2019 Super Regionals Saturday Results & Analysis

Image credit: (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Happy Saturday! Four teams have chances to advance to Omaha (Duke, Michigan, Texas Tech, Louisville) while four other series get underway. 

To read about Friday’s action, click here. Analysis from Joe Healy is below the scores.

12 p.m. ET (1) Arkansas (1) Ole Miss Arkansas 11-2 ESPN 1-0 (ARK)
12 p.m. ET (1) Louisville (1) East Carolina Louisville 12-0 ESPNU 2-0 (LOU)
12 p.m. ET (1) North Carolina (2) Auburn Auburn 11-7 ESPN2 1-0 (AUB)
3 p.m. ET (1) LSU (3) Florida State Florida State 6-4 ESPN 1-0 (FSU)
6 p.m. ET (1) Oklahoma State (1) Texas Tech Oklahoma State 6-5 ESPNU 1-1
8 p.m. ET (1) Mississippi State (1) Stanford Mississippi State 6-2 ESPN2 1-0 (MSU)
9 p.m. ET (1) Vanderbilt (3) Duke Vanderbilt 3-0 ESPNU 1-1
9 p.m. ET (1) UCLA (3) Michigan UCLA 5-4 ESPN2 1-1

Omaha, Here We Come

— With a 12-0 win over East Carolina on Saturday, Louisville became the first team to punch its ticket to the College World Series in Omaha. And if that didn’t make it enough of a banner day for the Cardinals, consider that righthander Bobby Miller flirted with a no-hitter, taking it into the ninth inning before ECU third baseman Thomas Francisco singled. When it was all said and done, Miller had thrown eight shutout innings, giving up one hit and two walks with five strikeouts. Offensively, it was another big day for the Louisville lineup, as it put together three-run frames in the second, third, and fifth innings to put the game out of reach early. Right fielder Drew Campbell went 3-for-5 with a double and a triple, while second baseman Justin Lavey was 3-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, a hit by pitch, and three RBIs. Things really couldn’t have gone much better for Louisville in its super regional. It outscored ECU 26-1 in the two games, the bullpen wasn’t pushed enough to make the suspension of reliever Michael McAvene hurt, and now, it has a full week off before taking the field in Omaha.

Just Getting Started

— Arkansas won its home regional with little incident last weekend, and with an 11-2 win over Mississippi on Saturday, it looks motivated to do the same this weekend. In his final start in Fayetteville, righthander Isaiah Campbell was outstanding, throwing 8.1 innings, giving up five hits and two runs with one walk and seven strikeouts. And while Campbell was dealing, the Razorbacks’ offense was having little trouble getting to Ole Miss righty Will Ethridge, scoring eight runs (six earned) off of him in 3.1 innings, including four runs in a big first inning that featured a three-run homer from second baseman Jack Kenley. With another win this weekend, Arkansas will head to the College World Series in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.

— Auburn is looking for its first trip to Omaha since 1997, and an 11-7 win over North Carolina on Saturday is a step in that direction. It got down early when the UNC offense scored three first-inning runs against lefthander Jack Owen, and then it trailed 5-2 after seven innings as the Tar Heels played add-on a couple of times. But that was about the time that the Tigers’ offense exploded. Five runs came across in the top of the eighth, including three on a three-run double off the very top of the wall by first baseman Rankin Woley. Four more runs came across in the top of the ninth, highlighted by a three-run homer off the bat of third baseman Edouard Julien. With the pitching staff a bit short-handed, as it has been for much of the season, the Tigers have to find ways to win ugly, and they did it again to put themselves one win from the CWS. 

— It was a tale of two baseball games for Florida State in its quest to win Game 1 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional. There was the first half of the game, when it really struggled and looked listless, and then there was the second half, when it showed fight and secured a 6-4 win to move head coach Mike Martin one win away from a CWS appearance in his final season. Heading into the sixth inning, FSU was not only trailing, 4-0, but they didn’t have a hit. They broke up the no-hitter in the sixth on the way to getting on the board thanks to a Matheu Nelson RBI single. That set the stage for center fielder Reese Albert to tie things up with a massive three-run home run to right field that cleared the bleachers. A Tim Becker sac fly in the eighth and an Albert solo homer in the ninth later, and the Seminoles had a 6-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. After FSU fell in the early hole, the bullpen trio of Chase Haney, Antonio Velez, and J.C. Flowers helped hold LSU at bay long enough for the offense to get going and eventually take the lead with a combined 4.1 scoreless innings on just two hits. In a season that looked like it might be going nowhere as recently as a month ago, Florida State is knocking on the door of a trip to Omaha.

— Mississippi State jumped out to a one-game advantage in the Starkville Super Regional with a 6-2 win over Stanford. Lefthander Ethan Small continued his standout season with a quality outing against a physical Stanford order that is much more like a typical SEC offense than the stereotypical small-ball offenses found on the West Coast. He threw six innings, giving up five hits and one unearned run with two walks and eight strikeouts. Meanwhile, on offense, the Bulldogs never really let Cardinal righty Brendan Beck get comfortable. In his three innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks. With the rest of the starting rotation much less of a certainty, it was imperative that Mississippi State come out and take Game 1 to feel comfortable about its chances to advance to Omaha. Mission accomplished.

On to Game Three

— A wild, wacky, sometimes sloppy game in Lubbock on Saturday ended in a 6-5 Oklahoma State win, sending the Lubbock Super Regional to a deciding third game on Sunday. You could have gotten whiplash trying to keep up with all of the shifts in momentum in this one. Tied 1-1 halfway through, OSU jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer from second baseman Hueston Morrill. The Red Raiders not only tied it with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but they took the lead with a run in the eighth on an RBI single off the bat of Dru Baker. Undeterred, the Cowboys sometimes feast-or-famine offense feasted again in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a two-run homer from DH Colin Simpson. And then, after Texas Tech tied it in the ninth with the help of an error from Cowboys shortstop Andrew Navigato, Oklahoma State walked it off in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch out of the hand of righthander Taylor Floyd. Once the teams, and the college baseball viewing public, catch their collective breath after a game that felt as tense as any this season from the middle innings on, they’ll do it again on Sunday to send one team to Omaha. 

— In a game that his team had to win in order to keep its promising season alive, Vanderbilt righthander Kumar Rocker threw a no-hitter with 19 strikeouts in a 3-0 Commodores win over Duke. The no-hitter is the first ever recorded in a super regional and it is Vandy’s first since 1971. And the 19 strikeouts are just two shy of the record for any NCAA postseason game. Rocker walked two and hit a batter, but none of those three baserunners led to any semblance of a Duke rally. And when his pitch count was nearing a total you would have expected to put him on the precipice of exiting the game, the freshman got stronger, as he struck out the final four batters he faced. When you have a starter throwing like that, you don’t need a whole lot of offense, which was good, because Duke righty Bryce Jarvis was great in his own right. Vanderbilt scratched a run across in the fifth, and then added two in the eighth against Blue Devils relievers for a little insurance. With this momentum shift in the series, the Commodores have to feel good about coming out and securing a place in the College World Series on Sunday. 

— Top-seeded UCLA avoided becoming the first No. 1 overall seed to be swept in a super regional since 2003 with a 5-4, 12-inning win over Michigan. In many ways, Saturday’s game looked a lot like the 3-2 win for Michigan on Friday. The Wolverines got out to a 3-1 lead after two innings, and took a 3-2 lead to the eighth inning, looking to claim a victory on the back of early runs and great pitching. But UCLA made sure this one ended differently. The Bruins tied it with a run in the eighth and then took a lead in the ninth, only to have Michigan force extra innings with a run of its own in the bottom of the ninth. In the top of the 12th, the Bruins fought for a run again, with the go-ahead tally coming home on an RBI double from shortstop Kevin Kendall. As the game got longer and longer, the work of UCLA righty Holden Powell shined bright. He threw five innings of relief, giving up two hits and one run, which not only gave the Bruins’ offense time to push the winning run across, but also went a long way toward keeping the bullpen fresh for a deciding Game 3.

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