Tennessee was exactly where it was scheduled to be on Sunday night, celebrating an NCAA regional title on home turf and eager to continue one of the most dominant runs in college baseball history.
National Volunteers No. 1, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame No. 4 wrapped up their regionals and qualified for super regionals beginning Friday.
Tennessee (56-7) beat Georgia Tech 9-6, never leading until it scored six runs in the ninth inning. Next up is a best-of-three series against Notre Dame, which beat Texas Tech 2-1.
Virginia Tech broke through for its first regional title after reaching the final in its two previous appearances (2013, 2010). The Hokies beat Columbia 7-2 to end a dominating three-game streak.
Virginia Tech, which will host either Florida or Oklahoma, was chosen second-to-last in its ACC division but ended up with the conference’s best league record.
Oregon State’s No. 3 (vs. Vanderbilt) and Texas A&M’s No. 5 (vs. TCU) were bidding for the regional titles on Sunday night.
The eight seeds who win the regionals play at home in the super regionals.
Louisville, Coastal Carolina, North Carolina and Southern Mississippi won Sunday night to set up winning finals Monday.
Louisville beat Michigan 20-1 to place itself on the cusp of its seventh super regional in nine years.
Nick Parker and Reece Maniscalco combined on a four hit as Coastal Carolina edged No. 8 East Carolina 9-1. Parker pitched eight innings and struck out 10, two career highs, and allowed three hits.
North Carolina, which has fought elimination twice as hosts, beat regional third seed VCU 19-8 with Vance Honeycutt’s homer for the ninth time in 10 games.
Justin Storm pitched five punt innings with two hits to lead Southern Mississippi past LSU 8-4.
The prodigious offense was once again on display at regional venues across the country. Another crazy game in Stillwater, Oklahoma was Example A.
Oklahoma State came back from a 12-0 deficit to beat Missouri State 29-15 in a playoff game. It was the highest-scoring game in tournament history and happened less than 24 hours after the Cowboys blew a 10-5 lead going into the seventh and lost 20-12 to Arkansas.
The Cowboys’ turnaround against the Bears was complete when Griffin Doersching hit a grand slam for a 17-14 lead in the sixth inning by seven runs. They retired with 12 more points in the eighth and ninth and had just over an hour to prepare for a rematch with Arkansas.
No. 16 Georgia Southern was the only national seed eliminated, losing 3-1 at home to Texas Tech.
Last year at regionals there was an average of 12.84 runs per game (both teams). In Saturday’s matches, the average was 14.57 – and that number will increase after Sunday.
Of the 64 teams in the tournament, 17 have averaged at least 10 runs in their first two games and 20 teams have hit five or more homers.
THEN THERE IS TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech managed to score just eight points in four games. The Red Raiders entered the tournament ranked 10th nationally with 8.7 points per game. They hadn’t scored so few points since scoring five points in their last four games in 2014.
Florida made a huge run in their 6-5 win over Central Michigan when Josh Rivera stole the house for a 5-0 lead in the fifth.
With Mac Guscette first, the Gators pulled off a double steal. Chippe was left-hander Ryan Palmblad was distracted when Guscette took off, and the moment he turned to see what was happening, Rivera was slipping on the plate.
It was Florida’s first home steal since 2018 and Guscette’s first steal in 55 career games.
This is the time of year when teams come up with all kinds of good luck charms. For southern Mississippi, it’s the “Rally Paddle”.
As the Golden Eagles exited the dugout to celebrate Christopher Sargent’s 10th-inning slug-loaded single to beat Kennesaw State 4-3, reserve infielder Charlie Fischer ran down the field holding a paddle of yellow boat high in the air.
A Southern Miss spokesperson said the paddle is used to stir the team’s Powerade mix in the clubhouse. Somehow the paddle found its way to the dugout, and you can be sure it will be with the team on Monday.
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