Wolfpack, Pirates advance to NCAA baseball regional finals

Duke, Campbell stay alive with elimination game victories while UNC, Charlotte fall into the loser's bracket of the NCAA Tournament

NC State is one win away from a trip to the NCAA baseball tournament Super Regionals (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

RUSTON, La. — Leadoff hitter Austin Murr went 4 for 5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs and NC State beat No. 1 seed Louisiana Tech 8-3 on Saturday night in the winner’s bracket of the Ruston Regional.

The second-seeded Wolfpack (32-17) can clinch a Super Regional berth with a win Sunday.


Murr doubled to left and then scored on a double by Jonny Butler in the top of the first inning and Butler beat a throw to first base for an infield single that scored Tyler McDonough and gave the Wolfpack a 2-0 lead in the third. 

McDonough hit a two-run double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Butler in the seventh and Murr had an RBI single before J.T. Jarrett scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-0 in the top of the eighth.

Sam Highfill picked up the win for State with 5⅓ innings of shutout work while Evan Justice went the rest of the way for his 10th save.

Louisiana Tech (41-18) plays No. 3 seed Alabama in a loser-out game Sunday.

Steele Netterville hit a two-run shot and, on the next pitch, Cole McConnell homered to right field in the bottom of the eight for Louisiana Tech.

The game was delayed about two hours due to weather.

ECU 7, Charlotte 5

GREENVILLE — East Carolina scored five runs in its final two at bats Saturday night to erase a three-run deficit and down Charlotte 7-5 inside a sold-out Clark-LeClair Stadium in the winner’s bracket game of the 2021 NCAA Greenville Regional.

The top-seeded Pirates (43-15) make their way to the regional championship game where they will face either the No. 2 seed 49ers (40-20) or No. 3 seed Maryland ( 29-17) Sunday at 6 p.m. Whichever team emerges from Sunday’s first contest, slated for noon, will have to beat ECU twice to claim its place in the Super Regional round.

Matt Bridges picked up the win in relief, throwing the final 2 innings and allowing no runs on one hit with three strikeouts and no walks. Bryce McGowan was tagged with the loss, surrendering three runs on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts in two innings of work.

Connor Norby and Alec Makarewicz had two hits each while Lane Hoover drove for ECU in the winning run as part of a two-RBI performance. Norby became the fastest player in program history to record 100 hits in a season, doing it in just 58 contests.

Aaron McKeithan went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace Charlotte.

Texas Tech 7, UNC 2

LUBBOCK, Texas — Jace Jung and Kurt Wilson each hit a home run, Patrick Monteverde allowed six hits and two runs with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings and Texas Tech beat North Carolina 7-2 on Saturday night at the Lubbock Regional

No. 8 overall seed Texas Tech (38-15) can clinch a Super Regional berth with a win Sunday.

Jung hit a two-run shot in the first inning and, after the Tar Heels tied it at 2-all in the bottom of the third, Dru Baker drew a two-out walk and then scored on a double down the left-field line by Braxton Fulford in the top of the fifth and Wilson hit a solo shot off the foul pole in the seventh to make it 4-2.

Nate Rombach walked on four pitches with two outs to score Jung and Wilson followed with a two-run single to cap the scoring in the eighth.

Angel Zarate scored when Mac Horvath reached base on a fielder’s choice in the first inning and came home on a double down the left-field line by Danny Serretti in the third for the Tar Heels.

No. 3 seed North Carolina (28-26) plays second-seeded UCLA in a loser-out game Sunday.

Duke 14, Wright State 6

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Duke blasted a season-high six home runs to power past Wright State, 14-6, in an elimination game of the Knoxville Regional at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Junior R.J. Schreck enjoyed a monster day at the plate, going 4-for-6 with three home runs and a double. His three home runs are a career-high and the most by a Blue Devil since Evan Dougherty did so against Ohio State on Feb. 26, 2016.

Ethan Murray, Chris Crabtree and Erikson Nichols also homered for Duke (33-21) as part of a 15-hit attack.

Freshman Luke Fox started on the mound for the Blue Devils, allowing three earned, in four innings of work. The left-hander gave up six hits and two walks while striking out six before handing the ball over to the bullpen duo of Jimmy Loper and Marcus Johnson.

Duke will play a rematch against Liberty, which beat the Blue Devils in the regional opener, in an elimination game Sunday with the winner having to beat top-seeded Tennessee twice to advance to the Super Regionals.

Campbell 16, Samford 13

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Campbell won a slugfest to keep their season alive in a 16-13 win over Samford Saturday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field. The teams combined to amass 30 hits and seven home runs in a four-hour ballgame that stretched over five hours thanks to an hour long rain delay.

The win advances the Camels (36-17) to Sunday in where they will meet VCU in a rematch of their opening round loss. The winner will take on top-seeded Mississippi State in the championship round.

After being stifled by the Rams on Friday, Campbell’s bats exploded against Samford for the most hits and runs in the program’s NCAA tournament history. The barrage started with a five-run first, and continued as Campbell scored multiple runs in each of its first five innings.

Grant Harris, Bryce Arnold, Zach Neto, and Spencer Packard all went deep all hit home runs for Campbell. Neto and Packard went back-to-back in the fifth inning. In all, eight Camels drove in runs during the game, with six recording multiple RBI.

After trailing by as many as seven, Samford threatened to rally in the ninth by scoring twice and loading the bases with nobody out. But senior Kevin Westlake came in to induce a game-ending double play to earn the save.