Eight teams closed out their regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament Sunday and moved one step closer to the College World Series.
But No. 1 national seed Arkansas, trying for a third straight appearance in super regionals, was forced into a winner-take-all game Monday night against Nebraska after losing 5-3 to the Cornhuskers.
Seven other regionals also will go to a second final, including LSU-Oregon. The Tigers beat the Ducks 4-1 to extend the career of active coaching wins leader Paul Mainieri for at least another day.
Mississippi State will play Campbell in the final in the weather-delayed regional at Starkville and would have to lose twice to be denied a fifth straight appearance in supers.
Teams advancing were No. 2 Texas (45-15), No. 3 Tennessee (48-16), No. 4 Vanderbilt (43-15), No. 5 Arizona (43-15), No. 8 Texas Tech (39-15), No. 10 Notre Dame (33-11), No. 13 East Carolina (44-15) and No. 2 regional seed North Carolina State.
Vanderbilt, the reigning national champion, beat Georgia Tech 14-11 in 11 innings. Isaiah Thomas’ grand slam in the top half broke a 9-all tie. Tech had tied it in the bottom of the ninth on Drew Compton’s two-out homer.
Notre Dame’s 14-2 win over Central Michigan capped a three-game run in which it hit 15 home runs, scored 50 runs and batted .404.
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Carter Putz homered twice, including a grand slam, and Niko Kavadas went deep for the fifth time in the regional to lead the Irish to the supers for the first time since 2002, also the last time they reached the CWS.
Kavadas said he and his teammates are still upset they weren’t a top-eight national seed. The top eight play at home in the super regionals if they win their regionals. Kavadas said the snub provides fuel for what he assumes will be a series at Mississippi State.
“We feel like this next weekend should’ve been here,” Kavadas said. “That’s going to light a fire under us, and we’re going to find a way to go into Mississippi State and go 2-0.”
Texas is in the super regionals for the second time since 2018 — there was no tournament last year because of COVID-19. The Longhorns beat Fairfield 12-2 behind Pete Hansen’s 13 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings
Fairfield, the small Jesuit university in Connecticut, earned national attention with its 27-0 start, and it entered the national tournament 37-3. With the Stags coming from the lightly regarded Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and having lost twice in their league tournament, there was some question whether they would be selected to the 64-team field.
The Stags were a No. 3 regional seed and blew a two-run ninth-inning lead in losing to Arizona State on Friday. The Stags beat Southern on Saturday, then knocked out the Sun Devils with a 9-7 win after erasing an early five-run deficit to reach the final.
“I think it justifies what we did this year,” Stags coach Bill Currier said. “Our record was only against teams in conference and sometimes wasn’t on the ears of the bigger schools they said we could never compete with. I feel like we had the justification of the year we had and the type of team that we are. And that’s an important thing to see on a national stage.”
Nebraska, which lost 5-1 to Arkansas on Friday, beat NJIT 18-4 on Sunday afternoon to set up the rematch with the Razorbacks. Griffin Everitt’s two-run single broke a 3-all tie in the fifth, and closer Spencer Schwellenbach pitched 4 2/3 innings of one-hit shutout ball.
“Win or lose, you have to have that dog in you,” Huskers coach Will Bolt said. “You have to have that fight. You’ve got to have that heart, to where no matter what’s going on around you, you’re going to be all about the throwdown, and that’s what these guys have been about all year long.”
Play was suspended because of inclement weather in the South Alabama-South Florida final in Gainesville. South Alabama leads 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The game will resume Monday, and if the Jaguars win, a second final would follow.
- Tennessee got a home run for a third straight game from Drew Gilbert and beat Liberty 3-1 in Knoxville on Sunday.
- Arizona got a two-run homer from Ryan Holgate to break open a one-run game in a 5-2 win over UC Santa Barbara.
- Oregon State forced a second final against Dallas Baptist on Garret Forrester’s leadoff walk-off homer in the ninth inning for a 5-4 win.
- NC State’s Devonte Brown homered and doubled and drove in five runs against Louisiana Tech.
- Zach Agnos hit a two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning of East Carolina’s 9-6 win over Maryland.
- Nathan Church and Connor McGuire each doubled in two runs in a six-run eighth inning as UC Irvine came from behind to beat Stanford 8-4.
- Brandon Neeck set a Virginia postseason strikeout record with 16 in 5 2/3 innings of relief, and the Cavaliers fanned a total of 24 in an 8-3 win over Old Dominion.
- Tanner Hall pitched five innings of one-hit shutout relief in Southern Miss’ 10-7 win over Mississippi.
- LSU held Oregon without a hit over the final six innings, and Dylan Fontenot worked out of trouble in the ninth inning to preserve LSU’s win.
- Tennessee’s Will Heflin and Sean Hunley combined to scatter five hits and strike out 13 in a 3-1 win over Liberty.
- Texas Tech’s Mason Montgomery and three relievers limited UCLA to five hits and struck out 14 in an 8-2 win.