No. 1 Florida headed to Omaha

Updated: June 11, 2012, 12:25 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It truly was a group effort that got Florida to the College World Series.

Eight players had at least one hit and drove in at least one run.

The Gators used seven pitchers, including three in the 10th inning.

And even the grounds crew at McKethan Stadium played a role, getting the field ready for play after a nearly two-and-a-half hour rain delay.

All of that came together in Florida's 9-8 victory over NC State in front of 4,568 on Sunday to send the top-seeded Gators (47-18) back to Omaha, Neb., for the third consecutive season. The Gators will play either South Carolina or Oklahoma in an opening-round game.

"Our guys battled," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "It may not have been our best day on the mound, but each guy did just enough and it's a great team effort.

"We could sit here and talk about everybody. It was a total team effort."

Especially in the 10th inning. Center fielder Daniel Pigott led off the inning with a solo home run to break a 7-7 tie. It was an opposite-field shot and the ball barely cleared the wall in right field.

"I hoped it would," said Pigott, who had two hits and scored twice. "The ball got up there in the air and I saw it keep drifting, and I was just hoping it kept going and it found its way over."

Second baseman Casey Turgeon singled and advanced to second on left fielder Justin Shafer's sacrifice bunt. After first baseman Vickash Ramjit's lineout to shortstop, third baseman Josh Tobias delivered what would turn out to be the winning run with a single to right field. He got caught in a rundown between first and second to end the inning.

UF's Karsten Whitson walked NC State's Brett Austin to lead off the bottom of the 10th before getting pulled for Bobby Poyner. He hit left fielder Tarran Senay with a pitch but got an out on a sacrifice bunt. O'Sullivan then brought in Keenan Kish, who got third baseman Trea Turner to fly out for the second out -- but it scored a run and cut UF's lead to 9-8.

Kish then struck out NC State shortstop Chris Diaz on three pitches to set off the celebratory dog pile to the side of the pitcher's mound.

"That kind of game and how things worked out, that's what I came back for," said senior outfielder Preston Tucker, who homered in the fourth. "If I could pick a game that I wanted to go out with here at home, I think that's the one. Back and forth, it was extremely frustrating and exciting, just the battle the entire time. I definitely won't forget this game."

Neither will NC State, which fought through, rain, the loss of ace pitcher Carlos Rodon, and Florida's strong bullpen to nearly send the best-of-three Super Regional to a third game on Monday.

Wolfpack coach Elliott Avent battled to try and get the game postponed after the two-hour, 23-minute rain delay that started just before the bottom of the third inning began. He didn't want a repeat of what happened Saturday, when rain forced the first game to be delayed twice and the tarp was placed and removed each time.

The reason he didn't want to play was clear when the game resumed. Rodon, the ACC's Pitcher of the Year and a Collegiate Baseball All-American, did not return. He had retired the Gators in order through the first three innings on only 17 pitches.

UF jumped all over reliever Anthony Tzamtzis. Tucker hit the first pitch Tzamtzis threw over the right-field wall, and the Gators ended up scoring three more runs that inning.

"We know that when some guys aren't having their best days we've got other guys that'll come right back behind them and pick them up," Pigott said. "That's a testament to our team and our players and the depth that we have. Everybody has that confidence and belief in the rest of their teammates, and in those big situations things like today it really shows what we have."

Another trip to Omaha.

-- Michael DiRocco, GatorNation

Stony Brook 7, LSU 2

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Frankie Vanderka tossed a complete-game three-hitter and Stony Brook advanced to its first-ever College World Series with a 7-2 win against LSU on Sunday night at the Baton Rouge Super Regional.

The Seawolves (52-13) raced out of the gate with six runs in the game's first four innings, most of them coming off LSU starter Ryan Eades. The LSU bullpen was eventually able to stymie the Stony Brook bats, but the damage was done.

Vanderka, who lost the first game of the Super Regional on Saturday morning, was effective if not overpowering in just his sixth start of the season. The sophomore gave up a solo home run to LSU center fielder Mason Katz in the bottom of the first inning, and he notched just four strikeouts on the night.

But Vanderka was a constant frustration for the Tigers (47-18) and forced them into 17 fly ball outs.

Eades only managed 2 2/3 innings against a stubborn Stony Brook lineup. The Seawolves brought a staggering 17 total batters to the plate in the third and fourth innings. All told, the Seawolves outhit the Tigers, 15-3, and forced LSU to use six pitchers.

Second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum led the effort with two hits and three RBIs. His two-RBI double in the fourth inning broke the score open to 6-1.

Although LSU shortstop Austin Nola would get a run back with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, the Tigers never threatened again.

-- David Helman, GeauxTigerNation

Florida State 18, Stanford 7

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sherman Johnson homered and drove in five runs to lead Florida State to an 18-7 victory over Stanford on Sunday to earn its 21st trip to the College World Series.

Johnson's three-run home run capped a four-run second inning that gave the Seminoles (48-15) a 6-0 lead. Jayce Boyd hit a two-run homer in the first.

Gage Smith (5-0) picked up the win in relief.

Stanford starter Brett Mooneyham (7-6) was chased before getting an out in the second.

Stephen Piscotty had four of Stanford's 18 hits. Stanford (41-18) was outscored 35-8 in the two games.

Florida State's infield turned three double plays for the second straight game to stifle Stanford's best scoring threats.

-- The Associated Press

Arkansas 5, Baylor 4

WACO, Texas -- Arkansas scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on hit batters with the bases loaded and the Razorbacks beat Baylor 5-4 on Sunday to force a decisive third game in the super regional.

Arkansas (43-20) entered the ninth inning trailing 4-3 with Baylor closer Max Garner (3-3) on the mound. After loading the bases he hit pinch-hitter Jimmy Bosco with a 2-2 fastball to tie the game. Crayton Bare came on and hit John Clay Reeves with his first pitch.

"It was definitely one of the craziest (RBIs) I've ever had," Reeves said. "It was a great feeling just to know that you stood in there and helped your team out."

Baylor (49-16) will host the Razorbacks Monday with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

-- The Associated Press

South Carolina 0, Oklahoma 0 -- PPD/6

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Heavy rain swamping Carolina Stadium postponed the second game of the NCAA super regional series between Oklahoma and South Carolina on Sunday night.

The game, which was tied 0-0 in the sixth inning, is scheduled to resume Monday at 4:05 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it would start at 7:05 p.m.

The two-time defending national champion Gamecocks (44-17) are a win away from their third consecutive College World Series. They beat Oklahoma 5-0 in the first game of the best-of-three series on Saturday.

Officials first brought the tarp on the field at 8:26 p.m. A delay that included very little rain lasted for more than an hour.

About 10 minutes after the game resumed, rain began to fall again and play was called.

-- The Associated Press

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