Oregon St., North Carolina advance to College World Series
Oregon State and North Carolina became the first two teams to advance to the College World Series, completing sweeps of their best-of-three NCAA Tournament super regionals Saturday.
No. 3 Oregon State advanced after Adley Rutschman’s two-run, bases-loaded single in the top of the ninth lifted the Beavers to a 6-3 win over No. 14 Minnesota. The Beavers are in the CWS for the second straight year and sixth time since 2005.
The No. 6 national seed Tar Heels scored four runs in the first inning and hung on to win 7-5 over No. 11 Stetson. Carolina will make its first trip to the CWS in Omaha, Nebraska, since 2013.
Vanderbilt and Cal State Fullerton forced Game 3s in their series. JJ Bleday hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to give the Commodores a 4-3 win over Mississippi State, and Tommy Wilson pitched seven strong innings to lead the Titans past Washington 5-2.
In super regional openers, defending national champion and No. 1 overall seed Florida beat Auburn and top draft pick Casey Mize 8-2; Tennessee Tech closer Ethan Roberts held No. 13 Texas to one run in four innings in a 5-4 win; Big 12 freshman of the year Gabe Holt drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead No. 9 Texas Tech past Duke 8-4; and Carson Shaddy drove in four runs in No. 5 Arkansas’ 9-3 win over South Carolina.
Oregon State trailed most of the game in Corvallis, Oregon, and tied it 3-all in the eighth on Kyle Nobach’s base hit. Minnesota star freshman reliever Max Meyer walked the bases loaded in the ninth. Rutschman’s single off Jackson Rose and hit a batter made it a three-run game.
Christian Chamberlain, who struck out five of the eight batters he faced, and Jake Mulholland combined for three innings of shutout relief.
North Carolina, playing at home in Chapel Hill, survived ninth-inning drama for the second straight day to secure its seventh CWS berth and 11th overall. With runners on first and third and two outs and the go-ahead run at the plate, Stetson’s Brooks Wilson sent a high fly to center field that Brandon Riley caught at the warning track for the final out. On Friday, with Stetson down three runs, the game ended when Wilson flew out to the wall in left with the bases loaded.
Mississippi State, which won on Elijah MacNamee’s walk-off homer Friday, led Vanderbilt 3-2 until Ethan Paul tied it with a single in the eighth. The Commodores won it when Bleday drove a 2-0 pitch from Zach Neff over the wall in center field.
Wilson held Washington to one run and three hits over seven innings in Fullerton, California. The Titans took a 4-1 lead in the fifth when Daniel Cope doubled and scored on Jairus Richards’ triple and on Brett Borgogno’s RBI single. Joe Wainhouse homered twice for the Huskies.
Wil Dalton drove in two runs and Deacon Liput homered for the second time in three games in Gainesville, Florida, putting the Gators within a win of their fourth straight CWS. Brady Singer, matched against his fellow first-round draft pick in Mize, struck out nine and limited Auburn to two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
In Austin, Chase Chambers and David Garza doubled to drive in Tennessee Tech’s three runs in the fifth inning for a 5-3 lead, and Roberts retired the last six Texas batters after a sacrifice fly made it a one-run game in the seventh. The Golden Eagles are one win away from their first CWS after having never advanced past regionals previously.
Texas Tech, looking to go to the CWS for the third time since 2014, went to Ty Harpenau after it took the lead in the eighth in Lubbock, Texas. Duke had two runners on base in the ninth before Harpenau induced a game-ending double play.
Shaddy’s bases-loaded double in the sixth inning broke open the game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Baltimore Orioles’ third-round draft pick Blaine Knight pitched six strong innings for the Razorbacks, and Barrett Loseke pitched three innings of shutout relief.
BEAVERS, TAR HEELS TO MEET
Oregon State and North Carolina are matched in one of the CWS openers next Saturday. The Beavers last played the Tar Heels in Omaha in the CWS finals in 2006-07 and won both times.
NOTHIN’ FINER, CAROLINA
North Carolina has won its last seven super regional appearances, six of them at home. This was the fifth time the Tar Heels went through a regional and super regional without a loss.
Mize, who entered the game against Florida with only 12 walks in 109 2/3 innings, walked four for the first time in his three years as a collegian. The last time he had walked three in a game was May 7, 2016, at Alabama.
RALLYING RED RAIDERS
Texas Tech matched its largest comeback of the season in overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the fifth inning. Duke had won 32 straight when leading after five innings.
HE SAID IT
“They get to experience something that’s going to be a lifetime memory for them. And our coaching staff, trainers, equipment manager, operations people — they’ve all been there (to Omaha). But none of these kids have. So they have no idea what they’re getting ready to experience.” — North Carolina coach Mike Fox, on his players reaching the College World Series.