Regionals in review: Best of the NCAA baseball tournament's first week
The 2015 DI College Baseball Championship is down to 16 teams, with the Super Regionals set to begin on Friday. How did we get here? It was a busy weekend across the country, with great plays, walk-offs, surprises and plenty of late-night free baseball. Check out the best of the regionals below.
The regionals saved the best for last. Early Tuesday morning on the east coast, Maryland fans watched their Terrapins not only beat the No. 1 national seed for the second time in the regionals, but shut them down. The Bruins managed just three hits against Taylor Bloom and Kevin Mooney as the Terps set up a rematch of last year’s Super Regional against Virginia in Charlottesville.
With their seasons on the line, local rivals Rice and Houston headed to extra innings knotted up at 2-2. More than a complete nine-inning game later, they were still deadlocked. It took an RBI double in the 20th inning from Leon Byrd, who had not played since May 12, to give the Owls the dramatic win.
How to break a tie in the 4th longest game (20 Innings) in NCAA history… https://t.co/tFiwvd1chg— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 1, 2015
Host Texas A&M and No. 3 seed California met three times in the regional. After they got through the first two games with a total score of 5-5 in two dramatic extra-inning affairs totaling 26 innings, the Aggies pulled away on Monday with one in the seventh and another in the eighth to top the Bears 3-1 and advance to the Super Regionals.
In cruising to its 21st regional title, LSU has not given up a run in its past 20 innings. In Saturday’s winners’ bracket game, Alex Lange tossed a complete-game shutout against UNCW, striking out 12 while scattering six hits. Then on Monday, Poche’ followed that performance up with a gem of his own against the Seahawks, going 8.2 innings with six hits and eight strikeouts.
Freshman Alex Lange struck out 12 and fired a complete game shutout as LSU defeated UNCW early Sunday morning. pic.twitter.com/SB7EJ006U5— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 31, 2015
Vanderbilt and Miami each put up a whopping 21 runs in their regional-clinching wins on Monday. Vanderbilt was too good for the scoreboard in the fifth inning, scoring 10 runs in the frame on their way to tying the NCAA record for largest margin of victory in a shutout. Ro Coleman and Zander Weil each had four hits for the Commodores. Meanwhile, 12 different Hurricanes recorded a hit as they emphatically quelled Columbia’s hopes of an upset and reach the Super Regionals.
Things looked bleak for No. 7 national seed TCU when NC State held an 8-1 lead going into the bottom of the eighth on Monday. The Horned Frogs then rallied for six runs to pull within one, and used a balk and strikeout/passed ball in the ninth to tie the game. In the bottom of the 10th, Elliott Barzilli hit a single to plate Evan Williams, complete the crazy comeback and send TCU to its fifth Super Regional in the past seven years.
With its win against Dallas Baptist on Monday, VCU became the fifth No. 4 seed all-time to win a regional. The Atlantic 10 champion Rams will be making their first trip to the Super Regionals in program history. Shortly after falling to the regional host Dallas Baptist, they won the deciding game by holding the Patriots to four hits.
BEST RAIN DELAY ANTIC
College baseball players are known for finding creative ways to deal with waiting for the tarp to come off the field. These UNCW players took it a step futher.
BEST RALLY ANTIC
Southern California bullpen
What's more impressive than the ingenuity of these rally caps from the Trojan pitchers? The fact that it worked -- USC came back to win the game 12-11.
TOP FIVE PLAYS
No. 5: El Gaucho walks off
No. 4: Andrew Stevenson lays out
No. 3: Dansby Swanson in the hole
No. 2: Indiana turns three
No. 1: Steven Pallares steals home, win