Baseball America

Saturday Roundup: LSU, UCLA Clinch Omaha Trips

UPDATED THROUGH ALL EIGHT GAMES SATURDAY

The first two participants of the 2013 College World Series are set. Louisiana State dominated Oklahoma, 11-1, to sweep the Baton Rouge Super Regional and clinch its first trip to Omaha since 2009. The Tigers will face UCLA in their College World Series opener, after the Bruins swept the Fullerton Super Regional with a 3-0 win against Cal State Fullerton.

JaCoby Jones

JaCoby Jones (Photo by Andrew Woolley)

LSU built a 3-1 lead against Dillon Overton through four innings, and the Tigers added another run in the sixth after Overton (5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER) returned to the mound following a weather delay. That delay spelled the end for Ryan Eades (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), and LSU got five combined innings of two-hit, shutout relief from Will LaMarche, Nick Rumbelow and Chris Cotton. The Tigers poured it on with six runs in the ninth to get the celebration started early. JaCoby Jones (4-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR), Ty Ross (2-for-4, R, 3 RBI) and Alex Bregman (2-for-5, R, 2B) led the offense for LSU.

UCLA capitalized on two errors to score three unearned runs in the first against Thomas Eshelman (8 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K), and that proved enough support for Nick Vander Tuig (6.1 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) and the UCLA bullpen, which held Fullerton scoreless for just the second time this season. The Titans had their chances, but left 12 men on base. So UCLA heads to Omaha for the second straight year, and the third time in the last four years.

Seven national seeds were in action Saturday, and just two of them won. Road teams won five of the day’s eight games, while the two home teams in North Carolina won in walk-off fashion. Here’s a look at Saturday’s other action.

Corvallis Super Regional

Down by a run in the ninth with the bases loaded, two outs and two strikes, Ross Kivett tripled to keep Kansas State alive, then scored the tying run on Tanner Witt’s RBI single. The Wildcats then scored four in the 10th to win 6-2, with Witt capping the rally with a two-run single. Witt finished 3-for-6 with three RBIs to lead the KSU offense, and Jon Davis provided the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th. Nate Williams and Jake Matthys threw a combined five innings of three-hit, shutout relief for the Wildcats, who pulled within one victory of their first trip to Omaha. Michael Conforto provided all of Oregon State’s scoring with a two-run homer in the fourth behind Matt Boyd (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). But the Beavers burned closer Scott Schultz after he recorded just one out in the eighth, and lefty Max Engelbrekt left with an injury after another third of an inning, putting the game in the hands of Jace Fry (1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER), who couldn’t close it out.

Chapel Hill Super Regional

North Carolina won a back-and-forth opener against South Carolina, 6-5, on Skye Bolt’s walk-off RBI single in the ninth. The Gamecocks jumped out to an early 4-2 lead and chased Kent Emanuel (2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER) in the third; Emanuel has allowed 14 earned runs on 16 hits in his last 6.2 IP, causing his ERA to shoot up from 2.11 to 3.18. But Chris Munnelly, Tate Parrish, Chris McCue and Trent Thornton held South Carolina to just one run thereafter. UNC went ahead on Brian Holberton’s two-run single in the sixth, and South Carolina tied it on Chase Vergason’s RBI double in the eighth. That set the stage for Bolt’s walk-off single against closer Tyler Webb in the ninth. The Gamecocks had a golden opportunity to take the lead in this series with Emanuel struggling, and they could not capitalize.

Charlottesville Super Regional

Hunter Renfroe

Hunter Renfroe (photo by Andrew Woolley)

Adam Frazier (6-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3B) and Hunter Renfroe (4-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3B) were a two-man wrecking crew, combining for 10 of Mississippi State’s 20 hits in an 11-6 throttling of Virginia. The Cavaliers committed four errors, leading to five unearned runs, and Brandon Waddell (3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER) struggled. Kendall Graveman (5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER) was workmanlike to earn the victory for MSU, while Ross Mitchell (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K) was strong to pick up the save. Mitchell entered with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, and he walked the first batter he faced to bring the tying run to the plate. But he limited the damage by inducing a 6-3 double play, and the game was never in question again. Frazier became the first Bulldog to record six hits in a postseason game since Burke Masters in 1990.

Nashville Super Regional

Louisville overcame a 2-1 deficit with three runs in the seventh to chase Kevin Ziomek (6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) and held on for a 5-3 win against the No. 2 national seed. Zak Wasserman drove home Jeff Gardner for each of Louisville’s first two runs of the game, including the game-tying RBI single in the seventh. Vandy closer Brian Miller took over for Ziomek with the bases loaded, and pinch-hitter Matt Helms greeted Miller by hitting a two-run RBI single through the left side, putting the Cardinals ahead for good. The Commodores got a run on the eighth before stranding men at the corners against Nick Burdi. Vandy then loaded the bases against Burdi in the ninth, but he got Conrad Gregor to ground into a fielder’s choice to end it.

Raleigh Super Regional

The marquee matchup between North Carolina State’s Carlos Rodon (8 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) and Rice’s Austin Kubitza (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) delivered plenty of intensity, and both wound up getting no-decisions. With the score tied 2-2 heading into the ninth, the Owls got a pair of one-out singles, chasing Rodon after 133 pitches. Christian Stringer doubled to right to put Rice ahead, but the Wolfpack rallied in the bottom of the ninth against dominant closer Zech Lemond. Brett Williams sparked the rally by drawing a leadoff walk, stealing second, reaching third on an errant pickoff throw and scoring on a fielder’s choice. Shortly thereafter, Jake Fincher delivered a walk-off RBI single to left, giving N.C. State a 4-3 lead and pulling the ‘Pack within one win of its first College World Series trip since 1968.

Tallahassee Super Regional

In its super regional debut, Indiana won a wild back-and-forth affair against Florida State, 10-9. Kyle Schwarber (2-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR) led the Indiana offense in an ugly game, which featured three errors by each team. The Hoosiers broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the fourth, only to see FSU answer with four in the bottom of the frame, chasing Joey DeNato (3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 BB). Florida State carried a 6-5 lead into the seventh, when IU staged another four-inning rally to take the lead for good. But FSU made things very interesting in the late innings, drawing within one in the ninth. After D.J. Stewart’s RBI single and a wild pitch, FSU had the tying run at third and the winning run at second with one out, but Will Coursen-Carr escaped by getting Stephen McGee and Marcus Davis to fly out. Indiana is one win away from its first trip to Omaha.