The best-of-3 winners take the road to Omaha, Neb., for the World Series played at TD Ameritrade Park next week
By Arnie Leshin
Advantage North Carolina, Mississippi State, Oregon State and Washington after these schools won their opening games Friday in the NCAA Division I Baseball Super Regional.
All four play today in this best-of-3 series that will send the Elite Eight to Omaha, Neb., for the World Series.
Playing today in their openers, are top seeded Florida playing host to Auburn in an SEC clash in Gainesville, South Carolina plays in Fayetteville where Arkansas is the host, Duke goes against host Texas Tech in Lubbock, and in Austin, Texas is home to Tennessee Tech.
For these teams, they can either get within a Sunday victory of making it to TD Ameritrade Park or having to play a deciding game on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Tar Heels (42-18) on Saturday morning quickly took a 4-0 lead over Stetson with the runs coming across in the top of the first inning.
The Hatters are 48-12 and in the Super Regional for the first time.
It was 1-1 after one inning, but North Carolina scored three times in the fifth, answered with another three runs after Stetson came up with pair of runs in the top of the seventh.
Out west in Oregon, the 2nd seeded Beavers (48-10) had no problem on its home field in rolling over Minnestota, 8-1, to drop the Gophers to 44-14.
Also out west, visiting Washington scored twice in the top of the ninth to turn back host Cal-State Fullertson, 8-5, which committed five errors and were outhit 14-12. It was 2-2 before the Huskies crossed the plate twice in the third, twice more in the seventh, and increased their 6-5 lead to a 3-run advantage in the ninth.
It moved the Washington record to 34-23 while Cal-State dropped to 35-24. As for Oregon State, it quickly pushed across three runs in the first, one in the second, and two more in the fourth and seventh frames. Minnesota’s lone run in the eighth erased the shutout.
With Mississippi State (36-26) playing host to Vanderbilt (34-16), the Bulldogs also came out ahead via a 10-8 final. Mississippi State took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second, and responded to Vanderbilt’s two in the third with five of its own in the last of the frame.
And when the visitors knotted the score at 7-7 in the fifth, the Bulldogs answered with one run in the eight, and the deciding two runs in their final at-bat to offset a Vanderbilt run in the top of the ninth that tied things at 8-8.
That’s it for now. It’s win today or go home for Stetson, Minnesota, Cal-State and Vanderbilt. A game three would be played Sunday.
The same for today’s team, with the winners needing one more victory on Sunday or having to play the deciding games on Monday.
Top ranked schools that have been eliminated are Florida State, North Carolina State and Georgia.