It wasn't supposed to happen like this for Louisville. The No. 2 national seed Cardinals were the Vegas favorite to win the College World Series this year, until UC Santa Barbara came along and spoiled that fun in ridiculously dramatic fashion: a bottom of the ninth one-out grand slam and the Gauchos have punched their ticket to Omaha. This is UCSB's first ever trip to Omaha, and they join Arizona as the unlikely West Coast teams now in the field of eight.
It also wasn't supposed to happen like this for Louisville mop-up closer Zack Burdi. The first-round draft pick regularly reaches 100+ mph with his fastball, and he was pitching Sunday to preserve Louisville's 3-0 lead in the decisive Game 3. Burdi struck out the first batter and was on his way. Then he gave up a single. Then a walk, and another walk. Then freshman backup catcher Sam Cohen came in to pinch hit and, well, he blasted a rope over the right field wall.
It really wasn't supposed to happen like this for Zack Burdi, especially after last year's super regional. In the top of the 11th against Cal State Fullerton -- in Game 3 of Louisville's 2015 super regional -- Fullerton senior David Olmedo-Barrera laced a home run just inside the left field foul pole, with Burdi on the mound. The Cardinals failed to answer and were sent packing. Two game-ending homers. Two gut-wrenching losses in consecutive years.
Such are the vicissitudes of college baseball in June.
Florida 5, Florida State 0
Florida forces decisive Game 3
Florida right-handed ace Logan Shore chucked a gem in Game 2 of the Gainesville super regional, throwing eight scoreless innings for nine strikeouts and two hits on 114 pitches. Florida's bats woke up from the trance they fell under on Saturday, going off for 10 hits and five runs.
Gators big man Peter Alonso notched three hits, scored twice and batted two runners home. Florida led 2-0 in a tight affair for most of the outing, but a flurry of runs in the final two frames and shutdown pitching from the Gators' storied bullpen suffocated FSU and forced the deciding Game 3.
Coastal Carolina 4, LSU 3
Coastal Carolina wins Baton Rouge Super, 2-0
On the day when UC Santa Barbara hit a walk-off grand slam, your new favorite team Coastal Carolina knocked a walk-off RBI in the bottom of the ninth to sweep LSU in the Baton Rouge super regional. High drama transpired as CCU left fielder Anthony Marks stole second after reaching on a walk. Then, Michael Paez chopped a hard swing down the left field line that made its way over the LSU third baseman.
Coastal Carolina led Sunday's Game 2 for much of the night, 3-2 until a wild pair of Chanticleer errors in the top of the ninth exploded in the underdogs' faces. They allowed just one run, though, and white-knuckled their way through the bottom of the frame to punch their tickets to Omaha.
TCU 4, Texas A&M 1
TCU wins College Station Super, 2-1
Last year's Aggies-Horned Frogs super regional in Forth Worth went the distance, with TCU winning out in 16 innings of a marathon Game 3. This year's edition in Forth Worth also required three games, but TCU put their in-state opponents away in the customary nine frames.
The game stayed tight through six and a half innings, until TCU blew things open with a three run frame on just one hit. A&M walked in a run, then the Horned Frogs plated another on a single to right, before scoring the third on a wild pitch. TCU righty Brian Howard, who is a gamey 6'9, dealt a dominant seven innings on the mound, setting down eight A&M batters and earning just the one run.
The Aggies' dream season, which featured an SEC Tournament win, is now over, and it's surprising that a lack of hitting ultimately spelled their doom. Their lineup from top to bottom was aggressive and powerful, so it's a testament to TCU's pitching staff that the Horned Frogs required just two arms to go the distance.
Miami 9, Boston College 4
The Canes win the Coral Gables Super, 2-1
It was a hell of a fight from BC, a No. 3 seed that won the Oxford regional and pushed No. 3 national seed Miami to the brink with a Game 2 win. But the Canes' talented lineup won out in the end, pounding 14 hits against the back end of the Eagles' staff. Starter Jacob Stevens lasted just three innings and the parade of relievers didn't fare much better behind him. The bat flip of the day goes to Edgar Michelangeli, who strutted down to first after this seventh-inning grand slam:
A bit over the top, sure, but you get to do what you want when you hit two homers and drive in seven runs to send your team to Omaha.
Oklahoma State 3, South Carolina 1
OSU wins the Columbia Super, 2-0
South Carolina's title hopes ended Sunday after dropping a second-straight game to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have been red hot this postseason, downing No. 7 national seed Clemson twice in the Clemson regional, then manhandling the Gamecocks on back-to-back afternoons. It seems they remembered to pack that fire for the Columbia super regional.
South Carolina, two-time College World Series champions in 2010 and 2011, played off-kilter baseball throughout the tournament, dropping their regional opener to Rhode Island, 5-4, forcing them to dig their way out of the losers side of the bracket to advance to the super regional round.
Now the Gamecocks' dominant pitching staff will have to wait for next year's playoffs if they want to hoist the hardware in Omaha again.
Texas Tech 11, East Carolina 0
Texas Tech wins the Lubbock Super, 2-1
The Red Raiders needed to beat ECU twice in a row after dropping the series opener, 8-6, on Friday night. They came back Saturday and shut down the Pirates' bats, 3-1, setting up Sunday's decisive Game 3. The Raiders exploded on offense Sunday, knocking 14 hits for 11 runs in the shutout.
TTU's hero of the day was hurler Erikson Lanning, who tossed seven complete innings for six strikeouts and just two hits. Hayden Howard spelled him to open proceedings in the eighth and he mopped up the Pirates for the final two frames to send Tech back to Omaha for the second time in the last three seasons.
Seven teams have punched their Omaha ticket
Of those seven, just two are national seeds, a testament to how nuts this super regional round has been. Florida, the No. 1 overall seed, is hoping to add one more to the CWS field. Its deciding game against Florida State on Monday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) is the last tilt of the supers.
Here's the list of current reservations:
- Coastal Carolina
- (3) Miami
- Oklahoma State
- (5) Texas Tech
- UC Santa Barbara