Florida wins; Texas Tech ousted from College World Series

Senior JJ Schwarz hit the 50th home run of his college career Thursday night as the top-seeded Florida Gators scored a 9-6 victory over Texas Tech, eliminating the Red Raiders from the College World Series.

Freshman Jack Leftwich pitched into the seventh inning to carry Florida to its second straight win in the tournament after losing 6-3 in its opener against Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders of the Big 12 Conference bowed out with a 1-2 record in the CWS after losing on consecutive days to Arkansas and Florida, two powerhouses from the Southeastern Conference.

The Gators advanced to play Arkansas in the bracket finals, which are set to open Friday night. Arkansas needs one win to wrap up a berth in the CWS title round. Florida needs to win two.

A key sequence between Florida and Texas Tech started in the bottom of the seventh, when the Red Raiders had scored their first three runs of the game to pull within 5-3.

Florida reliever Jordan Butler entered the game with the bases loaded and one out, and he delivered by fanning Tech slugger Zach Rheams. Butler then retired Michael Davis on a liner to right field.

The Gators continued to press the issue when they came to the plate in the eighth, scoring three runs for an 8-3 lead. The big blow was an RBI triple by Brady Smith.

Undaunted, the Red Raiders rallied in their half of the inning with three runs on three hits to pull within 8-6. Included in the outburst was an RBI single by sophomore Josh Jung.

Jung, from San Antonio’s MacArthur High School, finished 3 for 5 with 2 RBI.

In the ninth, Florida scored one run to account for the final margin. All-American Jonathan India singled, stole second — for his third steal of the day — and made it all the way around to score on an infield error.

Florida relief ace Michael Byrne retired Texas Tech 1-2-3 in the ninth to end it.

In the early going

As Leftwich shut down the Red Raiders’ offense, the Gators scored one in the fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth to make it 5-0.

Schwarz, who missed the first two rounds of the NCAA playoffs with a hand injury, turned it into a five-run game in the sixth with a two-run shot — his 13th home run of the season.

Texas Tech got it going in the seventh with four hits and an error by Florida shortstop Deacon Liput that allowed the third run of the inning to score.

Notable

Jung finished his sophomore year at Texas Tech with a team-leading .392 batting average. He had 103 hits in 263 at bats. Included in the totals were 12 home runs, six triples and 17 doubles. He also finished with 80 RBI.

Records

Texas Tech 45-20
Florida 49-20

Texas Tech-Florida to meet in elimination game

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will need to beat the No. 1-seeded team in the NCAA baseball tournament for the second time in five days Thursday night to stay alive at the College World Series.

Tech plays Florida at 7 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The winner advances to meet Arkansas on Friday but must beat the Razorbacks twice to reach the best-of-three CWS finals, which start Monday.

The Red Raiders opened the tournament Sunday with a 6-3 victory over the Gators. Since then, the Gators stayed alive by knocking off the Texas Longhorns. Texas Tech lost, falling 7-4 to Arkansas Wednesday afternoo.

On the other side of the bracket, only two teams remain. The Oregon State Beavers and undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs play Friday with the Bulldogs needing just one win to advance and the Beavers two.

Oregon State remained in contention, knocking off North Carolina 11-6 late Wednesday night.

The Beavers trailed 6-3 after seven innings, but scored four runs in the eighth and four more in the ninth to take control.

Teams already eliminated from the CWS include Washington, Texas and North Carolina.

In Thursday’s game, Texas Tech is expected to start Caleb Kilian (9-2, 3.04) against Florida.

Red Raiders sophomore Josh Jung, who played his high school ball in San Antonio at MacArthur, has produced three hits in nine at bats in the CWS.

Texas Tech’s batting leader was 1 for 4 on Wednesday to give him 100 hits on the season.

It is the first time a Texas Tech player has had a 100-hit season since Josh Bard in 1998, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

For the season, Jung has produced 100 hits in 258 at bats for a .388 average.

Schedule

Thursday

Bracket 2: Texas Tech (1-1) vs. Florida (1-1), 7 p.m.

Friday

Bracket 1: Oregon State (2-1) vs. Mississippi State (2-0), 2 p.m.

Bracket 2: Arkansas (2-0) vs. Florida/Texas Tech, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Bracket 1: If necessary, 2 p.m.

Bracket 2: If necessary, 7 p.m.

Monday

Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m.

Tuesday

Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m.

Wednesday

Championship round: Bracket 1 vs. Bracket 2 winners, 6 p.m. (if necessary)

Fletcher-led Arkansas wins again, downs Texas Tech, 7-4

Riding Dominic Fletcher’s four hits and four RBI, the Arkansas Razorbacks built a five-run lead and then withstood a ninth-inning rally, turning back the Texas Tech Red Raiders 7-4 Wednesday to remain undefeated at the College World Series.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Red Raiders scored twice off reliever Matt Cronin on Cody Farhat’s two-run single.

But Cronin retired three straight batters, helping the No. 5-seeded Hogs improve to 2-0 in the tournament. Ninth-seeded Texas Tech fell to 1-1 and dropped into an elimination game against Florida.

The Red Raiders are scheduled to play the top-seeded Gators Thursday night. The winner would advance to meet the Razorbacks Friday in the Bracket 2 finals.

Arkansas is now one victory away from a berth in the CWS title round.

The Razorbacks have put themselves into a commanding position by beating Texas and Texas Tech, two former rivals from the old Southwest Conference that now play in the Big 12.

How it happened

Dominic Fletcher and Carson Shaddy delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the eighth, helping Arkansas open a 7-2 lead on Texas Tech.

Fletcher, who swings a quick bat from the left side, improved his already prolific day at the plate to 4-for-4, with 4 RBI.

In two games at the College World Series, the 5-foot-9 sophomore from Cypress, California, is now 6 for 9 with 6 RBI.

Meanwhile, Arkansas relief pitcher Barrett Loseke has cooled off the Texas Tech offense.

He has struck out five in three scoreless innings.

But, at this point, Arkansas is going deeper into the bullpen, bringing in lefty Matt Cronin with a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth.

Cronin retired the side, allowing the Hogs to take a comfortable five-run lead into the ninth.

Brian Klein’s two-run double in the fifth inning has given new life to the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Red Raiders pulled to within 5-2 of the Arkansas Razorbacks when Klein pulled a ball into the right field corner, scoring Michael Davis and Cody Farhat.

Davis reached base when he beat a throw to first base from the catcher, who couldn’t handle a third strike. Later, Farhat walked, setting the table for Klein to hit a drive off Arkansas starter Kayce Murphy.

Barrett Loseke replaced Murphy and retired Josh Jung, Texas Tech’s leading hitter, who grounded out.

In the sixth, Texas Tech continued to build some momentum behind relief pitcher Jose Quezada, who gave up a hit but let his defense do the work on an inning-ending double play.

Dominic Fletcher pounded a solo homer to right to highlight a two-run fourth inning for Arkansas.

Meanwhile, pitcher Kacey Murphy continued to dominate Texas Tech hitters.

As a result, the Razorbacks took a 5-0 lead on the Red Raiders into the fifth Wednesday at the College World Series.

Fletcher and Murphy have emerged as the dominant players so far in a winners’ bracket game between the two former rivals in the old Southwest Conference, both 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament.

Fletcher, a sophomore from California, has produced two hits and three RBI. Murphy is working on a one-hit shutout with five strikeouts.

Arkansas is now representing the Southeastern Conference. Texas Tech is in the Big 12.

After a delayed start to the first game of the day at the College World Series, the Arkansas Razorbacks took a 3-0 lead on Texas Tech after three innings.

Arkansas scored twice in the top of the first inning on a two-run double by Dominic Fletcher.

The play was ruled a double after Texas Tech outfielders Cody Farhat and Gabe Holt collided while trying to make the catch.

The Razorbacks made it 3-0 when senior Jared Gates led off the top of the second with a solo home run.

Arkansas escaped trouble in the bottom half when Razorbacks left fielder Heston Kjerstad made a running catch of Farhat’s drive to the fence.

The Razorbacks later closed the inning when catcher Grant Koch threw out Cameron Warren trying to steal second base.

Arkansas’ pitching started to dominate in the bottom of the third when lefthander Kacey Murphy retired the side by striking out Braxton Fulford, Holt and Brian Klein.

Texas Tech downs No. 1 Florida in College World Series

The Texas Tech Red Raiders broke through in the middle innings with five unanswered runs off Florida ace Brady Singer en route to a 6-3 victory Sunday night at the College World Series.

In the CWS opener for both teams, the Red Raiders scored a run in the fourth inning and two each in the fifth and the sixth to erase an early one-run deficit and open a 5-1 lead on the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament.

Florida rallied on a two-run homer in the seventh by Nelson Maldonado, drawing the defending national champions to within two.

But Texas Tech added one run for insurance in the ninth when Gabe Holt produced an RBI single, making it 6-3. Holt led Tech at the plate with two hits and three RBI.

Red Raiders pitchers Dylan Dusek, Ryan Shetter and Ty Harpenau combined to hold the Gators to five hits.

Texas Tech will advance in the winners’ bracket to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks Tuesday night. Florida and Texas will play in an elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.

Arkansas beat Texas 11-5 in an earlier game Sunday. The series is being played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

Quotable

Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock:

“First of all, great atmosphere. Great crowd. City of Omaha does a great job. It’s the best place in the world to play baseball in June. Brady Singer’s a handful. So is (Jordan) Butler and (Michael) Byrne. Those guys are really good. Florida’s got a really good baseball team.

“That’s one game. I’m proud of our guys, the way we went out and competed. We were going to have to do that each inning to come out on the right side of it. And also have some good fortune. I thnk we had that.”

Notable

As Texas Tech plays in Omaha for the third time in five years, Tadlock’s team will experience something new — the winners’ bracket.

In 2014, the Red Raiders were ousted after losing two straight games in the double-elimination format. In 2016, they lost the opener, beat Florida and then lost again.

Beating Bsrady Singer

Singer, the Dick Howser Award Winner as the player of the year in college baseball, was most effective early in the game.

But once the Red Raiders measured him, they started to produce some good swings and made good contact even on balls that turned into outs. It also helped Tech that Florida’s defense faltered at key moments.

In the top of the fourth, San Antonio’s Josh Jung led off with a single to right field. He took second on a balk by Singer, got to third on a passed ball and scored on Grant Little’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-1.

Texas Tech took a 3-1 lead in the fifth courtesy of a few mistakes by Florida’s defense.

Cody Farhat laced a two-out single to center. A throwing error by Florida shortstop Deacon Liput allowed Braxton Fulfort to reach base, while Farhat made it all the way to third.

Holt followed with a two-run single through the right side on a ball that skipped past first baseman JJ Schulz and into the outfield. The ball appeared to be playable, but it was ruled a hit.

In the sixth inning, Zach Rheams belted an RBI double and Michael Davis and RBI single to make it 5-1.

Singer (12-2) pitched 6 and 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits and five runs, only two of them earned.

The best pitcher of the night may have been Shetter, who was credited with the win after allowing three hits and a run in 4 and 1/3 innings. Shetter (6-0) struck out seven and walked one.

Records

Texas Tech 45-18
Florida 47-20

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Texas Tech advances to the College World Series

Gabe Holt, Michael Davis and Brian Klein belted home runs Monday afternoon, lifting the Texas Tech Red Raiders into the College World Series with a 6-2 victory over Duke.

Five Texas Tech pitchers scattered 10 Duke hits to clinch the best-of-3 Lubbock Super Regional, two games to one.

It is the third CWS appearance for the Red Raiders in the past five seasons.

Texas Tech won the opener Saturday and Duke took the second game on Sunday to set up the decisive game at Rip Griffin Park.

Duke tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a Jimmy Herron infield single, but Texas Tech retaliated immediately.

Zach Rheams led off the bottom half of the inning with a ground rule double and Davis followed with a two-run homer, making it 3-1.

After Duke scored once on a couple of triples to pull within a run in the sixth inning, Texas Tech answered in the bottom of the seventh with a solo shot by Klein.

The Red Raiders picked up two insurance runs in the eighth on RBI singles from Holt and Josh Jung.

Jung, a Texas Tech sophomore from MacArthur, had four of his teams’s 13 hits to raise his batting average to .390 leading into the CWS.

It will be his first trip to Omaha as a player, though he says he has attended a few of them as a fan.

Quotable

Josh Jung, talking to ESPN before the final game of the Super Regional, about what it would mean for him to make it to the CWS:

“To me, it’s been a lifelong goal, since I was eight-years old.”

Records

Duke 45-18
Texas Tech 44-18

Texas Tech rallies to defeat Duke, 6-4, in Super Regional opener

Trailing by three runs, the Texas Tech Red Raiders came from behind to beat Duke 6-4 in Game 1 of the Lubbock Super Regional.

As a result, the Red Raiders need only one more victory to advance to the College World Series.

Game 2 is set for Sunday afternoon. A third game, if necessary, would be played Monday.

Texas Tech scored two runs in the fifth, one each in the sixth and seventh and two more in the eighth to account for the eventual final score.

Gabe Holt smacked an RBI single and Brian Klein added a run-scoring double in the eighth to give the Red Raiders the lead.

Duke put runners on first and third with one out in the ninth but hit into a game-ending double play.

Zack Cone smashed a two-run double in the fifth to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead.

Records

Texas Tech 43-17
Duke 44-17

Texas Tech, Texas set to host in NCAA Super Regional round

When the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Texas Longhorns clinched NCAA regional titles in baseball on Sunday night, it appeared likely that both Big 12 Conference powerhouses would be playing on the road in the next round.

A day later, both moved into position to host best-of-three NCAA Super Regionals at their respective home fields this weekend.

By Tuesday morning, it was made official.

Texas Tech will host the Duke Blue Devils starting Saturday afternoon at Rip Griffin Park in Lubbock.

Texas also will host on Saturday, taking on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at Disch-Falk Field in Austin. UT has already announced a sellout.

Winners of the eight Super Regionals will advance to the College World Series.

Texas Tech, the No. 9 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and Texas, the No. 13 seed, both won three straight games at home last weekend to win their respective first-round regionals.

When Texas Tech closed out its Lubbock Regional sweep with an 11-6 victory over Louisville on Sunday, fans figured the Red Raiders would be headed to Athens, Ga., to play the No. 8-seeded Georgia Bulldogs.

Duke had other ideas, eliminating Georgia by sweeping the Dawgs 8-5 and 8-4 on Monday to win the Athens Regional.

Texas was in a similar situation after it polished off Indiana 3-2 on Sunday night to claim the Austin Regional.

The Longhorns figured they would be headed to Oxford, Miss., to play the No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels.

But Tennessee Tech scrambled the picture by shocking the Rebels 15-5 and 3-2 on Monday to claim the Oxford Regional title.

Entering play on Monday, all that Georgia and Ole Miss needed was one victory on their home field against a lower-seeded program, and both would have hosted a Super Regional.

But as it so often happens in college baseball, what appeared likely didn’t actually come to pass, which in turn sent a pair of Super Regional series to the Lone Star State.

Lubbock Super Regional
Duke 44-16
at Texas Tech 42-17
Best of three, starting Saturday

Austin Super Regional
Tennessee Tech 52-10
at Texas 40-20
Best of three, starting Saturday

What ever happened to …

Here is what happened to the other five NCAA tournament teams from the state of Texas on opening weekend.

Texas A&M — The Aggies (40-22) endured a tough weekend in losing two of three at Austin. After walloping Indiana on opening night, A&M lost to Texas on Saturday and Indiana on Sunday, falling short of the Super Regional round for the first time since 2014.

Houston — The Cougars (38-25) went 2-2 in a spirited run at the Chapel Hill Regional. The American Athletic Conference champions beat Purdue twice but also lost twice to tournament host North Carolina. The Tar Heels pounded the Cougars 19-11 in the championship round Sunday.

Baylor — The Bears (37-21) went 1-2 at the Stanford Regional, losing to Cal State Fullerton, beating Wright State and then losing to host Stanford. Fullerton knocked off the tournament host Cardinal to win the regional.

Dallas Baptist — The Patriots (42-21) bowed out of the tournament with a 2-2 record at Fayetteville, Ark., but they did enjoy their moments. Following a 9-0 opening-night loss to Southern Miss, Dallas Baptist beat Oral Roberts 18-9 and Southern Miss 9-4 to reach the championship round, where it lost to Arkansas, 4-3.

Texas Southern — The Tigers (27-28) were swept out of the tournament in Austin, losing to Texas, 10-0, and to Indiana, 6-0. Texas Southern, from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, has now played in NCAA tournaments in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Six teams in the state alive in NCAA baseball playoffs

Six of the seven Texas-based teams in the NCAA baseball tournament remain alive through three days of regional play. Texas and Texas Tech are 2-0 in their regions. Here’s the breakdown leading into Sunday afternoon competition:

Texas — In the drivers’ seat in the Austin Regional. The No. 13 overall seed in the NCAA tournament is 2-0 and will play at home tonight against either Indiana or Texas A&M. This is a hot team. Might be tough to beat them two straight in Austin. So far, Texas has hammered Texas Southern 10-0 and beat up A&M 8-3.

Texas A&M — The Aggies are 1-1 in the Austin Regional and will play this afternoon to stay alive against the Indiana Hoosiers. A&M needs a quality start to steady the team. Will it be freshman lefthander Asa Lacy from Kerrville Tivy?

Texas Southern — The Tigers were swept out of the tournament in Austin, losing 10-0 to Texas 6-0 to Indiana. Texas Southern is a program on the rise, having played in NCAA regionals at College Station in 2015, at Baton Rouge in 2017 and now in Austin, all under coach Michael Robertson.

Texas Tech — The Red Raiders are 2-0 and playing for the regional title tonight in their own Lubbock Regional. Kent State and Louisville will meet this afternoon to determine Tech’s opponent. Either way, the No. 9 national seeded Red Raiders appear to be in good shape after beating New Mexico State 9-2 on Friday and Louisville 10-4 on Saturday.

Baylor — The Big 12 tournament champions are 1-1 and facing long odds in the losers’ bracket at the Stanford Regional. They’ll play the host and No. 2 overall seed Cardinal this afternoon in an effort to stay alive. Baylor needs to beat Stanford and Cal State Fullerton twice to win the regional. The Bears lost to surprising Fullerton 6-2 on Friday and then bounced back to defeat Wright State, 11-5, on Saturday.

Houston — The Cougars are 1-1 and facing elimination Sunday afternoon against Purdue in the Chapel Hill Regional. Houston must win three straight to advance. It must beat the Boilermakers and the host North Carolina Tar Heels twice. Houston started fast in the regional, knocking off Purdue 9-2 on Friday. The Cougars hit two home runs in their second game but fell to the Tar Heels 4-3 on Saturday.

Dallas Baptist –The hard-hitting Patriots slammed Oral Roberts 18-9 on Saturday to even their record to 1-1 in the Fayetteville Regional. They’ll take on Southern Miss, the Conference USA champions, on Sunday afternoon. If Dallas Baptist can win, it would move into the championship round against host Arkansas Sunday night. One of the hidden gems in NCAA sports in Texas, Dallas Baptist has played in four NCAA regionals since 2011.

Texas Tech rolls past New Mexico State, 9-2, at Lubbock Regional

Zach Rheams smashed a two-run homer in a three-run first inning Friday afternoon, and the Texas Tech Red Raiders rolled to an easy 9-2 victory over New Mexico State in the NCAA Lubbock Regional.

It was the team-leading 14th home run of the season for Rheams, a senior from Brazoswood.

“That was huge,” said San Antonio’s Josh Jung, a Texas Tech infielder. “Rheams hitting that home run really helped us settle in, just have fun. You can come into these games a little antsy, a little back on your heels, but with that home run, it got us going.”

With the victory in the tournament opener, Tech remains in the winners’ bracket and will play Saturday against either Louisville or Kent State.

Asked if he felt any sense of relief as the top seed in the regional to win the first game, Jung brushed off that suggestion, saying, “I wouldn’t say it’s a sense of relief.

“We came in here pretty confident we were going to get after it today,” he said. “Just get through the first round, put up a good game like we did today, to get going, get it rolling.”

Caleb Kilian (8-1 2.30) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Red Raiders on Saturday.

Against New Mexico State, Tech suffered some adversity early when starting pitcher Dylan Dusek had to come out after two innings because of a blister on his throwing hand.

Ryan Shetter came in to relieve starting in the third.

After getting two out, he gave up a solo home run to Joey Ortiz, cutting the Tech lead to 3-1.

But he settled down to keep the Aggies scoreless on two hits the rest of the way in his five-inning stint.

The Red Raiders scored two more runs in the third, pushing the lead to 5-1. The No. 1 seeds and tournament hosts were never seriously threatened again.

San Antonio’s Josh Jung figured into Tech outbursts in both the first and third innings.

Jung, a sophomore from MacArthur who entered the game batting .381, singled and scored in both innings.

Connor Queen, a sophomore from Boerne, also figured into Tech’s victory. He pitched two innings scoreless innings to close the game.

Queen, Tech’s fourth pitcher of the day, yielded three straight singles in the eighth but he got out of a bases-loaded jam with a double-play ground ball.

UT’s NCAA Regional includes an old rival — Texas A&M

The possibility of a playoff game — or games — between the rival Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies loomed Monday as the NCAA baseball tournament’s 64-team bracket was unveiled.

Texas will host a regional starting Friday that will include A&M, Indiana and Texas Southern University.

On opening night in the double-elimination format, No. 2 seed Indiana will play third-seeded A&M at 4 p.m. and top-seeded Texas will play No. 4 Texas Southern at 8.

If the Longhorns and Aggies both win — or, if they both lose — they would play Saturday.

The tournament games will be held in Austin on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and, if necessary, also Monday, at the UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Other teams from the state that made the tournament include Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston and Dallas Baptist.

Texas Tech is the only other program in the state that will host on opening weekend.

The TCU Horned Frogs, who have played in the past four College World Series, were left out of the 64-team field after they made it to the Big 12 tournament title game and lost to Baylor.

Sam Houston State and Rice were among other notable programs missing from the national bracket.

Last year, the Bearkats made a surprise run to the NCAA Lubbock Regional title and advanced to play Florida State in the Tallahassee Super Regional.

This year, they won the Southland Conference regular-season title but failed to win the SLC tournament.

Rice, under outgoing coach Wayne Graham, posted a losing record in the regular season and failed to win the Conference USA tournament title for the automatic bid.

Thus, Rice had its streak of 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances snapped. It was the third-longest streak in the nation.

In Austin, fans will get to see NCAA tournament baseball live for the first time since the Longhorns hosted a Super Regional in 2014.

It’s the first time Texas has hosted on the first weekend of the tournament since 2011.

Tournament time in Texas

Regional openers are set for Friday

Texas — No. 13 national seed, No. 1 regional seed, hosts in Austin and opens against Texas Southern

Texas Tech — No. 9 national seed, No. 1 regional seed, hosts in Lubbock and opens against New Mexico State

Baylor — No. 2 regional seed at Palo Alto, Calif., plays opening day against Cal State Fullerton

Texas A&M — No. 3 regional seed at Austin, opens with Indiana

Houston — No. 3 regional seed at Chapel Hill, N.C., opens with Purdue

Dallas Baptist — No. 3 regional seed at Fayetteville, Ark., opens with Southern Miss

Texas Southern — No. 4 regional seed at Austin, opens with Texas