Bill Kinneberg (left) and the Utah coaching staff salute fans after their win against Ole Miss (Aaron Fitt)

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Friday Roundup: West Stands Out

Analysis

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Friday’s Regional Coverage

Fitt: Dunn Deals, Casey At The Bat For BC

Notebook: Arizona Impresses, Cajuns Hold

Utes Prove They Aren’t Just Any 4-Seed

Sorenson: The Regional Wrap, Day 1

Friday’s Best

Game of the Day: UC-Santa Barbara and Washington made the most of their first round game going 14 innings where the game was tied in some part of every inning. The Gauchos took a lead in the third. Washington tied it in the fourth. No one scored again until the top of the 12th when the Huskies grabbed their first lead and appeared poised to win. That lasted until the 12th when UCSB’s Devon Gradford smacked a game-tying home run — the first roundtripper of his career. It stayed tied until the 14th inning when Austin Bush ended the game with a walkoff home run.

Hitter of the Day: Chris Okey, c, Clemson – All Okey did was go 3-3 with a pair of home runs, three walks, four runs scored and runs runs batted in in the Tigers 24-10 win over Western Carolina.

Pitcher of the Day: Thomas Hatch, rhp, Oklahoma StateThe Cowboy ace fanned ten in seven shutout innings in a 6-0 victory over Nebraska. He allowed six hits and walked two in a 108 pitch effort.

Best Moment: Pac-12 champion Utah came in as a #4 seed to the Oxford Regional. They fell behind 5-2 but rallied to tie the game in the sixth. The game was tied until the 10th inning when Hunter Simmons had an RBI double. In the bottom of the inning, with two runners on, Utah closer Dylan Drachler retired the two best hitters in the Ole Miss order to preserve a 6-5 victory.

Biggest Surprise: Rhode Island slipped into the Columbia Regional as the #4 seed and stunned the host with a 5-4 victory. SC lead 4-0 but the Rams rallied to grab a fifth inning lead. They held on from there to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory.

Summaries From All 16

Tallahassee Regional

Southern Miss Logo 90Southern Miss and Florida State each put on offensive displays in lopsided victories. The Golden Eagles broke open a close game in the sixth inning with eleven runs to beat South Alabama 14-2. USM lefty starter Kirk McCarty (8-1) was dominant against the lefthanded heavy South Alabama lineup with six innings of three hit, shutout ball. He was pulled after 69 pitches, something to remember if there is a USM game Monday. Chuckie Robinson had a home run, Hunter Slater drove in three, and Daniel Keating had three hits to lead the Golden Eagle offense. Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Kevin Hill (8-2) was not sharp and struggled for the Jaguars allowing nine hits and six runs in 5.1 innings.

FloridaStateFlorida State had a pair of seven run innings and cruised to a 18-6 victory over Alabama State. The top seeded Seminoles pounded 15 hits and took advantage of five Hornet errors to control what some felt might be a trap game. Dylan Busby went 3-6 with a triple and five RBIs and Taylor Walls added three hits in the FSU attack. Starting pitcher Drew Carlton (7-3) went 6.2 innings with eight hits and five runs allowed in a 115 pitch outing. ASU starter Joseph Camacho (10-1) was chased after two-thirds of an inning and handed his first loss of the season.

That sets up South Alabama vs Alabama State at 12 ET Saturday in an elimination game. Southern Miss and Florida State will meet at 6 ET in the winners’ bracket.

Gainesville Regional

UCONN90X90Connecticut and Georgia Tech each rolled the dice holding their aces for game two. For the Huskies, it worked out as they scored seven runs in the second inning and held on for a 7-6 win over the Yellow Jackets. UConn starter Tim Cates  (5-1) was good as he allowed just three hits and two runs in his six innings. Zac Ryan (3-4) started for Georgia Tech and was chased during that seven-run second. Jake Lee was the second Tech reliever in and kept them in the game with 4.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. Willy Yahn had three hits to lead the Huskies. Matt Gonzalez had three hits with a home run and four RBI for the Jackets. Georgia Tech made it interesting in the ninth with a pair of runs and had the tying run on third and winning run on first when UConn closer Patrick Ruotolo coaxed a popup from Kel Johnson to end the game and collect his 12th save.

FloridaGators2015Top seed Florida made the home fans happy with a 9-3 victory over Bethune-Cookman. The game marked the return of first baseman Pete Alonso who had missed the few weeks with a broken hand. Batters around the country might try breaking their hands if they can come back and do what Alonso did in his return. The sophomore homered in his first at bat, then homered again en route to a 3-4 night. SEC Tournament find Danny Reyes kept his hot hitting going  2-2 with a triple and three ribbies. UF scored their nine runs on just nine hits. SEC Pitcher of the Year Logan Shore (11-0) started for the Gators and logged 6.1 innings. He allowed five hits, three runs with two earned, struck out four, and walked two. BCC starter Tyler Norris (6-4) was chased in the third and took the loss.

Georgia Tech takes on Bethune Cookman at noon ET in the elimination. Connecticut with projected first round Anthony Kay on the hill takes on Florida in the winners’ bracket. The Gators have projected first overall pick A.J. Puk tabbed to start.

Clemson Regional

Oklahoma State University logo
Oklahoma State and Clemson each won but in vastly different ways in Doug Kingsmore Stadium Friday. Big XII Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hatch (7-2) struck out ten and allowed just six hits – all singles – in a seven inning start as the Cowboys defeated Nebraska 6-0.Trey Cobb completed the shutout getting the final six outs. Connor Costello was the hitting star for OSU as he went 3-4 with a home run and four RBI. Matt Waldron (7-3) took the loss for Nebraska, who was outhit 13-6.
Clemson Tigers logoTop seed Clemson got off to a slow start and fell behind by six runs early before rallying to beat Western Carolina 24-10. The Tigers used a ten-run third inning to retake a lead they would not relinquish. They hit six home runs in the victory and scored those 24 runs on just 14 hits as seven WCU pitchers combined to walk 15 Tigers. Chris Okey went 3-3 with two home runs and four RBIs. Mike Triller also had a pair of home runs and drove in four. Seth Beer added a grand slam, Chris Williams had a home run with five RBIs, and Eli White went 3-4 with a home run. Charlie Barnes (7-4) started and picked up the win. Western Carolina reliever Korey Anderson (1-4, one of seven pitchers the Catamounts used, took the loss. Clemson has now scored 42 runs in their last two games.

Western Carolina and Nebraska square off at noon Saturday. Clemson and Oklahoma State square off in the winners’ bracket at 7 ET.

Columbia Regional

UNCWLogoBoth of the top seeds fell in Columbia as UNCW defeated Duke 11-1 and Rhode Island shocked the top seed South Carolina 5-4. In the early game, UNCW scored six in the second and five in the third to put the Devils away. Brian Mims was the Seahawk hitting star with two hits and five RBIs. Daniel Stack also had a pair of hits. UNCW starter Ryan Foster (13-1) worked a complete game scattering eight hits and one run in a 114 pitch outing. Brian McAfee (7-5) was chased after two innings and took the loss. The bright spot for the Devils was reliever Bailey Clark who logged five innings of five-hit shutout ball.

URILogo90X90Rhode Island pulled the upset of the day as Tyler Wilson (13-1) struck out 11 in seven innings and Ryan Olmo and Brett McManus each homered for the Rams. Tyler Barss stranded the tying run when he coaxed a ground out from South Carolina three-hole hitter Dom Thompson-Williams to get his 13th save. Gene Cone and Alex Destino homered for the Gamecocks in defeat. Clarke Schmidt (9-5) was chased after just four innings and five runs.

South Carolina now has to come back through the losers’ bracket against Duke at noon ET. The winners bracket game at 6 ET features Rhode Island against UNCW.

College Station Regional

Wake Forest logoIn a game that featured five home runs, Wake Forest defeated Minnesota 5-3. Joey Rodriquez, Kevin Conway, and Johnny Aiello all homered for the Demon Deacons, who made the most of their seven hits. Minnesota had home runs from Matt Fiedler  and Jordan Smith. Wake starter Parker Dunshee (10-5) struck out 11 and walked just one in a 7.2 inning effort. Will Craig got the final two outs to collect his ninth save. Dalton Sawyer (7-7) took the loss for the Gophers.

TexasA&M90x90Top seed Texas A&M got strong pitching from starter Kyle Simonds (10-3) and relievers Andrew Vinson and Mark Ecker in a 4-2 over Binghamton. Ecker got his seventh save as the trio combined for a dozen strikeouts.  Jonathan Maroney was the hitting star for the Aggies going 3-3 with a home run.

Minnesota and Binghamton play Saturday at 4 ET. Texas A&M hosts Wake Forest at 9 ET.

Louisville Regional

 

Ohio State and Louisville are on a collision course after each won Friday. The BuckeyesOhioStateLogo90X90 jumped out to an early five run lead on Wright State, only to fall behind and need two runs in the ninth to win 6-5. Ronnie Dawson had the game winner for the Buckeyes. He finished with a pair of hits and three driven in. Troy Montgomery went 4-4 for OSU, who had 11 hits. Reliever Kyle Michalik (4-1) got the win after Dawson’s walkoff. Ryan Fucci led Wright State with a pair of hits and three batted in. Caleb Sampen (8-5) took the loss in relief of WSU starter Jesse Scholtens.

LouisvilleLogo2015Top seed Louisville defeated Western Michigan 6-1 behind a strong start from Kyle Funkhouser (9-3). The former first round draft pick came back to school for his senior season had his second consecutive solid start, coming at the best time for the Cardinals. Funkhouser pitched eight innings and allowed just four hits and a run. Jacob Piechota (10-4) took the loss for WMU. Corey Ray led Louisville with three hits. Blake Tiberi homered for the home team, his first long ball of the year. Drew Farmer had two of WMU’s four hits.

Wright State faces Western Michigan at noon Saturday in a losers’ bracket game. Louisville and Ohio State meet at 4 ET.

Oxford Regional

Boston College Eagles logoAnother set of top seeds tumbled in Oxford as both Utah and Boston College came south and got victories. Boston College leaned on a dominating start from Justin Dunn (4-1) to beat Tulane 7-2. Dunn struck out 11 in a seven inning start. He allowed only five hits and two runs and allowed one walk. Bobby Skogsbergh worked two perfect innings for his third save. Tulane starter Emerson Gibbs (6-4) took the loss for the Green Wave. Jake Palomaki drove in three runs and Donovan Casey added two hits for the Eagles. Hunter Williams drove in Tulane’s two runs with a RBI triple.

University of Utah logoUtah came into Oxford confident after taking the Pac-12 title last weekend winning the final two games against Washington. They got a strong start from Jayson Rose, and four shutout relief innings from the duo of Riley Otteson (3-2) and Dylan Drachler who got his 10th save in the 6-5, 10 inning victory. In the 10th, Hunter Simmons had the RBI double to score Chandler Anderson. In the bottom of the tenth, the Rebels had two runners on for All-SEC hitters J.B. Woodman and Henri Lartigue but Drachler got them both to end the game. Kyle Watson had a home run for Ole Miss.  Simmons went 3-4 for the Utes.

The top seed Ole Miss faces second seed Tulane at 2 ET. The winners’ bracket game between Utah and Boston College is at 6 ET.

Baton Rouge Regional

LSU90X90LSU’s decision to play the early game Friday provide wise as only one game was played. The Tigers defeated Utah Valley State 7-1 while Rice and Southeastern Louisiana had their game postposed to 10 AM ET Saturday.  Jared Poche (8-4) got the win for LSU with six innings of five hit, one run ball. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Utah Valley starter Danny Beddes (9-4) took the loss after pitching three innings. Jake Fraley and Greg Deichmann each homered for LSU while Kramer Robertson had a pair of doubles. Relievers Jake Latz, Russell Reynolds, and John Valek III all worked a scoreless inning.

LSU awaits the winner of tomorrow’s Rice/Southeastern Louisiana game at 8 ET. Utah Valley gets the loser of that game at 3 PM ET.

Charlottesville Regional

University of Virginia logoVirginia ended up dominating William & Mary, 17-4, to earn the first win of the 2016 NCAA tournament after being the final victor in 2015. The Cavaliers saved Connor Jones to face what we now know will be the East Carolina team that beat them two out of three in a series early in the season. But what was most impressive about the Hoos was their aggressive base running setting the tone early. Daniel Pinero scored the first tally when he ran through a stop sign at third base and forced a throw that proved to be terribly off line and needed to be redirected. The next inning catcher Justin Novak tagged up on a fly in foul territory right along the right field line. It wasn’t very deep, but the fielder had to deal with the bullpen mound and Novak’s aggressiveness paid off. He was safe and the next hit went up the middle for a single rather than being a double play ball. Virginia added three runs in the inning to take a 5-1 lead. Ernie Clement delivered the first home run of the tournament the next inning and the rout was soon in order. Clement had four RBIs while Adam Haseley tripled up: three hits, three runs, three RBIs.

 

East Carolina Pirates logoThe East Carolina/Bryant game also ended with a lopsided score, but it didn’t reflect the nature of the contest. Evan Kruczynski (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R) and James Karinchak (6.1 IP, 3 H, ER) battled back and forth on the mound. Each team had a couple of early opportunities pass by uncapitalized. In the seventh inning, the Pirates were finally able to push a run across with a sacrifice fly a batter after Karinchak departed the game. But the flood gates opened up the next inning. ECU scored seven runs on six hits with Cale Yorgen finishing off a 3-for-5 day with an RBI double.

No. 2 seed Bryant will try to bounce back quickly with an elimination game against William & Mary at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday while East Carolina and Virginia will face off at 6 p.m. ET.

Lubbock Regional

Texas Tech logoTexas Tech isn’t in the SEC. The Red Raiders aren’t in the ACC. So how in the world did they earn a national seed? ‘Shhh…no need to bother anyone else, we’ll just continue winning…” That’s what they did on Friday with an easy 12-1 drubbing of Fairfield. Stephen Smith reached base all five times, going 3-for-3 with two walks. He scored twice while Tyler Neslony drove in four runs. Davis Martin improved to 9-0, 2.22 after allowing one run on five hits in seven innings.

New Mexico LogoNew Mexico can hit anyone in the country. The Lobos reinforced that with a 12-6 win against Dallas Baptist, knocking around Colin Poche for six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Chris DeVito drove in the first three runs with a two-run triple and a sacrifice fly. Luis Gonzalez took over after that. New Mexico’s leadoff hitter was a perfect 4-for-4 with three doubles. He drove in five runs, helping the Lobos to score in five of the first six innings as they built a commanding 7-0 lead. But Dallas Baptist trimmed that lead to 7-5 and had the bases loaded before New Mexico got out of the jam. Interestingly, the Lobos also used likely Sunday starter Carson Schneider out of the bullpen to get the final three outs after the first two runners reached base.

Friday’s win for New Mexico avenged a three-game sweep earlier this year. The Lobos will now try to avenge a three-game season series loss to Texas Tech at 7 p.m. ET Saturday. Dallas Baptist and Fairfield match up at 3 p.m. ET in a win-or-go-home situation.

Lafayette Regional

Arizona Wildcats logoSam Houston State’s Heath Donica had Arizona’s number the first time through the lineup, but the second time through, the Wildcats started hitting him…hard. Back-to-back singles led off the fourth inning before Ryan Aguilar sent a shot over the right-center field fence. The next batter J.J. Matijevic acted a little jealous and decided to do the same as Aguilar. The next time around, Bobby Dalbec got into the act as well. All three hit homers to right-center field giving Arizona a 5-0 lead. Jared Oliva continued the RCF trend with an RBI triple to the same area of the field. Arizona led 7-0 behind senior Nathan Bannister. Bannister was outstanding, tossing seven scoreless innings to pick up his 10th win of the year. He gave up four hits and three walks while striking out four. After his departure, Sam Houston State tried to make things interesting, trimming the lead to 7-3 before Dalbec was called on the slam the door.

ULLLogoBack-to-back RBI singles in the sixth inning put Princeton ahead, 3-2, and put the rest of the college baseball world that was still awake on alert that another No. 1 seed could go down. But instead, Lafayette rallied. Kennon Fontenot, who had homered earlier in the game, tied the score with an RBI single in the seventh inning. The Cajuns took the lead an inning later when Danny Hoy couldn’t get a good enough angle on Joe Robbins hit to center field. The ball rolled all the way to the wall, allowing the go-ahead run to score form first base. Relievers Eric Carter and Dylan Moore tossed four innings, striking out seven and allowing only one hit.

Arizona is used to #Pac12AfterDark. They’ll get the Cajun version on Saturday with the teams set to play at 8 p.m. ET. Sam Houston State and Princeton fight to stay alive at 2 p.m. ET.

Nashville Regional

UCS Santa Barbara logo

Santa Barbara head coach Andrew Checketts nearly cut Devon Gradford in the fall. The Gauchos coaching staff had recruiting Gradford as a right-handed hitter, but it wasn’t working out. Gradford asked to try batting left-handed. The process was slow and Gradford even became a full-time pitcher for a brief period, but something finally clicked and his left-handed swing came around. The growth became exponential and Gradford has become one of the team’s most trusted lefthanders. He is still technically listed as a switch hitter, but he rarely swings from the right side, starting only against righthanders.

But in the 12th inning of Friday’s regional opener against Washington, Checketts gave Gradford a chance to swing from the right side. UCSB had just gone down 2-1 without allowing a hit, walking in the go-ahead run. It had also been eight innings since the Gauchos had produced a hit of their own. Gradford changed all that with one swing from the right side, jumping all over a fastball and driving it deep over the left field wall to tie the game up.

Two innings later, Austin Bush obliterated a fastball to win the game with a walk-off home run that sailed deep over the right field fence. Washington had chance after chance to take the game, but UC Santa Barbara’s pitchers kept wriggling off the hook. The Huskies finished the game 1-for-27 with runners on base and 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Starters Noah Bremer (9 IP, 4 H, ER) and Shane Bieber (7.1 IP, 8 H, ER) were both solid, but it came down to the bullpen and the Gauchos relievers didn’t allow a hit in 6.2 innings while Washington’s pen gave up the two big swings.

UC Santa Barbara awaits the winner of tomorrow’s Vanderbilt/Xavier game at 9 p.m. ET. Washington gets the loser of that game at 3 p.m. ET.

Fort Worth Regional

Gonzaga Bulldogs logoGonzaga jumped on Arizona State righthander Seth Martinez for five runs in first three innings and carried that to a 5-1 win. Ace Brandon Bailey pitched around a couple of early jams and settled in to throw up a solid seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits. He struck out fie. Taylor Jones drove in two runs on two hits, including a double while Nick Brooks also had a big RBI double early in the game. If the Sun Devils could have mustered an attack, reliever Eli Lingos would have been the story of the day. After not recording an out in the his last two starts, Lingos came out of the pen and delivered 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.

TCU90x90After rain delays pushed the start time back, TCU and Oral Roberts had to deal with sloppy conditions at Lupton Stadium. Both teams had outfielders slip and fall on different occasions, but TCU’s pitchers pitched around the troubles. Mitchell Traver got the start for the Horned Frogs. He allowed just two hits in five breezy innings. He struck out four while throwing 60 pitches. The offense got him a lead in the first inning when a throw on a stolen base attempt sailed into the outfield and the outfielder slipped down trying to recover the errant throw. In the sixth inning, TCU added runs on a passed ball and an RBI single before Cam Warner broke the game open with a monster two-run homer that appeared to have gone over the scoreboard in left field.

After Arizona State fights with Oral Roberts to see who will stay alive in the tournament at noon ET, TCU will get to tangle with Gonzaga’s Eli Morgan at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Starkville Regional

Miss St Baseball LogoIf anyone ever tells you that home field advantage doesn’t matter, just show them the tape of the Mississippi State/Southeast Missouri State game on Friday. SEMO potentially gave up five runs because their outfielders couldn’t figure out how to play the wall in left and left-center field. The Bulldogs got a three-run gift in the third inning when Dan Holst allowed the ball to bounce right behind his glove and over the fence for a game-tying homer. That negated an early 4-1 lead the Redhawks had staked ace Joey Lucchesi to. Lucchesi wasn’t crisp (probably due to throwing a complete game last Friday, coming back and throwing three innings on one day’s rest and then trying to jump right back into his normal Friday routine), so he needed his defenders to help him out. SEMO retook the lead in the sixth inning, but Mississippi State quickly answered with three runs and got an extra gift when Holst again struggled to find the wall to the left of the batter’s eye. With fans right on top of you in that area — something that is very rare at any small stadium — it is hard to get used to the different sounds that you expect as you are quickly encroaching on a wall that doesn’t want to be your friend. Holst had more room to make a play on the ball, but struggled with knowing his locale. The ball bounced off the wall behind him and bounded away, allowing Kruger to circle the bases for an inside-the-park homer. Daniel Brown was lights out, pitching the final 3.1 innings without bothering to allow a single hit.

The Cal State Fullerton/ Louisiana Tech game was postponed during the seventh inning due to inclement weather. The teams sat through a nearly two-hour delay in the third inning and then both brought back their starters. Neither starter seemed affected as both were sharp. Blake Quinn allowed just two hits in 4.1 innings while striking out three for Fullerton. Phillip Diehl struck out nine for Louisiana Tech in 5.1 innings. The game will resume in the seventh inning at 11 a.m. ET. The winner will get off until a 7:30 p.m. matchuup while the loser will have to turn around and play Southeast Missouri State at 2:30 p.m. ET

Raleigh Regional

NC State logoNorth Carolina State batted for nearly three and a half hours on Friday en route to a 13-8 win. The Wolfpack were leading 1-0 before the frame began, but an offensive outburst and some lightning burst led to a super long inning that featured four home runs — two before a 3 hour, 8 minute weather delay and two more after play resumed. The For the game, North Carolina State hit five homers, including Chance Shepard’s grand slam shot in the seventh inning when the Wolfpack had to answer following a five-run Navy inning that trimmed their comfortable lead down to 8-5. Brian Brown didn’t allow a run before the rain delay.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers logoThe Chanticleers scored five runs from the third to fifth innings and made that stick behind the performances of Andrew Beckwith and Bobby Holmes on the mound. Beckwith earned his 11th win of the season (6.2 IP, 6 H, ER) while Holmes struck out five and allowed just one hit in 2.1 innings. Coastal Carolina was able to chase Saint Mary’s ace Corbin Burnes in the fifth inning. It didn’t really hit him that hard, but it took advantage of all the extra opportunities he provided, including two walks, one hit batter and three wild pitches. Connor Owings drove in two runs.

Saint Mary’s will try to keep its season alive in an elimination game against Navy at 1 p.m. EST. Coastal Carolina takes on North Carolina State at 6 p.m. ET.

Miami Regional

Miami Florida logoThe Hatters of Stetson put a scare into the mighty Miami Hurricanes on Friday when Austin Hale singled to center to bring home the tying run in the eighth inning. But in the bottom half, the Hurricanes answered with two runs of their own, scoring via a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice. Danny Garcia pitched well for Miami: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, but he didn’t factor into the decision.

Long Beach State logoLong Beach State controlled from basically start to finish in their regional opener against Florida Atlantic. The Dirtbags did a little bit of everything, from playing small ball with bunts and moving runners over to getting the timely hits, of which Garrett Hampson provided two.

But Chris Mathewson stole the show on the mound. He carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning and had his best outing all season. He looked much more like the player he was last season when he was Big West Freshman Pitcher of Year rather than the pitcher that has been hampered by knee-injury concerns. He allowed just two hits in 6.2 innings and struck out four before hitting the 100-pitch plateau.

Florida Atlanta and Stetson get started at 1 p.m. ET with continuation of their season on the line while Long Beach State and Miami will lock up at 7 p.m. PST

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