh, Dallas Baptist bounced back to score a run in the ninth and force extras. But Siena got a walk-off single up the middle in the 10th from Vincent Citro, setting off a spirited celebration.

The late game turned into a late, late, late game, as TCU and Sam Houston State battled for 22 innings over six hours, 54 minutes—the last out was recorded at 2:29 a.m. CT. After the Bearkats tied it at 2-2 in the eighth, the score remained deadlocked until Boomer White singled home Keaton Jones in the top of the 22nd, and Riley Ferrell worked a scoreless bottom of the frame for the save. A pair of controversial baserunner interference calls factored prominently in the game, costing Sam Houston State runs in the first and 21st innings. With the winning run at third base in the 21st, Travis Lee hit a high chopper to shortstop, and TCU attempted to save the game with a double play that it had no chance to complete. But Luke Plucheck collided with second baseman Garrett Crain, whose throw spiked into the ground, and interference was called, making Plucheck and SHSU coach David Pierce go ballistic (both were ejected). Lost in the wacky ending, TCU’s Trey Teakell (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and SHSU’s Ryan Brinley (6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R) provided sterling relief. Overall, 13 pitchers combined to throw 594 pitches (375 strikes).

GAINESVILLE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: North Carolina 5, Florida 2 | Florida eliminated
Game 4: College of Charleston 6, Long Beach State 3

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: North Carolina vs. Loser of Game 4, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7 p.m.

Bailey Ober

Bailey Ober

No. 2 national seed and Southeastern Conference regular-season champion Florida went 0-2 in regionals for the second straight year, extending its postseason losing streak to six games, dating back to the 2012 College World Series. North Carolina scored all five of its runs in the third inning, which was interrupted by a three-hour, 19-minute rain delay. UNC had two on and no outs before the delay, and when play resumed the Tar Heels pounded out four consecutive RBI hits, including back-to-back doubles by Tyler Ramirez and Adam Pate. The delay ended Benton Moss’ outing after three scoreless innings, and Reilly Hovis (4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) took over when play resumed to earn the win. In the second inning, UNC’s best player—shortstop Michael Russell—was hit just above his left eye by a Bobby Poyner fastball; he exited under his own power in a bloody scene and received stitches, leaving his status for the rest of the weekend in question.

College of Charleston became the only No. 4 seed to start out 2-0 in its regional this year, erasing a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the sixth, highlighted by Ben Boykin’s two-run homer. Bailey Ober (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER) improved to 10-2 for the Cougars, who are well positioned to win their first regional since 2006.

HOUSTON REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Texas A&M 7, George Mason 3 | George Mason eliminated
Game 4: Texas 3, Rice 2 | 11 innings

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Texas A&M vs. Loser of Game 4, 3 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7 p.m.

John Curtiss

John Curtiss (Photo by Andrew Woolley)

Krey Bratsen (4-for-4, R, RBI) led a 16-hit attack to help keep the Aggies alive. Corey Ray (3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) earned the win in relief, as George Mason rapped out 14 hits of its own but stranded 14 baserunners.

In an intense night game, Texas broke a 2-2 tie in the 11th, as Zane Gurwitz led off with a double and scored on Brooks Marlow’s RBI single to lift the Longhorns to a 3-2 win. Closer John Curtiss worked four perfect innings of relief to earn the save. The ‘Horns out-hit Rice 14-6 but left 13 men on base before breaking through in the 11th against Jon Duplantier. Parker French (6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) and Blake Fox (7 IP, 9 H, 2 ER) were strong in no-decisions.

LAFAYETTE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Louisiana-Lafayette 9, San Diego State 2 | San Diego State eliminated
Game 4: Mississippi State 3, Jackson State 1

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Jackson State, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Mississippi State, 6 p.m.

The Ragin’ Cajuns bounced back from Friday’s loss to Jackson State by pummeling SDSU ace Bubba Derby (1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER) and the Aztecs. Seth Harrison and Michael Strentz combined for five hits and five RBIs to lead a balanced 15-hit attack in support of Carson Baranik (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER).

Mississippi State elected to save ace Ross Mitchell until Sunday and beat Jackson State behind Ben Bracewell (3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) and Jonathan Holder (5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K), who struck out a career high and matched his longest outing of the season, but needed just 65 pitches to do it. Should the Cajuns get past Jackson State, they’ll get to face Mitchell on Sunday night.

LOUISVILLE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Kentucky 4, Kent State 2 | Kent State eliminated
Game 4: Louisville 6, Kansas 3

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Kentucky vs. Kansas, Noon
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Louisville, 5 p.m.

A.J. Reed (9 IP, 9 H, 2 ER) went the distance and sparked Kentucky’s four-run ninth-inning rally with an RBI double, as the Wildcats overcame a 2-0 deficit and finally got to Nick Jensen-Clagg (8.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER).

Corey Ray (3-for-4, R, 2B) led Louisville’s offense in support of Anthony Kidston (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K) in the second game.

For more on both of those games, see my report from Jim Patterson Stadium.

NASHVILLE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Xavier 6, Clemson 4 | Clemson eliminated
Game 4: Vanderbilt 7, Oregon 2

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Xavier vs. Oregon, Noon
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.

Clemson went 0-2 in a regional for the first time since 1981, as Scott Klever (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) kept the Tigers at bay, and Xavier broke open a 3-2 game with three runs in the seventh. Daniel Rizzie (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) and Brian Bruening (4-for-4) led Xavier’s 12-hit attack against ace Daniel Gossett (6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER) and the Tigers.

In the night game, Carson Fulmer (8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) shut down an Oregon offense that scored 18 runs Friday against Clemson. Bryan Reynolds (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI) led the Vanderbilt attack, as the Commodores out-hit the Ducks 13-3. With Walker Buehler set to go Sunday night, Vanderbilt is in great shape.

OXFORD REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 1: No. 2 Washington 8, No. 3 Georgia Tech 0
Game 2: No. 1 Mississippi 12, No. 4 Jacksonville State 2

Sunday, June 1
Game 3: Georgia Tech vs. Jacksonville State, 11 a.m.
Game 4: Washington vs. Mississippi, 3 p.m.
Game 5: Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4, 7 p.m.

All of Friday’s action in Oxford was postponed, so no team was eliminated Saturday. Tyler Davis (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K) was masterful in a shutout against Georgia Tech, while Braden Bishop and Branden Berry went a combined 6-for-7 with four runs and two RBIs to lead the Washington offense.

Ole Miss pounded out 17 hits in support of Chris Ellis (9 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) in the second game. Sikes Orvis (3-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR) led the way.

SAN LUIS OBISPO REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Sacramento State 5, Arizona State 4 | Arizona State eliminated
Game 4: Pepperdine 2, Cal Poly 1

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Sacramento State vs. Cal Poly, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Pepperdine, 6 p.m.

Sacramento State won its first-ever Division I NCAA tournament game by eliminating traditional power Arizona State. The Hornets broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the eighth and held off ASU’s ninth-inning comeback bid. Brennan Leitao (7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) was very good in a no-decision for Sacramento State, and Nathan Lukes led the offense with three RBIs.

Pepperdine knocked off top-seeded Cal Poly in the second game, as Aaron Brown (8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) improved to 12-1 on the year. The Waves came from behind with two runs in the seventh against Casey Bloomquist (8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), as Aaron Barnett tripled and scored the tying run on Hutton Moyer’s RBI double, and Moyer later scored the go-ahead run on a dropped popup in shallow right by first baseman John Schuknecht, as he raced raced backward.

STILLWATER REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Nebraska 8, Binghamton 6 | Binghamton eliminated
Game 4: Oklahoma State 13, Cal State Fullerton 7

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Nebraska vs. Cal State Fullerton, Noon
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Oklahoma State, 6 p.m.

The Cornhuskers stayed alive by coming from behind with three runs in the ninth to win a back-and-forth affair. Nebraska led 4-0 after three, but Binghamton put up three-spots in the fourth and sixth to carry a one-run lead into the ninth. Ryan Boldt’s RBI single tied it, and Steven Reveles drove in the go-ahead run with a squeeze.

The Cowboys chased Justin Garza (4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER) in a five-run fifth inning to give themselves a comfortable lead, and they answered Fullerton scores with runs of their own the rest of the way to win 13-7. Tanner Krietemeier (3-for-6, 5 RBI) led OSU’s balanced 16-hit attack, as six Cowboys tallied multiple hits.

TALLAHASSEE REGIONAL

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Alabama 6, Florida State 5 | Florida State eliminated
Game 4: Kennesaw State 13, Georgia Southern 5, 11 innings

Sunday, June 1
Game 5: Alabama vs. Georgia Southern, Noon
Game 6: Winner of Game 5 vs. Kennesaw State, 5 p.m.

Florida State went 0-2 in a regional for the first time since 1984. Alabama got a strong start from Justin Kamplain (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K), and the Crimson Tide carried a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth—when Florida State stormed back with five runs. But with the tying run at third base, Thomas Burrows got Gage West to fly out to preserve the upset. Luke Weaver (5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER) took the loss for Florida State, which had won regionals in each of the last six years, and 13 of the previous 15 years since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1999.

Third-seeded Kennesaw State is now in command of the regional after erupting for eight runs in the 11th inning to beat Georgia Southern. Kal Simmons (3-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI) hit a pair of RBI singles in that inning, while Cornell Nixon hit a two-run single and Max Pentecost added a two-run double. Justin McCalivin worked three perfect innings of relief to earn the win.

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