Upsets abounded Saturday afternoon as Indiana, Mississippi State and Louisville all took down national seeds in their first games of the super regionals. North Carolina was the lone exception, hitting its second walk-off in as many games to beat South Carolina in a back-and-forth contest in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina 6, South Carolina 5
North Carolina leads series 1-0
Game 1 of the Battle of the Carolinas in is in the books, and what a battle it was. The lead changed hands five times before UNC freshman Skye Bolt delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tar Heels the win.
With a man on second and one away in a 5-5 game, South Carolina elected to intentionally walk All-American Colin Moran to get to Bolt. On an 0-2 count, Bolt extended on a pitch low-and-away and slapped it into right field to score the winning run.
It was an ominous start for No. 1 overall seed North Carolina, as their ace Kent Emanuel was forced out of the game in just the third inning, showing signs of fatigue from the regional round. Head coach Mike Fox caught a good deal of flak after he brought Emanuel back in relief on only one day's rest against Florida Atlantic on Monday, resulting in the left-hander throwing 172 pitches in 48 hours. Fox opted to start him in Game 1 of the supers instead of holding him until Sunday, and the move backfired. Emanuel labored heavily, giving up four runs and throwing 41 pitches before being pulled after 2⅓.
The Tar Heels overcame the tough start, though, taking a 5-4 lead on a two-run single by junior Brian Holberton in the bottom of the sixth.
The Gamecocks scored one run in the top of the eighth to tie, but left the bases loaded and set the stage for Bolt's ninth-inning heroics.
South Carolina will look to bounce back Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Indiana 10, Florida State 9
Indiana leads series 1-0
With two men in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth of a one-run game, Florida State was poised for a walkoff of their own, but Indiana coaxed consecutive pop-flys to end the threat and pick up their first-ever win in a super regional.
After a four-spot in the top of the seventh and an insurance run in the eighth, the Hoosiers looked to have the game in hand with a 10-6 lead.
Florida State refused to go quietly, however. First baseman John Nogowski hammered a two-run homer over the left field wall in the eighth to cut the lead to two. The Seminoles then opened the bottom of the ninth with a single and a walk, and freshman DJ Stewart made it 10-9 with a single to center field.
A passed ball then moved both runners into scoring position, but that was as far as they would advance. The next two batters hit shallow fly balls to the outfield to end the game.
Game 2 will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
Mississippi State 11, Virginia 6
Mississippi State leads series 1-0
Virginia left the first inning with a 3-2 lead, but Mississippi State scored eight runs between the third and sixth to grab a win in the Game 1 of the Charlottesville super regional.
Virginia was plagued by mistakes all game, committing four errors and allowing six unearned runs. They ran through five pitchers in the game, none of which lasted more than 3⅓ innings. Brandon Waddell was tagged with the loss, giving up six runs on six hits.
Adam Frazier had a career day at the plate for State, going 6-for-6 with two runs and three RBIs to pace the offense. Three other Bulldogs had at least three hits, including first round pick Hunter Renfroe, who had four and added three RBIs.
The offensive output picked up starter Kendall Graveman, who got the good-luck win despite giving up six runs in just over five innings.
Mississippi State will go for the sweep at 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
Louisville 5, Vanderbilt 3
Louisville leads series 1-0
We told you in our super regional preview that Louisville could steal a game against Vanderbilt, and that's exactly what happened Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and the winning run on first, Louisville reliever Nick Burdi forced a groundout to second to give Louisville the upset win.
The Cardinals took their first lead of the game with a big three-run seventh inning. Zak Wasserman tied the game at 2 with a two-out RBI single, and two batters later they were still threatening with the bases loaded. Vanderbilt elected to replace starter Kevin Ziomek (6⅔ IP, 5 H, 4 R) with reliever Brian Miller in an attempt to escape the inning, but pinch hitter Matt Helms shot a single into right field to put Louisville up by two.
The two teams then traded runs in the eighth inning to make it 5-3. The Commodores managed to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn't get the big hit.
The two teams will be back in action at 4 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.