It hasn’t been a good tournament for the NCAA baseball committee.
Before the tournament’s first pitch was even thrown, the committee rewarded eight teams with national seeds. Five of the eight will be watching the College World Series on television, with a sixth, No. 1 North Carolina, having a chance on Tuesday to join the others on the couch.
Oregon State became just the second national seed to advance to the CWS, which begins Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. The third-seeded Beavers built a four-run lead, then hung to post a 4-3 win over Kansas State in the decisive third game of the Corvallis, Ore., super regional.
Mississippi State knocked No. 6 Virginia out of the tournament when it finished off a 6-5 victory Monday at the Charlottesville, Va., super regional. The Bulldogs held a 5-3 lead Sunday when rain forced a suspension of play, then held on to deny the Cavaliers a win that could have evened the series.
North Carolina will take on South Carolina at 11 a.m. Tuesday after officials decided to postpone Monday’s game because of a threat of inclement weather. The Tar Heels must try to bounce back from an 8-0 drubbing on Sunday that evened the best-of-three series.
Oregon State and Louisiana State are the only national seeds to earn a spot in the Omaha field. Since the NCAA went to the present tournament format in 1999, the fewest number of national seeds to make it to Omaha were three.
That’s happened twice, in 2002 when No. 2 Rice, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Arizona State advanced, and in 2010, when No. 1 Arizona State, No. 3 Florida and No. 6 UCLA survived the first two rounds of the tournament.
Vanderbilt, the No. 2 national seed, saw its season end Sunday when Louisville completed a sweep of the Nashville, Tenn., super regional. UCLA knocked fifth-seeded Cal State Fullerton out of the tournament with a super-regional sweep on the Titans’ home field, while Indiana did the same at No. 7 Florida State.
Oregon, the No. 8 national seed, didn’t even make it out of the regional round, losing to Rice.
Mississippi State, which wrapped up its first trip to Omaha since 2007, will open CWS play on Saturday with a 2 p.m. game against Oregon State. The Beavers also are back in the CWS for the first time since they secured the second of their back-to-back national titles in 2007.
Saturday’s second game will match Indiana, the first Big Ten team to make it to Omaha since 1984, against Louisville in a 7 p.m. game.
Sunday’s schedule will open with North Carolina State, playing in the CWS for the first time since 1968, against either North Carolina or South Carolina at 2 p.m. The 7 p.m. contest will match LSU and UCLA.
Indiana is the only first-time qualifier in the field. Kansas State had its bid for a first trip to Omaha dashed in Monday’s loss to Oregon State.
Down 4-0 after five innings, the Wildcats got a run in the sixth on Jared King’s RBI single. They put their first two runners on base in the seventh but couldn’t score.
In the eighth, Blair DeBord’s two-run double cut the deficit to a run and chased Oregon State starter Ben Wetzler. The Beavers brought in Matt Boyd, who had pitched in Saturday night’s loss, to face RJ Santigate.
He looped a soft single into left field that Oregon State’s Michael Conforto trapped while trying to make a diving catch. Conforto scrambled to his feet and unleashed a one-hop strike to catcher Jake Rodriguez, who tagged out DeBord to preserve the lead.
Mississippi State scored a quick run when play was resumed Monday, getting a triple from Hunter Renfroe and an RBI single from C.T. Bradford.
Virginia rallied for two runs in the ninth and had the tying run at third after Mississippi State botched a potential game-ending play.
Pitcher Jonathan Holder dropped first baseman Wes Rea’s toss while trying to cover first base. The error extended the inning for Virginia, but Holder came back to get Derek Fisher to ground out to end the game.
“We have gone over 3-1 feeds a bazillion times,” Mississippi State coach John Cohen said, referring to Holder’s error. “I was thinking, ‘This is impossible.’
“You have to take a deep breath, and you have to discuss it and put it behind you. Our kids did that. Not many kids can do that, but our kids did.”
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