The Super Regionals have come to an end, as the final three teams have secured their places in the 2014 College World Series.
Day 4 featured nothing but win-or-go-home action, as each of the remaining series stood knotted at a game apiece. UC Irvine, Texas, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Texas Tech had already punched their tickets, and nine innings were all that stood between Omaha and an untimely season's end for the remaining hopefuls.
TCU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Virginia all had the luxury of playing for their lives on their home fields, but they could not bank on that advantage alone. Pepperdine, Ole Miss and Maryland had all come away with a road win already, and they would be gunning for another in their pursuits for a national championship.
Let's break down the results from Monday's play and look ahead to what they mean for the CWS play to come.
|2014 College Baseball Super Regionals: Day 4|
|Pepperdine at TCU||6-5 TCU|
|Ole Miss at Louisiana-Lafayette||10-4 Ole Miss|
|Maryland at Virginia||11-2 Virginia|
TCU 6, Pepperdine 5
One of the final games of the Supers was also one of the wildest.
The Horned Frogs played from behind from the very beginning, as Pepperdine got on the board in its first turn at the plate and chased freshman TCU starter Tyler Alexander after just 3.0 innings. Alexander had allowed three runs on six hits, but the Frogs weren't going to risk Game 3 getting out of hand.
Reliever Jordan Kipper let in just two more runs over the next four innings, and he was credited with the win after the TCU bats came alive in support of him.
Trailing 3-1 when Alexander exited, the Frogs cut the lead in half when first baseman Kevin Cron went yard in the top of the fifth. Both of Cron's hits on the day went for extra bases and drove in runs—he doubled just one inning later as part of a rally that tied the game up at 4-4.
Though both teams got that far with power—Aaron Brown and Brandon Caruso both homered for the Waves—they took turns jumping ahead with small ball.
After a double by Brown put runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth, Brad Anderson lofted a fly ball to right that put Pepperdine back up 5-4.
With their backs against the wall in front of the Fort Worth faithful, TCU responded. Dylan Fitzgerald doubled in the tying run, then Kyle Bacak dropped down a suicide squeeze to score Jerrick Suiter from third and give the Frogs their first lead of the contest.
Horned Frogs closer Riley Ferrell fended off a potential Wave rally in the ninth, and TCU became the third Texas school to book its trip to Omaha. The Frogs showed their resilience in these Supers, which will come in handy against a Texas Tech squad that advanced to the College World Series behind a pair of 1-0 wins.
The road past Pepperdine was difficult, but between their pitching depth and their ability to score either with the big hit or a string of smaller ones, the Frogs have what it takes to do some damage when they play on college baseball's biggest stage.
Virginia 11, Maryland 2
The Horned Frogs won a thriller, but the Virginia Cavaliers made sure there was no doubt that they would be able to advance to the College World Series, taking down the Maryland Terrapins.
The Cavaliers got off to a fast start in the first inning, going up 3-0 in the first inning. Kenny Towns gave Virginia a 3-0 lead early thanks to a two-RBI triple in the first inning, but he wasn't done there. In the third inning, he drove in another two runs on a single, and according to Damon Dillman from Newsplex.com, Towns tied the team's postseason record for RBI that early in the game.
Virginia starting pitcher Josh Sborz was on it during the game. In seven innings of work, he was gave up just four hits and walked three batters while racking up nine total strikeouts, leaving the game with a 5-0 lead. Norm Wood from the Daily Press reported that because of his terrific night, the Virginia fans wanted a curtain call.
Sborz could go after seven innings of work due to the fact that he threw 110 pitches, and once he finally left, the Terrapins finally got some offense going in the eighth inning thanks to a two-RBI double to make it 6-2.
Any hope of a comeback quickly ended in the next half inning. The Cavaliers nearly doubled their score in the eighth, scoring another five runs to go up 11-2 heading into the final inning. The Terrapins weren't able to get anything going, and the Cavaliers were able to get the win.
With the win, the Cavaliers are now going to their third College World series, and they'll be looking to make a deeper run with their excellent pitching behind starters like Nathan Kirby and Brandon Waddell.
Ole Miss 10, Louisiana-Lafayette 4
With both teams facing elimination, the Ole Miss Rebels and Lousiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns gave it their all in a very hard-fought game. However, in the end, the Rebels were able to seal the final ticket to Omaha after pulling away in the ninth inning.
Tyler Girouard got things started for the Ragin' Cajuns in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to give his team the 1-0 lead, but it didn't last long. In the fourth, the Rebels got back-to-back home runs from Austin Anderson and Sikes Orvis put Ole Miss up 3-1.
The Ragin's Cajuns were able to tie things up in the bottom of the inning, manufacturing runs on a groundout followed by a Ryan Leonards two-out RBI double to drive in a run and tie things at 3-3.
After the Rebels were able to go up 5-3 once again over the next two innings, Seth Harrison was able to drive in a run on a double in the seventh inning to cut things to 5-4. Caleb Adams went for home on the play, but an excellent relay helped the Rebels throw him out at home to help them keep the lead. The look on Adams' face after the play says it all.
Braxton Lee was able to add another run for Ole Miss in the eighth inning. Relief pitchers Scott Weathersby and Josh Laxer were able to shut down the Ragin' Cajuns down after a rough outing from Sam Smith, with the two combining for 4.1 innings pitched with four hits and zero earned runs heading into the ninth inning.
After such a back-and-forth game, the Rebels were able to seal things in the top of the ninth. Pinch hitter Holt Perdzock stepped up in a big way, coming up with a bases-clearing triple to put his team up 9-4.
A sacrifice fly put Ole Miss up 10-4 heading into the final half inning, and Laxer was able to shut the Ragin' Cajuns down with a one-two-three inning to send his team to Omaha.
Despite having one of the most dangerous offenses in college baseball, the Ragin' Cajuns simply weren't able to keep up with the Rebels in this one. With the win, the Rebels were able to go back to the College World Series for the first time since 1972, and now they'll be looking to become national champions.