2014 NCAA Baseball Tournament, After Day 3

LOUD NOISES!!!! –LSU lost.  Hopefully the Tigers got it out of their system because [Sugar, Honey, Ice Tea] just got real.

LSU’s bullpen, namely Kurt McCune, crumbled right and the most inopportune moment–the moment that the Houston Cougars inspired some offense from within.  LSU rode a solo home run (that I totally called, btw!) from Kade Scivicque (his 7th on the year) and the following 7th inning exchange to a 4-0 lead: Connor Hale lead-off single, Tyler Moore inside the park homer (2 RBI), Ibarra single, Andrew Stevenson sacrifice ground-out, Mark Laird sacrifice groundout, Alex Bregman double (RBI).  The second of that series caused the most ruffled feathers.

Moore hit a perfectly right-ward slicing double into right field.  The Cougars outfielder, seeing the ball come to rest between the right-field foul pole doors and the warning track, and without even attempting to engage it, immediately raised his hands to signal a request for ground rule double.  Hale–who would have easily scored anyways–and Moore both ran home.  The first base umpire, after calling for time, ran out to inspect the ball.  At this point, there may have been some interference behind the fence.  As the umpire approached the area in question, a fan appeared to kick the fence near the ball as the ball jostled in position a bit, but it appeared to be the slightest movement, if at all.  Even so, the Houston manager filed an immediate protest which was conferred upon and put down.  LSU was awarded two runs and went up 3-0.  Bregman would then push Ibarra home and the inning ended 4-0.

Houston’s 8th inning was Kurt McCune’s second inning of work.  In the top of the 7th McCune followed a lead-off walk with a double play ground-out.  To end the inning he induced a grounder to first.  The 8th inning, as we know now, was too much for McCune. He gave up a lead-off single then a bunt sacrifice attempt led to runner’s interference on Tyler Moore and Houston had 1st and 2nd with no outs.  Houston singled twice more–the second of which scored two runs and cut LSU’s lead in half–before McCune was lifted from the game to be replaced by Zac Person. Houston’s next AB produced essentially a sacrifice to SS that moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd with two outs.  The next batter, which may have been one too many for Person, singled in two runners and tied the score.

Chance Wellbrock, Houston’s closer who had entered amidst LSU’s 3 run 7th inning, pitched another four innings allowing only 3 hits in all five innings pitched.  He was the lid on the coffin for the Tigers as their offense could mount no serious threat after the 7th inning.

As for the rest of the field:

Teams Advancing to the Super Regional (7)

Oklahoma State, host

Louisville, host

Vanderbilt, host

TCU, host

Virginia, host

Maryland (USC regional)

Pepperdine (Cal Poly regional)

Kennessaw State (FSU regional)

Teams playing today for all the marbles (12)

Texas and Texas A&M (Rice Regional)

LSU and Houston

Indiana and Stanford

UL-Lafayette and Mississippi State

Oregon State and Irvine

Texas Tech and Miami

Teams playing today (w/ one-sided option) (4)

Ole Miss (host) and Washington–must win twice

Charleston and Long Beach State–must win twice (FLA regional)

THE SEC

The greatest baseball/football conference in the land had a 7-0 record before Maryland beat USC yesterday.  That loss sent the conference on a downward spiral as they finished 8-6 on the day.  The following teams were eliminated yesterday (and thus far today): USC, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Alabama.  Bringing the overall total conference teams eliminated to five, as Florida was eliminated yesterday.  Today there are still four teams vying to join Vanderbilt in Super Regional action: LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

And Finally!  The Maryland Terps

The University of Maryland beat the South Carolina Gamecocks pulling away Sunday evening.  This is Maryland’s first trip to a POST. SEASON. GAME. since 1971.  That’s 34 years for those of you counting at home and that’s pretty tremendous–or sad, but either way, pretty cool.  The Terps went undefeated in the Columbia Regional with scores of 4-3, 4-3 and 10-1.  The Terps are now 39-21 on the season and will play in the Charlottesville Super Regional in a best of three series against ACC rival (though this is soon to change with Maryland moving to the Big Ten next year) Virginia.  Maryland was able to beat Virginia–in what was the two teams’ only matchup this year–just over a week ago, 7-6, in the first round of ACC Tournament.  Maryland

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