NCAA Super Regionals Roundup: North Carolina, Oregon State Advance To CWS
North Carolina and Oregon State on Saturday became the first two teams to punch their tickets to the College World Series. The Tar Heels and Beavers, familiar Omaha foes, both swept their home super regionals and will now meet next Saturday in TD Ameritrade Park.
North Carolina became the first team to advance to the CWS with a 7-5 victory against Stetson in the Chapel Hill Super Regional. Oregon State joined them several hours later, pulling ahead of Minnesota late for a 6-3 victory in Game 2 of the Corvallis Super Regional.
Oregon State and North Carolina met in the CWS finals in 2006 and 2007, with Oregon State winning both series. There won’t be a third finals showdown between the two teams, but they will be the two favorites on their side of the bracket with the other national seeds already eliminated.
Perhaps the most anticipated game of the weekend was in the Gainesville Super Regional, where All-American righthanders Brady Singer and Casey Mize squared off for the third time in their careers. Florida defeated Auburn, 8-2, as Singer, the College Player of the Year, and the Gators beat Mize, the top overall pick in the draft, and the Tigers for the second time this season. The victory put Florida, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, one win away from its fourth straight trip to Omaha.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, but the Gators scored eight unanswered runs to roll to victory. They knocked Mize out of the game after five innings, tagging him for six runs on seven hits and four walks. Singer settled into the game after falling behind early and turned in a quality start, striking out nine batters and holding Auburn to two runs on four hits and two walks. He improved to 12-1, 2.30.
While North Carolina and Oregon State swept their super regionals, the other two series that began Friday will extend to the if-necessary Game 3. Cal State Fullerton beat Washington, 5-2, and Vanderbilt walked-off with a 4-3 victory against Mississippi State.
Fullerton took a 2-0 lead in the second inning and never looked back with Tommy Wilson leading the way. He held Washington to one run in seven innings, scattering three hits and a walk. The Huskies’ offense was limited to a pair of solo home runs from designated hitter Joe Wainhouse, who has 19 on the year.
After getting walked-off on Friday night, Vanderbilt returned the favor to Mississippi State. J.J. Bleday drove a home run out to dead center field to send a tightly contested series to a third game.
Arkansas got off to a solid start in its home super regional, beating South Carolina, 9-3. The Razorbacks’ offense exploded late, scoring the final six runs of the game in the final four innings to blow past the Gamecocks.
Texas Tech’s offense also got going late and it powered the Red Raiders to 6-4, comeback victory against Duke in Game 1 of the Lubbock Super Regional. The Blue Devils pushed out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning and again pulled ahead 4-3 in the seventh. But the Red Raiders got to Duke bullpen, which has been one of its strengths all season long, and scored the final three runs of the game.
Tennessee Tech continued its impressive run with a 5-4 victory against Texas in Game 1 of the Austin Super Regional and is now one win away from reaching the CWS for the first time in program history. The Golden Eagles got strong pitching out of starter Marcus Evey and relief ace Ethan Roberts to shut down the Longhorns’ offense.
Tennessee Tech leads the nation in home runs, but it didn’t put on a power display Saturday, instead showing that it can win without using the long ball. Chase Chambers and David Garza hit a pair of fifth-inning doubles to drive in three runs and push the Golden Eagles into the lead and Roberts did the rest, holding the Longhorns to one run on one hit and a walk over the final four innings for his 15th save of the year.