College : : Story
Saturday, June 08, 2013

Two tickets to Omaha

Kendall Rogers        

Chapel Hill Super Regional
South Carolina (42-19) vs. North Carolina (56-9)
Where: Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Game 1: North Carolina 6, South Carolina 5
Game 2: Sunday --  1p.m. (ESPN)
PLAYER OF THE GAME: OF Skye Bolt, North Carolina -- Bolt has been a little slow to come back from his injury a few weeks ago, but put together a solid performance, including the game-winning hit, in the win over the Gamecocks. Bolt went 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI to help the offensive cause.

TURNING POINT: South Carolina seemed to be in total control against North Carolina despite only having a 4-3 lead going to the bottom of the sixth inning. That's when the Tar Heels rose to the occasion at the plate, and backup catcher Brian Holberton stepped up, providing a two-RBI single to give the Tar Heels a 5-4 advantage heading into the final couple of innings. UNC wouldn't trail the rest of the game against the Gamecocks.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Hands down, they're the greatest team I've ever played for. It starts with the seniors on down to us freshmen, pitchers to the hitters. It's resiliency all the way through the lineup, and it's resiliency all the way through the pitching staff. Every guy goes up there looking to help us win the ball game and to do their part."  -- UNC outfielder Skye Bolt

THE SKINNY:  North Carolina junior left-handed pitcher Kent Emanuel didn't have his best performance of the season, but the Tar Heels picked him up. Emanuel allowed four runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings of work, while the bullpen rose to the occasion with Chris Munnelly tossing 1 1/3 shutout innings, Chris McCue tossing two shutout frames, and hard-throwing freshman right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton allowed just a run on three hits in three innings. Meanwhile, from an offensive standpoint, first baseman Cody Stubbs had a pair of doubles, Brian Holberton had two hits and two RBIs, and Colin Moran and Skye Bolt each had two hits. For the Gamecocks, shortstop Joey Pankake had two hits, including a towering home run to left field, while starting pitcher Nolan Belcher allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings of work.

Nashville Super Regional
Louisville (50-12) vs. Vanderbilt (54-11)
Where: Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn.
Game 1: Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3
Game 2: Sunday -- 4 p.m. (ESPN)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: RHP Chad Green, Louisville -- You really could go either way with this award for the night, but I give the edge to Green, who at least kept the solid Vanderbilt lineup at bay for much of the night. Green allowed just two runs on six hits in five innings of work.

TURNING POINT: Vanderbilt carried a 2-1 lead over Louisville into the seventh inning, but the Cardinals rose to the occasion in a big way in the inning with three runs. The first run of the inning came via a Zak Wasserman RBI single, while pinch hitter Matt Helms had a huge two-RBI single and showed a lot of emotion at first base following the hit. UL led 4-2 and never looked back.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It was an exciting game for the fans, for the players. You just felt like it was going to be a close game. This time of the year we knew we were going to be in a dogfight with Kevin (Ziomek) on the mound. Our guys battled and fought hard. Fortunately we were able to put up a crooked number there in the seventh (inning). We showed our depth today. Everyone knows about our bullpen depth, but we showed our position player depth today with (Nick) Ratajczak having to come out with the injury. I'm proud of the guys and I enjoyed the way they fought and we came out on the right end."

THE SKINNY: We've already talked about Louisville starting pitcher Chad Green, but the bullpen also took care of business with Dace Kime tossing 1 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, Cody Ege tossing one scoreless frame and hard-throwing closer Nick Burdi, who topped out at 100 in the contest, earned his 16h save of the season by tossing 1 2/3 shutout frames. Meanwhile, for the Commodores, left-handed pitcher Kevin Ziomek allowed four runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Offensively, Helms and Wasserman each finished the afternoon with two hits for UL, while designated hitter Jeff Gardner had a hit and scored two runs.

Corvallis Super Regional
Kansas State (45-17) vs. Oregon State (48-11)
Where: Goss Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.
Game 1: Kansas State 6, Oregon State 2
Game 2: Sunday -- 10 p.m. (ESPNU)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: OF Tanner Witt, Kansas State -- The Wildcats had a productive day at the plate, especially late in the game, against the Beavers. Witt led the charge, going 3-for-6 with three RBIs to lead the charge.

TURNING POINT: It's obvious at this point the four-run 10th inning was huge, considering that's what propelled Kansas State to the 6-2 win over the Beavers. However, the tide began to turn in the ninth inning when K-State tied the game on an RBI single from Tanner Witt. Witt's RBI single changed the momentum of the game and aided the 'Cats in the 10th inning.

WHAT THEY SAID: "That was just a tough ballgame all the way around. It was well pitched. Both teams pitched extremely well. Obviously, I think (Matt) Boyd was really tough on us. We looked really tight, confused. We just didn't get any good swings off on him at all. He did a great job against us. I know people talk a lot about our offense, but you have to give our pitchers a lot of credit today. (Joe) Flattery, (Nate) Williams and (Jake) Matthys - those guys had to match them today, and they did. And then we found a way. That's the way it's kind of been all year long. Down to our last strike Ross (Kivett) comes up big and then Tanner (Witt) follows it up to get it tied. And then you bring Matthys in and I think we have a lot of confidence when he comes in to the game that we are going to be in pretty good shape." -- Kansas State coach Brad Hill

THE SKINNY: Kansas State senior left-handed pitcher Joe Flattery did just enough to keep the Wildcats within striking distance in a 6-2 win over Oregon State. Flattery struck out three, walked two and allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, while at the plate, outfielder Tanner Witt had three hits, Blair DeBord and Jared King each had two hits, Jon Davis had a hit and two RBIs, and leadoff hitter Ross Kivett had yet another impressive performance, recording two doubles in the contest. For the Beavers, it was a tough way to lose, especially for left-handed starting pitcher Matt Boyd, who battled yet again, allowing just a run on five hits in seven innings of work.

Baton Rouge Super Regional
Oklahoma (43-19) vs. LSU (55-9)
Where: Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Game 1: LSU 2, Oklahoma 0
Game 2: LSU 11, Oklahoma 1 (LSU advances to CWS)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: 2B JaCoby Jones, LSU -- The Tigers have been waiting for Jones to rise to the occasion this season, and he finally has, being a big contributor the past couple of weeks. Jones was terrific in the win over Oklahoma, going a perfect 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs. Jones, who once had a batting average around .250, is now at .299 on the season.

TURNING POINT: The Tigers blew things open in the ninth inning with a six-run frame to extend their lead to 11-1 going to the bottom of the ninth. However, the Tigers really took control of things in the sixth inning when catcher Ty Ross laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to make it 4-1. With that insurance run in for the Tigers, the bullpen just cruised the rest of the way.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It’s been a long 365 days. The last time we were up here it was a pretty sad day for us. This doesn’t erase the hurt that we felt after the game for players like Austin Nola and Tyler Hanover. This does take away some of that bitter taste that we had. You are always happy to go to Omaha and people don’t quite understand how hard it is to get there. It’s really quite an accomplishment to earn your way there any year but especially this year. Not just because of what happened last year but for guys like Mason Katz, Chris Cotton and Alex Edward. It just meant so much to all of our players to get those guys there. Also, for the other guys who have given equal heart and soul to this program. These guys don’t even know what to expect. Omaha is such an amazing place. We are going there to win and I believe we can. We have a great group of guys that are very talented and are on a mission. We’ve got what it takes and we will show up Saturday against whomever we play.” -- LSU coach Paul Mainieri

THE SKINNY: LSU right-handed pitcher Ryan Eades certainly didn't start the night in impressive fashion, but settled down and put together a respectable performance to lead the way, allowing a run on three hits in four innings of work. Meanwhile, the Tigers bullpen took care of the rest, with Will LaMarche and Nick Rumbelow combining for three innings of work, and outstanding closer Chris Cotton tossing two shutout frames to end the game. For the Sooners, left-handed starting pitcher Dillon Overton allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings. At the plate, LSU got a big performance from JaCoby Jones, along with catcher Ty Ross, who had two hits and three RBIs, and Mark Laird, Alex Bregman, Andrew Stevenson and Raph Rhymes, who each had two hits in the contest.

Fullerton Super Regional
UCLA (44-17) vs. Cal State Fullerton (51-10)
Where: Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.
Game 1: UCLA 5, Cal State Fullerton 3
Game 2: UCLA 3, Cal State Fullerton 0

PLAYER OF THE GAME: RHP Nick Vander Tuig, UCLA -- The Bruins have one of the nation's elite one-two punches in Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig. Plutko took care of business on Friday, while Vander Tuig did the honors on Saturday, striking out four, walking no one and allowing just eight hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings.

TURNING POINT: There were plenty of turning points throughout the game, with Cal State Fullerton leaving a total of 12 runners on base, many of the innings, leaving two runners on base. But if there was a true turning point, it was the Bruins striking for all three runs in the first inning on a Pat Gallagher two RBI single and a Shane Zeile RBI single. The Bruins simply never looked back.

WHAT THEY SAID: "In terms of the tournament and the games, I couldn't be any prouder of our program and the student athletes. We just formed; we bonded and became a team a couple weeks ago. Whenever you get to Fullerton and win two games, to beat I think the best team in the country says a lot about the character. Their disciple and their habits you name it, we did it. I think we earned it. Whenever you come here and win this and get to Omaha, it's not an easy road. I am very proud of our team and players, moving on to Omaha." -- UCLA coach John Savage

THE SKINNY: The one-two punch of UCLA's Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig once again shined this weekend, with Vander Tuig leading the charge on Saturday. However, the Bruins also got another good relief performance from right-handed pitcher David Berg, who earned his 21st save of the season by allowing just one hit in 1 1/3 innings. From an offensive standpoint, first baseman Pat Gallagher continued his hot postseason hitting with two hits and two RBIs. For the Titans, freshman right-handed pitcher Thomas Eshelman put together a gutsy performance, striking out five and allowing just three runs on six hits in eight innings of work. Fullerton left 12 runners on base in the contest, while the Bruins left six.

Charlottesville Super Regional
Mississippi State (47-18) vs. Virginia (50-11)
Where: Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
Game 1: Mississippi State 11, Virginia 6
Game 2: Sunday -- 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: SS Adam Frazier, Mississippi State -- There's absolutely no question who the player of the game is for the victorious Bulldogs, it's Frazier. Frazier had a career day at the plate for John Cohen's club, going 6-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, two runs scored and three RBIs.

TURNING POINT: The Bulldogs only held a 4-3 advantage heading to the top of the fourth in a contest that certainly appeared to be offensive in nature. Well, Mississippi State extended its lead to 7-3 with a three-run fourth inning and never really looked back. In the inning, outstanding outfielder Hunter Renfroe had a two-RBI triple and Brett Pirtle had a sacrifice fly to score the third run. The Bulldogs would add a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Obviously we're really proud of our players today. We played a very good Virginia club. It was a little sloppier defensively than we would have liked. It was just a long, grind-it-out type of game. We competed well at home plate with the bats. Everything we saw on the scouting report came true with their offense. They're a fantastic offensive team- don't swing at balls, don't strike out, use the middle of field and get barrel to almost everything. They're a really good team, but I thought our kids stepped up today." -- Mississippi State head coach John Cohen

THE SKINNY: The Bulldogs are seeing the ball very well right now and exploded for 11 runs on 20 hits in the victory over Virginia. Mississippi State's Adam Frazier had a huge game, but he certainly wasn't alone. For instance, Hunter Renfroe went 4-for-5 with three RBIs, Demarcus Henderson and Wes Rea each had three hits, and second baseman Brett Pirtle, who played fantastic defense down the stretch in the game, had a hit and two RBIs. Meanwhile, in the bullpen, Ross Mitchell once again was stellar, allowing just two hits in 3 2/3 shutout innings of work. For the Cavaliers, Joe McCarthy went 2-for-2, but the pitching staff struggled with freshman left-handed hurler Brandon Waddell allowing six runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Tallahassee Super Regional
Indiana (47-14) vs. Florida State (47-16)
Where: Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.
Game 1: Indiana 10, Florida State 9
Game 2: Sunday -- 1 p.m. (ESPNU)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: C Kyle Schwarber, Indiana -- The hard-hitting Hoosiers catcher had yet another game to remember in the win over the Seminoles. He went 2-for-4 with a home run -- his 18th of the season -- two runs scored and four RBIs.

TURNING POINT: The Hoosiers were down 6-5 to the Seminoles after six innings of play, and things weren't looking too great. However, they responded in impressive fashion in the seventh inning with a four-run frame, led by Kyle Schwarber's two-RBI single, Sam Travis' RBI single, and the final run scored on a throwing error. IU didn't look back after the top of the seventh.

WHAT THEY SAID: "To sum it up, there was a moment in the ninth inning of that ball game when I think we had just thrown a wild pitch that ended up in my pitching coach's lap where the guys moved up to second and third, I kind of glanced over at Coach Mike Martin and we didn't make eye contact but just looking at both of us just kind of struggle through that one wasn't the most well-played game and I was just kind of sitting there and in my mind at the ending was that either one of us will be happy with the win but probably not happy with the particular way we'd played. To sum it up that way, I don't think it was a particularly well-played game but I do think it's important, specifically in the Super Regionals format to get off to a good start with a win no matter how it happens. But other than that it was a hard fought game, a lot of big hits, big pitches on both sides for both teams...wasn't the prettiest but we are going to try to refocus our group and come out here tomorrow because I said it all along `we're just here and we're just going to play.' At the end of the day if it's good enough, it's good enough. So it was sloppy but we'll take it." -- Indiana head coach Tracy Smith

THE SKINNY: Usually excellent pitchers Joey DeNato and Scott Effross struggled against the Seminoles, but the offense rose to the occasion in a huge way with Schwarber leading the charge, and Scott Donley and Michael Basil each finished the afternoon with a pair of hits. Meanwhile, Florida State right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver looked very good in the early going, but finished the day allowing five runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He also struck out five and walked two. For IU, reliever Will Coursen-Carr finished the contest with a scoreless frame, earning his first save of the season in the process.

Raleigh Super Regional
Rice (44-19) vs. North Carolina State (48-14)
Where: Doak Field in Raleigh, N.C.
Game 1: N.C. State 4, Rice 3
Game 2: Sunday -- 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: LHP Carlos Rodon, North Carolina State -- The Rice offense certainly didn't make it easy on Rodon, but he still together a solid performance. Rodon struck out nine, walked two and allowed just three runs on 11 hits in 8 1/3 innings of work. He also threw 133 pitches, 90 for strikes.

TURNING POINT: The Owls and Wolfpack were tied 2-2 heading to the ninth inning. And after the Owls scored a run in the top of the inning, things looked rather bleak for the Wolfpack. Well, they would strike with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Logan Ratledge, in addition to a game-winning RBI single from gritty Jake Fincher to win the game. N.C. State won the contest 4-3.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Obviously, it was a good game and I thought our guys competed very well. We just had a few uncharacteristic mistakes late in the game when we were in position to win it. That's the way the game is, you can't make mistakes at the wrong time and we happened to do it today." -- Rice head coach Wayne Graham

THE SKINNY: While we've already discussed what N.C. State's Carlos Rodon did in the contest, how about Rice right-handed pitcher Austin Kubitza? Kubitza put together a solid performance, striking out eight and allowing just two runs on five hits in seven innings. Meanwhile, Rice reliever Zech Lemond allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings to earn his second loss of the season. From an offensive standpoint for the Wolfpack, Fincher finished the afternoon with two hits while leadoff hitter Trea Turner had two hits and a run scored. For the Owls, second baseman Christian Stringer hit a home run and finished the afternoon with a pair of RBIs.

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