College baseball roundup: NC State, Clemson, Virginia and Florida State advance to Super Regional

Published 12:50 am Monday, June 3, 2024



By ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer

Four teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 1 national seed Tennessee, Georgia and Kansas State won their regionals in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday and will take the next step in their bids to reach the College World Series.

Tennessee hit five homers in a 12-3 win over Southern Mississippi and will head to the super regionals for a fourth consecutive year.

The best-of-three supers begin Friday and Saturday and will determine the eight teams that advance to the CWS, which begins June 14 in Omaha, Nebraska. The NCAA will announce super regional sites on Tuesday, but it’s rare for the higher-seeded team to not host.

The Volunteers will play East Carolina or Evansville with a third trip to the CWS in four years, and second straight, at stake.

No. 2 Kentucky and No. 7 Georgia were other Southeastern Conference teams that locked up regionals.

The Wildcats beat Indiana State 5-0 to make supers a second straight year. They’ll play Oregon State or UC Irvine.

The Bulldogs, down three runs early, beat Georgia Tech 8-6 in 10 innings to reach the super regionals for the first time since 2008 after Kolby Branch hit a tying homer in the ninth.

Georgia will play No. 10 North Carolina State, which beat James Madison 5-3 to make its deepest run in the tournament since 2021, when the Wolfpack were removed from the CWS because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.

No. 6 Clemson beat Coastal Carolina 12-5 to reach the supers for the first time since 2010 under second-year coach Erik Bakich. The Tigers likely will host Oklahoma State or Florida in the next round.

No. 8 Florida State defeated UCF 12-4 and is in supers for the first time since 2019 under second-year coach Link Jarrett. The Seminoles will play Oklahoma or UConn.

No. 12 Virginia is in the super regionals for the third time in four years after a 9-2 win over Mississippi State. The Cavaliers are in line to host Kansas State, a No. 3 regional seed that beat Southeast Missouri State 7-2 to reach its first super regional since 2013.

Regional finals were being played at six other sites Sunday night.

There will be at least two winner-take-all finals on Monday. Defending national champion LSU forced a second final against No. 4 North Carolina with an 8-4 victory over the Tar Heels. East Carolina and Evansville will meet again after the Pirates beat the upstart Purple Aces 19-6.

Oregon State’s game against UC Irvine in Corvallis, Oregon, was suspended in the fourth inning because of rain. The game will resume Monday with the Beavers leading 6-4.


No. 5 Arkansas became the highest-seeded team eliminated with its 6-3 loss to Southeast Missouri State.

The Redhawks have made three of the last four NCAA Tournaments, but reached a regional final for the first time. To get there, coach Andy Sawyers beat one of his mentors in Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn.

Sawyers was a backup catcher on Van Horn’s first team at Nebraska in 1998 and was his volunteer assistant in 2000. He said he thanked Van Horn after the game for modeling how to be a good coach.

“I was a little emotional,” Sawyers said. “I had some tears in my eyes behind the sunglasses because I got to beat my coach today, and that doesn’t happen very often, so that was a pretty cool moment.”

The Razorbacks’ stay in the tournament was their shortest in 14 appearances since 2008, when they went 0-2. Arkansas won the SEC West, had the first pitcher projected to be taken in the amateur draft in Hagen Smith and an elite defense. The Razorbacks also had one of the best home-field advantages in the country, having entered the regional 33-2 at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The mojo wasn’t good late in the season. They came into regionals off three straight losses and went 4-9 since May 3. Van Horn said a season full of close games, inconsistent offense and fatigue caught up to his team.

“I think it beat us up mentally,” he said. “We swung the bats so good Friday, and we swung it good yesterday. Today we looked like we were exhausted. I didn’t know what to do or say.”


Louisiana-Lafayette’s Jose Torres executed one of the great bat flips of the year when he homered off the scoreboard in left-center field in the eighth inning of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 10-2 win over Texas.

As Torres finished his swing, he let go of the bat in the same motion and sent it flying along the third-base line. He spit, took a couple steps while admiring what he had done and started his trot.


Cal Stark hit a pair of homers against Southern Miss, and his ninth-inning blast gave Tennessee a program-record 159 for the season. … Brendan Jones drove in three runs with two singles as Kansas State built an early 7-0 lead against Southeast Missouri State. … Light-hitting Luke Nowak, who had East Carolina’s game-winning hit against Wake Forest on Saturday, hit one of the Pirates’ four homers against Evansville. … Alec Makarewicz and Noah Soles each homered for NC State against James Madison. … Tom Poole homered for the third time in two games and Grand Canyon came from behind to reach its first regional final with a 12-10 win over Dallas Baptist. … Jac Caglianone’s second homer in two games, a three-run shot in the second inning, gave Florida the lead for good in a 17-11 win over Nebraska.


Jay Woolfolk, making his first start since March 17, pitched eight innings for the longest outing of his career and allowed two runs in Virginia’s 9-2 win over Mississippi State. Woolfolk also had a career-best seven strikeouts. … Mason Moore and two relievers combined on the five-hit shutout, with 11 strikeouts, against Indiana State. … Clemson’s Reed Garris earned the win against Coastal Carolina with a career-long three innings of relief. … Casey Smith and Donovan Burke combined on a five-hit shutout in James Madison’s 2-0 win over South Carolina. … Mike Gutierrez improved to 10-0 for UC Santa Barbara, allowing two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win over San Diego.