Nine teams advance to super regionals

June, 6, 2011

Nine regional titles were decided Sunday in another wild day of action. Here's a quick look at what we learned from Day 3 of the NCAA tournament:

The Hot List

1. A couple of teams had pretty easy regional fields (or they are so good they made it look easy).

  • • North Carolina: The Tar Heels used nine different pitchers in giving up three runs in three games.
  • • Virginia: Also gave up just three runs in three games and saw Danny Hultzen go 7- for-11.
  • • Vanderbilt: How many No. 1 seeds wish they had a regional field of Belmont, Troy and Oklahoma State?
  • • Florida: A slight hiccup with a one-run win over Miami, otherwise the Gators chomped helpless prey.
  • • Florida State: The Seminoles lead Alabama 8-1 with nine more outs to go to advance.
  • • Arizona State: Devils escaped New Mexico in Round 1 and pounded Charlotte 16-1 and Arkansas 13-4.

2. We found out there was plenty of bad news.

  • • TCU's All-American pitcher Kyle Winkler threw 12 pitches for TCU vs. Oral Roberts and left the game, cradling his throwing elbow. Was seen wearing a sling in the dugout later on.
  • • After North Carolina head coach Mike Fox missed the first two days of the Chapel Hill Regional, it was announced that his mother had passed away Saturday.
  • • Massive storms blew through Columbia and Tallahassee, suspending a pair of games. South Carolina leads Stetson 4-1 in the fifth inning and Florida State leads Alabama 8-1 in the sixth inning. Both games will resume Monday.
  • • Arizona's Tyler Hale went only 36 pitches in his outing at Texas A&M before taking a sharp liner off his arm and having to end his day early.

3. Texas can rely on offense when it has to.
In their two wins Sunday, the Longhorns scratched out 25 hits in taking down Texas State, 4-3, and then Kent State, 9-3. UT rebounded from a stunning 7-5 loss to Kent State on Saturday with an offensive onslaught that is uncharacteristic of Augie Garrido's 2011 squad. The top of the order -- Tant Shepherd (7-of-10 in getting on base) and Mark Payton (4-for-7 at the plate) -- were the prime movers.

4. The "Butler" Regional is a blast.
How great is it to see Oral Roberts and Dallas Baptist going to a seventh, winner-take-all game? In fact, I almost would've been disappointed if it didn't go to Monday between these two. Cinderella needs an even bigger stage for the slipper-fitting.

5. If you're a travel agent, you want to have an office in the West. A large portion of western teams will be hitting the road for the super regionals. Here's where they're headed:

  • • Oregon State will play at Vanderbilt.
  • • UC Irvine will go to No. 1 Virginia.
  • • Stanford goes to play at North Carolina.
  • • If Arizona wins at Texas A&M, the Wildcats travel to Florida State.
  • • If Texas beats Kent State, Arizona State heads to Austin.
  • • As mentioned above, Cal is a wild card choice right now for traveling.

Regional superlatives

Tour de force: Ben Clowe, Stanford As Lowell Galindo said in the ESPNU studio show, he picked a good time to have the game of his life, going 4-for-4 with five RBIs including two home runs and two doubles in the 14-2 win over Illinois.

Tour de force II: Chris Elder, Oral Roberts The Eagle outfielder only went 1-for-4, but had five walks in the wins over TCU and Dallas Baptist on Sunday. His one hit? A grand slam in the sixth inning to beat the top-seeded Frogs.

Best conference performance: The Pac-10 After a terrible first day, the Pac-10 has been gonzo since, including an 8-1 mark on Sunday. Had UCLA not blown a ninth-inning lead, it could've been a perfect 9-0. Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford reserved spots in supers already.

Worst conference performance: Conference USA The CUSA denizens went 1-3 on the day and saw all three of those in action get eliminated, including No. 8 national seed Rice, the first top eight team to end its season.

Team that loves its super regional draw: Florida. How comfortable do the Gators have to be going into next weekend? They buried Miami and have Mississippi State in the supers, the same Bulldog team they've already beaten three times this year. Gator blue and orange, easy.

National seed that should worry about its super regional draw: Virginia. I know, it's crazy to think that a team that blew through its regional should have a care in the world over a 3-seed coming to its stadium. But I've seen this Anteater bunch, amd they're playing their best baseball right now with an uber-experienced lineup. Danger Wahoos, danger.

Eric Sorenson, who runs College Baseball Today, and Walter Villa are regular contributors to ESPN's college baseball coverage. Follow Eric on Twitter: @stitch_head

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