4 more teams win NCAA regional titles, head to next round
Four of eight matchups for NCAA baseball’s super regionals came Monday night after Oregon State, East Carolina, Louisville and Auburn won the regional titles.
Best-of-three super-regionals kick off Friday and Saturday and will determine the College World Series field in Omaha, Nebraska, beginning June 17.
Matchups so far: Notre Dame (38-14) at No. 1 seed Tennessee (56-7), Auburn (40-19) at No. 3 Oregon State ( 47-16), Louisville (41-19-1) at No. 5 Texas A&M (40-18) and Texas (45-19) at No. 8 East Carolina (45-19).
The rest of the pairings will be known after the regional finals on Monday night.
Matthew Gretler hit a game-breaking homer for Oregon State in the seventh inning, and No. 1 starter Cooper Hjerpe pitched the final two innings in his first relief appearance to secure a 7-6 win over Vanderbilt.
“I felt good and told them if you need me, I’m ready,” said Hjerpe, who was working on two days off after throwing 100 pitches in 6 2/3 innings on Friday.
Auburn won a regional on their home turf for the first time since 1999, beating UCLA 11-4 at the end of a suspended game Sunday night because of the rain.
Cameron Masterman’s game-breaking homer in the eighth inning was dispatched Louisville to an 11-9 win over Michigan and in super regionals for the seventh time since 2013.
East Carolina’s eight-run seventh inning opened a 13-2 win over Coastal Carolina.
Southern Mississippi is back in the super regionals for the first time since 2009 after take the lead in the ninth on a sacrificial fly to beat LSU 8-7.
Auburn became the first team in SEC history to score at least 50 points in its first three tournament games. The Tigers outscored opponents 51-18 and hit 12 doubles and 11 homers.
“Our offense was key No. 1. Number 2 was our three starting pitchers,” coach Butch Thompson said. “It’s good when you’re at this point and playing your best baseball of the year, and I thought we did.
A MOUNTAIN TOO HIGH?
East Carolina is in its third straight super regional and is looking to reach its first college World Series. The Pirates have played 31 times in the tournament, the most of any NCAA team that has never qualified in Omaha.
The Pirates are 1-12 in their six super-regional appearances, and they’ve managed two combined points in four games in the previous two.
LET’S PLAY HOCKEY
Dan McDonnell used an unusual coaching ploy to motivate his Louisville team. Instead of talking baseball with his players, he talks hockey.
The tournament coincides with the NHL playoffs, and McDonnell preaches to his players to compete with the same intensity as a hockey team in a Game 7 situation.
It must have worked. The Cardinals have fought elimination three times on their home turf. After earning an 11-9 win over Michigan on Monday, McDonnell emerged from the dugout wearing a hockey jersey.
“It’s a Lamar Jackson hockey jersey,” he said, referring to the Baltimore Ravens quarterback who played in Louisville. “I don’t know where we found it, but it’s pretty cool.”
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