College | Story | 6/10/2019

CWS Set, Super Regional Recap

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt Athletics)

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

Listed below are short recaps of each of the eight Super Regional sites which will be updated as they are completed. With half of the bracket complete here are the first two College World Series matchups:

Bracket 1 (begins Saturday)
Texas Tech vs. Michigan | 1:00 p.m. CT
Arkansas vs. Florida State | 6:00 p.m. CT

Bracket 2 (begins Sunday)
Vanderbilt vs. Louisville | 1:00 p.m. CT
Mississippi State vs. Auburn | 6:30 p.m. CT

All eight of the teams participating in this year's College World Series were ranked on PG's Preseason College Top 25 team rankings:

3. Vanderbilt
5. Texas Tech
8. Louisville
13. Arkansas
14. Florida State
15. Auburn
17. Mississippi State
19. Michigan

Below are details of each of the eight Super Regional matchups as well as further details on the Player and Pitcher of the Week as follows:

Perfect Game/Rawlings National Player of the Week: Dustin Skelton, Mississippi State
Perfect Game/Rawlings National Pitcher of the Week: Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt

Nashville Super Regional
Duke certainly made things interesting in Nashville, putting Vanderbilt up against the ropes with an 18-5 drubbing in which they continued to pile up runs with a 10-spot in the eighth inning. That game quickly became a distant memory on Saturday when Kumar took the mound and had a masterful, 19-strikeout, no-hit performance in a 3-0 victory that tied the series at one game apiece. It was the first no-hitter in the history of the Super Regional round as college baseball fans from all over got to watch Rocker’s dominance as he fired mid-90s fastballs and mid-80s hammer curveballs to completely shut down the Duke offense. Rocker was an easy choice for the PG/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week.

One Sunday the Commodores offense awoke, hitting five home runs, which included two from leadoff man Austin Martin, in an efficient 13-2 win that secured the team’s first CWS berth since 2015, when they finished as the runner-up. Vanderbilt will arrive in Omaha as the highest-ranked team remaining in the field as the No. 2 National Seed and appears to be the favorite to win it all.

Louisville Super Regional
Louisville was the first team to punch their ticket to Omaha, and the only one to do so from Saturday’s action. They used a pair of convincing wins to dispatch of East Carolina with scores of 14-1 and 12-0. In the first game it was the top and the middle of the lineup that got the job done offensively while it was the bottom of the lineup that took care of business in game two.

The Cardinals used four pitchers in those two games, and it was ACC Pitcher of the Year Reid Detmers, who moved to 12-4 on Friday with seven strong innings, and hard-throwing sophomore Bobby Miller, who carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning, that stole the headlines. Louisville appears to be rolling right now and they’ll be more than fully rested upon arriving in Omaha and should present an incredibly difficult game one matchup against Vanderbilt.

Starkville Super Regional
While Mississippi State’s offense may not have exploded quite like Louisville’s did, it was still a quick and efficient two-game sweep over Stanford in the Starkville Super Regional that allowed the Bulldogs to advance to Omaha for the second year in a row. There weren’t quite the same dramatic postseason moments as there were a year ago, but there were still plenty of memorable ones.

Starters Ethan Small and Peyton Plumlee each went at least six innings while Jared Liebelt and Cole Gordon pitched the eighth and ninth innings of each game to secure the wins. The bats weren’t quite as loud as what we’ve grown accustomed to with them this season, but Elijah MacNamee put game two well out of reach with a three-run bomb in the top of the ninth inning while Dustin Skelton’s bases loaded, bases-clearing triple on Saturday and his two-run double on Sunday put Mississippi State ahead for good in their two contests. For his key offensive contributions, not to mention a few key dazzling defensive ones, Dustin Skelton is the PG/Rawlings Player of the Week.

Chapel Hill Super Regional
Auburn exploded for 14 runs in their deciding game three as part of the Chapel Hill Super Regional against host North Carolina, 13 of which came in the opening inning. Overall the Tigers offense has exploded to this point, scoring double-digit runs in three of their six games, which included Saturday’s 11-7 win over UNC. After Steven Williams was named PG’s Player of the Week during the Regional round it was Eduoard Julien who had the biggest impact this week, scoring a pair of runs and driving in three in both Saturday’s and Monday’s contests.

Heading into the College World Series the pitching is going to have to do better than just “good enough to win,” but they have pitched admirably considering they’re not at full strength. Tanner Burns did start Monday’s contest and tossed two scoreless frames, but getting both he and Jack Owen – who gave up four runs in five innings on Saturday – back on track will be crucial to Auburn’s success in Omaha.

Los Angeles Super Regional
After their impressive performance in the Corvallis Regional, it was clear Michigan’s pitching was good enough to beat any team in a best-of-three series, and that’s exactly how things played out in the Wolverines upset over the No. 1 National Seed UCLA. Karl Kauffmann out-dueled UCLA ace Ryan Garcia on Friday with 8 1/3 dominant innings, carrying a shutout into the ninth inning, while Tommy Henry had seven strong innings of his own on Sunday to secure the Super Regional. The offense made the most of 20 base hits in three games, using timely hitting to manufacture just enough runs to come out on top.

It will mark the first time since 1984 that Michigan will appear in the College World Series and the first time since 2013 (Indiana) that a Big Ten school has advanced to Omaha.

Lubbock Super Regional
Texas Tech emerged from a hard-fought series against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State to advance to Omaha for the fourth time in six years. It was a complete, team effort over the weekend in Lubbock for the Red Raiders to advance, using a combination of timely hitting, key defensively plays and gutty pitching performances to come out on top. Star shortstop Josh Jung, the eighth overall pick (Texas Rangers) from last week’s MLB Draft, came up big in each of TTU’s wins, hitting three booming home runs.

The starting combination of freshman Micah Dallas (who moved to 7-0 on Friday), Caleb Kilian and Bryce Bonnin once again did their jobs while the bullpen trio of John McMillon, Taylor Floyd and Dane Haveman got plenty of work. McMillon’s role was especially crucial, tossing two innings on Friday to record the save and another 3 2/3 relief innings on Sunday to pick up the win. Those arms will need to continue to come up big to match zeros with Michigan’s starting staff.

Fayetteville Super Regional
After a relatively easy path through the Regional round, in which Arkansas went 3-0 and never trailed their opponents, Ole Miss provided more adversity during the Super Regional. In games one and three, when Arkansas won 11-2 and 14-1, the Razorbacks clearly were in complete control, in all phases of the game. Isaiah Campbell continued to be the ace that he has been all season and the offense more than got the job done. Heston Kjerstad’s bat came alive on Monday as both he and Casey Opitz had three-hit, four-RBI performances.

In game two Ole Miss got the best of Arkansas with a 13-5 win. The Rebels jumped on freshman pitcher Connor Noland early and often and fellow freshman Patrick Wicklander got the early hook on Monday after running into some trouble in the second inning. However, the heart of the bullpen, which could be the true strength of this team, carried them as Cody Scroggins, Jacob Kostyshock and Matt Cronin combined for 7 1/3 scoreless frames.

Baton Rouge Super Regional
Mike Martin’s remarkable career continues and the team’s win on Saturday against LSU was their 40th of the year, ensuring ‘11’ would lead the Seminoles to at least 40 wins in each of his 40 years as their head coach. However, the one thing missing from Martin’s 2,028 career wins is a national championship, and this team seems to have made it their mission to change that by knocking off two stout SEC opponents in Georgia and LSU to advance to the College World Series. This year marks the 17th time Martin has guided FSU to Omaha.

Outfielder Reese Albert was the offensive hero in the team’s 6-4 win over LSU on Saturday, hitting a pair of home runs with four RBI. Drew Mendoza came up clutch on Sunday, hitting a run-scoring single to right field in the 12th inning to win that game and beat the Tigers on their home turf. JC Flowers continued to show his dominance as the team’s closer while Antonio Velez tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, making appearances in both games. Starters Drew Parrish and CJ Van Eyk will need to be more stingy in the run prevention department, particularly in the game one matchup against a high-powered Arkansas team, last year’s CWS runner-up.

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