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Defending champ Beavers upset; No. 3s open 12-3 in regionals

June 1, 2019
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Florida State's Tim Becker (37) celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run to score two runs during an NCAA college baseball Regional Championship game against Florida Atlantic University in Athens, Ga., Friday, May 31, 2019. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

A Cincinnati team that entered the NCAA Tournament with barely a winning record pulled the biggest upset Friday, knocking off defending national champion Oregon State 7-6 on the Beavers’ home field.

The Bearcats, who made the tourney by winning the American Athletic Conference Tournament and were just 30-29, were the only No. 4 regional seed to win on the first day of the tournament.

No. 1 national seed UCLA got a strong 8 1/3 innings from Pac-12 pitcher of the year Ryan Garcia and beat tournament first-timer Omaha 5-2.

Besides the one big upset, No. 3 regional seeds provided the biggest highlights.

The lower seed won 12 of 15 matchups of second and third seeds, the best first round for No. 3s since the tournament went to its current format in 1999.

One 2-3 matchup was suspended because of lightning in Greenville, North Carolina, with No. 3 Campbell leading North Carolina State 5-4 in the ninth inning. That game will be completed Saturday.

Among the winning 3 seeds were the last four teams awarded at-large bids — Florida State, Michigan, Duke and TCU.

FSU hit six homers in a 13-7 win over Florida Atlantic, Michigan beat Creighton 6-0 after Karl Kauffmann scattered six hits over 8 2/3 innings, and Duke beat Texas A&M 8-5 after Ben Gross turned in seven strong innings.

TCU raised eyebrows with its 13-2 win over California after getting panned for its resume, which included a No. 59 RPI and a sub-.500 record in the Big 12. Hunter Wolfe and Johnny Rizer combined for six hits and seven RBIs for the Horned Frogs.

Southern Mississippi had another notable win by a 3-seed, exploding for a 12-run fifth inning while defeating Arizona State 15-3. The 12-run loss was ASU’s most lopsided in the program’s 248 NCAA Tournament games and only the third by double digits.

Last year, No. 3 regional seeds went 7-9 in the first round.

CONFERENCE CALL

ACC teams went 7-1 to lead the power conferences. The others: SEC, 7-3; Big 12, 4-1; Pac-12, 2-3; Big Ten, 2-3.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

Florida State got a jolt from an unlikely source.

Tim Becker, a graduate student who played three seasons on FSU’s club team before earning a spot on the varsity at an open tryout last fall, hit two of the Seminoles’ six homers and drove in four runs to match his previous season total. He entered the game 8 for 32 for the season with no homers. He drew his fifth start in left field.

“That was surreal. Didn’t expect that, honestly,” Becker said. “Got to be ready when you get put into a big situation, and I did that today.”

Coach Mike Martin said Becker did everything right to merit his shot.

“It just goes to show you that all most of us want in life is an opportunity to show what we can do,” Martin said. “He kept getting better and all of a sudden I realized he’s a great teammate, he’s a tremendous young man. That’s how he got his opportunity to make the travel squad. Then he gets an opportunity to play.”

WELL, THAT’S ONE WAY TO DO IT

Nebraska’s 8-5 win over Connecticut might have been the most unconventional of the day. The Cornhuskers’ pitchers allowed 19 hits and their batters struck out 16 times.

HERE’S ANOTHER WAY

After a three-hour rain delay in the bottom of the ninth, North Carolina won 7-6 over UNCW when Danny Serretti got caught in a rundown between third and home and scored when third baseman Cole Weiss overthrew the catcher.

BIG BATS

— Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman, batting .420 and the likely No. 1 pick in next week’s Major League Baseball draft, was intentionally walked with the bases loaded to pull the Beavers within 5-3 in the seventh inning.

— Dallas Baptist knocked out Florida starter Tommy Mace after 1 1/3 innings and collected 17 hits against four pitchers in an 11-8 win.

— Aaron Schunk hit two of Georgia’s three home runs and had five RBIs in a 13-3 win over Mercer.

— Florida State’s Mike Salvatore had four of his team’s 20 hits and Drew Mendoza joined Becker in homering twice against FAU.

— Auburn 8-hole hitter Steven Williams had four hits, including a three-run homer, and five RBIs against Coastal Carolina.

— Tristin English went 4 for 4 with five RBIs to lead Georgia Tech past Florida A&M 13-2.

MOUND MARVELS

— Vanderbilt’s Drake Fellows earned his nation-leading 12th win, scattering seven hits and striking out nine in an 8-2 win over Ohio State.

— Brendan Beck and Cody Jensen combined on a four-hitter in Stanford’s 11-0 win over Sacramento State.

— Codie Paiva and Nick Frasso combined on a four-hitter in Loyola Marymount’s 3-1 win over Baylor.

— Micah Dallas limited Army to three hits and a run in seven innings in Texas Tech’s 11-2 win.

— Clemson’s Davis Sharpe pitched the final 6 2/3 innings against Illinois in his first career relief appearance.

— Illinois State starter Brent Headrick struck out 14 in six innings against Indiana.

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AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee contributed to this report.

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