Super-Regional Recaps: Day Two

See also: Day One recap

Pick a storyline. Saturday’s super-regional games featured them all. South Carolina hit five consecutive home runs to tie an NCAA record. Cal State Fullerton’s Lauren Gagnier threw 7 2/3 no-hit innings.

North Carolina and Alabama played a game that featured score- and momentum-changing home runs in each of the last three half-innings. Mississippi battled back from a six-run deficit to win. Clemson staged another late-inning comeback.

Oh, and there were dog piles. Four of them.

When the excitment settled down, Cal State Fullerton, Clemson, Georgia Tech and North Carolina all finished off sweeps in their best-of-3 series to advance to the College World Series. Rice, South Carolina, Mississippi and Oregon State won the first game
of their series and can punch their CWS tickets with one more win

Cal State Fullerton 9, Missouri 1

Righthander Lauren Gagnier held Missouri without a hit until there were two outs in the eighth inning as Cal State Fullerton won 9-1 at Godwin Field to advance to the CWS.

The win gave Cal State Fullerton its 14th trip to the College World Series, the Titans fifth trip in the last eight years, and also was coach George Horton 450th career victory.

Senior Danny Dorn was 2-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the Titans.

Catcher J.C. Field, a .234 hitter, broke up Gagnier’s no-hitter with a home run. At one point, Gagnier retired 11 straight hitters. He left after eight innings, having allowed only two hits and one run while striking out nine.

Cal State Fullerton will face North Carolina in their first game at the College World Series.

Oregon State 4, Stanford 3

Mitch Canham’s RBI double in the seventh inning helped Oregon State beat Stanford for the fourth time this season, this time by a 4-3 score at Coleman Field in the first game of a super-regional.

Dallas Buck allowed three runs in eight innings to pick up the win. The Beavers ace alllowed two runs in the third on Jim Rapoport’s home run, but he settled down, scattering eight hits while striking out six.

While Buck was good, Stanford ace Greg Reynolds matched him nearly step for step. Reynolds allowed four runs in seven innings, but two of them were unearned. Stanford made three errors, while Oregon State did not committ an error, and allowed three or less runs for the ninth straight game.

“That’s what got us here–pitching and defense,” Beavers coach Pat Casey said. “We’ve lived with that all season and expect it. We just play really solid defense in the infield. And here again, when you have Dallas on the mount you are going to have to defend.”

The two teams will face off again today at 10 p.m. in the second game of the best-of-three series.

“The first game is huge, obviously,” said OSU outfielder Cole Gillespie, who went 2-for-3 to set the school record for total bases in a season with 144. “You don’t want to dig yourself into a hole. Winning this game, we have a lot of confidence going into Sunday.”

North Carolina 8, Alabama 7

First baseman Chad Flack hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning and a two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth as North Carolina staged two comebacks to beat Alabama 8-7 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium and advance to its first College World Series since 1989.

Flack’s second homer came against Alabama closer David Robertson with two outs in the ninth inning. The Crimson Tide had just gotten a three-run homer from freshman Alex Avila off UNC closer Andrew Carignan in the top of the inning to go ahead 7-6.

“I turned to Coach (Scott) Forbes right before my at bat and told him that we
weren’t losing this game,” Flack said. “We knew, even after (Alabama) hit the home
run, that we weren’t going to lose and that we were going to battle
until the end.

“I was just thinking about making good contact, getting a hit and
keeping the inning going. I ended up getting a better piece of the ball
than I thought I would.”

Alabama trailed 6-4 entering the ninth because of Flack’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, which gave UNC a 5-4 lead and chased Tide starter Tommy Hunter from the game. The Tar Heels tacked on another run before the end of the eighth.

Before the home run to Flack, Hunter had baffled the Tar Heels, while North Carolina starter Daniel Bard was quickly chased from the game. Bard allowed three hits and two runs in two and two-third innings. It could have been even worse for Bard, as the Crimson Tide ran themselves out of big innings as two runners were gunned out at the plate on ground balls in the infield.

Mississippi 11, Miami 9

Mississippi scored the biggest come-from-behind win of its season by rallying from a six-run deficit to beat Miami 11-9 at Swayze Field in the first game of a super-regional.

The Rebels trailed 9-3 before scoring six times with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, a rally capped by a three-run home run by Mark Wright.

Mississippi took the lead for good in the sixth behind RBI singles from Zack Cozart and Alex Presley. Wright, Cozart and C.J. Ketchum all drove in three runs for Mississippi, which drew 9,202 fans. Miami first baseman Yonder Alonso homered and drove in three runs for the Hurricanes.

Miami had jumped out to an early lead behind Yonder Alonso’s three-run home run and Blake Tekotte’s RBI triple.

Rice 10, Oklahoma 4

Four Rice players homered, and righthander Eddie Degerman struck out eight Oklahoma batters in a 10-4 win at Reckling Park. The win was Rice’s 14th straight.

Shortstop Brian Friday hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and third baseman Josh Rodriguez followed that with a solo shot as Rice grabbed a quick 4-0 lead. Aaron Luna and Danny Lehman homered in the seventh inning as Rice reached double figures in the scoring column.

Degerman won his 13th game of the year by going 6 2/3 innings. His 158th strikeout of the season set a Conference USA record.

Clemson 6, Oral Roberts 5

Shortstop Stan Widmann’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth inning gave Clemson a 6-5 win against Oral Roberts at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and sent the Tigers to their first CWS appearance since 2002.

wanted to protect; I didn’t
want to strike out looking.  He
just gave me a pitch over the
plate that I could handle.  I
just put a good swing on it and
somehow it got through,” Widmann said. “They
had me guessing the whole weekend.  When
I was thinking slider, they were
throwing fastballs.  When
I was thinking fastball, they
were sliders.  I
was thinking pretty much ‘see
the ball, hit the ball’ at
the point.  It
looked like the shortstop was
going to catch it, but somehow
it was out of reach.”

It marked the second straight game Clemson battled back from an early deficit to beat Oral Roberts. Tyler Colvin ended the first game of the series with a ninth-inning grand slam.

Taylor Harbin, who homered earlier in the game, drew Clemson to within a run with an RBI single in the eighth inning. Oral Roberts walked slugger Andy D’Alessio to load the bases for Widmann’s heroics.

Georgia Tech 12, College of Charleston 3

Third baseman Whit Robbins and left fielder Jeff Kindel both homered as Georgia Tech beat College of Charleston 12-3 at Russ Chandler Stadium to advance to the third College World Series in school history. Robbins drove in a game-high three runs on three hits, while Kindel, center fielder Steven Blackwood and DH Wes Hodges all drove home three runs for the Yellow Jackets.

Lefthander Lee Hyde recorded eight strikeouts over eight innings while allowing three runs–two earned. Charleston scored single runs in the first and second innings, holding 1-0 and 2-1 leads, before Georgia Tech’s bats got started. Robbins hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, and Kindel’s two-run homer started a five-run fifth to help put the game away.

South Carolina 15, Georgia 6

South Carolina hit eight home runs, including five in a row in the second inning, to crush Georgia 15-6 at Foley Field. Outfielders Andrew Crisp and Robbie Grinestaff each hit two home runs and drove in four runs for the Gamecocks, who scored six runs on five home runs in the second inning.

Neil Giesler, Justin Smoak, Phil Disher, Crisp and Grinestaff all homered consecutively to tie an NCAA Division I record set by Eastern Illinois in 1998. Right fielder James Darnell also homered in the game for South Carolina, which fell one home run shy of matching a school record.

“I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. “I didn’t even know we had hit five in a row until after the game. I knew we had hit a few homers but I guess you get lost in the game a little bit.”

Lefthander Harris Honeycutt lasted 81/3 innings for South Carolina, allowing six runs on 10 hits to earn the win. Lefty Mickey Westphal gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings for Georgia, including the first three of the five straight homers. The final two came on consecutive pitches by reliever Stephen Dodson.