Eight NCAA regionals still up for grabs

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Eight teams down, eight more to go.

Eight teams punched their tickets to NCAA super regional play next week with triumphs on Sunday. Eight others will earn tickets with strong performances on Monday.

We take an inside look at regionals that have been completed and those that still must crown a champion.

Still in play

• Auburn Regional
Auburn entered the postseason with one of the nation’s best offensive lineups, and that lineup rose to the occasion in a big way Sunday. Auburn made easy work of Southern Mississippi in the first game of the day before Creede Simpson’s three-run homer against Clemson helped AU earn an 11-10 victory. The two teams now must play a second time for the regional title.

• Charlottesville Regional
The upset watch is alive and well in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia appeared to be in fantastic shape after beating Mississippi on Saturday. But St. John’s has thrown a wrinkle into the plans of some. The Johnnies knocked Mississippi out of the postseason with a 20-16 victory before beating Virginia 6-5 in the nightcap to force a second game. Virginia still has the edge, but St. John’s is playing with a wealth of confidence.

• Atlanta Regional
Alabama entered Sunday with an uphill battle after dropping Saturday’s contest to Georgia Tech. The Crimson Tide, though, enter Monday with a fighting chance. They started Sunday with a win over Mercer before using a stellar pitching performance from Adam Morgan to take care of host Georgia Tech 8-1 in the nightcap. The second title game should feature a plethora of offense.

• Coral Gables Regional
It was a crazy day in the Miami area with a lengthy rain delay and some fantastic performances from some Texas A&M players. The Aggies inched past Dartmouth in an elimination game before using a plethora of offense and a gutsy performance by reliever John Stilson to beat Miami 11-7 in the nightcap. The two teams should have an offensive showdown on Monday.

• Fayetteville Regional
Times got so desperate for Washington State on Sunday that coach Donnie Marbut decided to start James Wise in two games on the same day. The Cougars dispatched Kansas State 9-6 and Arkansas 10-7 to force a second title game. Arkansas, however, has the edge at home.

• Fullerton Regional
There were plenty of observers who thought Cal State Fullerton was in big trouble when it dropped a contest to No. 4 seed Minnesota in the regional opener. The Titans, though, have fought back with a vengeance. They cruised past New Mexico 11-3 in their first game on Sunday before using a great pitching performance by Colin O’Connell to cruise past Minnesota 7-2. The two teams play a second title game late Monday night.

• Louisville Regional
Could Vanderbilt have had a better day on the diamond? The Commodores took care of Illinois State 10-4 in the first game of the day before using a Richie Goodenow complete-game shutout to beat Louisville 7-0 in the nightcap. The tense rivalry between these two programs continues with a final title game on Monday.

• Myrtle Beach Regional
Coastal Carolina entered Sunday on the ropes. But now the Chanticleers once again are feeling good about themselves. The Chanticleers easily took care of Stony Brook to start the day before using a walk-off homer from Rico Noel to beat College of Charleston 8-7 in the nightcap. The two teams will play for the right to advance on Monday. The game should feature plenty of offense.

Moving on

• Austin Regional
Rice started the day in fantastic fashion with a dominating win over Louisiana-Lafayette. However, it ran out of gas at the plate against Taylor Jungmann and Texas in the regional title game. Interestingly, the Longhorns had to use just four pitchers the entire weekend against the field of Rice, Rider and Louisiana-Lafayette.

• Columbia Regional
Virginia Tech started the day by returning the favor on The Citadel with a 4-3 victory. However, it was unable to master host South Carolina as the Gamecocks captured a 10-2 victory to advance to NCAA super regional action. South Carolina answered some question marks with a strong showing during the weekend.

• Fort Worth Regional
To absolutely no surprise, the Fort Worth Regional ended without a hiccup from host TCU. Baylor defeated Arizona in an elimination game to start Sunday before dropping a 9-0 decision to TCU in the regional finale. TCU starting pitcher Steven Maxwell put together an absolute gem for the Horned Frogs.

• Los Angeles Regional
Life is good for the Bruins right now. UCLA watched earlier in the day as UC Irvine eliminated LSU from the postseason with a 4-3 victory. The Anteaters, though, were unable to strike twice as UCLA sent it home for the summer with a 6-2 victory. UCLA is playing a fantastic brand of baseball at the right time.

• Tempe Regional
Arizona State really couldn’t have had a much easier regional experience this weekend. The Sun Devils played Hawaii for the regional title after the Rainbows disposed of San Diego in a 12-9 victory earlier Sunday. The Devils had little issue with the Rainbows in the regional title game with an 8-4 triumph. ASU continues to play at an extremely high level and awaits the winner of the Washington State-Arkansas game.

• Norwich Regional
We said earlier this week the biggest key for Florida State was its starting pitching and overall pitching staff. Well, the Seminoles pitched well for much of the weekend and are headed to another super regional as a result. Oregon started the day with a 4-3 win against host Connecticut before Florida State ended the Ducks’ season with a 5-3 victory in the regional title game. FSU awaits the winner of the Louisville-Vanderbilt game.

• Gainesville Regional
Speaking of making things look easy, take a look at Florida. Florida Atlantic started Sunday’s action with an 11-7 win over Oregon State in an elimination game. The Owls, though, ran into a red-hot Florida team in the nightcap. The Gators cruised past FAU 15-0 and now await the winner of the Texas A&M-Miami contest.

• Norman Regional
Oklahoma sure is hoping St. John’s can find a way to upset Virginia again on Monday. It was an interesting day at the Norman Regional. North Carolina started the action on Sunday with a 12-4 win over Oral Roberts in an elimination game. OU, though, won the regional by earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Tar Heels in the nightcap.