NCAA Baseball: Utah eliminated, ASU advances to regional final

Pac-12 teams continue regional play Sunday in the 2016 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship. This page will update as games go final.

Oxford Regional

Utah

Tulane homered twice in the top of the fourth and got eight solid innings out of starter Ross Massey to eliminate the Pac-12 champion Utah Utes from the Oxford Regional Sunday afternoon.

Tulane advances to the regional final to play Boston College, while Utah wraps up its magical season with a 26-29 record.

Massey struck out four Utes while giving up one run on five hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 2.29.

Riley Ottesen was solid in relief for Pac-12 Coach of the Year Bill Kinneberg, striking out seven and giving up just one run in 4 1-3 innings, but the damage was already done – Jeremy Montalbano hit a two-run homer and Hunter Hope hit a solo shot off Utah starter Josh Lapiana in the fourth inning to give Tulane a 3-0 lead it would never relinquish.

Stephen Alemais tacked on an insurance run for Tulane in the eighth with a two-out single, but Cody Scaggari answered back in the bottom half with a two-out solo home run. Dallas Carroll popped a high fly to right center that caused center fielder Grant Brown and right fielder Lex Kaplan to collide, but it was ruled that the ball stayed in Brown’s glove even after it came off his hand. Replays showed that Brown’s glove was facing down when it came off his hand, likely meaning that the ball was on the ground, but the umpire did not reverse the call.

Scaggari went 2 for 4 with an RBI to pace the Utah attack.

Despite the loss and elimination, it was a banner year for Utah baseball, which won the Pac-12 with a 19-11 conference record despite finishing in last place in the Pac-12 in each of its first four seasons in the conference and was picked to finish last again in 2016.

Fort Worth Regional

Arizona State

Zach Dixon was a workhorse on the mound Sunday afternoon, throwing a career-high 140 pitches over eight innings to help lead the Sun Devils to a 6-3 win over Gonzaga, avenging a Friday night loss to the Bulldogs and eliminating the WCC regular season co-champions in the process.

With the win, Arizona State moves on to the Fort Worth Regional championship to take on host TCU, needing to defeat the Horned Frogs twice to advance to the super regionals.

The Sun Devils led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth before Dixon gave up two runs – one on what could have been an inning-ending double play and another on an RBI double from Taylor Jones. With a runner on second and two down in a 4-3 game, head coach Tracy Smith elected to keep Dixon on the mound – and the move paid off. Andrew Shaps made a diving grab on a line drive to center field off the bat of Tyler Frost to keep Arizona State on top.

Jeremy McCuin provided some much needed insurance in the top of the ninth with a leadoff home run – his first career round-tripper – and Brian Serven followed it up later in the inning with an RBI sac fly to pad the lead back up to 6-3.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, the Sun Devils struck for three in the top of the fourth. A wild pitch allowed Serven to score before Colby Woodmansee’s first hit of the regional plated two runs, as his sharp grounder with runners on the corners went off the glove of third baseman Jeffrey Bohling. There was a throwing error made back to third, allowing Tyler Williams to come in after Shaps.

Arizona State pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Serven.

Dixon struck out nine Bulldogs on the afternoon while giving up three runs on six hits and three walks. Ryan Hingst pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to get the save.

Serven led the way with 2 RBIs for Arizona State, while designated hitter Sebastien Zawada went 2 for 3.

Gonzaga concludes its season with a 36-21 record. The Bulldogs defeated Arizona State 5-1 in the regional opener Friday.

Lafayette Regional

Arizona

Louisiana scored early and often in a 10-3 blowout of Arizona in a winner’s bracket game in the Lafayette Regional, sending the Wildcats into an elimination game later on Sunday against Sam Houston State.

Stefan Trosclair went 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBIs to pace the Ragin’ Cajuns, who will await the Arizona-Sam Houston State winner in the regional championship.

Normally a very reliable starter, Arizona’s JC Cloney was tagged for seven runs (six earned) and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. The Ragin’ Cajuns got to him early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first and another in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Arizona clawed back to within 4-1 on a two-out RBI double from JJ Matijevic in the fourth, but Louisiana answered back with three more runs in the bottom half to knock Cloney out of the game.

Cody Ramer hit a two-run homer in the fifth to close the gap to 7-3, but Louisiana once again countered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. The Ragin’ Cajuns added on their final run in the sixth.

Gunner Leger got the win on the mound for Louisiana, giving up three earned runs and five hits over five innings of work, while Jevin Huval was spectacular in relief, striking out six over four scoreless innings.

Zach Gibbons went 2 for 4 for the Wildcats, who saw their 11-game NCAA postseason winning streak snapped.

The Lafayette Regional is behind schedule due to weather conditions that postponed the Arizona-Louisiana game from Saturday to Sunday.

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