The top seeds that played their NCAA baseball regional openers Friday went unbeaten, and most won easily.
No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 Virginia Tech, No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 8 East Carolina each scored in double digits. No. 3 Oregon State was the only team among the top eight to win by fewer than five runs, beating New Mexico State 5-4 on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Vanderbilt, which reached the last two College World Series finals, continued its late-season swoon and will have to fight its way out of the loser’s bracket to advance.
Tennessee gave a performance fitting of the team that leads the nation in home runs and ERA. Jordan Beck hit two of the Volunteers five homers and Blake Tidwell allowed three hits and struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings of a 10-0 victory over Alabama State.
The Volunteers will play Saturday against Campbell in what could be a slugfest between teams that lean on the long ball. The Campbells hit four homers in their 15-8 win over Georgia Tech and have gone deep in 20 straight games.
Stanford set a program record for runs in a postseason game with its 20-7 victory over Binghamton. Virginia Tech pulled away from Wright State late in a 15-8 win.
No. 5 Texas A&M scored seven of its runs with two outs in an 8-2 win over Oral Roberts. No. 7 Oklahoma State rose a pair of four-run innings to a 10-5 win over Missouri State.
No. 8 East Carolina scored its most runs in 108 all-time NCAA Tournament games and extended its nation-best win streak to 19 games in a 17-1 victory over Coppin State.
New Mexico State, which arrived at the Corvallis Regional with a 24-32 record, tied its game against the Beavers 4-4 in the top of the ninth inning. Oregon State won it in the 10th as Alex Bustamante issued four walks, one intentional, and threw eight straight balls to end the game.
San Diego, a No. 3 regional seed from the West Coast Conference, pulled the biggest surprise. The Toreros held off Vanderbilt 3-2 in Corvallis, Oregon, in their first regional game since 2013.
Vanderbilt lost for the first time in five regional openers since 2016 and has now dropped six of seven games for its worst stretch since 2018. The Commodores have batted .233 while being outscored 66-23 over the seven games. Pitching has been the program’s identity under Tim Corbin, but the staff has an 8.70 ERA with 37 walks and 59 strikeouts the last 61 innings.
VOLS’ LEADER OUT
Tennessee catcher Evan Russell, who has played 228 games and is one short of tying the program career record, sat out against Alabama State. Coach Tony Vitello said Russell told him he was sick. Charlie Taylor started behind the plate.
HALL ON THE BALL
Conference USA pitcher of the year Tanner Hall pitched four-hit ball over eight shutout innings in Southern Mississippi’s 2-0 win over Army. He retired the first 11 batters he faced and finished with nine strikeouts.
Texas A&M’s Joseph Menefee struck out seven in three innings of relief against Oral Roberts. Among Division I pitchers with at least 100 career innings, Menefee is the leader in strikeouts per nine innings at 13.99.
FIRST TIME’S THE HARDEST
First-time qualifiers Coppin State and Hofstra got rough introductions to regionals.
Coppin State has never had a winning record since its program began in 1984, and the Eagles were predictably overmatched against an East Carolina program making its 32nd NCAA appearance.
Bryson Worrell homered twice in an eight-run third inning for the Pirates, and Coppin State’s Jordan Hamberg walked seven while giving up nine runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Mac Horvath hit two of North Carolina’s five homers in a 15-4 win over Hofstra. The Tar Heels have won eight straight and 16 of 18.
TOUGH DAY ON HILL
Northeast Conference pitcher of the year Joshua Loeschorn, who entered the day tied for the national lead with 11 victories, turned in the worst start of his career in Long Island’s 23-2 loss to Maryland. He lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs, eight unearned after he committed back-to-back errors in the second.
AROUND THE HORN
Louisville beat Southeast Missouri State 7-2 for its 11th straight win in a regional opener, the longest streak of its kind. … Seven of Cayden Wallace’s 13 homers for Arkansas have come since May 14. He hit two in a 7-1 win over Grand Canyon. … Florida’s Brandon Sproat is 5-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last six starts after holding Central Michigan to one run over seven innings in a 7-3 win. … Oklahoma’s Peyton Graham hit his second grand slam in 10 days, this time connecting in an eight-run fifth inning that broke open the Sooners’ 16-3 win over Liberty. … Louisiana’s bottom four batters produced five hits, including two homers and a triple, and five RBIs in a 7-6 win over TCU.
Regionals in Statesboro, Georgia, and Coral Gables, Florida, had their schedules altered because of weather. UNC Greensboro-Georgia Southern will play Saturday. Canisius-Miami and Arizona-Mississippi were pushed back because of a tropical storm.
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