The first ticket to the NCAA tournament was punched Saturday. Columbia swept a doubleheader against Dartmouth to win the best-of-three Ivy League championship series, sending the Lions to regionals for the second straight year.
David Vandercook and Robb Paller each homered and finished with two hits and two RBIs apiece in the opener behind ace David Speer (8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), as the Lions won 6-2. Vandercook homered again in the second game, and Gus Craig added a two-run shot in Columbia's crucial three-run fourth inning in support of Kevin Roy (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), leading Columbia to a 4-1 victory.
The Lions are headed to regionals for the third time since 2008 under coach Brett Boretti.
Top 25 Showdowns
(18) Vanderbilt at (4) Florida: The Commodores walloped the Gators 16-2 in the rubber game of the series between the two SEC West leaders. Vandy chased Karsten Whitson (0.1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 3 BB) in an eight-run first inning and cruised from there, helping Tyler Ferguson (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K) improve to 7-3. Florida pitchers issued 10 walks, and the Gators committed three errors. Dansy Swanson (2-for-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, HR) led the Vandy offense, while Bryan Reynolds and Vince Conde chipped in two hits and three RBIs apiece.
(23) UC Irvine at (7) Cal Poly: The Mustangs evened the series with a 1-0 win, as Justin Calomeni (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K), Taylor Chris (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R) and Reed Reilly (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R) combined on a two-hit shutout. Jimmy Allen's RBI single in the sixth against Elliot Surrey (8 IP, 8 H, 1 ER) provided the only run of the game.
(19) Alabama at (15) Louisiana State: The Tide and Tigers split a doubleheader, with LSU winning the opener 2-0 and Alabama taking the nightcap 5-1, setting up a rubber game Sunday. In his final regular-season start at Alex Box Stadium, Aaron Nola (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K) retired the first 15 batters he faced en route to his fourth career complete-game shutout, out-dueling Spencer Turnbull (8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). Nola increased his career strikeout total to 322, ranking fourth on the school's all-time list.
"You feel like you're doing a disservice to Aaron's performances because it's hard to find the words to describe how extraordinary he is," LSU coach Paul Mainieri told reporters afterward. "He led the way for us today, and he was outstanding from beginning to end. In the ninth inning, he was still able to throw exactly the pitches he wanted to throw, and he located them precisely. I get a little emotional when talking about Aaron, because he's an exceptional young man as well as the best pitcher in the country. What a privilege it's been for me to be his coach for the past three seasons."
Georgie Salem (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) led the Alabama attack in support of Justin Kamplain (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) in the second game, as the Tide jumped on Alden Cartwright (1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER) for three runs in the first and never looked back.
Top 25 Upsets
(10) Louisville at Temple: The Owls snapped Louisville's 12-game winning streak with a 4-2 upset behind Patrick Vanderslice (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) and Zach Batchelor (3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R). The Owls did most of their damage in a three-run fourth against the Louisville bullpen.
Georgia at (11) Mississippi: Georgia freshman Robert Tyler (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) smothered Mississippi's explosive offense in a 2-0 win, leveling the series. Christian Trent (6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K) was solid in a no-decision, but the Bulldogs scored single runs in the eighth and ninth against Aaron Greenwood.
Oklahoma at (12) Texas Christian: The Sooners snapped TCU's 13-game winning streak with a 7-5 win in 11 innings. The Horned Frogs erased a 5-0 lead with a frantic five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, only to lose in the 11th. TCU left fielder Boomer White temporarily preserved the tie in the 11th by throwing out the would-be go-ahead run at the plate, but the Sooners then scored two runs on a wild pitch by Riley Ferrell (2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER) and an error.
(20) Texas A&M at Arkansas: The Hogs clinched a much-needed series with a 7-3 win. Chris Oliver (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) was strong in a no-decision for Arkansas, which broke a 3-3 tie with four runs in the eighth against A&M relievers Matt Kent and Corey Ray.
Stetson at (24) Mercer: The Hatters overcame a 2-0 deficit with a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to level the series with a 3-2 win. Mercer's Grant Papelian (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Stetson's Taylor Cockrell (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) each earned no-decisions in a nice duel.
Other Top 25 Results
Georgia Tech at (1) Virginia: The Cavs clinched the series with a 4-3 win in 11 innings. The score was tied 1-1 heading into the eighth, and the Yellow Jackets scored single runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings, but Virginia answered each run with one of its own in the bottom of the frames to force extra innings. Branden Cogswell (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI) force in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the 11th. Josh Sborz (6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) was strong in a no-decision for UVa., and Whit Mayberry (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) picked up the win in relief.
UCLA at (2) Oregon State: The Beavers clinched the series with a 9-3 win. Jeff Hendrix (3-for-5, 3 R) and Gabe Clark (2-for-4, 4 RBI) led the OSU offense in support of Andrew Moore (6.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER).
(3) Louisiana-Lafayette at South Alabama: The Cajuns swept a doubleheader, 5-2 and 8-7, and the first victory clinched the regular-season Sun Belt Conference title. Caleb Adams (2-for-4, R, RBI) doubled twice to lead the ULL offense behind Austin Robichaux (7 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) in the opener. Greg Davis (3-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI) and Jace Conrad (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) each homered in the second game, and Carson Baranik (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) was solid in a no-decision.
(5) Florida State at North Carolina: The Seminoles clinched the road series with a 10-2 win behind Mike Compton (8 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Florida State wore down UNC pitching, which issued eight walks, hit three batters and uncorked two wild pitches.
Bethune-Cookman at (6) Washington: The Huskies swept a doubleheader, 5-4 (11 innings) and 7-1. Tyler Davis (8 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) earned a no-decision in the opener, as Washington won on an error in the 11th. Andrew Ely had three hits and Brian Wolfe delivered three RBIs in the second game in support of Jeff Brigham (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K).
(8) Miami at Duke: The Hurricanes clinched their seventh straight series with a 9-1 win. Dale Carey (2-for-5, HR, 5 RBI) led the Miami offense in support of Andrew Suarez (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER).
(9) Indiana at Penn State: All-Americans Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis each hit their ninth homers of the year, and Dustin DeMuth went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs in support of Christian Morris (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER), as the Hoosiers clinched the series with an 8-1 win.
(13) Oklahoma State at Kansas State: The Cowboys clinched their seventh straight series with a 6-4 win at Kansas State. Oklahoma State did most of its scoring in a four-run fifth inning, and bullpen stalwarts Vince Wheeland (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and Brendan McCurry (1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) kept KSU scoreless through the final five innings. McCurry ended the game with a strikeout to strand the bases loaded.
(14) Rice at Texas-San Antonio: The Owls leveled the series with an 11-3 win behind Blake Fox (6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER), who improved to 10-0. Ten Owls recorded hits as part of a balanced 13-hit attack, led by Skyler Ewing (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI).
(16) Houston at Connecticut: The Cougars won the series opener with a 3-1 win behind Aaron Garza (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), and led the second game 4-2 in the sixth before play was suspended by darkness.
Missouri at (17) South Carolina: The Gamecocks clinched the series with a 3-1 win behind Jack Wynkoop (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). D.C. Arendas (3-for-4) led South Carolina's balanced 11-hit attack.
Tennessee at (21) Mississippi State: The Bulldogs evened the series with a 1-0 win in 10 innings. MSU got stellar pitching from Ross Mitchell (6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K) and Jonathan Holder (3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K), while Tennessee's Nick Williams (9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K) kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard until the 10th, when C.T. Bradford doubled off Kyle Serrano and scored the winning run on Seth Heck's walk-off single.
Coastal Carolina at (22) Liberty: The Flames improved to 21-1 in the Big South with a series-clinching 4-3 win behind Blake Fulghum (7 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Danny Grauer and Alex Close had two RBIs apiece to lead the Liberty offense.