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Regional recap: How past and present Anglers fared in the 1st round

by Jesse Dougherty, 06-06-2014

Regional recap: How past and present Anglers fared in the 1st round

At the start of the NCAA tournament, 30 past and present Chatham Anglers held onto College World Series aspirations. But then Regional play shook 16 teams out of the original 64-team field, and 30 Chatham players dwindled to 16, as well. 

Here’s how Regionals unfolded for the Anglers that will play into the Super Regional round, as well as for those whose collegiate seasons concluded at the end of Regional play. Super Regional action begins Friday.

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Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville hosted Kansas, Kent State and Kentucky in the Louisville region and ran through it unscathed. Kyle Funkhouser (2013, 2014) was dominant on the mound for the Cardinals on Friday, throwing eight shutout innings while striking out 10 in an eventual 5-0 win over Kent State. Louisville then beat Kansas, 6-3, on Saturday, with Alex Chittenden (2012) starting at third and scoring a run and Nick Burdi (2012) pitching a scoreless third of an inning in relief. In its final Regional game the Cardinals clinched a spot in the Supers with a 4-1 win over Kentucky. Chittenden went 3-for-5 with an RBI to bring his season average to .299, and Burdi shut the door on the Wildcats with a scoreless ninth on the mound. Zack Burdi (2014) didn’t see the field in Regionals but will also continue playing into next round. 

Corvallis, Or. 

Oregon State, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, wasn’t able to make it out of the Corvallis region, but four Anglers were. U.C. Irvine, which features Connor Spencer (2014 temp), Chris Rabago (2014 temp), Jimmy Litchfield (2012, 2013) and Mitch Merten (2013), clawed out of the region after beating the hosts 4-2 on Monday night. Spencer and Rabago combined for five RBIs in the Anteaters’ 10-3 win over UNLV to open Regional play, while Mertens pitched a scoreless eighth inning. The pair then combined for three more RBIs — with Spencer hitting two doubles in a three-hit game — in a 14-2 over Oregon State on Saturday, and Mertens was again solid in relief before Litchfield threw a scoreless ninth. The Beavers bounced back to force a win-or-go-home game on Monday, but Irvine road the production of Spencer and Rabago once again, as they each collected a hit and run scored in the region-clinching win. 

UNLV’s Justin Jones (2014) was also in action in the region, going 0-for-2 with a run scored in his team’s tournament-opening loss to the Anteaters. Jones finished his season with a .267 average, 58 hits and 30 RBIs. 

San Luis Obispo, Calif. 

Third-seeded Pepperdine won all three of its games in the San Luis Obispo region, and leaned on Aaron Brown’s (2012) play to do so. Brown was a steadying presence in the Waves’ lineup throughout regional play — he hit fourth in all three games and collected an RBI in the team’s region-clinching win — but it was his work on the mound that set him apart. Brown threw eight innings against top-seeded Cal Poly on Saturday, giving up one unearned run while guiding Pepperdine to a 2-1 win. The Waves will square off with Texas Christian in the Super Regionals.

Tallahassee, Fla. 

Louisville waited a day for its Super Regional opponent to be decided, and third-seeded Kennesaw State assumed that spot after beating Alabama 4-2 to capture the Tallahassee region. The Owls leaned on the production of shortstop Kal Simmons (2014) early in the Regional round, as the leadoff hitter went 3-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored in their 13-5 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday. Jordan Hillyer (2014) started for the Owls against GSU and wasn’t able to finish the first inning. But he redeemed himself in his start against the Crimson Tide in the Regional final, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings before the Owls’ bullpen took it the rest of the way. 

Baton Rouge, La. 

Houston upended LSU, 12 -2, to advance to face Texas in the Super Regionals after falling into the losers bracket on Saturday. A 5-1 loss to Jake Fraley (2014) and the Tigers put the Cougars on the brink of elimination, but Aaron Garza (2013) temporarily quelled that thought with a six-inning two-run outing in a 10-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Sunday. From there, Garza’s teammates were able to beat LSU twice in two days to extend Houston’s season. Fraley was solid for the Tigers against Southeastern Louisiana, going 2-for-5 with a run scored, but was just 3-for-12 in the three games against the Cougars. 

Coral Gables, Fla. 

After a 4-0 win over Dale Carey (2012) and Miami (Fla.) on Monday, a pair of 2013 Anglers will play into the Super Regionals with Texas Tech. Hunter Redman (2013) started at catcher in three of the Red Raiders’ four games, and their only loss came with him out of the starting lineup. Dominic Moreno (2013), on the other hand, didn’t see any action in the Regional round. Carey’s bat was quiet in the Hurricanes’ first two games but exploded for two hits, two runs and an RBI in a 10-0 win over Bethune-Cookman. He then walked three times in the Regional final but TTU prevailed and will face College of Charleston in the next round. 

Columbia’s David Speer (2013) didn’t see the field in Coral Gables as his team went 0-2. Speer finished the season 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 12 starts. 

Houston, Texas 

The Longhorns were in close proximity to home in the Houston region, and capitalized on a surprisingly mediocre showing by top-seeded Rice. Lukas Shiraldi (2013) got the start in Texas’s only blunder of the Regional round — a 3-2 loss to Texas A&M on Sunday — when he gave up two runs, one of them earned, in 3.1 innings pitched. He’ll have a chance to improve those numbers in the Longhorns’ three-game series against Houston in the next round.

Stillwater, Ok.  

Oklahoma State lit up the scoreboard while cruising to a Stillwater region win. Blowout wins over Binghamton, 8-0, and Cal State Fullerton, 13-7, were punctuated by a 6-4 region-clinching win over J.D. Davis (2013) and Fullerton on Sunday. Davis went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs in Fullerton’s 5-1 win over Nebraska, and collected two more hits, including a double, in a loss to the Oklahoma State on Saturday. Garrett Williams (2014) didn’t see much action for the Cowboys in the Regional round, as he threw just three pitches and didn’t record an out in his team’s last win. Oklahoma State is set to take on U.C. Irvine this weekend. 

Gainesville, Fla. 

Anglers went toe-to-toe in Gainesville, with three competing with North Carolina and two with Long Beach State. The 49ers took the first meeting to open Regional play, a 6-1 win over the Tar Heels. Landon Lassiter (2013, 2014) had UNC’s only RBI in a 2-for-4 showing, while Michael Russell (2013) went 1-for-4. On the other side, Richard Prigatano (2013) drove in and scored a run while Garret Hampson (2014) had one hit and also crossed the plate. The Tar Heels then beat top-seeded Florida while LBSU fell to College of Charleston, which set up a second meeting between the clubs. Zac Gallen (2014) started for UNC in the do-or-die game, and gave up four runs in four innings pitched before being pulled in an eventual 12-5 loss to the 49ers. Hampson was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. LBSU ultimately lost to fourth-seeded Charleston which made it through the group undefeated. 

Oxford, Miss. 

A.J. Murray (2013, 2014) went 1-2 in Regional play, losing twice to Washington which couldn’t edge top-seeded Ole Miss in the final. Murray collected two hits and an RBI in the round and was in the Yellow Jackets’ lineup as a designated hitter for all three games. He finished the season with a .283 average and four home runs, which were tied for a team high. 

Forth Worth, Texas 

Fourth-seeded Siena wasn’t able to make it out of the Forth Worth region as top-seeded Texas Christian ran by the group with a spotless slate. Matt Gage (2013) dazzled the Horned Frogs in the first game of Regional play, throwing nine innings of one-run baseball before being pulled at the start of extra innings. Despite Gage’s strong outing, TCU was able to lean on strong pitching of its own and escape with a 2-1 win. Bryan Goossens (2014) got the start for the Saints against Sam Houston State in its elimination game and was roughed up for five runs in 1.1 innings. Siena eventually lost 9-2 to conclude its season after capturing the first NCAA tournament win in program history a day prior. 

Columbia, S.C. 

Old Dominion lost its only two games of the Regional round and second-seeded Maryland made its way through the region without a loss. Josh Eldridge (2013) was 1-for-3 with an RBI in ODU’s 4-3 loss to the Terrapins, and finished his junior season with a .295 batting average.



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