No. 23 UNC Wilmington was already building a strong resume for an at-large bid in case it fails to capture the Colonial Athletic Association’s automatic bid, but the Seahawks firmed up their postseason credentials with a huge win Tuesday. Tyler Molinaro’s two-run home run in the eighth inning lifted UNCW to a 9-8 win at No. 1 North Carolina, snapping the Tar Heels’ 14-game winning streak and handing them just their third loss of the season. Molinaro and Michael Bass had two hits and two RBIs apiece for the Seahawks, who got sterling relief work from Kelly Secrest (5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K).
North Carolina built a 6-0 lead through three innings, but Wilmington stormed back with six runs in the fourth, only to see UNC answer in the bottom of the frame with Colin Moran’s two-run homer. But the Seahawks persevered, and Secrest kept the game close until Molinaro’s blast against Trent Thornton in the eighth.
On to the rest of Tuesday’s highlights:
• Loyola Marymount senior lefthander Matt Florer threw just the second no-hitter in school history in a 5-0 win against Cal State Northridge. It was Florer’s ninth career start and third of the season. He issued five walks, hit a batter and struck out a career-high five, throwing 134 pitches to complete LMU’s first no-hitter since Bob Seus threw one against Long Beach State in 1980.
• No. 3 Vanderbilt blasted No. 12 Louisville, 10-2, to win the second annual Battle of the Barrel for the second straight year. Vanderbilt—or should we say Zanderbilt?—broke open a 2-1 game with four runs in the sixth, keyed by redshirt freshman Zander Wiel’s two-run homer, his third long ball in three games since joining the starting lineup. Tony Kemp (3-for-4, 3 R, 2 SB) and Vince Conde (2-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR) also had nice games in support of Walker Buehler (5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K).
• Gardner-Webb scored an unearned run on Joey Pankake’s throwing error in the ninth inning to beat No. 15 South Carolina 7-6. Brad Collins (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI) led Gardner-Webb’s 15-hit attack. Colby Holmes (3.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) continued to scuffle for the Gamecocks, who got multi-hit games from L.B. Dantzler, Pankake, Grayson Greiner, Connor Bright and T.J. Costen.
• Washington followed up its series win against Oregon State with a 6-2 upset of No. 22 Gonzaga. Michael Camporeale hit a two-run homer in the first, and the Huskies never looked back. Trevor Dunlap (3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K) turned in strong relief to pick up the win.
• A number of likely regional teams were upset in blowout fashion Tuesday. Curt Powell and Hunter Cole had four hits and two RBIs apiece to lead Georgia (16-26) to a 17-0 shellacking of No. 20 Georgia Tech in front of 18,240 fans at Turner Field—the largest crowd in college baseball this season. Georgia’s only bigger margin of victory against its rival came in a 25-1 pounding in 1898. The Yellow Jackets have lost four straight.
• Long Beach State hammered No. 9 UCLA 11-1 in Westwood. The Dirtbags broke open a 2-0 game with six runs in the third, and Ino Patron (1-for-3, 2 R, 4 RBI) added a three-run homer in the fifth. Nick Sabo (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R) was strong for LBSU, while Cody Poteet (2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 K) struggled for UCLA.
• Tim Zier (4-for-6, R, 2 RBI) led San Diego State’s 18-hit barrage in an 18-2 drubbing of UC Irvine. Mike Robards (7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) picked up the win for the Aztecs, who leveled their record at 20-20.
• Ben Hammer (4-for-4, 4 R, 5 RBI, 2 HR) helped Toledo (15-24) hammer Notre Dame, 15-3. Jared Locke (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) turned in a solid start for the Rockets.
• In the day’s most stunning result, Florida A&M improved to 4-37 with an 11-5 win against Mercer (32-12). Kevin Singletary (4-for-5, R) led FAMU’s 19-hit onslaught.
• A number of favorites also won blowouts. Brian Ragira and Austin Wilson combined to go 8-for-10 with six runs, three homers and six RBIs to lead Stanford to a 17-2 win against San Jose State.
• Hunter Renfroe (2-for-4, 3 R, 3 RBI) blasted his 14th homer of the year, and Brett Pirtle had four hits to lead Mississippi State’s 15-hit attack in a 12-1 win against Memphis at Autozone Park. Ross Mitchell (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) improved to 8-0 with sterling relief of Evan Mitchell (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 1 K).
• Auston Bousfield (2-for-4, 3 R, 2 RBI) led Mississippi’s balanced 11-hit attack in an 11-1 win at Arkansas State.
• D.J. Stewart (2-for-4, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B) spearheaded Florida State’s 14-hit attack in support of Peter Miller (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K), as the Seminoles rolled to a 9-0 win against Jacksonville.
• There were also some nail-biters Tuesday. Western Kentucky knocked off Kentucky 3-2 in 18 innings, as Trevor Lowe hit a walk-off home run. The Wildcats had taken a 2-1 lead on A.J. Reed’s RBI double in the 13th, but WKU answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame to prolong the game, which lasted five hours, 57 minutes. Kentucky used six pitchers in the game and had to extend closer Trevor Gott (3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), just two days before the Wildcats open a big SEC series at Mississippi on Thursday night.
• North Carolina State extended its winning streak to 15 games with a 4-3 win against Davidson. Logan Ratledge singled to lead off the ninth, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on Jake Fincher’s sacrifice fly. Fincher drove in three of NCSU’s four runs. With UNC losing, the Wolfpack is now the sole owner of the nation’s longest active winning streak.
• Nick Howard went 5-for-5 with three RBIs to lead Virginia to a 6-2 win against Richmond.
• Brett Thomas (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) led Oregon’s 15-hit attack in an 11-7 win at Portland.
• Casey Bloomquist (6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) led Cal Poly to a 7-1 win at California. Elliot Stewart (2-for-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) led the Mustangs’ offense.
• Indiana got strong relief work from Luke Harrison (5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) in a 5-2 win against Eastern Kentucky.
• Zach Fish (2-for-6, 2 RBI hit a walk-off RBI double in the 12th to lift Oklahoma State to a 6-5 win against Wichita State.
• Houston continued to slide, dropping a 4-0 decision at Texas. Josh Urban, Travis Duke and Ty Marlow combined on a four-hit shutout for the Longhorns.
• Florida stayed hot, blasting Big East leader South Florida 12-1. Richie Martin (2-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, 3B) led the Gators’ 13-hit attack.
• Dillon Haupt hit a walk-off home run in the 11th to lift San Diego to a 3-2 win against UC Riverside.
• Texas A&M is on very precarious ground for the postseason, and Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Texas State won’t help. Tyler Pearson (3-for-3, R, RBI, 2B) led the Texas State offense. The Aggies fell to 22-20 on the year.