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As part of our in-depth
postseason coverage, Perfect Game will keep you up-to-date with the
latest news and scores from each of the NCAA Regional sites throughout
Columbia | Fort Worth |
The skinny: Texas starting pitcher and left-hander Sam Stafford struck out five batters and allowed just three hits in 3 2/3 shutout innings as the Longhorns captured a 5-0 win over Kent State to win the Austin Regional. While Stafford led the way, five other Longhorns pitchers, including Cole Green and Taylor Jungmann, chipped in for the winning cause. It's also worth noting outfielder Mark Payton went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Player of the day: LHP Sam Stafford, Texas -- The Longhorns could've been in trouble had they gotten in a huge hole early. But Stafford didn't let that situation come to fruition. His 3 2/3 shutout innings set the tone for the entire afternoon.
What we learned: Kent State has made some strides the past few seasons by controlling the Mid-American Conference, but it truly had a solid team this season. Even Texas coach Augie Garrido said his team wouldn't have advanced out of the Austin Regional without playing a perfect brand of baseball the last two games. Give credit to coach Scott Stricklin for increasing Kent's exposure on the national stage. As for Texas, the Longhorns looked like a completely different team offensively after losing to Andrew Chafin and the Golden Flashes on Saturday. We said this earlier in the season, but the Longhorns can be productive at the plate when they want to be.
The skinny: Connecticut pitcher Greg Nappo allowed just a run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings and reliever Dan Feehan allowed just a hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings as the Huskies advanced to the Columbia Super Regional with a dominant 14-1 win over host Clemson. While those guys led the way on the mound, third baseman Ryan Fuller and others capped off a fantastic weekend with outstanding offensive performances.
Player of the day: 3B Ryan Fuller, Connecticut -- There's not a Huskies player that had a more impressive past couple of days than Fuller. Fuller was phenomenal at the plate in the win over Clemson, going 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and five RBIs.
What we learned: You'll recall earlier this season when we saw Connecticut against San Diego. At the time, and before we saw Florida against LSU, it was suggested the Huskies were the most impressive and talented team in the country. Well, they're now behind the Gators, but the Huskies showed this weekend what can happen when they put all the pieces together. Huskies coach Jim Penders said the switch turned on midway through Saturday's elimination game against Sacred Heart. Now the Gamecocks must watch out.
The skinny: South Carolina starting pitcher Forrest Koumas allowed just a run in four innings and stud closer Matt Price threw 2 2/3 shutout innings to end the game as the Gamecocks defeated Stetson 8-2 to advance to another NCAA Super Regional. It's also worth noting Scott Wingo and Christian Walker each finished the contest with three hits.
Player of the day: P Matt Price, South Carolina -- Stetson tried to rally in the latter innings against the Gamecocks, but Price once again rose to the occasion. He struck out two batters and allowed just two hits in 2 2/3 innings to earn his 17th save. Price is such an important cog to have as the Gamecocks move forward.
What we learned: It was business as usual for the Gamecocks. If you look at what South Carolina has accomplished this season, nothing really stands out. However, the Gamecocks just continue to rack up impressive victories. Give coach Ray Tanner credit for always having his veteran team ready to play, even if they're not flashy in doing so. The Gamecocks are a national title contender for that very reason.
The skinny: Dallas Baptist outfielder Landon Anderson had a huge day at the plate as the Patriots advanced to the first NCAA Super Regional in school history with an impressive 11-9 triumph over Oral Roberts. While Anderson led the way at the plate, Patriots reliever Chris Haney was fabulous the final 1 2/3 innings of the game. He struck out three batters and allowed no hits in 1 2/3 shutout innings to earn his 15th save of the season. The Patriots now are two wins over California away from a trip to Omaha.
Player of the day: OF Landon Anderson, Dallas Baptist -- The Patriots needed several key offensive cogs to step up on Monday, and they got exactly what they needed from Anderson and others. Anderson went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and three RBIs, while first baseman Ryan Behmanesh went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a run scored and two RBIs.
What we learned: What a truly crazy weekend it was at the Fort Worth Regional with Oklahoma going 0-2 and TCU not even making the Regional title game. Oral Roberts played at a high level throughout the weekend, but Dallas Baptist took care of business when it meant the most. From most of its starting pitchers taking care of business to their potent offense continuing to put on an impressive display, the Patriots made a huge statement. It's a stark contrast from the way this program performed the last time it was in an NCAA Regional. Give coach Dan Heefner credit for that.
The skinny: Arguably the craziest finish to any NCAA Regional game this weekend, it just so happened it was the Houston Regional title game between Baylor and California. BU had a commanding 8-5 lead over the Golden Bears entering the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Cal scored four runs -- just one earned -- to beat the Bears 9-8 and to advance to an NCAA Super Regional. The Golden Bears got rock solid offensive performances from Tony Renda, Marcus Semien and Devon Rodriguez.
Player of the day: 1B Devon Rodriguez, California -- The Golden Bears had several key contributors throughout the weekend, but it's hard to beat what Rodriguez accomplished. On Monday, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and four RBIs. It's also worth noting Marcus Semien recorded four hits and Tony Renda recorded three hits.
What we learned: We're not sure if Baylor thought it had the game in the bag or what entering the bottom half of the ninth inning, but the way it lost the game was beyond heartbreaking. Baylor coach Steve Smith said after the game it's not like anyone died in the game, but that the game was in his words,"pretty darn painful". No question about that. For Cal, what a ride this NCAA Regional was. The Golden Bears were on the brink of extinction until the university administration reinstated the program. Cal is playing with an extra pep in its step and now is two wins away from reaching the CWS.
The skinny: Florida State starting pitcher Mike McGee struck out three and allowed just a run on three hits in five innings, while reliever Scott Sitz closed things out with four shutout innings as the Seminoles captured an 11-1 win over Alabama to advance to another NCAA Super Regional. The 'Noles capped off a solid tournament offensively with seven hitters finishing Monday's game against the Crimson Tide with multi-hit performances.
Player of the day: UTI Mike McGee, Florida State -- Talk about helping your own cause. McGee allowed just a run on three hits in five innings on the mound. He also went 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBIs at the plate to lead the offensive cause. The Seminoles were ecstatic last summer when McGee decided to return for his senior season. Yet another reason why.
What we learned: You can say what you want about Florida State's inability to do some things, such as pitching, during the regular season and conference tournament. But the Seminoles rose to the occasion in almost every facet of the game over the weekend against some solid competition. FSU coach Mike Martin has his team playing well and the Seminoles will be incredibly difficult to beat in Tallahassee with the way they're playing.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org