What a thrilling way to end the NCAA Regional round of the postseason.
If you were awake around midnight on Monday, you're probably well aware of the amazing game between Florida Atlantic and North Carolina. If not, let's just say the Owls came dangerously close to making North Carolina the second top overall national seed in postseason history to get knocked out in the NCAA Regional round. The last, of course, was Vanderbilt in 2007, which dropped a tough contest to Michigan at home to not advance to an NCAA Super Regional.
While the weekend was filled with plenty of highs and lows for each conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference must feel good moving forward. The league got a hefty numbers of teams in the league, and experienced plenty of success, getting four teams into the NCAA Super Regional round (North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Florida State), while as a whole, the league went 19-9, good for a 68-percent winning percentage.
The ACC wasn't the only impressive league over the weekend. The Big 12 Conference, which received much criticism for its perceived weaknesses during the regular season, shined in the first round of the postseason, going 8-2 (80%), with conference leaders Kansas State and Oklahoma advancing to the next round.
Meanwhile, the Pac 12 Conference also had a very impressive weekend with an 11-4 record (74%), while the Southeastern Conference was somewhat of a disappointment, tallying just a 17-12 overall record as a league, but also getting four teams into the NCAA Super Regional round, tied with the ACC for the best mark, with the Big 12 and Pac-12 each having two representatives.
Other conference notables include the Big West going 5-4 over the weekend, Sun Belt going 8-7 and the Colonial going 3-4.
With the NCAA Super Regional round coming up this weekend, here's our detailed schedule/results page, breaking down all the action and game times.
Here's how the NCAA Super Regionals rank from our standpoint:
1. South Carolina at North Carolina: Former North Carolina assistant and now South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook returns to Chapel Hill, N.C., where he hopes to guide his Gamecocks back to the College World Series. In addition to Holbrook's return to North Carolina, there's a rivalry aspect when these two programs meet.
2. Oklahoma at LSU: Does it really get much better than some of the potential pitching matchups this weekend? You could easily see potential top MLB draft pick Jonathan Gray going against LSU sophomore Aaron Nola, while Ryan Eades could very well be paired up with Oklahoma left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton.
3. UCLA at Cal State Fullerton: What a highly intriguing NCAA Super Regional this will be on the West Coast this weekend. The Bruins have become a program you don't want to face in the postseason over the past few seasons, while the Titans really are playing well with Grahamm Wiest, Thomas Eshelman and Justin Garza leading the rotation.
4. Louisville at Vanderbilt: The Cardinals and Commodores are very familiar with one another and this should be a very good series. The Cards put a lot of pressure on teams from an offensive standpoint, while the same can be said for the Commodores. Again, like South Carolina and North Carolina, there's definitely a rivalry feel to this series.
5. Indiana at Florida State: The Hoosiers are incredibly impressive offensively with Kyle Schwarber, red-hot Sam Travis and several others leading the charge, but heading down to Seminole country this weekend and winning isn't remotely an easy chore. Can the Hoosiers handle the heat and humidity, and the Seminoles? We'll find out.
6. Mississippi State at Virginia: Both the Bulldogs and Cavaliers play an impressive brand of baseball, but do it in different ways. The Cavaliers certainly are more offensive than the Bulldogs, but Mississippi State has an uncanny ability to throw out premium arm after premium arm no matter the situation.
7. Rice at North Carolina State: The Wolfpack was angry when they didn't earn a top-eight national seed, but that doesn't really matter anymore. N.C. State is hosting this weekend's NCAA Super Regional after Rice upset Oregon. Rice could be in business if sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Stephens once again steps up this weekend, while the Wolfpack love what left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon is doing right now.
8. Kansas State at Oregon State: It's not so much this isn't an intriguing series, it most certainly is, but it's not going to draw the same national interest as some others. Kansas State has some issues on the mound at times, but the offense is very good. Meanwhile, OSU isn't going to overwhelm anyone at the plate, but it plays great defense most of the time and the starting rotation is tough to beat.
Chapel Hill Regional
The results: North Carolina 12, Florida Atlantic 11 -- UNC ADVANCES TO SUPERS
The skinny: After such an exciting weekend of college baseball action, things really couldn’t have ended in more exciting fashion than it did Monday night between the Owls and Tar Heels. UNC appeared to be well on its way to wrapping up the Chapel Hill Regional Championship in the ninth inning, leading 6-2 and in total control. However, the Owls scored two runs to trim the lead to 6-4, while Tyler Rocklein hit a grand slam to give FAU an 8-6 advantage. Well, the Tar Heels fought back in the bottom of the ninth with their season on the line, as Mike Zolk hit a two-RBI single to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Meanwhile, the two teams had two scoreless frames after that, while they again traded runs in the 12th with three runs each, FAU catcher Levi Meyer’s three-run home run the big blast in the inning. Then, finally, in the 13th inning, the Tar Heels won the game on a bases-loaded RBI walk-off single to left field by first baseman Cody Stubbs. Though it was an extremely valiant effort by the Owls, the Tar Heels move ahead to face South Carolina.
The results: South Carolina 6, Liberty 4 -- SOUTH CAROLINA ADVANCES TO SUPERS
The skinny: In a game that was resumed Monday afternoon after inclement weather rolled into the Columbia area on Sunday night, the Gamecocks finished off the pesky Liberty Flames in a 6-4 triumph. South Carolina freshman Jack Wynkoop started the game on Sunday and allowed two runs on six hits in four innings, while Colby Holmes, Adam Westmoreland and Tyler Webb closed things out on Monday, with Webb earning his 17th save of the season. Offensively, designated hitter LB Dantzler had two hits and two RBIs, while outfielder Tanner English had two hits and an RBI to aid the charge.
The results: Rice 11, Oregon 4 -- RICE ADVANCES TO SUPERS
The skinny: With Rice catcher Geoff Perrott on the shelf with an injury, the Owls looked to Hunter Kopycinski to provide a boost. Well, he did that and more in the huge victory. Kopycinski went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs, while leadoff hitter Ford Stainback went 3-for-6 with a run scored and an RBI, and third baseman Shane Hoelscher had a triple and three RBIs. Meanwhile, the Owls gave the start on the mound to hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Zech Lemond, who typically is a reliever. Lemond didn’t disappoint in his start, striking out seven, walking just one and allowing four runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings of work, while staff ace Austin Kubitza closed out the contest with a strikeout and allowing just a hit in 2 1/3 shutout frames.
The results: Vanderbilt 7, Georgia Tech 1 -- VANDY ADVANCES TO SUPERS
The skinny: The Yellow Jackets gave the Commodores all they could handle over the weekend, but the national No. 2 seed took care of business in impressive fashion on Monday with a 7-1 triumph. VU starting pitcher Philip Pfeifer struck out two, walked two and allowed four hits in five shutout frames, while slider-heavy reliever Brian Miller rose to the occasion in a long relief performance, striking out five, walking one and allowing just a run in four hitless innings to earn his 16th save of the season. Offensively, third baseman Xavier Turner had a hit and three RBIs, first baseman Conrad Gregor had three hits and an RBI and Vince Conde and Spencer Navin each had two hits. Vandy now is set to host Louisville in the Nashville Super Regional.
The results: Mississippi State 6, Central Arkansas 1 -- MSU ADVANCES TO SUPERS
The skinny: The Bulldogs finishing off an impressive weekend at home in the Starkville Regional with a dominant 6-1 win over Central Arkansas. State starting pitcher Ben Bracewell struck out five, walked two and allowed just one hit in 2 1/3 innings of work, while left-handed pitcher Chad Girodo couldn't have been more impressive out of the bullpen, striking out 12, walking two and allowing just a run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Impressively, Girodo threw 90 pitches, 66 of them for strikes. Offensively, for the Bulldogs, outfielder Hunter Renfroe went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and leadoff hitter Adam Frazier went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. MSU now moves on to face Virginia in the Charlottesville Super Regional.