No. 1 Florida beats NC State
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There isn't anyone Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan would rather have on the mound in the postseason than Hudson Randall.
The junior right-hander is almost guaranteed to give the Gators a quality outing, and it seems the more pressure-packed the situation, the better he pitches. NC State found that out Saturday at McKethan Stadium.
Randall scattered six hits over seven shutout innings to lead the top-seeded Gators (46-18) to a 7-1 victory over the Wolfpack (43-19) in the opener of a best-of-three super regional. Randall's performance -- his fourth in a row in which he's given up two or fewer runs -- has the Gators one victory away from a third consecutive trip to the College World Series.
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"He's a gamer," O'Sullivan said of Randall (9-2). "There's certain players that you coach that have the ability to rise to the occasion. You can't teach it. It is what it is, and he's had it since Day One. He continues to have it. He has a calming effect on you as a coach. You know you're going to get his best effort every time.
"He's proved time and time again he can rise to the occasion. It's as simple as that."
Randall is 5-1 in the postseason in his career, and that includes a 1-1 record with a 4.86 ERA in three games during his 2010 freshman season. He lost the Gators' final game of the season against Florida State in the CWS but has gone 4-0 in the postseason since. He has given up 34 hits, 10 runs (seven earned), struck out 33 and walked just six in 41 innings in the six postseason games in which he's pitched since his freshman season.
He certainly impressed NC State coach Elliott Avent.
"Hudson Randall pitched very, very well," Avent said. "He was as advertised and he was very, very good."
Randall gave up a two-out infield single in the first inning and then retired eight batters in a row before giving up another single. He never allowed a runner past second base.
"I felt pretty good about my stuff today," he said. "My fastball had a little bit more life and everything was just a little bit sharper this go-around.
"Playing in college with these metal bats, teams are going to get hits (and) they're going to get on base. But it takes another hit to score them so I do everything I can to keep them from scoring. They had six or seven hits off me, but I just scattered them over all the innings and they didn't hurt me with them."
Nobody has hurt Randall over the past month. He has given up just four runs in his last five appearances, striking out 15 and walking five over that span.
"At this point in my career, third year in college, getting up to the 80 innings in a year isn't bothering me as much," Randall said. "I'm starting to hit my stride I feel like."
Florida gave Randall all the run support he'd need with four runs in the third inning. Preston Tucker and Daniel Pigott drove in runs with singles and Mike Zunino had what was supposed to be an RBI groundout to score Nolan Fontana, but NC State shortstop Chris Diaz made a bad throw that got by first baseman Andrew Ciencin. That also allowed Tucker to score. Fontana had reached third base and Tucker had reached second base because of a passed ball by NC State catcher Brett Austin.
Pigott added another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Zunino -- after a two-hour, three-minute rain delay -- hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to make the score 7-0.
UCLA 4, TCU 1
LOS ANGELES -- Nick Vander Tuig allowed one run in six innings to lift UCLA to a 4-1 victory over TCU on Saturday to win the NCAA Super Regional and advance to the College World Series.
Vander Tuig (10-3) gave way to David Berg after walking the leadoff hitter in the seventh. Berg retired the side in order and finished off the Horned Frogs in the eighth and ninth to earn his first save. Preston Morrison (9-2) took the loss for the Horned Frogs (40-22).
The Bruins (47-14) advanced to the CWS for the fourth time in the school's history and first time since 2010.
UCLA has won nine straight, including five consecutive postseason games, and 16 of its past 17 games.
Trevor Brown tripled with one out in the second and scored on Pat Valaika's sacrifice fly to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. UCLA made it 2-0 on a well-executed squeeze bunt by Tyler Heineman that scored Kevin Kramer.
Brance Rivera's solo homer in the third cut the UCLA lead to 2-1. The Horned Frogs have homered in 11 consecutive games.
The Bruins added runs in the sixth and seventh innings to build a 4-1 lead.
Berg moved into a tie for second place for single season NCAA Division I appearances (47) for a pitcher when he entered the game in the eighth inning.
The record is 51 appearances.
UCLA won Friday night's opener 6-2 when Cody Regis' three-run double ignited a five-run sixth inning. Adam Plutko pitched seven strong innings and got the win for UCLA.
Kent State 7, Oregon 6
EUGENE, Ore. -- Jimmy Rider set a school record with his 100th hit of the season and drove in two runs as Kent State extended its winning streak to 21 games with a 7-6 victory over Oregon to open their NCAA super regional series on Saturday night.
Left-hander David Starn scattered four runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings for the Golden Flashes (45-17), who are making their first appearance in a super regional.
Oregon, the No. 5 national seed, rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth but couldn't overcome earlier mistakes. Senior Alex Keudell allowed two earned runs and nine hits over 7 1/3 innings for the Ducks (45-18).
The winner of the best-of-three series advances to the College World Series starting Friday in Omaha, Neb.
Oregon is making its second trip to the postseason since it reinstated baseball in 2009. The Ducks advanced out of their double-elimination regional for the first time since 1954, when the team made its lone trip to the College World Series.
The Golden Flashes, winners of the Mid-American Conference title for the past four years, have advanced to the postseason 12 times, but never past the regionals.
South Carolina 5, Oklahoma 0
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina ace Michael Roth closed his home career in style and the two-time defending national champion Gamecocks won their 20th straight NCAA tournament game with a 5-0 victory over Oklahoma in the super regional series Saturday night.
South Carolina (44-17) needs to defeat the Sooners (42-24) once more to reach its third consecutive College World Series.
LB Dantzler's RBI double keyed a three-run second that was all Roth (7-1) needed. The senior worked 7 2/3 innings, giving up six hits. Roth ran off the mound in the eighth to a loud, standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 8,242 at Carolina Stadium.
After shaking hands with coach Ray Tanner, Roth came out of the dugout to acknowledge the cheers with a wave of his cap.
Baylor 8, Arkansas 1
WACO, Texas -- Logan Vick homered twice and Trent Blank scattered seven hits over eight innings as Baylor beat Arkansas 8-1 on Saturday in the opener of their super regional series.
The Bears (49-15) can earn their first trip to the College World Series since 2005 with a win over the Razorbacks (42-20) on Sunday.
Josh Ludy added a home run, while Max Muncy and Cal Towey each had two doubles and a single as Baylor racked up 12 hits against three Arkansas pitchers.
The Bears gave Blank (11-1) an early lead when Razorbacks starter DJ Baxendale (7-5) hit Nathan Orf -- the leadoff hitter's school-record 35th hit by pitch this season -- and Vick followed with a two-run homer.
Ludy added insurance in the third with his team-high 16th homer. Muncy and Towey followed with doubles off the wall in right to make it 4-0.
Information from GatorNation's Mike DiRocco and The Associated Press was used in this report.