South Carolina 4, Duke 2
--- by Christopher Novak
The Gamecocks persevered on Saturday afternoon in Columbia and sent the Dukies home to Durham after South Carolina's late rally in the ninth to pull ahead of the Blue Devils. South Carolina defeated Duke 4-2 to stay alive after losing in shocking fashion to URI on Friday evening and will now move on to an elimination game at Noon ET on Sunday against the loser of UNCW and URI, who are set to play later Saturday.
After being deadlocked at two runs apiece for the latter half of the game, South Carolina broke it open in their favor in the top of the ninth inning. Hunter Taylor smacked a double to score Dom Thompson-Williams and effectively break the tie. Insurance would be tacked on later after LT Tolbert, who went 2-for-3 at the plate Saturday, scored on a wild pitch.
Braden Webb threw a short, three inning outing against the Dukies Saturday afternoon in Columbia. Webb was still effective though as he struck out five of the 14 batters he faced and allowed just one XBH, a double by Justin Bellinger. Josh Reagan allowed just one run in the 4.2 innings of relief he tossed and struck out four batters but let up a home run to Bellinger in the sixth inning. Tyler Johnson finished the game with a clean ninth inning despite and omitted just one hit in the 1.1 innings he hurled.
Xavier 15, Vanderbilt 1
--- by Tom Stephenson
In an emotional game at Hawkins Field after the drowning death of freshman pitcher Donny Everett, Vanderbilt managed to hold it together for six innings. Vanderbilt's Jordan Sheffield and Xavier's Zac Lowther traded zeroes for three innings before Xavier struck first in the top of the fourth. Third baseman Rylan Bannon connected on a leadoff double and scored on a single by Daniel Rizzie, aided by a defensive miscue by Vanderbilt centerfielder Bryan Reynolds, one of four errors on the day by the Commodores.
The Commodores evened the score in the bottom of the fifth, manufacturing a run following a leadoff walk by second baseman Alonzo Jones, who advanced on a sacrifice by catcher Jason Delay and then scored on an Ethan Paul single. But another defensive miscue by the Commodores allowed Xavier to take a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning: on a strikeout that should have ended the inning, Delay airmailed a throw to first base, allowing batter Andre Jernigan to reach base and allowing Daniel Rizzie, who had doubled earlier in the inning, to come around and score.
And then the wheels came off for the Commodores. After a leadoff walk to start the seventh, Xavier's Will LaRue dropped down a sacrifice bunt that Sheffield misplayed, allowing him to reach base. A bunt single by David Morton loaded the bases, and Xavier plated their third run of the day on Vanderbilt's fourth error of the day. One batter later, Rylan Bannon connected on a grand slam that made the score 7-1 and effectively ended any hope that Vanderbilt had of coming away with a win, but Xavier wasn't done yet - the Musketeers would ultimately send 18 batters to the plate and plate 13 runs in the top of the seventh, turning a pitcher's duel into a 15-1 laugher.
Jordan Sheffield took the loss for the Commodores, dropping his record on the season to 8-6. Now, Vanderbilt must turn around and play Washington Saturday afternoon needing a win to stave off elimination.
Tulane 6, Ole Miss 5
--- by Christopher Novak
After taking a 5-4 lead into the top of the ninth, things were looking up for Ole Miss who had been previously taken down by Utah in shocking fashion on Friday night.
Things don't often go how they're planned however and the Rebels learned that the hard way. After Jake Rogers crushed a two-run bomb, Tulane took a 6-5 lead and would not relinquish it in the bottom frame. With that, the Green Wave rides on in the NCAA Tournament while the Rebels' season has come to an end.
Home runs would be the story of the game on Saturday afternoon was a total of five would be hit in Oxford. Three would be smacked by Tulane, two coming off the bat of Hunter Williams who took David Parkinson deep in the second and fourth inning with solo shots. Colby Bortles and Kyle Watson both tagged dingers but their power was not enough for Ole Miss to stave off elimination.
Both teams did not do particularly well with runners on or runners in scoring position. The two clubs combined to hit 7-for-25 with runners aboard and 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Hits with two outs didn't happen too often either as the clubs amassed a 5-for-21 mark when facing a two out situation so even with the score being relatively high, many chances were still left on the plate.
With the victory, Tulane moves on to Sunday and will face the loser of Utah-Boston College.
Florida 6, UConn 5
--- by Michael Tate
The Gators and Huskies met in Gainesville on Saturday night as each looked to move to 2-0 in the regional round.
The Huskies decided to hit the ground running to start the game as Bobby Melley cranked a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. Florida responded during the top of the third inning after scoreless frames in the second as Danny Reyes hit a solo homer to right field to bring the game to a 1-1 tie. Next up, Dalton Guthrie singled through the infield, but advanced to second on an error by the first baseman. Buddy Reed, a future MLB prospect, singled and scored Guthrie in process.
The volley would continue in the bottom half of the inning as Jack Sundberg reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Tyler Gnesda through great baserunning to tie the game. UF and UConn would continue to trade blows in the middle innings. Florida scored one in teh fourth, then two in the top of the fifth, and the Huskies would respond with three runs alone in the fifth inning.
After a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, Florida hit UConn with a fatal blow in the eighth. Jonathan India took Devin Over deep with a solo shot that proved to be the game-winning hit that the Gators needed.
The Gators will now await the encounter between Georgia Tech and Connecticut on Sunday afternoon and are scheduled to play at 6 p.m. ET.
Mississippi State 4, Cal State Fullerton 1
--- by Michael Tate
The Starkville regional game between Mississippi St. and Cal State Fullerton proved to be an encounter where the result never seemed to be in doubt.
After two scoreless innings, the Bulldogs brought their bats out during the top of the third inning. Nathaniel Lowe would plate home a run son a sacrifice groundout to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead that they possessed through the seventh inning. Jake Mangum and Ryan Gridley would net RBI singles to push their lead up to 3-0 to give the fans in Starkville some much needed comfort. Cal State Fullerton's Josh Vargas dashed some anxiety into their hearts however in the ensuing inning, homering to right field bringing the deficit down to just two runs. However, Mississippi State was back on the prowl in the eighth as Jacob Robson would hit an RBI double that brought Lowe in for much-needed insurance.
Mississippi State will play either Cal State Fullerton again on Sunday or Louisiana Tech depending on the result of their elimination game.
Washington 9, Vanderbilt 8
--- by Tom Stephenson
Vanderbilt's stay in the NCAA Tournament ended Saturday night as the Commodores could not hold an 8-2 lead over the Washington Huskies, losing 9-8 at Hawkins Field.
Vanderbilt opened the scoring in the top of the third, as Ethan Paul had the first of his four hits on the evening and the next batter, Jeren Kendall, scored him on an RBI single. Washington equalized it in the fourth on a John Naff homer, but Vanderbilt added four more in the fifth inning with Paul and Kendall adding RBI before the big blow, a single by Will Toffey that scored two runs. The Huskies gained a run back in the bottom of the inning. Vanderbilt added three more in the sixth inning, two of them on a single by Bryan Reynolds. That made the score 8-2 and Vanderbilt looked to be on its way to the next round.
But Washington clawed its way back. The Huskies got two runs in the bottom of the sixth, helped along by two walks and a wild pitch issued by Vanderbilt started Kyle Wright. A three-run homer by Washington C Joey Morgan in the bottom of the seventh chased Wright, who departed the game having surrendered seven runs in 6.2 innings. The final blow came on a two-run homer by Jack Meggs in the bottom of the eighth. Ro Coleman gave the Commodores a glint of hope with an infield single with two outs in the top of the ninth, but the Commodores' season came to a close on a first-pitch flyout by Tyler Coleman.
Texas A&M 22, Wake Forest 2
The Aggies offense is far from dormant after their terrific performance a week ago in the SEC Tournament.
Quite the opposite.
Texas A&M produced perhaps the most lopsided result of this year's NCAA Tournament with their 22-2 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. A&M picked up 24 hits in the ball game, nearly producing a run per hit ratio as they would explode for five runs in the second, six in the fifth, and five more again in the seventh inning.
Nine Aggies picked up at least two hits in the game with picking up a three-hit night at the plate while Austin Homan had a game-high four hits in his six trips to the plate.
A&M was outstanding with RISP and runners aboard, hitting .440 and .500 respectively in those categories.
Brigham Hill (9-1) threw six innings and struck out 10 of the 26 batters he faced. Hill allowed just one XBH, a home run, issued four walks and allowed just five hits. A&M relievers threw three shutout innings in relief of Hill who was the pitcher of record in the game.