Colleges: 2012 college world series
WACO, Texas -- Jake Wise and Colby Suggs were at the bottom of the pile of Arkansas players in the middle of the infield and enjoying every second of it.
The Razorbacks are headed to the College World Series.
Wise, a sophomore catcher who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, had a two-out RBI single in the top of the 10th and Suggs threw the final two innings in Arkansas' 1-0 victory over Baylor in the deciding game of their super regional Monday night.
"You get so excited, and when you're on the bottom you can't breathe, but it's a feeling you've wanted to feel your entire life," Wise said. "I've waited 20 years to be in a dog pile, and that was probably the best feeling of my life."
When Suggs (7-0) struck out Dan Evatt to end the game with two runners on base, Wise charged toward his pitcher and they were quickly joined in celebration by the rest of their teammates.
"It's a great feeling to have everybody on top of you," Suggs said. "Everybody just celebrating and being so happy together as a team."
Suggs, the fifth Arkansas pitcher in the combined five-hitter, struck out two and walked two while allowing one hit over the last two innings. The hard-throwing sophomore has gotten all his victories pitching in relief.
It will be the seventh CWS appearance for the Razorbacks (44-20), who play Kent State on Saturday. Arkansas clinched the final available spot in Omaha, where it will join fellow SEC teams Florida and South Carolina.
"We feel very fortunate to get out of here with two wins and have a chance to continue our season," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "At this level, 1-0 in extra innings to go to Omaha, I don't know if it gets any better. I know baseball purists probably love this game. As a coach, it was very stressful. Thank goodness it's over."
Baylor (49-17) last went to the College World Series in 2005.
After failing to win a game in the SEC tournament, the Razorbacks swept through their regional at Houston.
Then after losing the opener of the best-of-three series in Waco on Saturday, Arkansas forced another game by scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth of Game 2 to win 5-4. The Razorbacks took advantage of an error while loading the bases before consecutive batters were hit by pitches with the bases loaded.
Brian Anderson led off the Arkansas 10th Monday against Dillon Newman (4-4) with a single to left, and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Bo Bigham. Matt Vinson struck out before Wise, who entered the game in the eighth, grounded a ball into left field out of the reach of diving shortstop Steve DalPorto.
Baylor senior starter Tyler Bremer struck out eight and allowed three hits in nine innings, the longest outing of his career.
"It was awesome, it was fun. Yeah, we lost, but no one's going to take that away from me," Bremer said. "I'll remember that for the rest of my life. Whether I have a short pro career, a long pro career, I have something I can really, really be proud of in the game of baseball, and that was that game."
Baylor had two outs in the 10th before Big 12 Player of the Year Josh Ludy, who had 16 home runs, walked for the fourth consecutive time. Cleanup hitter Max Muncy, who grounded into a double play in the eighth, followed with a single to left before Evatt struck out to end the game.
It was the third time this season Baylor was shut out, the first time in three months.
After scoring three runs in the fifth inning of Game 2 to take a 4-3 lead, Baylor didn't score again over the final 14 innings in the series. The Bears had their leadoff batter on base six times Monday night, including the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
Meanwhile, after a one-out double in the first, Bremer retired 16 consecutive batters and didn't throw more than 10 pitches in an inning until the sixth.
"I thought we pushed (Bremer) about as far as we could. I don't really question the decision to take him out," Bears coach Steve Smith said. "When you've gone that much, you've done your part. We needed to pick it up for him. And you know, Dillon wasn't bad. Seeing-eye groundball that gets through."
Razorbacks starter Randall Fant struck out five and allowed two hits over four innings. Trent Daniel, the fourth pitcher, had 1 1-3 hitless innings before giving way to Suggs.
Baylor had the bases loaded in the fourth against Fant before Lawton Langford struck out. The Bears had the bases loaded again in the fifth against reliever Nolan Sanburn after three walks before Muncy grounded out.
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina is headed back to the College World Series, beating Oklahoma 5-1 Monday for its 21st straight NCAA tournament win.
The two-time defending champion Gamecocks wrapped up the super regional series for their third straight trip to Omaha and 11th CWS appearance overall. Should South Carolina (45-17) again prevail, it would join the powerhouse program of Southern Cal as the only schools with more than two consecutive CWS titles. The Trojans hold the record with five straight crowns from 1970-74.
The game was suspended Sunday because of heavy rain. Once things resumed, South Carolina quickly took control to put away the Sooners (42-25).
Gamecocks closer Matt Price got catcher Dylan Neal on a check-swing, called third strike to set off the latest celebration at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks took advantage of two Oklahoma mistakes to build a 2-0 lead in the seventh. Chase Vergason's two-run double put things away an inning later and gave South Carolina a 5-1 lead.
South Carolina opens CWS play Saturday against Florida, the tournament's No. 1 seed and the Gamecocks' Southeastern Conference rival. The Gators were also the club that fell to the Gamecocks in the CWS championship series last summer.
The Sooners had been the last team to defeat the Gamecocks in NCAA tournament play, taking a 4-3 victory at the 2010 College World Series. Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway hoped his players could channel that memory this week at Carolina Stadium. Instead, the Sooners managed only one run and seven hits in two games.
Oklahoma was trying to force a deciding third game, but reliever Steven Okert could not hold down the Gamecocks once things resumed Monday.
The Sooners had their chances, though.
Tyler Webb (6-1) took over the mound for Colby Holmes, who shut down Oklahoma on one hit through five innings Sunday, and promptly worked himself into trouble with an error and two walks to load the bases. But after an 11-pitch at-bat, right fielder Cody Reine flied out to right to end the threat.
That's when the Gamecocks finally broke through off Okert. Connor Bright led off the seventh with a double into the right-field corner. Tanner English followed with a bunt to first baseman Evan Mistich, who threw wildly to third attempting to get pinch runner TJ Costen. Instead, Costen ran home with the game's first run.
English moved to third on Vergason's sacrifice bunt and scored when Okert (9-8) threw a wild pitch to the left of catcher Tanner Toal to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
The Sooners' last best chance came when Jack Mayfield and Garrett Carey walked to open the seventh. Golloway called for a hit-and-run but Mistich couldn't make contact and Mayfield was easily thrown out at third by catcher Dante Rosenberg.
Moments later, Mistich followed with an RBI single off Price to draw Oklahoma within 2-1. But Price struck out pinch hitter Chase Simpson and got Caleb Bushyhead on a fly ball to left to end the threat.
South Carolina put it away with a three-run eighth, highlighted by Vergason's two-run double to left center. All that was left for Gaemcocks fans who returned from Sunday night was the countdown to Omaha -- something they've grown accustomed to the past few years.
Price earned his 11th save of the season and 41st of his career.
Once the final pitch to Neal was called strike three, Price smiled wide and waited for his teammates to pile on. The celebration wasn't wild or excessive, not from a club which knows too well what it's like to win with a national title on the line.
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