Saturday Roundup: Regular Season Ends In Many Leagues

The regular season is over in most leagues, and the conference tournament brackets are set for three of the four power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big 12). The SEC and ACC tournies both begin with a single-elimination round Tuesday.

Here are the SEC single-elimination games:

No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt

No. 10 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Arkansas

No. 9 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Alabama

No. 12 Georgia vs. No. 5 Mississippi State

The top four seeds (No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Mississippi, No. 3 LSU and No. 4 South Carolina) all earned byes to the double-elimination round. The 3 and 4 seeds were up for grabs until the final day of the season, as were the last two spots in the tournament. Tennessee and Georgia earned their way in with wins Saturday, while Auburn lost. And South Carolina leapfrogged Mississippi State to snag a bye after beating Vanderbilt, coupled with MSU’s loss to Alabama.

Here are the single-elimination games in the ACC, with the winners advancing to pool play:

No. 10 North Carolina State vs. No. 7 North Carolina

No. 9 Georgia Tech vs. No. 8 Wake Forest

The N.C. State-UNC game is likely to be the highest-drawing game of the tournament, even though it takes place Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. It will be the only meeting this season between the two rivals, who drew upwards of 10,000 fans in each of their previous two ACC tournament meetings over the last two years in Greensboro and Durham.

The ACC pools look like this:

Pool A: No. 1 Miami, No. 4 Duke, No. 5 Clemson, and Wake/Georgia Tech winner

Pool B: No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 Maryland, and UNC/NCSU winner

The Big 12 has one game left on the conference schedule today, but it won’t affect tournament seeding. That double-elimination tournament starts Wednesday with these matchups:

No. 6 West Virginia vs. No. 3 Kansas

No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 2 Texas Christian

No. 8 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Oklahoma State

No. 5 Texas vs. No. 4 Texas Tech

On to Saturday’s action.

Top 25 Showdowns

Jace Fry

Jace Fry

(5) Washington at (2) Oregon State: The Beavers evened the series with a 1-0 victory in a stirring duel between UW’s Tyler Davis (8.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) and OSU’s Jace Fry (9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K). Fry won it by throwing his fourth shutout of the season, improving him to 8-1, 1.00 in Pac-12 play. Davis also carried a shutout into the ninth before exiting with two on and one out. Closer Troy Rallings entered and gave up a walk-off two-run double to Logan Ice, scoring Dylan Davis. The Beavers move back ahead of the Huskies by a game in the Pac-12, with one game left in the series and one more weekend of conference play for each team next week.

(17) South Carolina at (18) Vanderbilt: The Gamecocks won the rubber game of the showdown in Nashville, 6-3. South Carolina broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the eighth, capped by D.C. Arendas’ two-run single. That helped Wil Crowe (7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) pick up his first win since March 30. Adam Ravenelle (2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB) took the loss for the Commodores. Winning the road series cements South Carolina as a regional host and puts the Gamecocks right in the thick of the national seed race. That race is far from decided; the Gamecocks could use a strong showing in Hoover to secure them as a national seed, especially if it comes down to South Carolina and Ole Miss for one national seed.

(20) Mississippi State at (19) Alabama: The Crimson Tide avoided a sweep with a 2-1 win behind Justin Kamplain (5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K). Mikey White and Ben Moore hit solo homers to provide all of Alabama’s scoring, and Thomas Burrows (2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) picked up his 10th save. The Bulldogs got a short outing from Preston Brown (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB).

Top 25 Upsets

(1) Virginia at Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons took the rubber game, 4-3, to hand UVa. its first series loss of the year. Wake Forest took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to chase Brandon Waddell (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), highlighted by Will Craig’s two-run double.

Duke at (4) Florida State: The Blue Devils avoided a sweep with a 7-5 win, improving them to 16-14 in the ACC (but they remain No. 80 in the RPI heading into the ACC tournament). Duke jumped out to a 5-1 lead through three innings against Peter Miller (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB) and Jim Voyles (2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER), and Trent Swart (8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) kept the FSU offense in check.

A.J. Simcox

A.J. Simcox (Photo by Tony Farlow)

(8) Florida at Tennessee: Playing to cement their spot in the SEC tournament, the Volunteers avoided a sweep with a 7-5 win. The Gators took a 5-4 lead with three runs in the fifth, but Tennessee answered with three of its own int he bottom of the frame, helping Andy Cox (7 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) earn the win. A.J. Simcox (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI) led the Tennessee offense, while Taylor Gushue and Josh Tobias each homered in a losing cause for Florida, which finished the regular season with a 21-9 SEC mark.

(11) Mississippi at Texas A&M: The Aggies avoided a sweep with a 9-6 win. They erased a 6-5 deficit with four runs in the eighth against the Ole Miss bullpen, with help from two Ole Miss errors, a wild pitch and four walks (two intentional).Troy Stein and Krey Bratsen had two hits and two RBIs apiece to lead the Aggies.

(12) Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma: The Sooners avoided a sweep with an 8-1 win behind Kindle Ladd (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and Jeffrey Curran (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R). Garrett Williams (0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 ER) started and was chased in OU’s four-run first.

(21) Liberty at Radford: The Flames dropped their first weekend series of the year, losing the rubber game at Radford 4-2. The Highlanders jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings against Parker Bean (3.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) and never looked back. Liberty finishes the regular season 39-14 overall and 23-3 in the Big South, but the Flames had little margin for error in their quest to host a regional, so this series hurts them. Liberty is No. 25 in the RPI and just 1-4 against the RPI top 50. Given the glut of strong host contenders, this series loss could knock LIberty out of the running.

Cal State Fullerton at (24) UC Irvine: The Titans clinched their first series with Rick Vanderhook back in the dugout, coming from behind to win 2-1 in 10 innings. Justin Garza (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and Elliot Surrey (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) were strong in no-decisions, but the Anteaters carried a 1-0 lead into the ninth, when Keegan Dale’s RBI single against national saves leader Sam Moore (2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) tied the game. Jared Deacon won it with an RBI single in the 10th. The win jumped the Titans 11 spots to No. 60 in the RPI and improved them to 10-10 in the Big West. But a series next weekend at home against Cal State Northridge doesn’t figure to help their RPI, which is still outside at-large range. Sunday’s game is critical for Fullerton to have a shot at making a late at-large run.

(25) Texas at Kansas State: The Wildcats broke their 11-game Big 12 losing streak with a come-from-behind 5-4 win, evening the series. KSU erased a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the ninth against John Curtiss (1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER).

Other Top 25 Results

Louisiana-Monroe at (3) Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin’ Cajuns needed 14 innings to complete a sweep of ULM, 6-5. Seth Harrison delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 14th, helping the Cajuns finish the regular season with a 49-7 record.

(6) Cal Poly at Cal State Northridge: The Mustangs clinched the road series with a 6-3 win. Mark Mathias (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 2B) and Jimmy Allen (3-for-5, 3 R, RBI, HR) led the Cal Poly offense in support of Casey Bloomquist (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), who improved to 12-1. Thanks to another UC Irvine loss to Fullerton on Saturday, the Mustangs can clinch the Big West title with a win Sunday.

Bryan Radziewski

Bryan Radziewski

North Carolina at (7) Miami: The Hurricanes took the rubber game 2-0 to claim the ACC’s regular-season title for the second time in program history and become the fourth team to reach 24 ACC victories. The Hurricanes won their final seven regular-season series and went 27-3 over their last 30 games, giving them 40 regular-season wins for the first time since 2008. David Thompson (2-for-4, R, RBI) capped his first weekend back in the lineup by leading the offense Saturday in support of Bryan Radziewski (6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K).

Minnesota at (9) Indiana: Sam Travis, Dustin DeMuth and Scott Donley combined for six hits, five runs and four RBIs to power the Hoosiers to a series-clinching 8-0 win. Brian Korte (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R) improved to 3-0, and the Hoosiers finished the regular season 21-3 in the Big Ten, winning every conference series. Indiana did not allow an opponent to score more than four runs in any of their 24 Big Ten games, finishing with a 1.53 staff ERA in conference action—the lowest by a Big Ten team since 1965 (Iowa, 1.17).

Cincinnati at (10) Louisville: The Cardinals run-ruled the Bearcats 10-0 to finish 19-5 in the AAC. Cole Sturgeon (2-for-4, 3 R, RBI) spearheaded a 14-hit attack in support of Anthony Kidston (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K).

(13) Texas Christian at Baylor: The Frogs won the rubber game 7-1 behind Tyler Alexander (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), who continued to pitch very well down the stretch. Cody Jones and Derek Odell had two hits apiece to spark the offense for TCU, which finished 17-7 in the Big 12 (a game behind OSU) and won its final seven weekend series.

Louisiana Tech at (14) Rice: The Owls completed the sweep with a 4-3 win in 11 innings. Matt Ditman (4 IP, 4 H, 0 R) earned the win with strong relief work, and Leon Byrd delivered a walk-off single in the 11th.

(15) Louisiana State at Auburn: LSU wrapped up a sweep with an 8-1 win. Andrew Stevenson (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) and Kade Scivicque (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI) led the LSU offense in support of Kyle Bouman (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER).

(16) Houston at Temple: The Cougars evened the series with a 7-5 win, but the series finale was canceled due to Houston’s travel arrangements—helping the Cougars remain inside the top 10 in the RPI. Kyle Survance (2-for-3, 3 R) and Justin Montemayor (3-for-5, R) led the UH offense, and Tyler Ford (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) earned the win in relief of Aaron Garza (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER).

(22) Kansas at Michigan: The Jayhawks won the first game of a two-game nonconference set 8-2. Michael Suiter and Dakota Smith combined for five RBIs.

(23) Pepperdine at Gonzaga: The Waves clinched at least a share of the WCC regular-season title with an 8-6 win, leveling the series. Bryan Langlois (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) and Aaron Barnett (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI) led the offense for Pepperdine, which can win the regular-season crown outright with a win Sunday or an LMU loss.

Other Notable Results

Here’s a look at some other conferences whose regular-season champions were crowned Saturday:

• Saint Louis and La Salle settled for a 9-9 tie Saturday, leaving the Billikens a half-game ahead of St. Joseph’s, which split a doubleheader against Massachusetts. Saint Louis is the top seed in the conference tournament.

• Creighton won the Big East regular-season title by a game over St. John’s. The Bluejays beat Xavier 7-6 on Saturday, while the Red Storm split a doubleheader against Seton Hall.

• William & Mary blanked College of Charleston 6-0 to finish atop the CAA standings, a half-game ahead of the Cougars.

• New Mexico beat Air Force 5-4, and UNLV beat Nevada 4-2, causing the Lobos and Rebels to tie atop the final Mountain West standings. UNLV owns the tie-breaker after going 5-1 against the Lobos in the regular season. At No. 56 in the RPI and without an outright regular-season title under its belt, New Mexico likely needs to do some work in the conference tournament to make itself an at-large team.

• Sam Houston State won the Southland regular-season title outright, beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 9-1. The Bearkats finished a game ahead of Nicholls State in the standings and No. 34 in the RPI, having won 14 of its final 15 games. SHSU is an at-large lock.

Bubble Watch

A few other games that had at-large implications Saturday:

• In the wildest game of the weekend, Clemson stormed all the way back from a 9-2 deficit to stun Boston College, 10-9 in 13 innings. The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to cut the BC lead to 9-4, then scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth, capped by Jon McGibbon’s three-run double. Clemson won on Jay Baum’s walk-off double in the 13th. It was a critical game for Clemson, which had been on the brink of finishing the season with back-to-back series losses to Notre Dame and BC. By winning the BC series, the Tigers finished 15-14 in the ACC, though they remain squarely on the bubble with a No. 50 RPI and a 7-12 record against the top 50.

• Texas Tech completed a sweep of free-falling West Virginia, 4-0. The Mountaineers finished the regular season with seven straight losses, including back-to-back sweeps at the hands of Kansas and TTCU to drop them to 9-14 in the Big 12. Despite a No. 30 RPI, WVU (27-24 overall) has played itself out of at-large position and now needs a nice run in the conference tournament to save its season.

• Nebraska won its rubber game against Illinois, 7-4 on Pat Kelly’s walk-off three-run homer in the 10th. The Huskers are already a rock-solid at-large team (No. 27 in the RPI and second place in the Big Ten). Illinois remains firmly in the mix at No. 53.

• Stanford clinched its series against Washington State with a 9-4 win to climb to .500 in the Pac-12 (13-13). The Cardinal is holding steady at No. 40 in the RPI, and its at-large case is gaining strength.

• Long Beach State leveled its series at UC Riverside with a 6-1 win, while UC Santa Barbara clinched its set at San Francisco with a 6-0 victory, as Austin Pettibone threw his second straight shutout. Long Beach is No. 48 in the RPI, UCSB is No. 52—but the Dirtbags are in much better at-large shape because they are 13-7 in the Big West, while the Gauchos are 9-12.

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