National No. 1 seed Tennessee was eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament on the same day Mississippi, the last team selected, clinched its ticket to the College World Series.
Sunday produced the biggest upsets of a tournament that was played mostly in regional round form. The super regionals made up for that lack of drama.
Notre Dame beat Tennessee 7-3 in the deciding third game of their super regional and joined Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas A&M in the CWS. The other three CWS spots will be filled late Sunday or Monday. The CWS begins Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.
Tennessee is the third consecutive No. 1 national seed to be eliminated in super regionals. Arkansas bounced back last year and UCLA in 2019. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“Notre Dame will come to Omaha and take advantage of it and probably do some damage. It’s a really tough group,” Vols coach Tony Vitello said. “What must stick with our guys, once the time has passed… What are they saying? Time heals all wounds? I don’t know who “they” are, because sometimes it takes a long time. »
Until Sunday, the Volunteers were the toast of college baseball with an explosive offense and a pitching staff full of major leaguers pitched. They finished with a school-record 57 wins after going off to a 31-1 start and winning the regular season and SEC Tournament titles. Their 158 homers were fourth all-time in Division I. They lost only one three-game series before the Knoxville Super Regional.
Three Notre Dame pitchers combined to allow five hits, with freshman left-hander Jack Findlay giving up one and holding the Vols scoreless the past five innings.
The Irish erased a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning. David LaManna, who entered the game with a home run, hit a two-run shot to tie the game and Jack Brannigan followed with the go-ahead. The Irish added three more points in the eighth.
The Irish were in contention for a national top-16 seed, which would have made them a regional host, but the NCAA selection committee made them a No. 2 regional seed and sent them to Statesboro. , Georgia.
They won three games there, won the first super regional game 8-6 and bounced back from a 12-4 loss on Saturday to earn their first trip to the CWS since 2002.
“We struggled and fought for years to get to this moment,” said coach Link Jarrett, whose team lost a three-game super regional to eventual national champion Mississippi State l last year.
“They’re just exceptional human beings. They understand what’s going on in the competition, they’re going to do it, and to think that this moment would be with a freshman finishing the most critical game, quite frankly, in the history of the program in this place against this team.
Mississippi, the last team to receive an overall offer and a No. 3 regional seed, defeated Southern Mississippi 5-0 in Hattiesburg. The Rebels, who won 10-0 on Saturday, recorded their first shutouts of the season and Southern Miss was shut out in consecutive games for the first time since 1987.
Ole Miss pitchers allowed just seven hits over the two games and struck out 21 as the Rebels reached the CWS for the first time since 2014.
Oklahoma will return to the CWS for the first time since 2010 after concluding its super regional with an 11-2 victory over national seed No. 4 Virginia Tech.
The Sooners hit five homers, two by Tanner Tredaway, and Cade Horton struck out eight in six innings and struck out 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.
Oklahoma will open the CWS against Texas A&M, which earned its spot on Saturday with a sweep of Louisville.
“The dream comes true,” Tredaway said. “We all just worked our tails. I just can’t be prouder of these guys and everything we’ve invested in it has led to this moment now.
Arkansas scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat North Carolina 4-3, with the winning run coming home on Brady Slavens’ single into right field. The Razorbacks travel to Omaha for the seventh time since 2004.
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