Friday's opening day of the College Baseball World Series regionals is in the books, and the road to Omaha is one step closer to being paved for the nation's top teams.
None of the 64 teams in the NCAA baseball tournament have yet been eliminated, as it's a double-elimination format. But with elimination games set for each region on Saturday, the field will soon be getting smaller and smaller.
All of the teams opened up play on Friday. Well, except for the Oxford regional that is, as Ole Miss, Jacksonville State, Georgia Tech and Washington will all wait until Saturday to play, per NCAA Baseball:
UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the Oxford Regional will now begin tomorrow... Games at 2 PM and 6 PM ET. #RoadToOmaha— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 30, 2014
Let's look at the complete list of final scores from Friday's games and break down the biggest results.
|Kennesaw State: 1||Alabama: 0||Tallahassee|
|Long Beach State: 6||North Carolina: 1||Gainesville|
|Oregon: 18||Clemson: 1||Nashville|
|Cal State Fullerton: 5||Nebraska: 1||Stillwater|
|Maryland: 4||Old Dominion: 3||Columbia|
|Stanford: 8||Indiana State: 1||Bloomington|
|Texas Tech: 3||Columbia: 2||Coral Gables|
|Mississippi State: 5||San Diego State: 2||Lafayette|
|Virginia: 10||Bucknell: 1||Charlottesville|
|Kansas: 10||Kentucky: 6||Louisville|
|LSU: 8||Southeastern Louisiana: 4||Baton Rouge|
|Sam Houston State: 2||Dallas Baptist: 1||Fort Worth|
|Texas: 8||Texas A&M: 1||Houston|
|Pepperdine: 3||Arizona State: 2||San Luis Obispo|
|UC Irvine: 10||UNLV: 3||Corvallis|
|Georgia Southern: 7||Florida State: 0||Tallahassee|
|Jackson State: 1||Louisiana-Lafayette: 0||Lafayette|
|Miami (Florida): 1||Bethune-Cookman: 0||Coral Gables|
|Indiana: 10||Youngstown State: 2||Bloomington|
|South Carolina: 5||Campbell: 1||Columbia|
|Arkansas: 3||Liberty: 2||Charlottesville|
|Oklahoma State: 8||Binghamton: 1||Stillwater|
|TCU: 2||Siena: 1||Fort Worth|
|Cal Poly: 4||Sacramento State: 2||San Luis Obispo|
|Houston: 3||Bryant: 2||Baton Rouge|
|Rice: 7||George Mason: 2||Houston|
|Vanderbilt: 11||Xavier: 0||Nashville|
|Charleston: 3||Florida: 2||Gainesville|
|Louisville: 5||Kent State: 0||Louisville|
|Oregon State: 2||North Dakota State: 1||Corvallis|
|Washington/Georgia Tech (postponed)||Oxford|
|Ole Miss/Jacksonville State (postponed)||Oxford|
Note: Results courtesy of NCAA.com.
Kansas Gets Past Kentucky in Opener
Both the Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats enter the Louisville regional with subpar odds of advancing out of the four-team bracket, which made Friday's opener all the more important in getting an early leg up.
The game's intensity reflected the high stakes. Three runs in the first inning from each team set the tone for an offensive slugfest.
Kansas jumped ahead again by three runs in the second, but after notching one run in the third, a two-RBI single from Thomas Bernal in the fourth tied things up at 6-6.
Then things turned into a pitching duel, and it was the Jayhawks once again who went ahead—this time for good, as two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings completed the 10-6 victory.
NCAA Baseball captured the Jayhawks' win:
Louisville's dominating win over Kent State means that Kansas will face the hosting Cardinals on Saturday with the winner starting 2-0 and the loser coming within one game of elimination.
Meanwhile, Kentucky could see its season end if the Wildcats lose to Kent State.
Oregon Bats Light Up Clemson
With more regular-season runs than any other Pac-12 team, the Oregon Ducks' offensive prowess was already well-known heading into the NCAA baseball regionals.
After Friday, Oregon's bats should never again be questioned.
Oregon exploded for a dozen-and-a-half runs in an 18-1 rout of Clemson to open up play in the Nashville, Tennessee, regional.
The Tigers actually jumped on top to start things out with one run in the first inning. But it was all the offense that Clemson would find all game with only four more hits for the final eight innings.
It took a little bit of time for Oregon to get going as Clemson's pitching was hot early, but the Ducks jumped on the Tigers with a three-run second inning. Matthew Crownover conceding eight runs didn't help, as the Ducks went off for 15 runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings combined.
The game returned to a pitcher's duel through the final three innings, but the damage had already been done. Clemson's chances of victory were thwarted in the course of a 15-run, three-inning spurt.
As if the Tigers' loss wasn't bad enough, 247 Sports' Noles247.com reminded folks of dual-sport standout Jameis Winston and Florida State inflicting a similar beating on Clemson:
Oregon is beating Clemson in baseball like FSU beat them in football.— Noles247.com (@Noles247) May 30, 2014
Games between No. 2 and No. 3 seeds always figure to be tight battles in the opening of the NCAA baseball regionals, as they're typically similarly talented schools and both are playing away from home. This game, however, was far from even.
After the victory, Oregon moves on to face Vanderbilt, as the hosts topped Xavier to close out Day 1 of play in Nashville. The Musketeers will play Clemson with the loser being eliminated.
Mississippi State Wins, Takes Upper Hand in Lafayette Regional
The initial draw for the NCAA baseball tournament intrigued many across the state of Mississippi as Ole Miss and Mississippi State—bitter SEC West and in-state rivals—could potentially meet in the super regional round.
But before that, the Bulldogs have to advance out of the Lafayette regional, and they took a huge step in that direction with a 5-2 win over San Diego State on Friday.
GoAztecs.com tweeted out the highlights:
San Diego State actually struck first with two runs in the top half of the second inning, but the Bulldogs didn't waste any time in responding. Four runs in the bottom half of the inning saw Mississippi State to a lead that it wouldn't relinquish.
After giving up two runs in the second, pitcher Trevor Fitts rebounded in the next three innings. He only gave up one hit through that final span, then gave up the mound to Myles Gentry.
Gentry did the rest. He pitched the final four innings, all without conceding a single baserunner.
Heading down the stretch, the Bulldogs padded their lead with a run in the fifth to give them a 5-2 lead that would eventually see them to an easy victory.
The Bulldogs won again on Friday in another sense. Louisiana-Lafayette's early 1-0 defeat to Jackson State means that the Ragin' Cajuns could be eliminated before Mississippi State even has to play them.
If Mississippi State takes care of Jackson State on Saturday, its dream matchup with Ole Miss in the super regional would be one step closer to fruition.
Bad Day for National Seeds
Although it eventually got a bit better, Friday didn't shape up to be a strong one for the top eight national seeds.
In fact, it was a historically bad performance from the only eight teams to receive national seeds. After only one loss over the last five years, two of the first four teams went down, per NCAA Baseball:
Over the last 5 years, national seeds were 39-1 in opening games. So far in 2014 national seeds are 2-2. #RoadToOmaha— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 31, 2014
The first national seed to go down was Louisiana-Lafayette. The No. 6 overall seed in the nation came into the tournament with a sterling 53-7 record, but the Ragin' Cajuns suffered defeat No. 8 for the season in a 1-0 loss to Jackson State—loss No. 9 will end their season.
Florida State was the next national seed to tumble, as the overall fifth-seeded Seminoles were beaten soundly in front of their home fans in a 7-0 defeat.
The national seeds saw their fortune improve later on in the day, but all in all, it was a poor performance from the top seeds.