- Mitch Sherman, College Football
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Arizona and UCLA earned the first of eight spots in the College World Series on Saturday. Florida, South Carolina, Baylor and Kent State opened super regionals in winning fashion. Here's a recap of Day 2 of super regional action:
GAME OF THE DAY
Kent State extended its nation-best winning streak to 21 games with a 7-6 upset of Oregon, the No. 5 national seed, at the Eugene super regional. The Golden Flashes of the Mid-American Conference scored two runs apiece in the third, fifth and eighth innings and led throughout, but Oregon staged a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. Down 7-4, the Ducks loaded the bases with no outs to chase Kent State closer Brian Clark. Freshman Josh Pierce entered to get a quick strikeout before Oregon cut the lead to two runs on Ryan Hambright's sacrifice fly. Two walks loaded the bases again and made it a one-run game. J.J. Antobelli then sent a line drive to deep center field that looked likely to serve as a walk-off winner for the Ducks, but junior Evan Campbell leaped to make a game-winning snag and move Kent State within one win of its first appearance in the CWS.
LSU needed only 10 minutes to end the drama that lingered from Friday's suspended Game 1 in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers went with ace Kevin Gausman on the mound, gambling that the game, which resumed at the start of the 12th inning, would end soon and allow Gausman to start Game 2. The plan worked, as Mason Katz delivered a walk-off single to score Tyler Moore in the bottom of the 12th. The surprise, however, came in Game 2. The Seawolves, seeded fourth among four teams last week at Miami, didn't flinch under the pressure of an elimination game before 9,446 at Alex Box Stadium, defeating the No. 7-seeded Tigers 3-1. Stony Brook scored twice against Gausman in the bottom of the third inning and added to its lead on Kevin Courtney's solo homer in the fifth. Tyler Johnson went the distance on the mound for Stony Brook to force a deciding Game 3 on Sunday.
ON TO OMAHA
• Arizona earned its first trip to the CWS since 2004, second under coach Andy Lopez and 16th overall with a 7-4 win over St. John's to sweep the Tucson super regional. The Wildcats (43-17) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and relied on starting pitcher Konner Wade to do the rest in a complete-game performance.
• UCLA punched its ticket to TD Ameritrade Park with a 4-1 win over TCU to sweep the Los Angeles super regional. The Bruins, seeded No. 2 nationally, are headed to the CWS for the fourth time, having lost to South Carolina in the finals in their most recent trip in 2010.
• Top-seeded Florida moved within one victory of its third consecutive visit to the CWS with a 7-1 win over North Carolina State at the Gainesville super regional. The game was delayed twice for a total of nearly two hours, but it didn't slow the Gators, who scored four runs in the third inning on four hits and an NC State error.
• Two-time defending national champion South Carolina, the No. 8 national seed, extended its postseason winning streak to an NCAA-record 20 games with a 5-0 defeat of Oklahoma in the Columbia super regional opener. The Gamecocks got a strong outing from Michael Roth and scored three runs in the second inning, highlighted by an LB Dantzler double that scored Adam Matthews.
• Big 12 champion Baylor, the No. 4 overall seed, beat Arkansas 8-1 in Waco, Texas, behind eight innings on the mound from Trent Blank. The Bears scored twice in the first and third innings against Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale to take control.
• Arizona sophomore right-handed pitcher Konner Wade allowed four runs on six hits in a complete game for his ninth win to lead the Wildcats to a CWS berth.
• Arizona third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and hit the first of three RBI singles in the first inning against St. John's.
• Stony Brook senior right-hander Tyler Johnson allowed one run on three hits in a complete-game effort to outduel LSU ace Kevin Gausman. Johnson threw 127 pitches, lowered his ERA to 1.94 and improved to 12-1. The win was the 36th of Johnson's career, the most by a Stony Brook pitcher.
• Stony Brook first baseman Kevin Courtney doubled to ignite the Seawolves' third-inning rally against Gausman and homered in the fifth, finishing 3-for-3 in the 3-1 victory.
• Baylor senior right-hander Trent Blank allowed one run on seven hits and struck out five for his 11th win in 12 decisions as the Bears won their super regional opener over Arkansas.
• Baylor center fielder Logan Vick homered in the first and fourth innings and drove in three runs.
• Florida catcher Mike Zunino was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and his 19th home run, a two-run shot in the seventh inning.
• Florida right-hander Hudson Randall improved to 9-2 with seven shutout innings. He allowed six hits and did not issue a walk while fanning four.
• South Carolina senior lefty Michael Roth allowed six hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings to improve to 6-0 for his career in the postseason.
• UCLA freshman right-hander David Berg threw three shutout innings of relief, striking out three after he fanned four in two perfect innings on Friday. Berg has appeared in 21 of the Bruins' past 22 games and 47 games this season, four shy of the NCAA record set by Florida's Connor Falkenbach in 2005.
• Kent State shortstop Jimmy Rider was 2-for-5 with a pair of runs and two RBIs.
• Oregon right fielder Aaron Jones scored three runs, collecting one hit and a trio of walks.
• Game 2 of the Tallahassee super regional was postponed until Sunday at 7 p.m. ET by rain after a 90-minute delay. Florida State, seeded third, beat Stanford 17-1 in the opener on Friday.
• Arizona is 5-0 in the NCAA postseason and has outscored its opponents 61-20 while hitting .420.
• LSU's loss on Saturday marked its first in 10 postseason games at the new Alex Box Stadium, which opened in 2009. It also snapped the Tigers' 14-game winning streak against non-Southeastern Conference competition, dating to March 14.
• Baylor designated hitter Nathan Orf was hit by a pitch in the first inning on Saturday, the 35th time Orf has been plunked this year. That ranks second nationally, two behind Scott Davis of Delaware State, who equaled the NCAA Division I record.
WHAT TO WATCH SUNDAY
The series in Baton Rouge has topped all others for drama, what with LSU's three game-tying home runs on Friday, the quick end to the suspended game on Saturday and a gutsy effort by the underdog Seawolves right on the heels of a difficult defeat. Based on the first 21 innings, Sunday's 1 p.m. ET finale ought to be fun. The Tigers, seeking a 16th CWS appearance since 1986, plan to start sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Eades (5-2, 3.55 ERA). Stony Brook, which had won one postseason game before this year, was undecided Saturday on a pitcher for the decisive game.
Mitch Sherman reviews Saturday's action at the NCAA baseball super regionals.