Regionals Roundup: Pitching Gems, Upsets Abound

The opening day of the NCAA tournament delivered all the May Madness fans could want. For the first time ever, three national seeds—No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Florida State and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette—were upset on the first day, with Jackson State's 1-0 victory against the explosive Ragin' Cajuns ranking as the day's biggest stunner. It was just the third NCAA tournament win for the Southwestern Athletic Conference since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1999, and it came 10 years after Texas Southern toppled national seed Rice in the 2004 Houston Regional; SWAC teams had lost 20 straight NCAA tournament games since then, until Friday. Two other national seeds—No. 1 Oregon State and No. 7 Texas Christian—pulled out one-run nail-biters, and TCU needed 11 innigns to beat Siena. Southeastern Louisiana and George Mason gave top seeds Louisiana State and Rice runs for their money as well, before the favorites pulled away late.

Overall, regional No. 1 seeds went 12-3, with one idle, as all the action in Oxford was postponed by bad weather. No. 2 seeds went just 8-7 against No. 3 seeds, making a total of 10 lower seeds upsetting higher seeds. That matches last year's Day One total, when nine No. 3 seeds and just one No. 4 seed won their openers. Here's a rundown of how multi-bid conferences fared on Day One:

SEC: 5-4
ACC: 3-3
Big 12: 5-0
Big West: 4-0
Pac-12: 3-1
AAC: 2-0
Big Ten: 1-1
Conference USA: 1-1
Southland: 1-1
Big South: 0-2
Missouri Valley: 0-2
Mountain West: 0-2

The big winners, then, were the Big 12 and Big West, while the two power conferences in the Southeast had mixed results. So for one day, at least, those who rail against the perceived overrepresentation of the SEC and ACC in the field of 64 have some ammunition. But regionals are far from over.

Friday also featured a bevy of pitching masterpieces, most notably from Georgia Southern's Sam Howard, Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede, Miami's Andrew Suarez, TCU's Brandon Finnegan, Stanford's Cal Quantrill, Oregon State's Andrew Moore and Kennesaw State’s Travis Bergen. Good luck choosing just one of those to call pitcher of the day. Details below.

Baton Rouge Regional

Friday, May 30

Game 1: No. 1 Louisiana State 8, No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana 4
Game 2: No. 2 Houston 3, No. 3 Bryant 2, 10 innings

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Southeastern Louisiana vs. Bryant, 2 p.m.
Game 4: LSU vs. Houston, 7 p.m.

Southeastern Louisiana took a 4-2 lead with a pair of runs in the sixth, and the Lions had ace Andro Cutura (6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER) on the mound, but the Tigers chased him with two runs in the seventh to tie it, then erupted for four more in the eighth to win. Sean McMullen's two-run homer broke the game open. LSU started freshman Jared Poche' (6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER) in the opener, and the move paid off; now the Tigers have Aaron Nola ready to go Saturday. LSU improved to an incredible 26-1 all-time in regional openers.

In the late game, Houston carried a 2-1 lead into the ninth, when Bryant tied it on a two-out RBI single by John Mullen. But the Cougars manufactured a run in the 10th to win on Justin Montemayor's walk-off sacrifice fly. Jared Robinson (6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) turned in strong relief of Andrew Lantrip (2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) to keep the Bulldogs at bay until the ninth. So Houston has its pick of its top two starters—Aaron Garza and Jake Lemoine—for Saturday's showdown against Nola.

Bloomington Regional

Friday, May 30

Game 1: No. 3 Stanford 8, No. 2 Indiana State 1
Game 2: No. 1 Indiana 10, No. 4 Youngstown State 2

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Indiana State vs. Youngstown State, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Stanford vs. Indiana, 6 p.m

Cal Quantrill

Cal Quantrill (Photo by Larry Goren)

Freshman Cal Quantrill has been Stanford's Friday starter all year, and he wasn't cowed by the pressure of a regional opener. Quantrill (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) was masterful, and Stanford took control with four runs in the sixth, highlighted by Jack Klein's first home run of the year (a two-run shot).

In the second game, Kyle Schwarber (4-for-5, 3 R, 3 RBI, 3B, HR) went bonkers to lead Indiana's 15-hit barrage, and sophomore closer Scott Effross (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) threw well in his first career start. The Hoosiers are set up nicely, with ace Joey DeNato ready to take the mound Saturday against Stanford.

Charlottesville Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 1 Virginia 10, No. 4 Bucknell 1
Game 2: No. 2 Arkansas 3, No. 3 Liberty 2

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Bucknell vs. Liberty, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Virginia vs. Arkansas, 8 p.m.

The Cavaliers broke open a 3-0 game with seven runs in the sixth, and Artie Lewicki (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K) continued his string of stellar mound work down the stretch. Mike Papi and John La Prise had three hits apiece for the Cavs to lead an 11-hit attack, and Bucknell made four errors, leading to nine unearned runs. UVa. has ace Nathan Kirby ready for Saturday's game against Arkansas.

The Hogs broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fourth and held on to win behind Chris Oliver (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 4 K), Michael Gunn (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) and Jacob Stone (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R). Trey Killian will take the mound in a nice matchup Saturday against Kirby.

Columbia Regional

Friday, May 30

Game 1: No. 2 Maryland 4, No. 3 Old Dominion 3 | Maryland Finds A Way Again
Game 2: No. 1 South Carolina 5, No. 4 Campbell 2 | Montgomery Rewards Coach’s Faith

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Old Dominion vs. Campbell, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Maryland vs. South Carolina, 7 p.m.

The Terrapins, in their first NCAA tournament game since 1971, scored three runs in the ninth, capped by back-to-back bases-loaded HBPs to win in walk-off fashion. Jordan Montgomery (8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) sparkled in South Carolina's win in the evening game. Saturday's winners' bracket matchup between Mike Shawaryn and Jack Wynkoop should be a good one.

See Jim Shonerd's reports from Columbia for more details on these games.

Coral Gables Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 2 Texas Tech 3, No. 3 Columbia 2
Game 2: No. 1 Miami 1, Bethune-Cookman 0

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Columbia vs. Bethune-Cookman, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Texas Tech vs. Miami, 7 p.m.

Andrew Suarez

Andrew Suarez (Photo by Richard Lewis/

Columbia and Texas Tech were tied 2-2 heading into the ninth, when TTU cleanup man Eric Gutierrez delivered a walk-off double to left-center. Jonny Drozd (3.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R) earned the win with strong relief of Chris Sadberry (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER), and Adam Kirsch provided Texas Tech's other two runs with a two-run homer in the fifth.

Andrew Suarez (9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K) was brilliant for Miami in a fine duel against Montana Durapau (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K), and the Hurricanes broke a scoreless tie in the ninth, taking advantage of an error to put the winning run on third and then scoring on a wild pitch. Miami has one of college baseball's best rotations, so this regional sets up nicely for the 'Canes, with ace Chris Diaz and fellow veteran lefty Bryan Radziewski still to pitch.

Corvallis Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 3 UC Irvine 10, No. 2 UNLV 3
Game 2: No. 1 Oregon State 2, No. 4 North Dakota State 1

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: UNLV vs. North Dakota State
Game 4: UC Irvine vs. Oregon State

UC Irvine seized control of the first game with five runs in the fifth, highlighted by Connor Spencer's two-run double and Justin McClanahan's two-run single. Taylor Sparks (3-for-5, 2 R), hitting in the leadoff spot, also had a nice day in support of Andrew Morales (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER).

Andrew Moore (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K) set an Oregon State postseason record for strikeouts in a game, and Dylan Davis hit a solo homer in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, lifting the No. 1 national seed to a hard-fought win against the feisty Bison. David Ernst (7.1 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) kept NDSU close. The Beavers are sitting pretty, with twin aces Ben Wetzler and Jace Fry rested and ready for the next two days.

Fort Worth Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 3 Sam Houston State 2, No. 2 Dallas Baptist 1
Game 2: No. 1 TCU 2, No. 4 Siena 1, 11 innings

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Dallas Baptist vs. Siena, 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: Sam Houston State vs. TCU, 7 p.m.

The Bearkats broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the eighth, as Corey Toups drew a leadoff walk and came around to score the winning run on an error. Toups (2-for-2, R) and Hayden Simerly (3-for-5) led the Sam Houston offense in support of Tyler Eppler (7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), while Cy Sneed (6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER) was solid in a no-decision for the pitching-rich Patriots. Sam Houston won its regional opener last year too, then had LSU on the ropes before the Tigers rallied. The Bearkats, one of the most dangerous 3-seeds in the tournament, are loaded with postseason experience.

TCU's Brandon Finnegan (7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K) returned to peak form just in time for the postseason, but Siena's Matt Gage (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) went toe-to-toe with him, and the Saints tied the game with a run in the eighth to force extra innings. Riley Ferrell (2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) followed with brilliant relief, and Trey Teakell worked a scoreless 11th, setting the stage for Boomer White's walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th. Now the Frogs hand the ball to Big 12 pitcher of the year Preston Morrison on Saturday against the Bearkats.

Gainesville Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 2 Long Beach State 6, No. 3 North Carolina 1
Game 2: No. 4 College of Charleston 3, No. 1 Florida 2

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: North Carolina vs. Florida, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Long Beach State vs. College of Charleston, 7 p.m.

Andrew Rohrbach (8.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) stifled North Carolina into the ninth, and the Dirtbags chased Trent Thornton (3.1 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 3 BB) in a six-run fourth inning, highlighted by Eric Hutting's two-run single and Colton Vaughn's two-run double. The Dirtbags won a regional opener for the first time since 2005.

After a three-hour, 10-minute weather delay, College of Charleston jumped on Logan Shore (5 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) for three runs in the first and held on for a 3-2 win behind Taylor Clarke (4.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER), Eric Bauer (3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) and Michael Hanzlik (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R). College of Charleston is the highest-ranking No. 4 seed in the RPI, the team we dubbed the most dangerous No. 4, and the Cougars backed up that talk Friday.

Houston Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 2 Texas 8, No. 3 Texas A&M 1

Game 2: No. 1 Rice 7, No. 4 George Mason 2

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Texas A&M vs. George Mason, 3 p.m.
Game 4: Texas vs. Rice, 7 p.m.

The Longhorns jumped out to a 7-0 lead through three innings against Daniel Mengden (2.1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER), and Nathan Thornhill (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) cruised to lead Texas to a dominating win against its rival. C.J Hinojosa and Collin Shaw had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Texas.

In the second game, George Mason scored twice in the eighth against Kevin McCanna (7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) to take a 2-1 lead, but the Owls answered with six in the bottom of the frame to chase Jared Gaynor (7.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER) and put the game away. John Clay Reeves and Leon Byrd delivered two-run singles in Rice's eighth-inning rally, and Zech Lemond (1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) shut the door to earn the win in relief. Rice's win set up another great rivalry matchup Saturday between Owls lefthander Blake Fox and Texas righty Parker French.

Lafayette Regional

Friday, May 30

Game 1: No. 2 Mississippi State 5, No. 3 San Diego State 2
Game 2: No. 4 Jackson State 1, No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette 0

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Mississippi State vs. Jackson State, 6 p.m.

In the day's first game, Mississippi State took control with a four-run second inning against Mark Seyler, and the Bulldogs got strong pitching from Trevor Fitts (5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) and Myles Gentry (4 IP, 0 H, 0 R), allowing them to preserve Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder for Saturday. Jake Vickerson's three-run triple was the big blow in that crucial second inning.

Jackson State's Vincent Anthonia (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R) and Alexander Juday (3 IP, 3 H, 0 R) combined to shut out the nation's best offense in the nightcap, in one of the biggest NCAA tournament upsets of the last decade. The Cajuns outhit the Tigers 8-4 but stranded 11 baserunners. The Cajuns had runners at second and third with one out in the eighth but failed to score, as Juday escaped with a flyout and a strikeout. Austin Robichaux (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) took a tough-luck loss for ULL. Mississippi State, with a fresh Ross Mitchell still to pitch, is in the driver's seat now, but don't discount Louisiana-Lafayette's chances to slug its way back through the losers' bracket. But Saturday's elimination game against SDSU ace Bubba Derby presents another major challenge; ULL will counter with Carson Baranik.

Louisville Regional

Friday, May 31

Game 1: No. 3 Kansas 10, No. 2 Kentucky 6 | Gritty Jayhawks Handle Weather , Wildcats
Game 2: No. 1 Louisville 5, No. 4 Kent State 0 | Dominant Funkhouser Sets Tone For Louisville

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Kentucky vs. Kent State, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Kansas vs. Louisville, 5 p.m.

The Jayhawks waited out three long weather delays and outslugged Kentucky's potent offense, with Tucker Tharp (3-for-5, 3 RBI) leading the Kansas attack. Kyle Funkhouser (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K) was brilliant for Louisville in the late game. I was on hand for the long day in Louisville; check out my reports for more details.

Nashville Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 2 Oregon 18, No. 3 Clemson 1
Game 2: No. 1 Vanderbilt 11, No. 4 Xavier 0

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Clemson vs. Xavier
Game 4: Oregon vs. Vanderbilt

Tyler Beede

Tyler Beede (Photo by Danny Parker)

Last week, Oregon was held hitless through the first four innings of all three games against Cal, and it lost two of the three games. On Friday, the Ducks got their bats going in a big way, clobbering the Tigers behind a 20-hit blitzkrieg. Shaun Chase (2-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI) and Tyler Baumgartner (3-for-6, 3 R, 2 RBI) each homered for Oregon, and Nick Catalano (3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI) also had a big game in support of Tommy Thorpe (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER).

Tyler Beede (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 14 K) was efficient and overpowering in the late game, throwing 114 pitches over eight masterful innings. Xavier Turner (2-for-4, 3 RBI) led the offense for Vanderbilt, which broke open a 2-0 game with seven runs in the sixth to chase Vinny Nittoli (5 IP, 6 H, 5 ER).

Oxford Regional

Friday, May 30
All games postponed by rain.

Saturday, May 31
Game 1: No. 2 Washington (39-15) vs. No. 3 Georgia Tech (36-25), 1 p.m.
Game 2: No. 1 Mississippi (41-18) vs. No. 4 Jacksonville State (36-25), 5 p.m.

San Luis Obispo Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 3 Pepperdine 3, No. 2 Arizona State 2
Game 2: No. 1 Cal Poly 4, No. 4 Sacramento State 2

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Arizona State vs. Sacramento State, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Pepperdine vs. Cal Poly, 6 p.m.

Austin Davidson's two-run double in the second inning staked Corey Miller (7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) to a 3-0 lead, and the Waves held on to win 3-2. ASU starter Brett Lilek exited the game in the first inning after falling as he covered first base, and Seth Martinez (6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) kept the Sun Devils in it, but they couldn't break through against Pepperdine's pitching.

In the late game, Mark Mathias (2-for-4, 2 RBI) led the Cal Poly offense in support of Matt Imhof (7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K), and Reed Reilly worked 1.1 scoreless to pick up his 11th save.

Stillwater Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 3 Cal State Fullerton 5, No. 2 Nebraska 1
Game 2: No. 1 Oklahoma State 8, No. 4 Binghamton 0

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Nebraska vs. Binghamton
Game 4: Cal State Fullerton vs. Oklahoma State

J.D. Davis

J.D. Davis (Photo by Larry Goren)

Nebraska's Chance Sinclair (6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) held the Titans hitless into the seventh, when Fullerton tied the score at 1-1. The Titans went ahead for good an inning later when J.D. Davis blasted a towering grand slam to left field. Thomas Eshelman (6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) was solid in a no-decision for Fullerton.

Zach Fish (2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2B) led Oklahoma State's 10-hit attack in the nightcap, and Tyler Buffett (4.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) and four relievers combined on a shutout. Saturday's matchup between OSU's Jon Perrin and Cal State Fullerton's Justin Garza should be a gem.

Tallahassee Regional

Friday, May 30
Game 1: No. 3 Kennesaw State 1, No. 2 Alabama 0
Game 2: No. 4 Georgia Southern 7, No. 1 Florida State 0

Saturday, May 31
Game 3: Alabama vs. Florida State, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Kennesaw State vs. Georgia Southern, 5 p.m.

Sophomore lefthander Travis Bergen allowed just five hits over a career-high 8 2/3 shutout innings, leading Kennesaw State to its first-ever Division I NCAA tournament win, 1-0 against Alabama. The Owls manufactured a run in the fifth against Alabama ace Spencer Turnbull, scoring the game's only run on a Kal Simmons sacrifice fly.

We tabbed Georgia Southern as a candidate to pull off a Day One upset largely because of ace lefthander Sam Howard (9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 10 K), who threw his first career complete game in a sublime 137-pitch effort. Leave it to FSU coach Mike Martin to eloquently and graciously describe Howard's performance: "We were totally dominated by Sam Howard, who did a beautiful job, a great job of pitching. We fought, and that's all you can ask out of our team. You tip your hat to Georgia Southern, plain and simple. They were beautiful. They deserved to win."

The loss snapped Florida State's 19-game winning streak in regional play, marking its first regional loss since 2008 against Bucknell (in a regional the Seminoles rallied to win). Georgia Southern out-hit FSU 16-2, led by No. 9-hole hitter Dalton Busby (3-for-3, R, 2 RBI). The Eagles chased Mike Compton (1.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) in the second inning and never looked back.

So No. 3 seed Kennesaw State takes on No. 4 seed Georgia Southern in the winners' bracket, while Alabama's Justin Kamplain faces off against FSU ace Luke Weaver in the elimination game.