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NCAA baseball: Columbia, Valparaiso grab milestone wins
Question of the Day
FULLERTON, Calif. — Columbia was down by five runs late in the game, and the Lions appeared on the verge of getting knocked out of the NCAA baseball tournament.
Then came a huge comeback and, a few innings later, a stunning victory.
Nick Crucet hit a go-ahead RBI single in the 13th inning and Columbia held on to earn its first NCAA tournament win, beating New Mexico 6-5 on Saturday night in the Fullerton regional.
The Lions (28-20) scored five runs in the eighth inning to erase a 5-0 deficit, getting the last three runs with two outs.
"Obviously from our end, it was a tremendous comeback," Lions coach Brett Boretti said. "To tie the game in the eighth with five runs, the credit goes to our guys for staying positive and focused and believing."
Columbia will play Arizona State in an elimination game on Sunday. The Sun Devils (36-21-1) lost to Cal State Fullerton (50-8), which got 8 1-3 shutout innings from freshman Justin Garza in a 1-0 victory.
The Lions, the first Ivy League team to win a tournament game since Dartmouth in 2010, had to hold on in the 13th. New Mexico (37-22), one of the NCAA's top offensive teams, got the tying run to third but Alex Black struck out D.J. Peterson to end it for his fifth save.
"It feels incredible," Black said. "Having the opportunity to go to regionals and win the first tournament game in school history, I can't even describe it."
Joey Donino (7-0) pitched 6 2-3 shutout innings of relief to pick up the win for Columbia.
The Lobos were eliminated with the loss, one of the biggest upsets so far in this year's tournament.
In the Bloomington regional, Valparaiso's baseball team waited 47 years for a win this late in the season.
The Crusaders won an NCAA tournament game for the first time since 1966, scoring four times in the seventh and holding on to eliminate Florida with a 5-4 victory.
The Crusaders (32-27) had only two hits in the seventh, but took advantage of mistakes by Florida (29-30), which led 4-1. Gators third baseman Josh Tobias made an error with the bases loaded, allowing Valpo's first run of the inning. The Crusaders got two more on bases-loaded walks to Tanner Vavra and John Loeffler. The go-ahead run came on Chris Manning's run-scoring fielder's choice.
Valparaiso, coached by former major league infielder Tracy Woodson, last won in the NCAA tournament against Southern Illinois in the Columbus regional in 1966.
"These guys know about (47) years ago," Woodson said. "We try to let them know that all the time. I know what it feels like, but this is their time now and I want to make sure that they understand that. They are setting the precedence for us as a university."
Valparaiso will play Austin Peay (46-14) in an elimination game Sunday after the Governors were routed by host Indiana 15-6. Sam Travis homered, and Scott Donley and Michael Basil each drove in four runs for the Hoosiers (45-14).
The loss ended Austin Peay's 16-game winning streak, longest in the country.
Corey Dick homered and had three of UNC Wilmington's 16 hits, and the Seahawks eliminated mistake-prone Army with a 9-5 victory that ended on a bizarre triple play.
Army (29-23) had three errors on the scorecard, and a couple of huge ones on the play that ended its season.
On the last play, Jon Crucitti struck out with two runners on — and both running on the pitch. Lead runner Michael Sands was caught between second and third, and third baseman Ryan LaGrange chased him back to second, where Grant Van Orden was already standing. LaGrange tagged Van Orden out, and Sands inexplicably broke for third, where LaGrange threw to catcher Drew Farber, who tagged him to complete the game-ending play.
The Seahawks (38-22), who scored nine runs in the first four innings, got two RBIs each from Molinaro and Keeler. They will play Elon (33-29) in an elimination game Sunday after the Phoenix fell to host Virginia 2-0.
Scott Silverstein and two relievers scattered eight hits to move the Cavaliers (49-10) within one victory of advancing to the super regionals.
Max White hit an RBI triple in a two-run 12th inning for Oklahoma, lifting the Sooners past Connecticut 5-3.
Craig Aikin started the rally with a leadoff single for Oklahoma (42-19), which advanced in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination regional. Aikin went to second on a bunt by Jack Mayfield and took third on a wild pitch by UConn reliever Pat Butler. White then hit a ball to the left-center field gap that center fielder Billy Ferriter almost caught. The ball glanced off Ferriter's glove and rolled to the wall, allowing Aikin to score. The Sooners took a 5-3 lead when White scored on a throwing error by UConn second baseman LJ Mazzilli.
The Huskies (35-27) will play Virginia Tech in an elimination game Sunday. The host Hokies (39-21) got a five-hitter from Devin Burke to beat Coastal Carolina 9-1.
Burke (11-3) pitched his second complete game of the season, allowing a home run to Jacob May in the ninth inning before finishing off Coastal Carolina (37-23).
CHAPEL HILL REGIONAL
Kent Emanuel pitched into the eighth inning, and Michael Russell drove in three runs as No. 1 national seed North Carolina beat Towson 8-5.
The Tar Heels (54-8) led 5-0 in the sixth before the third-seeded Tigers (30-29) rallied with three runs in the eighth off Emanuel. Two of those came on a bases-loaded single by Kurt Wentz, helping the Tigers pull within 7-5 before UNC reliever Trent Thornton forced Brendan Butler to fly out to end the inning.
UNC added an insurance run on Skye Bolt's sacrifice fly in the ninth, then Thornton ended it by forcing Hunter Bennett to fly out.
Towson meets Florida Atlantic in an elimination game Sunday after the Owls (40-21) eliminated Canisius with a 14-6 victory. Corey Keller hit two home runs and Nathan Pittman added a three-run homer to lead Florida Atlantic over the fourth-seeded Golden Griffins (42-17), who were making their first NCAA appearance after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title.
Carlos Rodon threw a two-hitter and North Carolina State beat William & Mary 1-0. The hard-throwing lefty struck out 10, walked none and hit three batters while moving the top-seeded Wolfpack (46-14) within one victory of a second straight trip to the super regionals.
The third-seeded Tribe (38-23) managed only two two-out singles — one by William Shaw in the sixth and another by Ryan Brown in the eighth. They'll take on Mississippi in an elimination game after Austin Anderson had four hits and an RBI as the Rebels pulled away to beat Binghamton 8-4.
The second-seeded Rebels (38-23) scored two runs in the seventh inning and four more in the eighth to avoid their first 0-2 tournament appearance since 2004.
Zach Blanden had four hits for fourth-seeded Binghamton (30-25).
Steve Wilkerson hit two homers and drove in five runs to lead Clemson to a 10-2 victory over Saint Louis, eliminating the Atlantic 10 tournament champions.
The Tigers (40-21) snapped a six-game losing streak and will face Liberty in an elimination game Sunday. Clemson avoided its first 0-2 NCAA regional since 1981.
The Billikens (41-21) have lost nine straight NCAA tournament games since reaching the College World Series in 1965.
Jordan Montgomery had a career-high 11 strikeouts in seven innings, Kyle Martin drove in four runs and South Carolina took control of the regional with a 19-3 victory over Liberty.
The Gamecocks (41-18) set a school record for runs in an NCAA game and took their 26th straight tournament home win. They try for No. 27 — and the regional title — Sunday night against Liberty (35-28) or Clemson.
Louisville used a six-run seventh inning to top Miami 6-4 and advance to the regional final.
The Hurricanes (37-24) broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when David Thompson's single scored Tyler Palmer from second.
Louisville (48-12) managed its first three runs in the seventh on two bases-loaded walks and, sandwiched in between, a suicide squeeze during which Bryan Radziewski misplayed the ball and had no play. With the bases still loaded and one out, Nick Ratajczak sliced a line drive down left-field line and to the wall that scored all three baserunners.
In the earlier game, Tyler Nurdin allowed two earned runs in seven strong innings, and Oklahoma State (40-18) beat Bowling Green 7-3 in an elimination game. The Falcons (24-31) were playing in their first NCAA tournament since 1999.
Luke Weaver struck out 14 in eight scoreless innings to lead Florida State to an 11-0 victory over Troy, moving the Seminoles within a win of reaching their sixth straight super regional.
Florida State (46-15) has outscored its two opponents 21-0. Troy (41-19) and Alabama (35-27) play in an elimination game Sunday, with the winner needing to defeat Florida State twice to advance.
Mike Oczypok threw seven shutout innings and Alabama eliminated Savannah State 3-2. Oczypok, who didn't make the team a year ago as a freshman, was bothered by a blister, but didn't allow a run and only six hits against Savannah State (32-23).
Buck Farmer and Jonathan Roberts combined on a three-hitter, leading Georgia Tech to a 5-1 win over East Tennessee State in an elimination game.
The right-handed duo combined for 12 strikeouts and retired 11 straight batters during one stretch. Farmer (9-4) allowed just two singles and struck out eight in six innings. He did not return after a lightning delay lasted 1 hour, 48 minutes in the seventh inning.
Brad Thomas and Mott Hyde each had two hits and drove in a run for Georgia Tech (35-26). The Buccaneers (36-24) scored just two runs in two losses in their first regional since 1981.
In the late game, Mike Yastrzemski — the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski — doubled twice, tripled and drove in three runs to lead No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt to a 10-4 victory over Illinois.
Tony Kemp added four hits and scored three runs as the Commodores (53-9) rallied from a two-run deficit against Illinois (35-19) to advance to their fifth straight regional final.
Jonathan Davis scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the 11th inning to lead Central Arkansas to a 6-5 victory over Mercer.
Central Arkansas (40-21) led 5-1 before allowing three runs in the seventh inning. Mercer tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on Chesny Young's run-scoring double to right field. In the top of the 11th, Davis reached on an error and then stole second. Ethan Harris' groundout advanced Davis to third, and then C.J. Reed overthrew home plate after catching a pop up to right field, allowing Davis to score.
The loss eliminated Mercer (43-18).
Mississippi State (45-17) scored four runs in the fifth inning to overcome an early deficit and beat South Alabama 6-2.
Brett Pirtle had the big hit during the Bulldogs' fifth inning, with a two-run single to right field that put Mississippi State ahead 3-2. C.T. Bradford added a two-run single in the seventh inning to give the Bulldogs a 6-2 lead against South Alabama (43-19).
BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
Austin Robichaux gave up one run and struck out eight through eight innings, and Louisiana-Lafayette remained alive in the NCAA tournament with a 15-1 victory over Jackson State.
Tyler Girouard had three hits and three runs batted in, including a two-run double for the Ragin' Cajuns (42-19), who trailed 1-0 before scoring four runs in the fifth. Stephen Curtis had two hits for JSU (34-22), which was eliminated. Curtis' single drove in the Tigers' only run in the third.
In the late game, Aaron Nola bounced back from a five-run first inning by shutting out Sam Houston State for the next six frames, allowing LSU (54-9) to rally for an 8-5 victory.
None of the runs Nola (11-0) yielded in the first were earned. He gave up just three hits after that before Chris Cotton relieved in the eighth and finished up for his LSU-record-tying 16th save.
Alan Scott (2-1) took the loss for Sam Houston (38-21), which plays Louisiana-Lafayette in an elimination game Sunday.
Ryne Stanek held Wichita State to one run and two hits in 7 1-3 innings as Arkansas eliminated the Shockers from the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 victory.
The Razorbacks (38-21) got on the scoreboard quickly on Tyler Spoon's two-run single in the first inning, and Stanek held Wichita State hitless for the first three innings. The Razorbacks added a late run on an RBI single by Brett McAfee in the seventh.
Wichita State (39-28) scored its lone run on Casey Gillaspie's homer in the fourth.
In the other game, Jared King made a key diving catch and hit a two-run homer as Kansas State (43-17) beat Bryant 7-1.
In the top of the sixth, King hit a double with runners at the corners to push the Wildcats ahead by two runs. King also scored on a passed ball to extend the lead to three, and K-State scored another run to lead Bryant (45-17-1) by four after the inning.
Bob Cruikshank's RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the 13th inning pushed San Francisco (35-23) to a 4-3 win against South Dakota State in an elimination game.
South Dakota State (39-21), the regional's fourth seed, tied it at 2 with a run in the eighth on Scott Splett's RBI single. San Francisco took the lead back at 3-2 in the top of the 10th on Bradley Zimmer's RBI single. But the Dons couldn't hold the lead and the Jackrabbits scored a run in the bottom of the inning thanks to a throwing error on a potential double-play situation.
Jordan Stephens pitched a two-hitter to lead Rice to a 1-0 win against host Oregon in the late game. Stephens struck out 11 and walked two for the Owls (43-17).
Oregon (46-15), the No. 8 national seed and top seed in the regional, must win three more games to advance and host a super regional.
Cole Lankford went 5 for 5 and drove in two runs and Texas A&M eliminated Texas-San Antonio with a 6-1 victory.
Parker Ray (2-1) picked up the win for the Aggies (33-28) with 8 2-3 dominant innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits with eight strikeouts. Brock Hartson (0-2) took the loss for Texas-San Antonio (35-25).
In the other game, Danny Hayes drew a walk with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and Oregon State defeated UC Santa Barbara 3-2.
Dylan Hecht walked Hayes with two outs, scoring Andy Peterson, who reached on a bunt single. The Beavers (47-10) will play the winner of Sunday's game between UC Santa Barbara (35-24) and Texas A&M.
LOS ANGELES REGIONAL
Dylan Covey allowed three runs over a season-high 7 2-3 innings to lead San Diego to a 6-3 victory over San Diego State in an elimination game.
San Diego (36-24) scored five runs in the fifth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit. Austin Green's two-run single coupled with two errors, two walks and a hit batter highlighted San Diego's rally.
Michael Cederoth (4-8) gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings to take the loss for Tony Gwynn's Aztecs (31-31).
UCLA overcame a four-run deficit in the late game to defeat Cal Poly 6-4. The Bruins (41-17) scored four times in the sixth inning, and twice more in the seventh to complete the comeback.
The Mustangs (40-18) will play San Diego on Sunday in an elimination game.
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