Troy, Liberty and William & Mary picked up unexpected wins in the first day of NCAA regional baseball competition Friday, but Virginia and Oklahoma both came from behind to avoid becoming upset victims. Here's a recap of the action so far:
Troy 5, Alabama 2 (Tallahassee Regional)
The 2013 tournament opened with a minor upset, as Troy took down its in-state big brother on the back of a big fifth inning and strong pitching. Things were going well for Alabama until Trae Santos sent a three-run shot over the left field wall in the fifth. The Trojans added two more that inning, and their pitching staff held Alabama to a lone run for the rest of the game.
Liberty 8, Clemson 3 (Columbia Regional)
A lot of people were looking forward to a Clemson-South Carolina showdown in this regional, but they didn't account for Liberty knocking the Tigers into the losers' bracket in Game 1. Liberty controlled most of the game, finishing with twice the number of hits and blasting homers in the fourth and sixth innings to break it open. Junior Josh Richardson did a great job of pitching to contact and staying efficient, working a complete game for Liberty.
Oklahoma 7, Coastal Carolina 3 (Blacksburg Regional)
It looked sketchy early on for Oklahoma ace and potential top pick Jonathan Gray as Coastal jumped on him with three runs in the first two innings. Then Gray decided he'd had about enough of that, holding the Chanticleers scoreless for the rest of the way as he gritted through an 130-pitch complete game. Meanwhile, his offense put together seven unanswered runs on 12 hits to cruise to a comfortable win.
Virginia 2, Army 1 (Charlottesville Regional)
Outside of the fifth inning, there wasn't much to this one. Army picked up a run in the top of the frame, but the Cavs answered with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. ACC Freshman of the Year Joe McCarthy went 3-for-3 and drove in the game's winning run.
Towson 7, Florida Atlantic 2 (Chapel Hill Regional)
We warned you Towson was more than a feel-good story in our regional preview. Just a few months after almost losing their program to budget cuts, the CAA champs never trailed en route to a first-round win. Their first run came when they stole home in the fourth, and they broke the game open with a five-run sixth that included a three-run jack by catcher Andrew Parker. We'll see how long the fairy tale stays alive, as they'll most likely have to face overall No. 1 seed North Carolina tomorrow.
Illinois 6, Georgia Tech 4 (Nashville Regional)
A home run from Georgia Tech in the seventh cut the Illinois lead to one and made things interesting, but the Illini answered with two of their own in the next frame and held on for the win. Starter Kevin Duchene picked up the win, striking out five through seven innings.
William & Mary 4, Ole Miss 2 (Raleigh Regional)
An Ole Miss meltdown in the fifth inning was the story of this game. Four walks and two errors led to four runs on zero hits for William & Mary. Rebel starter Mike Mayers had been cruising through the first four frames, but came completely unglued out of nowhere and couldn't keep the ball down in the zone. Ole Miss had a chance to pull back into the game, but repeatedly left runners in scoring position in the later innings.