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Penn, Tenn. advance to regional final; Gators fall



Penn has given the Ivy League a team in an NCAA tournament regional final for the second straight year. No. 2 national seed Florida, meanwhile, is a loss away from getting eliminated on its home field for a third straight year.

The Quakers held off Samford 5-4 on Saturday night thanks to a reliever who hadn’t pitched in three weeks and a game-ending play in which the tying run was thrown out at third base.

Florida will need to win three games to win its regional after losing 5-4 to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders, looking to make the super regionals for the fourth time since 2018, got a tiebreaking, two-run homer from Gavin Kash in the eighth inning and Brandon Beckel got Gators star Jac Caglianone to pop out with a man on base to end the game.

“We are disappointed, but have to flush it,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We put ourselves in this position, but it’s certainly doable. We have enough pitching to do it.”

No. 1 Wake Forest beat Maryland 21-6 after a nearly five-hour weather delay, with Rhett Lowder retiring the first 11 batters he faced and striking out 11 in six innings. No. 3 Arkansas’ game against TCU and No. 5 LSU’s game against Oregon State were postponed because of weather.

Tennessee reached the final at No. 4 Clemson, beating the Tigers 6-5 in 14 innings to end their 17-game win streak. The Volunteers will play Clemson or Charlotte for a third straight trip to super regionals.

No. 14 Indiana State, hosting a regional for the first time, moved within a win of its first super regional with a 7-4 win over Iowa.

But it’s Penn that has turned into the darling of the tournament. The Quakers, in a regional for the first time since 1995, won a tournament game for the first time since 1990 when they upset No. 13 Auburn on Friday.

They looked to be in full control against Samford with Cole Zaffiro holding the Bulldogs to four hits and striking out eight before leaving after the eighth with a 5-2 lead.

David Shoemaker came on with the bases loaded in the ninth for just his 10th appearance of the season, and first since May 13. Sarti got three ground balls, the last leading to an off-target throw that pulled first baseman Ben Miller off the bag. But Miller threw to third to get Aaron Walton, who dived trying to get back to the base. Walton was called out, and the game ended with the play upheld on video review.

Last year, Columbia of the Ivy League made the regional final at Virginia Tech. Samford or Southern Mississippi would have to beat Penn twice in order to deny the Quakers a spot in super regionals. The last No. 4 regional seed to advance was South Florida in 2021.

Indiana took control in Lexington with a 5-3 win over No. 12 Kentucky. Peter Serruto’s three-run homer gave the Hoosiers the lead in the seventh inning, and they went on to avenge a 12-2 loss on the same field in March.

The first two national seeds were knocked out of the tournament. Dallas Baptist got three home runs and nine RBIs from Miguel Santos while eliminating Oklahoma State 18-4. Southern Mississippi got out to a big lead early and knocked out Auburn 7-2.

CLEMSON PLAYER EJECTED

Clemson’s Cam Cannarella was ejected in the middle of the 13th inning for something he said to Tennessee baserunner Zane Denton as he was running in from center field following a double play.

By rule, Cannarella would be suspended one game Sunday. The Tigers’ leadoff man and ACC freshman of the year had a homer and two doubles Saturday and is batting a team-best .388.

ONE-HIT WONDERS

North Carolina’s Max Carlson and Dalton Pence combined on a one-hitter in a 5-0 win over Wright State. It was the first one-hitter in the tournament since Mississippi State’s Will Bednar and Landon Sims teamed up for one in the national-title-clinching win over Vanderbilt in the 2021 College World Series.

BIG BATS

Jacob Walsh’s three-run double in the fifth helped Oregon beat No. 6 Vanderbilt 8-7. … Indiana State wiped out a 4-2 deficit against Iowa with a five-run eighth inning. The Sycamores wiped out a 4-2 deficit against Iowa in the eighth inning on two-run doubles by Miguel Rivera and Grant Magill. … Serruto’s home run for Indiana was his third of the season and fourth in 86 career games. … Dallas Baptist’s Santos had one home run in his previous 14 games before going deep three times against Oklahoma State. His nine RBIs were fourth most in a tournament game.

MOUND MARVELS

Lebarron Johnson struck out eight in his first career complete game in Texas’ 4-1 win over No. 9 Miami. … No. 7 Virginia beat East Carolina 2-1 largely because of Nick Parker, who improved to 8-0 after scattering five hits over seven innings. … Ethan Bosacker pitched a four-hit shutout to lead Xavier past Eastern Illinois 7-0. … Five Duke pitchers, none working more than two innings, limited Rider to four hits in a 2-1 win. … Riley Eikhoff threw Coastal Carolina’s first complete game since March 2017. Eikhoff needed just 98 pitches, throwing 75 for strikes.

AROUND THE HORN

No. 15 South Carolina, awarded a regional despite entering the tournament off losses in 11 of 14 games, beat North Carolina State 6-3 to record back-to-back wins for the first time in a month. … Connecticut beat Florida A&M 9-6 for coach Jim Penders’ 700th career win. … Third-base umpire Tim Rosso was no worse for the wear after having his legs taken out from under him by Kentucky third baseman Jase Felker, who dived unsuccessfully to snag a hot grounder down the line.



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