NCAA roundup: Howard keys opening upset of FSU
Georgia Southern ace shuts out No. 2 Seminoles; two other ranked teams go down
NCAA tournament play opened Friday with a day full of upsets, drama and dominant pitching performances as 64 teams began their quest to reach the College World Series.
The double-elimination Regionals began on college campuses across the country, and for the first time in tournament history, three national seeds (No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Florida State and No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette) were upset on the first day. They will now have to work through the losers' bracket to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals.
The only thing that marred an otherwise terrific day of baseball was some wet weather in the Southeast. Games in the Louisville and Nashville Regionals were delayed and play was completely washed out in Oxford, Miss.
While the focus of Regionals is on advancing in the NCAA Tournament, the weekend is also the last chance for scouts to see players before the 2014 First-Year Player Draft begins June 5. Several players took advantage of the opportunity to make big statements Friday night.
Vanderbilty right-hander Tyler Beede, ranked No. 12 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 200 Draft Prospects list, took full advantage of the stage and made what might have been his best start of the year. He had been inconsistent this year, and his Draft stock has slid as a result. But he showed how good he can be Friday, as he struck out 14 batters in eight shutout innings against Xavier. He scattered two walks and four hits, and the Commodores cruised to an 11-0 victory.
Another pitcher scouts were eager to get one last look at was TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan, ranked No. 15 on the Top 200. He left his start April 25 with tightness in his left shoulder and missed his next start. Friday was his best start since returning to the Horned Frogs rotation. Pitching against Siena, he struck out 12 batters and walked one in 7 1/3 innings. He allowed one run on four hits and settled for a no decision, as TCU pulled out a 2-1 victory in 11 innings.
At No. 16 on the Top 200, Indiana catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber is the top ranked position player in the tournament. He showed why against Youngstown State, going 4-for-5 with a home run, three runs and three RBIs. Hoosiers first baseman Sam Travis, No. 63, added a home run and scored two runs in their 10-2 victory against the Penguins.
But Georgia Southern left-hander Sam Howard, ranked No. 153, may have been the player who turned the most heads Friday. He threw a two-hit shutout at Florida State, leading Georgia Southern to a shocking 7-0 victory. It was the Eagles' first win in the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Howard struck out 10 batters and walked four. He threw 137 pitches in the first complete game of his career.
Miami left-hander Andrew Suarez, ranked No. 86, also spun a shutout Friday as Miami defeated Bethune-Cookman, 1-0. He struck out 10 batters (matching his career high), walked none and scattered seven hits against the Wildcats. Working efficiently, he needed just 94 pitches to complete the Hurricanes' first postseason shutout since 2009.
Friday wasn't all about pitching. Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher, ranked No. 26, drove in two runs and first baseman Mike Papi (No. 45) collected three hits as the Cavaliers defeated Bucknell, 10-1. Oregon State outfielder Dylan Davis (No. 74) hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to lead the Beavers to a 2-1 victory against North Dakota State. Cal State Fullerton outfielder/right-hander J.D. Davis (No. 75) homered, drove in four runs and threw a scoreless ninth in the Titans 5-1 win against Nebraska.
NCAA Baseball Championships
UC Irvine 10, UNLV 3
Oregon State 2, North Dakota State 1
UNLV vs. North Dakota State, 5 p.m.
UC Irvine vs. Oregon State, 11 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton 5, Nebraska 1
Oklahoma State 8, Binghamton 0
Nebraska vs. Binghamton, 1 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton vs. Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.
Baton Rouge Regional
LSU 8, Southeastern Louisiana 4
Houston 3, Bryant 2 (10 innings)
Southeastern Louisiana vs. Bryant, 3 p.m.
LSU vs. Houston, 8 p.m.
Texas 8, Texas A&M 1
Rice 7, George Mason 2
Texas A&M vs. George Mason, 4 p.m.
Texas vs. Rice, 8 p.m.
Kennesaw State 1, Alabama 0
Georgia Southern 7, Florida State 0
Alabama vs. Florida State, 1 p.m.
Kennesaw State vs. Georgia Southern, 5 p.m.
Kansas 10, Kentucky 6
Louisville 5, Kent State 0
Kentucky vs. Kent State, 1 p.m.
Kansas vs. Louisville, 5 p.m.
Stanford 8, Indiana State 1
Indiana 10, Youngstown State 2
Indiana State vs. Youngstown State, 2 p.m.
Stanford vs. Indiana, 6 p.m.
Oregon 18, Clemson 1
Vanderbilt 11, Xavier 0
Clemson vs. Xavier, 2 p.m.
Oregon vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m.
Long Beach State 6, North Carolina 1
College of Charleston 3, Florida 2
North Carolina vs. Florida, 1 p.m.
Long Beach State vs. College of Charleston, 7 p.m.
Coral Gables Regional
Texas Tech 3, Columbia 2
Miami 1, Bethune-Cookman 0
Columbia vs. Bethune-Cookman, 2 p.m.
Texas Tech vs. Miami, 7 p.m.
Fort Worth Regional
Sam Houston State 2, Dallas Baptist 1
TCU 2, Sienna 1 (11 innings)
Dallas Baptist vs. Sienna, 3:30 p.m.
Sam Houston State vs. TCU, 8 p.m.
San Luis Obispo Regional
Pepperdine 3, Arizona State 2
Cal Poly 4, Sacramento State 2
Arizona State vs. Sacramento State, 4 p.m.
Pepperdine vs. Cal Poly, 9 p.m.
Mississippi State 5, San Diego State 2
Jackson State 1, Louisiana-Lafayette 0
San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 2 p.m.
Mississippi State vs. Jackson State, 7 p.m.
Georgia Tech vs Washington, ppd.
Mississippi vs. Jacksonville State, ppd.
Georgia Tech vs. Washington, 2 p.m.
Mississippi vs. Jacksonville State, 6 p.m.
Virginia 10, Bucknell 1
Arkansas 3, Liberty 2
Bucknell vs. Liberty, 2 p.m.
Virginia vs. Arkansas, 8 p.m.
Maryland 4, Old Dominion 3
South Carolina 5, Campbell 2
Old Dominion vs. Campbell, 1 p.m.
Maryland vs. South Carolina, 7 p.m.