|Saturday Baseball RESULTS
|North Carolina 6, South Carolina 5
|Mississippi State 11, Virginia 6
|Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3
|LSU 11, Oklahoma 1
No. 1 North Carolina Holds Off South Carolina for Game One Win
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Skye Bolt’s two-out RBI single scored Parks Jordan with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, as North Carolina outlasted South Carolina, 6-5, in game one of the best-of-3 Super Regional Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium.
Jordan, the No. 9 hitter in the Tar Heel lineup, led off the ninth with a single to center off Gamecock closer Tyler Webb and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Webb got the second out on a fly ball then, after walking first-round draft pick Colin Moran intentionally, surrendered Bolt’s grounder through the hole between first and second into right field. Sean Sullivan’s throw to the plate was late, sending the Gamecocks into an elimination game on Sunday.
The Gamecocks outhit the Tar Heels on the day, 15-11, but stranded a dozen runners and committed three errors, leading to a pair of unearned runs. North Carolina improved to 56-9 on the season, while South Carolina dropped to 42-19.
The Gamecocks broke out in front with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning off Tar Heel lefthander Kent Emanuel. Graham Saiko led off with a single to center and Chase Vergason followed with a single to right. One out later, LB Dantzler coaxed a walk to load the bases. Grayson Greiner put the Gamecocks on top with a two-run single to left, scoring Saiko and Vergason.
North Carolina came right back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. Landon Lassiter stroked a one-out single to center and scored on Moran’s double into the left field corner to cut the Gamecocks’ lead in half. One out later, Cody Stubbs lined a ball to Saiko, but the Carolina left fielder was unable to handle it for a two-base error, tying the game at 2.
Carolina jumped back in front in the second. Kyle Martin, the Most Outstanding Player of the Columbia Regional, led off the inning with a single to right. He advanced to second on Tanner English’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Saiko’s single to center, putting the Gamecocks back on top, 3-2.
South Carolina chased Emanuel, a third-round pick in the MLB Draft, in the third inning. Joey Pankake led off the frame with a booming home run over the left field wall to put the Gamecocks on top 4-2. Pankake’s homer came on a 1-2 pitch and was his 11th round tripper of the season. Dantzler followed with a single to right and Greiner reached on an error. Emanuel left the contest after Max Schrock’s flyout to center advanced both runners. Reliever Chris Munnelly avoided any further damage by getting a pair of groundouts to end the inning. Emanuel surrendered four runs, all earned, on seven hits over 2.1 innings of work, his shortest start of the season.
North Carolina got that run right back in the bottom of the third with the help of another Gamecock miscue. Moran stroked a one-out single to right. With two outs, Stubbs grounded one just inside the first base bag, past a diving Martin for a double. Connor Bright fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw back into the infield went awry for an error, allowing Moran to score the Tar Heels’ third run of the game.
The Gamecocks threatened again in the fourth but came up empty for the first time in the game. After Munnelly retired the first two batters, Vergason and Pankake stroked back-to-back singles. Little-used left-hander Tate Parrish relieved Munnelly to face the left-handed-hitting Dantzler. On a 3-1 pitch, Dantzler’s deep fly to right was caught at the warning track, stranding the two runners.
The Gamecocks had another chance in the sixth. Martin led off with a single and advanced to second on English’s sacrifice bunt. Saiko walked, but Vergason and Pankake flied out to end the threat.
North Carolina took the lead for the first time in its half of the sixth. Bolt led off with a single to center. Stubbs followed with a double to right, his second two-base hit of the game, ending the day for Gamecock starter Nolan Belcher. Adam Westmoreland relieved Belcher and got a groundout before Brian Holberton laced a single to center, plating both Bolt and Stubbs, giving UNC a 5-4 advantage.
The Gamecocks used a double play ball for the third straight inning to end any further damage. Belcher was tagged for five runs, three earned, on eight hits over 5.0-plus innings of work.
South Carolina threatened again in the seventh. Dantzler led off with a double to right. Tar Heel head coach Mike Fox went to the bullpen for the fourth time in the game, bringing in closer Trent Thornton. Dantzler remained at second on Greiner’s groundout, then advanced to third on Max Schrock’s fly to right, but was stranded when Bright grounded out.
The Gamecocks rallied to tie the game at 5 in the eighth. Martin led off with a single to center, his third hit of the game. English was unable to get down his third sacrifice of the contest and struck out, but Saiko singled to center for his third hit, advancing Martin to second. Vergason lined a ball just out of the reach of centerfielder Chaz Frank for a double, scoring Martin with the game-tying run. After Pankake fanned for the second out, Dantzler was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Greiner flied out to center to end the inning.
Westmoreland worked 2.2 innings of relief, allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. Webb (3-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing one run on two hits in an inning of relief. Thornton (10-1) worked the final three innings, allowing three hits and a run with one walk and three strikeouts for the win.
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series will be played Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET. Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery (5-1, 1.67 ERA) will make the start for the Gamecocks. He will be opposed by North Carolina southpaw Hobbs Johnson (4-0, 2.09). The game will be televised on ESPN. If game 3 is necessary, it will be played Monday. Game time and television network are to be determined.
Mississippi State Takes First Game from Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Mississippi State saved one of its best offensive afternoons of the season for the perfect time.
The ninth-ranked Bulldogs pounded out 20 hits Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field. Highlighted by a six-hit day by Adam Frazier, MSU rolled past Virginia 11-6 in the opening game of the Charlottesville Super Regional.
MSU (47-18) now stands one win away from reaching the College World Series for the first time since 2007. No. 6 national seed Virginia (50-11) will now have to win back-to-back games to take the best-of-three series and earn the right to go to Omaha.
The series resumes with a 6 p.m. CT start Sunday. ESPNU will have the national telecast. A third game, if necessary, would be at 3 p.m. CT Monday on ESPN2.
“Obviously we are really proud of our kids today,” MSU head coach John Cohen said. “We played a very good Virginia club. I think it was a lot sloppier than either one of our staffs would have liked, but it was a just a long grind-it-out type of game.”
Frazier became the fifth Bulldog to record six hits in a game. He did that with a perfect 6-for-6 afternoon at the plate. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday afternoon the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft, Frazier became the second Bulldog to collect six hits in a postseason game, joining Burke Masters who did it in a 1990 regional game against Florida State.
The sixth and final hit also gives Frazier 100 total hits for the season, which is the fourth time a Bulldog has done that. Richard Lee also had 100 hits in 1997. Brian Wiese set the school record with 103 hits in 1998.
“Six-hit games are really special,” Frazier said. “You really don’t pay that much attention to it while you are in the middle of the game. I am glad that it came in this situation. But it wasn’t just me, the whole team had a great afternoon at the plate.”
MSU roughed up the highly-touted Virginia pitching staff for its second-best offensive afternoon of the season. The Bulldogs’ 20-hit total trailed only the 21 hits collected in a season-opening win against Portland.
Hunter Renfroe added four hits and three RBIs. A first-round pick of the San Diego Padres Thursday, Renfroe had his second four-hit game of the season and his first since a 4-for-4 night against Arkansas March 29.
"I think the whole club is actually hitting very well right now, seeing the ball very good,” Renfroe said. “It starts with a rhythm at the plate and once you have rhythm at the plate it's going to work very well for us and each individual. I think we are seeing the ball great right now, laying off bad pitches and not striking out a whole lot."
The top three in the MSU lineup (Frazier, Alex Detz and Renfroe) were on base 15 times in the contest. Wes Rea and Demarcus Henderson also had three-hit performance. Rea had now had 13 multi-hit games, while Henderson has had five four-hit games. Brett Pirtle added a hit and has now reached basely safely in 38 straight games.
While MSU did strand 15 base runners, the Bulldogs took advantage of four errors by the Cavaliers and scored six unearned runs. The Bulldogs matched a season-high with four double plays, giving them 76 for the season.
MSU struck quickly with two runs in the first inning. Frazier single and Detz walked to start things. Renfroe singled to score one run, while an RBI-groundout by Pirtle scored another.
Virginia answered right back with three scores off MSU starting pitcher Kendall Graveman. Mike Papi hit a leadoff home run for the Cavaliers. An RBI-single by Reed Gragnani placed Virginia on top, 3-2.
The Bulldogs had another answer in the third inning. The Maroon and White scored twice to take the lead for good. Renfroe and Pirtle got things started with back-to-back hits. One run scored when C.T. Bradford bunted back to the pitcher and the bunt play was mishandled. A sacrifice-fly by Henderson made it 4-3.
Graveman (7-5) right the ship from there and continued to grind. In 5.1 innings of work, Graveman allowed nine hits and six runs (four earned), with three strikeouts and two walks. Ross Mitchell faced 13 batters in 3.2 innings of relief to earn his second save. Mitchell got inning-ending double play balls in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
The Bulldogs expanded the lead with three runs in the fourth inning. Renfroe laced a two-run triple and Pirtle added a sacrifice-fly in that at-bat.
UVA closed within 7-4 on an unearned run, only to see MSU push one more score across in the fifth inning and two more scores in the sixth inning. Frazier added to his monster night with a two-run double in the sixth inning.
Virginia starter Brandon Waddell (6-3) was lifted in the fourth inning. Waddell allowed six hits and six runs (three earned), with three strikeouts and two walks. The UVA bullpen was touched for 14 hits the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs have now 47 or more games for the sixth time in school history and first time since the 1997 College World Series-participant squad also won 47 games.
Louisville Rallies to Steal Game One from Vandy
Nashville, Tenn. – Pinch-hitter Matt Helms delivered a two-run single and Zak Wasserman drove in a pair of runs in Louisville's 5-3, come-from-behind victory over Vanderbilt Saturday in game one of the NCAA Super Regional at Hawkins Field.
The Cardinals (50-12) move one game from advancing to the College World Series with the victory, while the Commodores (54-11) must win the final two contests in the best-of-three series, which resumes Sunday at 3 p.m. CT.
Louisville plated three runs in the seventh inning to take the lead for good, including a two-out RBI single to left by Wasserman that tied the contest at two. Three batters later Helms poked a 1-2 pitch through the hole on the left side, plating two runs for a 4-2 Louisville advantage.
"I guess our demise was that seventh inning, we just couldn't get out of it," said Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin. "Helms did a good job of staying on the ball off a tough pitcher, and he drove it and clocked it into the infield and we really couldn't defend. It was in between the third baseman and shortstop, but we were kind of out of balance because of the base runners that they had on base."
The Cardinals added an insurance run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Shane Crain, a run they would need, as Vanderbilt scored once in the bottom of the eighth while stranding a pair, before leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.
Louisville starter Chad Green worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks, but the right-hander did not figure in the decision. Dace Kime (6-1) struck out two in 1.1 hitless frames for the win, while closer Nick Burdi picked up his 16th save, working in-and-out of trouble for the final five outs.
Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek (11-3) suffered the loss, giving up four runs on five hits in 6.1 innings. The lefthander walked two and struck out four before departing with the bases loaded in a tie game. Helms' single to left came against reliever Brian Miller.
Louisville managed just six hits against Vanderbilt pitching, but took advantage of four hit batters and scored a pair of runners with sacrifice flies as well as driving in the other three runs with two-out hits.
Xavier Turner accounted for two hits and two runs scored for the Commodores, but Vanderbilt managed just seven hits in the game as well.
The Commodores got on the board with a run in the first after a one-out single from Turner, who stole second. He moved to third on a groundout by Mike Yastrzemski and after a two-out walk to Harrell, scored on Conrad Gregor's single through the right side for an early lead.
The Cardinals tied the contest in the second when Jeff Gardner was hit with one out and Cole Sturgeon walked. Crain followed with a single to right, loading the bases, before a sac fly from Wassermann plated the run.
Vanderbilt added a run in the third when Turner led off with a single to center before stealing second again. He went to third on a fly ball down the right field line by Yastrzemski and scored on Harrell's sharp single to left.
Gregor followed with a walk and with two outs, Vince Conde singled to left, but Coco Johnson made a great throw to the plate, nailing Harrell and keeping it a one-run game.
The Cards took the lead in the seventh, starting with a leadoff single from Gardner. He went to second on a groundout by Sturgeon and scored on a two-out single through the left side by Wasserman. Sutton Whiting followed with a single and Adam Engel walked, ending the day for Ziomek. Helms reached out and poked a single through the hole on the left side, plating the go-ahead runs for Louisville.
Louisville pushed across an insurance run in the eighth when Johnson was hit to leadoff, stole second and went to third on a groundout by Gardner. He scored on Crain's sac fly to right for a 5-2 advantage.
Vanderbilt cut into the deficit in the bottom of the inning after back-to-back walks to Yastrzemski and Harrell to start the frame, but Gregor struck out looking against lefty Cody Ege. Pinch-hitter Zander Wiel fouled out on a 3-1 pitch against Burdi, but after both runners moved up on a stolen base, UL third baseman Ty Young booted a routine grounder from Conde, allowing a run to score.
In the ninth Tony Kemp singled with one out and Yastrzemski drew another free pass. Harrell worked a two-out walk, but Gregor grounded out to second on the first pitch to end the game. The Commodores stranded 11 base runners in the contest, including five in the final two frames.
Corbin knows his team will still be fighting come tomorrow's game two.
"To me, it's a three round fight, and they won the first round, but they didn't knock us out," the coach said. "That's not going to happen. I like my bunch. We're in the same situation before we started today. We have 18 innings to win. We just have to concentrate on winning pockets of the game."
LSU Punches Ticket to Omaha
BATON ROUGE -- Three weeks after dedicating the field at Alex Box Stadium to legendary former coach Skip Bertman - who made Omaha an annual early-summer vacation for many Tiger fans - head coach Paul Mainieri and the LSU baseball team punched a 16th ticket to the College World Series by dominating Oklahoma, 11-1, on Saturday.
In the process, LSU (57-9) tied the school record for victories in a season and won its sixth NCAA Super Regional title in 10 appearances.
All six have come at Alex Box Stadium, which found room for a record 11,401 fans to watch the Tigers dogpile at the new stadium for the first time since its inaugural season season in 2009.
Using a core of upperclass leaders mixed with key newcomers, Mainieri earned his third trip to Omaha in his seven seasons at LSU. In 2009, he led the Tigers to the school's sixth National Championship after defeating Texas in the championship series.
This year, Mainieri's Tigers will take on UCLA on June 15 or 16, and will take the field at the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha for the first time. The 24,000 seat stadium opened in April of 2012 and will play host to its second CWS.
Game time will be either 2 p.m. CT or 7 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2.
A day after Aaron Nola tossed a two-hit shutout that gave LSU a lead in the best-of-three series, four Tigers combined to hold Oklahoma to one run on five hits.
Will LaMarche (3-0), who took over after a 52-minute lightning delay that forced starter Ryan Eades from the game, earned the victory. Eades gave up a run on three hits, but battled out of jams in the first and second innings and left the game with a 3-1 lead through four innings. LaMarche, Nick Rumbelow and Chris Cotton held the Sooners scoreless for the remaining five frames, as LSU outscored Oklahoma in the series sweep, 13-1.
Junior second baseman JaCoby Jones powered the Tigers through the Super Regional, In his final five at bats in the series -- starting with Friday's eighth-inning triple off Jonathan Gray that ended up as the game-winning run -- Jones hit for the cycle.
Saturday, the third-round draft pick finished perhaps his final game at The Box with a 4-for-4 performance including a orginary hit to center that he legged into a double and a solo home run in the eighth. Jones scored three times and had two RBI.
Oklahoma left-hander Dillon Overton (9-3), who along with Eades was a second-round draft pick on Thursday, took the loss. He returned to the mound after the lightning delay to start the fifth inning but was lifted in the sixth after Ty Ross' safety squeeze scored Raph Rhymes and gave LSU a 4-1 lead.
In the first inning, the Sooners grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single to right off the bat of centerfielder Max White.
The Tigers quickly responded in the top of the second with a leadoff single from Rhymes. He later came home on an RBI single to centerfield from Jones, tying the score at 1-1.
With one out in the third, outfielder Mark Laird connected for a line drive that got past Oklahoma right fielder Hunter Hayley and into the corner, allowing Laird to reach third. He later scored on an RBI single off the bat of shortstop Alex Bregman, putting LSU ahead 2-1.
In the fourth, Jones hit a laser to center, and then showcased his base-running abilities by reaching second base on the play. With two outs in the inning, outfielder Jared Foster sent Jones home with an RBI single, extending the LSU lead to 3-1.
LSU tacked on another run in the sixth on a perfect squeeze bunt by Ross, scoring Rhymes from third base. In the next inning, Jones connected for fourth hit of the night and his sixth homer of the season into the bleachers in left field.
Jones’ long ball gave LSU closer Chris Cotton a 5-1 advantage heading to the bottom of the eighth. Cotton retired the side with a spectacular leaping grab from Rhymes along the wall in left field.
The Tigers kept swinging into the ninth with an RBI double from Rhymes down the third base line. Later in the ninth Ross added two more runs with a two-RBI line drive to center, giving LSU an 8-1 cushion. Three more insurance runs came in the final frame on a wild pitch and RBI hits from Stevenson and designated hitter Alex Edward.
Cotton then took the mound in the ninth, giving the Tigers a trip to Omaha with an 11-1 victory with a 1-2-3 inning of work.
LSU baseball season ticket holders may apply for College World Series tickets online at http://www.lsutix.net/, in person or by calling (225) 578-2184 by 5 p.m. CT on Monday.