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College | Story | 6/4/2019

College Baseball Regional Recap

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Steven Williams (Auburn Athletics)

Regional Recaps: Day 1 
| Day 2 | Day 3
Regional Preview
| College Top 25 | Player/Pitcher of the Week

Perfect Game/Rawlings National Player of the Week: Steven Williams, Auburn
Perfet Game/Rawlings National Pitcher of the Week: Bryce Jarvis, Duke

The 2018 national champions, Oregon State, will no longer have the opportunity to defend their title after losing both of their games as part of their home Regional in Corvallis last weekend. Auburn upset Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Florida State took care of business against Georgia in Athens and Duke knocked off West Virginia in Morgantown. That is a big difference from a year ago when half (eight) of the Regional hosts were eliminated.

What was especially interesting is that five of the Regional hosts (East Carolina, Louisville, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Stanford, UCLA) all had to go through the losers bracket to secure their Regional wins. Each team faced elimination on both Sunday and Monday and yet each emerged with multiple wins to advance.

The SEC still dominates the remaining field, with six representatives. The ACC isn't far behind with four, the Pac-12 and Big 12 each has two while the Big Ten and American has one representative each.

Here are the matchups (locations on the left begin on Friday, locations on the right begin on Saturday):

Away Home Location Away Home Location
Michigan UCLA (1) Los Angeles, CA Ole Miss (12) Arkansas (5) Fayetteville, AR
Duke Vanderbilt (2) Nashville, TN Stanford (11) Mississippi State (6) Starkville, MS
East Carolina (10) Louisville (7) Louisville, KY Florida State LSU (13) Baton Rouge, LA
Oklahoma State (9) Texas Tech (8) Lubbock, TX Auburn North Carolina (14) Chapel Hill, NC

And here is a brief recap of this weekend’s action, which includes notes on the Player and Pitcher of the Week, Steven Williams of Auburn and Bryce Jarvis of Duke.

Los Angeles, Calif., Regional

Crosstown rival Loyola Marymount made it tough on host UCLA in Los Angeles, taking down the Bruins with a hard-fought 3-2 win on Saturday night. The Lions pushed Baylor into the losers bracket the day before with their stifling West Coast style of play.

From there the Bruins soared back, eliminating Baylor on Sunday before beating LMU once on Sunday night and again on Monday night to secure the Regional and advance as the No. 1 overall National Seed. Head coach John Savage worked his usual wizardry with his pitching staff, pushing the right buttons at the right times to emerge victorious. The bats came alive on Sunday and Monday and it was freshman Nick Nastrini’s strong five innings on Sunday night that allowed UCLA to live to play another day.

Corvallis, Ore., Regional

When Tommy Henry was pulled from the Michigan’s game with one out in the eighth inning against Creighton on Sunday it appeared as though the Wolverines would be able to secure the Regional the easy way with what seemed like a comfortable lead and host Oregon State already out of the tournament. Creighton had other plans, scoring seven runs in the top of the ninth to force Monday’s deciding game.

While Monday’s game was close over the first few innings, Michigan pulled away in the sixth and seventh innings on their way to a commanding 17-6 clinching victory. The weekend trio of Tommy Henry, Karl Kauffmann and Jeff Criswell again proved to be the strength of this club, and all three will be counted on to come through again in Super Regional action. However, the offense stepped up in a significant way, and Big Ten Player of the Year Jordan Brewer returned to the lineup Sunday after turf toe kept him sidelined Friday and Saturday.

Nashville, Tenn., Regional

Vanderbilt made quick work of the opposition, out-scoring Ohio State and Indiana State, who they beat twice, 28-8 in three games. They’ve pushed their overall record to 52-10 and have now won 12 games in a row as they appear to be rolling towards Omaha.

Starters Drake Fellows, Kumar Rocker and Mason Hickman combined to throw 22 2/3 of the team’s 27 innings, and for as much star power as Vanderbilt has in their everyday lineup, it was first baseman Julian Infante that was the MVP of the Nashville Regional. Vanderbilt’s No. 9 hitter went 6-for-12 with three doubles and three dingers, hitting all three doubles in Saturday’s game with a two-home run performance on Sunday.

Morgantown, W.Va., Regional

Arguably the biggest surprise in the Regional round, Duke emerged as the 3-seed to win in Morgantown. While they beat Texas A&M twice their biggest win came on Saturday when Bryce Jarvis out-dueled WVU ace Alek Manoah with eight shutout innings, striking out 11 along the way in the 4-0 win. Duke’s pitching was on point all weekend, winning their three games by scores of 8-5, 4-0 and 4-1. As a result Jarvis has been named the PG/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week.

One of the biggest moments of all of Regional play occurred on Saturday when Texas A&M’s Bryce Blaum hit a walkoff grand slam to eliminate host West Virginia with a 11-10 victory. Heading into the bottom of the seventh the Aggies were down 9-1, scoring six runs in the seventh to set up their improbably come-from-behind victory.

Atlanta, Ga., Regional

It was a tough go for Auburn over the second half of the season, and they somewhat limped into the NCAA Tournament with some serious questions surrounding their pitching staff. While the pitching more than held its own, with Tanner Burns returning to the mound on Saturday and Bailey Horn tossing a gem on Sunday, it was the offense that showed up in Atlanta.

Sophomore outfielder Steven Williams, who was a Freshman All-American a season ago, came up big multiple times over the weekend, starting with his 4-for-5, five RBI performance in a 16-7 win over Coastal Carolina. He then provided one of the most dramatic blasts of the weekend, a three-run walkoff bomb on Saturday against host Georgia Tech. Williams capped off the weekend with a two-run double as part of their Regional-clinching 4-1 win over the Jackets on his way to being named the PG/Rawlings Player of the Week.

Chapel Hill, N.C., Regional

North Carolina has enjoyed their best two-week stretch of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time, going 4-0 in the ACC Tournament and then 3-0 in Chapel Hill as part of their home Regional. Friday’s game proved to be the turning point, tying their game against UNCW in the ninth thanks to a blast by freshman Aaron Sabato and then winning it (after a lengthy rain delay) on a near baserunning blunder-turned-walkoff run by fellow freshman Danny Serretti on a throwing error by UNCW’s third baseman as part of a rundown between third base and home.

UNC’s second and third games didn’t have anywhere near the drama, as they piled on late to beat Liberty 16-1 on Saturday and used a four-run first inning to cruise to a 5-2 win over Tennessee on Sunday.

Athens, Ga., Regional

For the second year in a row an ACC team came to Athens, took care of business and stole the Regional away from the host Georgia Bulldogs. Last year it was Duke, this year it was Florida State.

The Seminoles certainly rose to the occasion looking to send legendary head coach Mike Martin out in style as he pursues that elusive national championship. The bats erupted, scoring double-digit runs in each of their three games, which included the unlikely contributions of one-time club sport captain Tim Becker. The pitching was especially tough when it needed to be, holding Georgia’s offense to four runs in two games as CJ Van Eyk and Conor Grady in particular enjoyed strong mound performances.

Baton Rouge, La., Regional

With Georgia losing on the opposite side of the bracket LSU will have the opportunity to stay at home for another weekend after winning their 24th Regional in program history. The Tigers didn’t have to face the Regional’s 2-seed, ASU, who Southern Miss took care of twice, with LSU taking care of Southern Miss, twice, to advance.

While the LSU hitters more than lived up to their billing, it was the starts by freshmen Landon Marceaux and Cole Henry over the first two games that really put the Tigers in position to win. Eric Walker and three relievers took care of business Sunday and all of the sudden LSU might just have figured out the right recipe for continued success on their staff.

Fayetteville, Ark., Regional

Arkansas might have had the easiest ride to the Super Regional round of any team. They never were behind in their three games, with convincing wins over Central Connecticut and TCU. Staff ace Isaiah Campbell out-dueled TCU ace Nick Lodolo on Saturday with eight strong innings with freshmen Connor Noland and Patrick Wicklander each going five innings on Friday and Sunday.

Few teams are as dominant as Arkansas at home, with a 31-6 record at Baum-Walker Stadium. SEC West foe Ole Miss, the Hogs’ Super Regional opponent this coming weekend, was the only team to take a series from Arkansas in Fayetteville this year.

Oxford, Miss., Regional

Ole Miss was awarded the opportunity to host a Regional after reaching the SEC Tournament championship game for the second straight year. They made the most of that opportunity by out-scoring Jacksonville State in their first and third games, 35-6, and beat Clemson on Saturday 6-1.

For as much is made of Ole Miss’ everyday lineup – filled from top to bottom with big, physical sluggers – it’s wise not to look past their unheralded pitching staff. Sinker/slider specialist Will Ethridge fronts the staff with freshmen Doug Nikhazy and Gunnar Hoglund both enjoying strong seasons, with Nikhazy being particularly adept at carving up opposing hitters at a young age, and a deep bullpen full of hard-throwing options.

Starkville, Miss., Regional

One of the most complete teams in the nation, Mississippi State had convincing wins over each of the Regional’s visiting clubs: Southern, Central Michigan and Miami. Every member on offense played a part in those three wins, and the starting rotation of Ethan Small (the SEC Pitcher of the Year), JT Ginn and Peyton Plumlee has been formidable all season long.

Mississippi State heads to the Super Regional round for the fourth straight year, under their fourth different head coach. First-year skipper Chris Lemonis will be looking to do something all of his predecessors at MSU could not: win a national championship.

Stanford, Calif., Regional

For the first time since 2014, after losing their home Regional each of the last two years, Stanford advances to Super Regional play. However, they had to do it the hard way after losing to Fresno State on Saturday night. They battled back to beat Sacramento State and Fresno State on Sunday before beating Fresno State again on Monday, scoring six runs in the fifth inning and getting 4 1/3 scoreless bullpen innings from ace Brendan Beck and closer Jack Little to secure the Regional.

Heading into the weekend Stanford appeared to have a very difficult challenge ahead of them, although they didn’t have to face 2-seed UC Santa Barbara. The starting pitching performances of Alex Williams, who tossed a complete game, and Erik Miller, who fanned 12 in 5 2/3 innings, on Sunday werea especially notable.

Louisville, Ky., Regional

Illinois State proved to be a challenging opponent for Louisville, as the Redbirds forced the Cardinals to the losers bracket Saturday, a challenge Louisville more than responded to by beating Indiana prior to beating Illinois State twice to advance. All but one of their five games on their home turf was a tight, close contest proving the team’s resolve and confidence.

It’s notable that their best pitcher, sophomore lefthander and ACC Pitcher of the Year Reid Detmers, suffered the Cardinals’ lone loss, and even then he didn’t pitch poorly. The offense seems to go as freshman third baseman Alex Binelas does, who had a home run, a double and four RBI against Indiana and delivered the Regional-clinching, walkoff hit on Monday that ended Illinois State’s remarkable season.

Greenville, N.C., Regional

After rain forced changes to the weekend schedule, Greenville host East Carolina lost their first game of the tournament, on Saturday to Quinnipiac. From there they scratched and clawed their way back into things by knocking off NC State, beating Quinnipiac the second time they faced each other and then Campbell, twice, on Monday.

In their four wins they out-scored their opponents 44-11. Catcher Jake Washer was on fire at the plate, two-way contributor Alec Burleson had big moments both at the plate and on the mound and the entire pitching staff really stepped forward and grinded through some hard-fought battles that helped ECU persevere to come out on top.

Lubbock, Texas., Regional

Texas Tech made quick and tidy work of Army and Dallas Baptist (twice) in advancing to the Super Regional round for the fourth time in six years, advancing to Omaha each of the three previous times. Cameron Warren was the hero on offense hitting a home run in each of the three games, driving in eight total runs.

As shown by the four total runs the Red Raiders allowed in their three wins, the pitching stepped up to the occasion. In particular the team’s Friday and Sunday starters, Micah Dallas and Bryce Bonnin, move to 5-0 and 6-1 on the year by not allowing an earned run over seven innings of work.

Oklahoma City, Okla., Regional

Playing in Oklahoma City and not their usual home in Stillwater, Oklahoma State recorded a win over each of their three guests, although it took two tries with the site’s 2-seed, UConn. Each of the four contests they played were close, winning by margins of 2-0, 6-5 and 3-1.

Staff ace Jensen Elliott continues his dominant run recently with another strong performance on the mound Friday. Trevor Boone’s three-run bomb in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday led to a win over Nebraska and Joe Lienhard had six strong innings on Monday to clinch. Peyton Battenfield delivered five scoreless innings in relief, picking up a pair of saves, one of which propelled the Cowboys to the Super Regional round.

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