Davidson stuns UNC in NCAA baseball opener; Wolfpack wins

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Friday, June 2, 2017

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Davidson College has played baseball for 115 years, generally with little success. The Wildcats made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time this year, and they made a memorable debut Friday.

The No. 4 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional, Davidson pulled a huge upset by beating No. 2 national seed North Carolina 8-4.

The Wildcats finished their milestone victory about an hour after another No. 4 regional seed, Tennessee Tech, beat Florida State 3-1 in Tallahassee in the day's other stunner.

North Carolina became the highest national seed to lose its regional opener since a No. 2 Florida lost to College of Charleston in 2014. The Gators were eliminated the next day.

College of Charleston, however, was in the tournament for the sixth time back in 2014. Davidson had never won a baseball title of any kind before beating VCU in the Atlantic 10 final on Sunday, and the Wildcats' all-time record is more than 600 games under .500.

Davidson rocked ACC pitcher of the year J.B. Bukauskas, led 8-0 after five innings and moved to a winners' bracket game Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast, the other team that is in the national tournament for the first time. FGSU beat Michigan, putting the Wolverines into an elimination game against North Carolina.

Davidson and North Carolina are plenty familiar with each other. The teams have played every year since Mike Fox began coaching the Tar Heels. They had won 18 of 19 against Davidson under Fox before Friday. Carolina won this year's regular-season meeting 7-6 in 10 innings.


N.C. State outlasted Indiana in a game that last more than 4 1/2 hours to win its opening game in the Lexington Regional 7-6 in 12 innings.

With the come-from-behind victory, the Wolfpack (35-23) advances to play host Kentucky (40-20) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

NC State trailed most of the game but used clutch home runs to pull even on multiple occasions. State had the leadoff runner on board in 10 of the 12 innings but mostly failed to capitalize.

That all changed in the 12th, when after the leadoff runner singled and eventually advanced to third, a passed ball allowed the go-ahead run to score. Another run gave the Wolfpack all the cushion it would need to hold on.


Southeastern Conference teams went 6-1 in early games and the Big 12 opened 3-2. The Big Ten, which tied its record with five teams in the national tournament, got off to an 0-3 start.

No. 3 national seed Florida won 10-6 over Marist and No. 4 LSU erased an early 3-0 deficit to beat Texas Southern 15-7 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Kentucky won its NCAA opener for the first time since 1988, 6-4 over Ohio in Lexington. Vanderbilt, Auburn and Texas A&M also posted wins for the SEC. Mississippi State lost 6-3 to South Alabama. Arkansas played Friday night.

The Big Ten struggled. In addition to Michigan's loss, Nebraska struggled offensively in a 5-1 loss to Yale in Corvallis, Oregon, and Maryland gave up six home runs while getting beaten 9-1 by West Virginia in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Indiana and Iowa played late games.


Missouri State 6, Oklahoma State 5, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Jeremy Eierman's second homer of the game was a two-run shot in the ninth for a walk-off win. Oklahoma State had taken a 5-4 lead in the top half on a wild pitch. With one man on and two outs in the bottom half, Eierman launched a 2-1 pitch from Trey Cobb far over the right-field fence.


- Keegan Thompson of Auburn went eight innings to match his season high and allowed four hits and struck out nine against UCF.

- USF's Phoenix Sanders pitched seven innings to equal his season high and gave up five hits and struck out seven in a 9-1 win over Bethune-Cookman in Gainesville, Florida.

- Yale's Politz threw his seventh complete game of the season but only his second in a game that went nine innings. The Ivy League plays seven-inning doubleheaders.


- Oklahoma State's Garrett Benge hit for the cycle in the loss to Missouri State. He doubled in the first, homered in the fourth, singled in the seventh and tripled in the ninth.

- West Virginia, in the tournament for the first time since 1996, got two homers apiece from Jimmy Galusky and Kyle Davis.

- Vanderbilt's Will Toffey has been torrid since missing five games in May because of a shoulder injury. He went 4 for 5 with a double, home run and three RBIs against St. John's. He's 19 for 34 (.559) with four homers, 13 runs and 15 RBIs over his last seven games.

- Freshman Will Holland, who came in batting .210 out of the 9-hole for Auburn, doubled and hit a three-run homer against UCF. Holland homered for the first time since March 17.

- Florida Gulf Coast's Nick Rivera hit his 18th and 19th home runs of the season and drove in four runs against Michigan.

- Rob Calabrese of Illinois-Chicago and Radford's Adam Whitacre hit grand slams. Calbrese's slam gave UIC a 6-1 lead over Southern Mississippi in the fifth, but the Golden Eagles came back to win 8-7. Whitacre also tripled and drove in all of Radford's runs in an 11-6 loss to Louisville.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.