The No. 1 national ranked Tennessee was eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament on the same day that Mississippi, the last team selected, hit its ticket to the College World Series.
Sunday produced the biggest surprises of the tournament that mostly went by shape on the regional tour. Super Regional has made up for this lack of drama.
Notre Dame defeated Tennessee 7-3 in the crucial third game in their major regional division and joined Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M at the CWS.
The final two points of the CWS will be filled in on Monday when Connecticut plays No. 2 at Stanford and Auburn and No. 3 meets Oregon in the 3s. CWS begins Friday in Omaha, Nebraska.
Tennessee is the third consecutive number one national seed to be eliminated in the regional super. Arkansas rebounded last year and UCLA in 2019. There was no tournament in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Notre Dame is going to come to Omaha and enjoy it and maybe do some damage. It’s a really tough group,” Vols coach Tony Vitello said. “What should remain with our men, once time passes … What do they say? Time heals all wounds? I don’t know who they are, because sometimes they take so long.”
Until Sunday, the Volunteers served as college baseball toast with an explosive attack and crew packed with anticipated majors. They finished with 57 wins in school after making a 31-1 start and clinching the SEC regular season and championship title. The home’s 158 owners were fourth of all time in the first division. They lost one series of three games prior to the Super Regional in Knoxville.
Three pitchers of Notre Dame were combined to allow five hits, with left-footed student Jack Findlay dropping one and holding the volumes aimless over the past five rounds.
The Irish erased their 3-1 deficit in the seventh game. David Lamanna, who entered the match with one run at home, fired a two-stage shot to equalize it and Jack Branigan followed with an exploding green light. The Irish added three more runs for eighth.
The Irish were in a row of the top 16 national seed, making them the regional host, but the NCAA selection committee made them the No. 2 regional seed and sent them to Statesboro, Georgia.
They’ve won three games there, winning the regional Super Opening 8-6 and recovering from a 12-4 loss on Saturday to make their first trip to the CWS since 2002.
“We’ve struggled and struggled for years to get to this moment,” said coach Link Jarrett, whose team lost three super regional games to the Mississippi State National Champion last year.
“These are just exceptional human beings. They understand what’s going on in the competition, they go in and they do it, and they think this moment is going to be with a student finishing the most important game, quite frankly, in the history of the program at this place against this team.”
She will face Notre Dame Texas at the opening of the College World Championships.
Mississippi, the last team to have a big showing and the No. 3 regional seed, beat Southern Mississippi 5-0 in Hattiesburg. The Rebels, who won 10-0 on Saturday, posted their first finish of the season and Miss South was eliminated in back-to-back games for the first time since 1987.
Ole Miss bowlers only allowed seven hits in the two games and hit 21 when the Rebels reached the CWS for the first time since 2014.
Oklahoma will return to the CWS for the first time since 2010 after wrapping up the super regional with an 11-2 victory over the No. 4 national seed Virginia Tech.
The Sooners hit five runs, two of Tanner Treadway, and Kid Horton hit eight over six innings and retired 11 of the last 13 hitters they faced.
Oklahoma will open the CWS against Texas A&M, which secured its spot on Saturday with a sweep of Louisville.
“A dream come true,” Treadaway said. “We’ve all worked our tails off. I can’t be proud of these guys and everything we put into this has led to this moment now.”
Arkansas scored twice at the bottom of the ninth inning to beat North Carolina 4-3, with the home win back in the Brady Slavins singles right field. The Razorback family is heading to Omaha for the seventh time since 2004.
Texas will appear second in a row in the CWS and score 38th overall after making a big lead early on, beating East Carolina 11-1. Evan Melendez scored 32 as the nation’s best player, and Tristan Stephens delivered six strong runs for the Longhorns. The Pirates have made the most matches in the tournament (32) without advancing to the CWS.
Stanford beat Austin Peterson of Connecticut for seven games in 1 1/3 innings and forced Game 3 with an 8-2 win. Ryan Bruno and Quinn Matthews grabbed UConn by one stroke over five rounds of closing.
Ben Ferrer provided 3 1/3 closing innings to rest Cooper Hegerby, and Jake Ducarte stood alone in the RBI in the sixth inning in Oregon State’s 4-3 win of the evening over Auburn.