UNC wins, ECU falls; State, Duke, UNCW stay alive in NCAA baseball regionals

Play continues today at regionals across the country as state teams look to take the next step on the road to Omaha

Brian Brown braved the rain and Northeastern on Saturday to pitch a complete game and keep NC State alive in the NCAA tournament (GoPack.com photo)

All but five No. 1 seeds in action earned wins in the second day of the regional round of the 2018 NCAA baseball tournament Saturday.

But one of them is already heading home.

No. 1 Florida State, the top seed in the Tallahassee Regional, surrendered three runs in the bottom of the ninth to fall to Mississippi State, 3-2, and end its season.

East Carolina, the No. 1 seed in the Greenville Regional, lost to fourth-seeded South Carolina, 4-2. Coastal Carolina, the top-seeded team in the Conway Regional, fell 11-6 to third-seeded Washington. Clemson, No. 1 out of the Clemson Regional, was beaten 3-2 by second-seeded Vanderbilt, and top-seeded Stanford (Stanford Regional) was the victim of a 2-1 walk-off loss to third-seeded CSU Fullerton.

No. 1 seed NC State staved off elimination with a 9-3 win over Northeastern.

Meanwhile, top seeds Florida (Gainesville Regional), North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Texas Tech (Lubbock), Arkansas (Fayetteville), Stetson (DeLand), Minnesota (Minneapolis), Texas (Austin), Oregon State (Corvallis) and Mississippi (Oxford) all won their respective games.

Minnesota needed 10 innings to beat UCLA. The Gophers tied the game in top of the eighth to force extras.

In addition to Florida State and Northeastern, 13 other teams were eliminated on Saturday. LIU Brooklyn, Columbia, Hartford, North Carolina A&T, Morehead State, Canisius, Campbell, San Diego State, Wright State, Texas Southern, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts and Ohio State all saw their NCAA tournaments come to an end.

Ohio State lost in 13 innings, falling 4-3 to UNC-Wilmington after taking a brief 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th inning.

In the Athens Regional, No. 1 seed Georgia’s game against Troy was postponed. Georgia beat fourth-seeded Campbell in a contest that was originally postponed Friday.

UNC 4, Houston 3: Zack Gahagan got the Tar Heels off to a fast start with a two-run first inning homer and Josh Hiatt pitched the final three innings in relief to help the top seed in the Chapel Hill Regional hang on and advance to the championship round.

Gianluca Dalatri, making only his third start since returning from injury, allowed only one run over his five innings of work before giving way to Brett Daniels and then Hiatt, who allowed just one hit and struck out four to earn his fifth save of the year. Cody Roberts drove in a run with squeeze bunt that scored Kyle Datres in the third while Ike Freeman delivered what proved to be the winning run with an RBI single in the eighth.

UNC will again tonight against the winner of this afternoon’s elimination game between Houston and second seeded Purdue. The Tar Heels will have two chances to earn the one win they need to advance to the Super Regionals.

NC State 9, Northeastern 3: Senior Brian Brown set the program record with his 61st career start and Patrick Bailey broke the program record for home runs by a freshman as the top-seeded NC State Wolfpack stayed alive in its Raleigh Regional.

Brown pitched a complete game, striking out eight and scattering eight hits to improve to 7-2 this season. Bailey surpassed Colt Morton’s record for home runs by a freshman with his 12th to tie the mark in the first inning and his 13th to break the record in the fifth. Evan Edwards also had a three-run triple to send State into another elimination game today at 2 p.m. against Army. The Black Knights beat the Wolfpack 5-1 in the regional opener on Friday.

South Carolina 4, ECU 2: The top-seeded Pirates fell behind 3-0 in the bottom of the first and never recovered in a winner’s bracket game at the Greenville Regional.

Danny Blair led off the first with an infield single for the Gamecocks before advancing to second on a balk. After Madison Stokes drew a walk, Jonah Bride laced a two-run double down the left field line. L.T. followed with an RBI single with two outs to give USC all the runs it would need, thanks to the pitching of Cody Morris.

ECU scored its runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Spencer Brickhouse and in the sixth when Brickhouse came home as Bryant Packard was thrown out trying to steal second. The Pirates will play a rematch against UNCW in an elimination game this afternoon.

UNCW 4, Ohio State 3 (13 innings): Kep Brown’s fourth hit of the game was the biggest, as his bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 13th kept the Seahawks alive in the Greenville Regional. Brown’s game-winner gave UNCW it’s eighth walkoff win of the season.

Duke 16, Campbell 8: The Blue Devils overcame a seven-run deficit over the final three innings to beat the Camels and extend its stay in the Athens regional.

Trailing 8-1 after six innings, the Blue Devils came back rejuvenated after a one-hour, 37-minute weather delay, pounding out 14 hits while outscoring Campbell 14-1 over the remainder of the game. Eleven of those runs came in a ninth-inning rally that saw 16 batters come to the plate.  Chris Crabtree provided the biggest hit of the rally with a three-run double — the first extra base hit of his career — that gave Duke its first lead of the game.

The loss was the Camels’ second of the day, having lost 18-5 to top seeded Georgia earlier in the Day. Duke will play either the Bulldogs or Troy in another elimination game tonight.