The long-awaited baseball matchup between East Carolina and NC State will finally happen on Sunday.
Just not the way anyone expected.
Instead of playing in the winner’s bracket of the NCAA’s Greenville Regional, the top two seeds will face off at noon in an elimination game after both the host Pirates and the Wolfpack suffered opening round losses at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
After State stranded the tying run at second in the completion of its suspended game against Campbell, ECU was stunned by fourth-seeded Quinnipiac, a team that entered the tournament only two games over .500.
In other NCAA tournament action involving state teams, North Carolina and Duke moved to within a victory of advancing to their respective Super Regionals while UNC Wilmington had its season come to an end with a loss to Tennessee in coach Mark Scalf’s final game with the Seahawks.
Here are all the details:
Quinnipiac 5, ECU 4
GREENVILLE (AP) — Liam Scafariello hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning, and Quinnipiac upset East Carolina in the teams’ rain-delayed NCAA Tournament opener.
Evan Vulgamore also homered to help the fourth-seeded Bobcats (30-27) earn the first NCAA Tournament victory in school history. They will face third-seeded Campbell on Sunday with the winner advancing to the championship round.
Scafariello broke a 3-all tie with his drive to left off Evan Voliva (5-4).
The top-seeded Pirates (43-16) pulled within a run on Bryson Worrell’s solo homer with one out in the eighth, then had the winning run on base with two outs in the ninth after Bryant Packard singled and Turner Brown walked against reliever Collin Donnelly.
Donnelly got Alec Burleson, who’s hitting a team-best .371, to ground out to end it, earning his first save in relief of winner Chris Enns (7-5).
Campbell 5, NC State 4
GREENVILLE (AP) — The third-seeded Camels (36-19) needed only about 15 minutes to finish off the upset of the second-seeded Wolfpack (42-18) and advance in the four-team regional hosted by East Carolina. The game was halted Friday because of lightning before State’s turn to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
Landry Moore earned his fifth save after issuing a one-out walk to Terrell Tatum, striking out Lawson McArthur and getting a game-ending groundout from Vojtech Mensik.
Winning pitcher Michael Horrell (10-3) struck out 11 in seven innings Friday. Reid Johnson (6-2) allowed five runs on four hits while taking the loss.
UNC 16, Liberty 1
CHAPEL HILL (AP) — Ashton McGee drove in four runs, and UNC hit five home runs in a rout of Liberty.
McGee hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning and Michael Busch, Aaron Sabato, Dylan Harris and Brandon Martorano also homered for the top-seeded Tar Heels (44-17). They will play the Liberty-Tennessee winner needing only one victory to advance to a best-of-three super regional series.
UNC led 2-0 in the fifth inning before pulling away, scoring multiple runs in each of its final four at-bats. Seven Tar Heels pitchers combined on a six-hitter, with winning pitcher Hansen Butler (5-0) working two-thirds of an inning in relief.
Trey McDyre hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the ninth for the third-seeded Flames (43-20), who opened with a victory over Tennessee in a game that ended early Saturday.
Duke 4, West Virginia 0
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Sophomore Bryce Jarvis threw eight strong innings in a duel against Big 12 pitcher of the year Alek Manoah, and Duke beat West Virginia 4-0 Saturday night to move one win away from capturing an NCAA Tournament regional for the second straight season.
The third-seeded Blue Devils (33-25) made the most of four hits against the Mountaineers to advance to Sunday’s championship game. They’ll meet the winner of the day’s elimination matchup between second-seeded Texas A&M (38-22-1) and No. 1 West Virginia (38-21).
Jarvis (5-1) scattered six hits, struck out 11 and walked one. He threw 126 pitches.
Manoah (9-4) struck out nine and walked four in six innings.
Michael Rothenberg hit a run-scoring triple in the first and scored on a wild pitch. In the third, Manoah walked the bases loaded. Joey Loperfido beat out a throw to home on an infield grounder, and Chris Crabtree followed with a run-scoring single for a 4-0 lead.