Hosting an NCAA Regional has never seemed so important.
When the NCAA released figures on the percentages of hosts that win NCAA Regionals a couple of years ago during the State of Baseball press conference at the College World Series, the exact number was just north of 70-percent.
That percentage might increase a few percentage points after this year’s NCAA postseason. Heading into Monday’s NCAA Regional action, which includes five title games, 10 of the 11 teams with tickets punched to NCAA Super Regional action were No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals, with only Oklahoma, which defeated Virginia Tech in the Blacksburg Regionals, a non top-seed, advancing as the field’s No. 2 seed.
Interestingly enough, unless there are a few surprising upsets on Monday, this year’s total of non one-seeds advancing will be a stark contrast from last season. In 2012, six non No. 1 seeds advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round, including the Sooners, which won the Charlottesville Regional in thrilling fashion.
Without further ado, here are the remaining matchups for Monday with the No. 1 seeds indicated by a *: Mississippi State* vs. Central Arkansas, North Carolina* vs. Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt* vs. Georgia Tech, Oregon* vs. Rice and South Carolina* vs. Liberty.
If you’re a fan of conference supremacy in the postseason, the Atlantic Coast Conference is in good shape heading into Monday’s postseason action. The ACC has clinched three tickets to the NCAA Super Regional round, followed by the Pac-12 (2), Big 12 (2), in addition to the SEC (1), Big 10 (1), Big East (1) and Big West (1).
Southeastern Conference not so sexy vs. the rest
The SEC has a chance to improve its fortunes on Monday with Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt still alive in NCAA Regional title games. But things aren’t looking so hot right now for the perceived best conference in America.
The SEC led all conferences with bids into the NCAA postseason with nine, compared to the ACC’s eight, along with the Pac-12 and Sun Belt’s four a piece. The inclusion of Florida into the field has drawn even more scrutiny than it did on Selection Monday over the past few days, as the Gators went 0-2 in the Bloomington Regional and finished the 2013 campaign with a losing record.
Overall, the SEC could get as many as four teams into the College World Series if everything falls right. But for now, the best-case scenario would be one via LSU, assuming the Tigers could get past Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton and Oklahoma in next weekend’s Baton Rouge Super Regional.
So, how bad have things been thus far for the SEC?
Consider some of these figures. After three days of NCAA Regionals action, the SEC is 15-12 overall, winning just 56-percent of its contests. By comparison, the Big 12 is 8-2 (80%), ACC 18-8 (69%), Pac-12 11-3 (79%), Big West 5-4 (56%), Sun Belt 8-7 (53%) and Colonial Athletic 3-4 (43%).
It’s safe to say the rest of the SEC will be rooting for MSU, South Carolina and Vandy to prevail in Monday’s title games.
Baton Rouge Regional
The results: Louisiana-Lafayette 7, Sam Houston State 5 - LSU 5, Louisiana-Lafayette 1 -- LSU advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: ULL left-handed pitcher Cody Boutte, making his first start of the day, allowed three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings of work, but Matt Plitt rose to the occasion out of the bullpen in a 7-5 win over Sam Houston State. Plitt allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings of work, while at the plate, Caleb Adams had two homers and four RBIs to lead the offensive charge … LSU advanced to yet another NCAA Regional with an impressive performance in a 5-1 win over in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette. LSU starting pitcher Brent Bonvillain did more than he was asked to do against the Ragin’ Cajuns, striking out three, walking one and allowing just a run (not earned) on three hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. At the plate, shortstop Alex Bregman had another big night at the plate, hitting his sixth home run and passing the 100-hit mark for the season. Also, outfielder Raph Rhymes had another solid night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
The results: Virginia Tech 3, Connecticut 1 - Oklahoma 10, Virginia Tech 4 -- Oklahoma advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: The Hokies aren’t always ultra consistent on the mound in terms of starting pitching, but right-handed pitcher Brad Markey rose to the occasion in a 3-1 win over UCONN to stay alive in NCAA postseason play. Markey struck out just one batter, but also allowed just a run on five hits in 5/13 innings of work. Meanwhile, reliever Clark Labitan, who has been fantastic the past couple of weeks, struck out four and allowed just two hits in three shutout frames. At the plate, Sean Keselica and Tyler Horan each had two hits …Oklahoma capped off an impressive weekend up in the Mid-Atlantic region with a 10-4 win over Virginia Tech. Hector Lorenzana had a huge day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, while shortstop Jack Mayfield also had an impressive showing, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
The results: Austin Peay State 5, Valparaiso 4 - Indiana 6, Austin Peay 1 -- Indiana advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: Fending off Valparaiso hasn’t been easy for anyone up in Bloomington this weekend, but the Governors were able to do with the bullpen rising to the occasion. Lee Ridenhour, who returned to the mound from an injury last weekend, struck out two in 1 2/3 shutout frames, while amazingly, Tyler Rogers notched his 23rd save of the season with two shutout frames to end the contest. At the plate, Michael Davis had a hit and two RBIs … Indiana first baseman Sam Travis has had quite the weekend, and capped things off with a two-hit performance in a 6-1 win over Austin Peay to advance to the Tallahassee Super Regional. Meanwhile, Hoosiers starting pitcher Will Coursen-Carr put together a nice performance, allowing just a run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, while Ryan Halstead tossed 3 1/3 shutout frames.
Chapel Hill Regional
The results: Florida Atlantic 6, Towson 5 - Florida Atlantic 3, North Carolina 2
The skinny: The Owls kept their postseason hopes alive earlier in the day in a 6-5 win over pesky Towson. FAU got yet another solid performance at the plate from outfielder Corey Keller, who went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Meanwhile, reliever Hugh Adams once again impressed with three strikeouts in two shutout frames to end the contest … FAU will give the Tar Heels something to think about for the 24 hours after taking a 3-2 victory to force a second Chapel Hill Regional title game. Bo Logan put together a solid start for the Owls, striking out three, walking one and allowing just two runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Meanwhile, Ricky Santiago had a huge day at the plate with a home run and three RBIs.
The results: Elon 6, UNC Wilmington 4 - Virginia 11, Elon 3 -- Virginia advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: Elon has been very impressive throughout the weekend and stayed alive in the Charlottesville Regional with a close win over UNC Wilmington. Shortstop Antonio Alvarez had yet another solid day at the plate with a double and an RBI, while Casey Jones went a perfect 3-for-3. Also give some love to the Elon bullpen with Andrew MacDonald and Ryan Pennell leading the way, combining to throw four shutout frames to end the contest … Virginia finished off an impressive weekend of postseason action with a dominant 11-3 win over Elon. Shortstop Nick Howard put together an impressive offensive performance in the contest, going 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs, while designated hitter Derek Fisher went 2-for-5 with a run scored and three RBIs.
The results: Liberty 3, Clemson 1, South Carolina 4, Liberty 2 (Bot 5 -- PPD, RAIN, MON.)
The skinny: Clemson struggled throughout the weekend in Columbia, and had a quick 1-2 exit from postseason play. The Tigers typically have a physical offense, but couldn’t master Liberty starting pitcher Trey Lambert, who struck out just one batter, but also allowed just a run on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings of work … Though the nightcap was pushed back to Monday in the middle frames because of rain, designated hitter LB Dantzler was well on his way to a banner night, going 2-or-3 with a double and two RBIs, while freshman left-handed pitcher Jack Wynkoop allowed two runs on six hits in four innings of work.
The results: Texas A&M 5, UC Santa Barbara 4 - Oregon State 6, Texas A&M 1 -- Oregon State advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: A&M junior right-handed pitcher Rafael Pineda hasn’t always been consistent this season, but he put together an impressive start in a 5-4 win over UC Santa Barbara. Pineda struck out four, walked one and allowed just three earned on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, A&M closer Jason Jester threw 2 1/3 scoreless frames, and at the plate, Cole Lankford had a double and two RBIs, while shortstop Mikey Reynolds recorded three more hits … Oregon State veteran left-handed pitcher Ben Wetzler put together an extremely impressive performance in a 6-1 win over Texas A&M to advance to next weekend’s NCAA Super Regional against Kansas State. Wetzler struck out 10, walked four and allowed a run on four hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, at the plate, first baseman Danny Hayes went 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
The results: Oregon 6, San Francisco 1, Oregon 11, Rice 0
The skinny: Ducks freshman left-handed pitcher Cole Irvin has had a fantastic campaign, and once again was great Sunday afternoon in a 6-1 win over San Francisco. Irvin struck out nine, walked no one and allowed just a run on six hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, outfielder Taylor Baumgartner went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and two RBIs … Oregon hard-hitting first baseman Ryon Healy apparently didn’t want his season to end against Rice, as he had a monstrous day in an 11-0 win over Rice to force a second title game on Monday. Healey went 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, two runs scored and four RBIs, while Taylor Baumgartner, who had a huge day, had a triple and Scott Heineman went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. On the mound, Jeff Gold struck out four and allowed just two hits in five shutout frames, while reliever Darryl Hunter was terrific with three shutout frames.
The results: Arizona State 10, Columbia 5 - Cal State Fullerton 6, Arizona State 1 -- Cal State Fullerton advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: Columbia put together a valiant effort this weekend, capturing a win over New Mexico. However, its potential magical run came to an end in a 10-5 loss to Arizona State. The Sun Devils got homers from Nate Causey and Kasey Coffman in the contest, while the bullpen was able to hold down the Lions … Cal State Fullerton’s crop of freshman pitchers have been absolutely terrific throughout the season, and Eshelman continued the trend in the Fullerton Regional title game, twirling a gem in a 6-1 win over Arizona State. The righty struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just a run on six hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, at the plate, designated hitter J.D. Davis went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Michael Lorenzen also had another nice night with a hit and three RBIs. The Titans will host UCLA in the Fullerton Super Regional next weekend.
Los Angeles Regional
The results: San Diego 8, Cal Poly 5 - UCLA 6, San Diego 0 -- UCLA advances to the Super Regionals
The skinny: The Toreros kept their postseason hopes alive earlier in the day with an impressive 8-5 win over Cal Poly with second baseman Austin Bailey going 3-fro-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI to lead the charge. Meanwhile, catcher Austin Green also had a solid afternoon at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. On the mound, reliever Max Homick closed things out with 1 2/3 shutout innings … In the nightcap, UCLA sophomore left-handed pitcher Grant Watson twirled a gem in a 6-0 win over the Toreros. Watson, who lowered his earned-run average to 3.22, struck out five, walked just one and allowed just one hit in seven shutout frames. Meanwhile, relievers Zack Weiss and David Berg closed things out in impressive fashion and Kevin Williams had two hits and an RBI.
The results: Oklahoma State 7, Miami 1, Louisville -- UL advances to NCAA Super Regional
The skinny: OSU kept its NCAA hopes alive early in the day with a dominant win over Miami. Cowboys starting pitcher Mark Robinette tossed a gem against the Hurricanes, allowing just a run on two hits in six innings of work, while Gage Green and Jarrett Higgins each had two hits, a double and two RBIs … In the nightcap, Louisville punched its ticket to the NCAA Super Regional round with a dominant victory over the Cowboys. UL versatile outfielder CoCo Johnson had a huge day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Nick Ratajczak and Ty Young each had two hits and two RBIs in the contest. With the win, UL advances to its third NCAA Super Regional in the Dan McDonnell era.
The results: Arkansas 12, Bryant 3 - Kansas State 4, Arkansas 3 -- Kansas State advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: The Razorbacks aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they certainly rose to the occasion in an elimination game against Bryant. Shortstop Brett McAfee went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs, while Tyler Spoon had two hits and two RBIs and leadoff hitter Joe Serrano, a true spark plug, had there hits and scored two runs. On the mound, left-handed pitcher Randall Fant gave the Hogs a solid start, allowing just two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings of work … Kansas State isn’t picky about the way it needs to win baseball games, as evidenced by its 4-3 win over Arkansas, thanks in part to a pair of Hogs wild pitches in the seventh inning. With that said, the Wildcats put together some solid performances on the mound. Starting pitcher Blake McFadden struggled to start, but reliever Gerardo Esquivel was very good, allowing just one hit in 4 1/3 innings of work. Nate Williams and Jake Matthys also took care of business, with Matthys earning his ninth save. KSU now heads to Corvallis, Ore., for next weekend’s NCAA Super Regional.
The results: Georgia Tech 6, Illinois 3 - Georgia Tech 5, Vanderbilt 0
The skinny: Young Yellow Jackets pitcher Jonathan King put together a very solid start against Illinois in a 6-3 win to stay alive, allowing just two runs on seven hits in six innings of work. However, the story of this game was a fierce ninth inning rally, when the Jackets scored four runs, led by a pair of RBI singles from Kyle Wren and Zane Evans. Evans finished the game with three hits and two RBIs, while also allowing just a run on three hits in three innings of relief work … Georgia Tech sophomore right-handed pitcher Josh Heddinger hadn’t been real consistent this season, but he rose to the occasion in incredibly impressive fashion in a 5-0 win over Vanderbilt. Heddinger struck out three, and though he walked six batters, escaped damage each time, allowing just two hits in a complete game performance to force a second game with the Commodores.
The results: William & Mary 4, Mississippi 1, N.C. State 9, William & Mary 2 -- N.C. State advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: The Tribe was one of those somewhat controversial inclusions in the NCAA postseason field, but they impressed at the Raleigh Regional. Early in the day, the Tribe stayed alive with a 4-1 win over Mississippi. Starting pitcher Brett Koehler was simply fantastic in the victor, striking out five, walking one and allowing a run on seven hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, Ryan Hissey and Ryan Lindemuth each had two hits and an RBI in the contest … North Carolina State young left-handed pitcher Brad Stone put together an impressive performance in a 9-2 win over William & Mary to advance to an NCAA Super Regional. Stone struck out three, walked no one and allowed just four hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings of work. Meanwhile, first baseman Tarran Senay had a huge day at the plate with a home run and five RBIs.
The results: Central Arkansas 3, South Alabama 0 - Central Arkansas 5, Mississippi State 2
The skinny: UCA has put together an impressive campaign and couldn’t have gotten a better performance from starting pitcher Connor Gilmore in the win over South Alabama. Gilmore struck out two, walked one and allowed four hits in a complete game performance. At the plate, outfielder Ethan Harris had a good afternoon with three hits and two runs scored … Central Arkansas certainly gets the award for having one of the nation’s gutsiest clubs. The Bears kept their NCAA hopes alive earlier in the day with a win over South Alabama before beating Mississippi State 5-2 in the nightcap. UCA’s Ethan McKinzie walked five batters and struck out one, but allowed just two runs on four hits in a complete game performance. Amazingly, UCA only had to use two pitchers in two games on Sunday, setting this team up perfectly for Monday’s rematch with the Bulldogs.
The results: Troy 9, Alabama 8, Florida State 11, Troy 4 -- FSU advances to Super Regionals
The skinny: The Trojans appeared to be down and out against Alabama heading to the bottom of the ninth inning, but kept things alive with a miraculous four-run comeback to beat the Crimson Tide. Josh McDorman had two hits, including a double and three RBIs, while third baseman Logan Pierce had two hits and two runs scored … In the nightcap, Florida State flexed its muscles in impressive fashion to advance to its sixth-straight NCAA Super Regional. FSU’s Brett Knief hit his first home run of the season, a grand slam, to help the Seminoles, while catcher Stephen McGee had a hit and three RBIs. On the mound, the FSU bullpen shined with Gage Smith (two innings), Billy Strode (one inning) and Robby Coles (one inning) all throwing up zeroes.