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Sixteen past and present Anglers were still breathing in the NCAA tournament before the Super Regionals ended five of their runs, as well as the runs of eight teams to form an eight-team College World Series field.
Now eleven Anglers on four different teams have an expanded chance to rush the mound in Omaha and hoist the College World Series trophy. Here’s how the Super Regionals shook out for those players, and also for the ones whose college seasons ended with the round.
Louisville vs. Kennesaw State
In what was a continuation of Kennesaw State’s improbable run the Owls fell victim to Louisville, which has proven to be a buzz saw in the tournament’s first two rounds. The Cardinals — featuring four Anglers including Kyle Funkhouser (2013, 2014), Zack Burdi (2014), Alex Chittenden (2012) and Nick Burdi (2012) — swept the three-game series and knocked out Kal Simmons (2014) and Jordan Hillyer (2014). Funkhouser and Hillyer squared off in the first game and each posted solid outings before the Cardinals’ three-run eighth coupled with Nick Burdi’s scoreless ninth on the mound to clinch the tone-setting win. In the second game, Simmons did all he could with a 3-for-5, two-run game at the top of the Owls’ order, but Louisville won 7-4 to advance to the College World Series. The Cardinals will start the next leg of their tournament run against Vanderbilt on Saturday at 8 p.m.
U.C. Irvine vs. Oklahoma State
Like Louisville, U.C. Irvine swept its Super Regional opponent and Connor Spencer (2014 temp) and Chris Rabago (2014 temp) were tough outs for Oklahoma State in both games. Spencer went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and Rabago added an RBI and run in the Anteaters’ 8-4 win over the Cowboys in the first game. Then U.C. Irvine’s Andrew Morales pitched a 1-0 complete-game shutout and Rabago scored the game’s only run. He was also 2-for-3 in that game while Spencer went 2-for-3, as well. Garret Williams (2014), a multi-positional player, didn’t take the field for the Cowboys in the two games, while Mitch Merten (2013) struggled in his only relief appearance for the Anteaters and Jimmy Litchfield (2012, 2013) stayed out of action. U.C. Irvine will begin College World Series play against Texas on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Texas vs. Houston
To earn its Saturday date with the Anteaters, Texas also swept Houston in an interstate matchup. The Longhorns’ Lukas Shiraldi (2013) didn’t take the mound in either of the two games, while the Cougars’ Aaron Garza (2013) started in the second. Garza threw 3.2 innings and yielded four runs on six hits in an eventual 4-0, series-clinching Texas win.
Texas Tech vs. College of Charleston
Fourth-seeded College of Charleston had its cinderella run cut short by Texas Tech, which swept the Cougars in the Super Regional round. Hunter Redman (2013) went 1-for-3 in the Red Raiders’ 1-0 win on Saturday and 1-for-2 in their 1-0 win on Sunday. In the second of two collective shutouts by the TTU pitching staff, Dominic Moreno (2013) threw two-thirds of an inning before handing the ball to Jonny Drozd for a two-inning save. The Red Raiders will play Texas Christian on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Pepperdine vs. Texas Christian
While Texas Christian will play on into the eight-team field, Pepperdine was just three outs away from knocking the Horned Frogs out. TCU instead scored two runs in the top of the ninth to extend its run, but not even that could diminish Aaron Brown’s (2012) Super Regionals performance. After being named the top player in the San Luis Obispo region for his exceptional play on the mound and at the plate, Brown picked up where he left off. After going 0-for-3 in a 3-2 loss to the Horned Frogs on Saturday, Brown threw seven scoreless, went 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate and threw out the potential game-tying run after he moved to center field to propel the Waves to a 3-2 win of their own. Then in Pepperdine’s season-ending loss Brown went 3-for-4 — including two RBIs, a run scored, a double and home run — which was nullified yet not erased by the Horned Frogs’ late surge.