Sam Cohen, UC Santa Barbara

Sam Cohen's walk-off grand slam was one of the postseason's most memorable moments (Shotgun Spratling)

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Sunday Roundup: Grand Slammed

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For some, seasons ended today. For others, dreams are realized. The NCAA super regionals bring us the best in excitement and celebration and some gut-wrenching despair for those who ran out of outs. Seven more spots were available entering Sunday and eleven of the fifteen remaining teams needed just a single victory to join Arizona in the land of steaks and hospitality in Omaha.

Seven teams clinched their spots Sunday as Miami, UC Santa Barbara, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas Christian, and Coastal Carolina all won to secure trips to the next round next weekend at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. So that means six road teams and two hosts have won super regionals so far — and all four road teams also had to win regionals on the road.

Sunday’s Best

Player of the Day: How can you go against a hitter that had a pair of home runs and seven runs batted in for a team in a Super Regional deciding game? That was Edgar Michelangeli’s day Sunday as he hit a second inning three run home run to give Miami the lead and then turned a close game into a comfortable margin with a seventh inning grand slam.

Pitcher of the Day: Logan Shore, rhp, Florida – In his eight innings of shutout baseball, Shore allowed just two hits and notched nine strikeouts. Facing elimination, he set the tone in the first inning by striking out the side. He followed that with six strikeouts in the first three innings and kept the FSU hitters off balance throughout his stint.

Surprise of the Day: Facing a first round draft pick closer with 100 MPH fastball, UC Santa Barbara pinch hitter Sam Cohen found a changeup to his liking and slugged a walkoff grand slam to send his team to Omaha. Cohen had just 26 at bats all season making his dinger off Zach Burdi one of the most memorable moments in NCAA postseason history.

Coral Gables Super Regional

 

Miami Florida logoNine-hole hitter Edgar Michelangeli slugged a pair of home runs, including a seventh inning grand slam, to lead Miami to a 9-4 victory over Boston College to send Miami to the College World Series for the 25th time in the program’s history. The series was tied at a game apiece entering Sunday and both teams knew what was at stake.

Miami jumped on Boston College starter Jacob Stevens (4-4) in the second inning with a four-run outburst highlighted by Michaelangeli’s three-run home run. Boston College drew within a 5-3 margin in the fifth and it appeared we might have another tight finish. Michelangeli would have none of that, however, as he slugged a grand slam for this fifth home run of the season and second of the game.

Michelangeli enjoyed his home run with an extended viewing on the way to first and a demonstrative interaction with Eagles catcher Nick Sciortino on the way home from third. The benches emptied briefly but nothing harsher than insults and perhaps a shove or two were traded.

On the mound, the Hurricanes pieced a solid outing together with four pitchers. Andrew Cabezas started and went 2.2 with a pair of hits and runs allowed. Thomas Woodrey had a 1.2 inning stint and Frankie Bartow (6-0) worked 3.1 innings to earn the victory. Bryan Garcia got the final four outs to collect his 18th save.

For Boston College, it was a bittersweet ending to a remarkable season. The Eagles finish at 35-22 just three season after going 12-40 in 2013. For head coach Mike Gambino, the loss hurts but his club exceeded expectations for a program many considered an afterthought in the brutal Atlantic Coast Conference.

Miami now heads back to the College World Series where it will take on Arizona in the opening game.

Louisville Super Regional

UCSB1In a game featuring a moment that will be replayed this week each season, UC Santa Barbara shocked Louisville with a 4-3 victory that sent the Gauchos to the College World Series.

Much has been made all season about the shift of power toward the South and away from the West. Louisville was the epitome of that narrative as an ACC power with eight players drafted this week including three in the first round. For the Gauchos, few gave them much of a chance against the talented Cardinals. Instead, they shocked the home-standing Cardinals with a 4-3 victory Saturday and ended that with a moment Sunday that will live on in super regional lore forever.

Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning against first-round pick closer Nick Burdi, UCSB’s chances looked bleak. With one out, JJ Muno singled up the middle. Dempsey Grover and Billy Fredrick each worked walks to load the bases. Freshman pinch-hitter Sam Cohen, with all of 26 at-bats all season, stepped in and smacked a 90 mph changeup down the right-field line for a walk-off grand slam.

Louisville had controlled the Gauchos’ lineup all game behind Drew Harrington. The Cardinal starter went seven shutout innings with six hits, one walk, and an impressive dozen strikeouts. Louisville scored all three of their runs in the fourth inning as Brendan McKay slugged a home run and Blake Tiberi and Danny Rosenbaum added RBIs.

Otherwise, the Gaucho pitchers kept that dangerous Louisville lineup under control. Starter Noah Davis went 5.1 innings and allowed seven hits and the three runs. James Carter worked a scoreless 2.1 innings and Trevor Bettencourt got the only two batters he faced out. Kevin Chandler (1-0) worked the final two-thirds of an inning to grab the win.

The Gauchos are the second consecutive Big West team to earn their way to Omaha by winning a super regional at Louisville, as Cal State Fullerton did the trick in 2015. At 50-14, Louisville’s season is complete.

The Gauchos, the third-place team from the Big West, are heading for a date with Oklahoma State next weekend in Omaha.

Lubbock Super Regional

Texas Tech logoFor the second time in three seasons, Texas Tech is headed to the College World Series. After winning a 13-inning classic Saturday, the Red Raiders took it easy on their hometown fans as they cruised to an 11-0 victory over East Carolina Sunday. Erickson Lanning (3-3) was the star on the mound as the freshman lefthander held the Pirates to just two hits over seven innings. Hayden Howard completed the shutout getting the final six outs.

Texas Tech had a trio of three-run innings in the victory. The Raiders established control as they scored three in the first and added another three in the third. They chased ECU starter Jacob Wolfe (6-4) just an out into the game. The Red Raider lineup featured 14 hits coming from eight different players. Hunter Hargrove went 3-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs.

The Red Raiders join Oklahoma State as Big 12 teams headed to Omaha. They will face a familiar foe in Big XII member TCU in their opening round game.

Columbia Super Regional

Oklahoma State University logoOklahoma State enjoyed its stay in the Palmetto State. After winning three straight games to take the Clemson Regional, the Cowboys stayed unbeaten in the postseason with a 3-1 series-clinching victory at South Carolina to earn a trip to the College World Series.

The Cowboys received another strong pitching effort, this time from Tyler Buffett (8-3) who started and gave them seven innings. He scattered eight hits but allowed only the one run. Michael Mertz worked the eighth and Trey Cobb worked the ninth to collect his fifth save. Garrett Benge had two of OSU’s eight hits.

The game was scoreless until the fifth, when the Cowboys took advantage of a pair of Gamecock errors to score three runs. Jon Littell led off with a single and stole second. With one out, J.R. Davis reached on a throwing error by USC shortstop Marcus Mooney. Corey Hassel broke the scoreless game with a safety squeeze scoring Littell. Donnie Walton then came through with a clutch RBI single to plate the game’s second run. Hassel scored when USC catcher John Jones threw into center field trying to nab Walton stealing second.

South Carolina made it interesting in the ninth as DC Arendas drew a two-out, eight-pitch walk and Mooney kept the game alive with a single on the eighth pitch he saw. Gene Cone then lined out to short to end the game and set off the Cowboy celebration – one that did not involve a dog pile.

USC starter Clarke Schmidt (9-6) took the loss. He deserved a better fate with six innings with six hits and three runs. Tyler Johnson worked two scoreless innings in relief. Mooney went 3-for-4 to the Gamecocks’ lineup and Arendas added another pair of hits.

Oklahoma State heads to Omaha where it will face UC Santa Barbara in the opening round.

Gainesville Super Regional

FloridaGators2015With their season on the line, Florida turned to SEC Pitcher of the Year Logan Shore. The junior righthander, picked 47th overall by the Oakland Athletics Thursday, responded in a big way with eight shutout innings in the Gators’ 5-0 victory over Florida State. The victory sets up a winner-take-all game Monday evening at 7 ET on ESPN2.

Shore entered Sunday a bit of a question mark. In his previous three starts, he had been less than his usual efficient self. In McKethan Stadium Sunday, he was superb when it mattered most. Facing elimination, Shore allowed just a pair of hits and two walks in his eight innings as he collected nine strikeouts. Shaun Anderson worked the final frame to complete the shutout.

Gator Peter Alonso continued his torrid pace at the plate with three doubles. Dalton Guthrie and JJ Schwarz also had multiple hits in Florida’s ten hit output.

Alonso got Florida on the board in the first with an RBI double and drove in another run in the third on a groundout. The score remained 2-0 until the eighth when Deacon Liput had a two-RBI single. The Gators added their final run in the ninth on back-to-back doubles by Alonso and Schwarz.

FSU freshman Tyler Horton started on the mound for Florida State. He was solid in his six innings. He allowed six hits, two runs – one earned, walked one, and struck out six. Four FSU relievers finished the evening.

With seven teams set, the Gators and Seminoles meet to secure the final spot in the College World Series. For Florida State, they aim to join ACC mate Miami in the quartet. For Florida, they are the final team left standing after the other six SEC host teams have been eliminated.

College Station Super Regional

For the second consecutive season, Texas Christian knocked off Texas A&M in a winner-take-all Super Regional finale and will head to Omaha. This time the Horned Frogs did it on the Aggies’ home field with a 4-1 victory. TCU is the third Big XII team to clinch a berth in the College World Series joining Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, their opening game opponent.

TCU gave the ball to 6’9” 185 pound righty Brian Howard (9-2). The junior from St. Louis held the vaunted Aggie lineup to just two hits and an unearned run in his seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two. Durbin Feltman worked a perfect final two innings to earn his eighth save.

The Horned Frogs had only six hits themselves but a three-run seventh broke a 1-1 all tie and provided the margin. Josh Watson led off with a single and Dane Steinhagen reached on an error by A&M third baseman Boomer White. Aggie reliever Andrew Vinson then walked consecutive batters to load the bases and force in a run. After a sac fly scored Steinhagen, another run scored on a wild pitch.

For Texas A&M, who hit .311 as a team this season, getting two-hit with their season on the line has to sting. The loss to the Frogs, who now seem to have the anecdote to the Aggie juggernaut, stings even more.

For Jim Schlossnagle, his TCU program is heading back to Omaha for the third consecutive season.

Baton Rouge Super Regional

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers logoIn a thrilling game in Alex Box Stadium, Coastal Carolina walked off LSU 4-3 to earn the program’s first ever trip to the College World Series. Michael Paez got the game winning RBI with a hit to score Anthony Marks in the bottom of the ninth. Marks coaxed a leadoff walk, stole second, and scored when Paez chopped one over third into short left and outran the throw to the plate.

Coastal Carolina jumped on LSU starter Jared Poche’ in the first inning for two early runs and added another in the sixth. LSU played catchup the entire game stranding a dozen runners but finally knotted the game in the ninth scoring a run without a hit.

Poche’ did a nice job pitching out of trouble; He and relievers Parker Bugg and Hunter Newman (1-1) stranded ten Chanticleers themselves. But it was Coastal starter Alex Cunningham and reliever Bobby Holmes (6-2) who were responsible for holding LSU batters to a 3-for-17 showing with runners in scoring position.

The Chanticleers were aggressive stealing four bases in five tries. Connor Owings and G.K. Young had two hits each to lead the lineup. For LSU, Antoine Duplantis and Michael Papierski had two hits apiece.

Gary Gilmore’s Coastal Carolina club now heads to Omaha where they will face the winner of Monday’s Florida vs Florida State contest in their opening game.

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