ACC's Florida St., Virginia and N. Carolina first 3 in College World Series; Evansville still alive

The Atlantic Coast Conference advanced three teams to the College World Series on Saturday with Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina sweeping their NCAA super regionals.

No. 1 national seed Tennessee of the SEC will have to wait an extra day to punch its ticket to Omaha, Nebraska. If not, that means the plucky Purple Aces of Evansville will have pulled off one of the great upsets in college baseball history.

The Aces forced a deciding game in the best-of-three series with a 10-8 win in Knoxville, Tennessee. That made them the first No. 4 regional seed to beat a No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. No. 4 regional seeds had been 0-30 all-time in such matchups.

“It'll go down, hands down, as the greatest win in our school's history, a program I'm extremely proud of,” coach Wes Carroll said. “I bleed purple and it's great to be able to experience that as the head coach at UE.”

Florida State followed its 24-4 beatdown of UConn on Friday with a 10-8 win in 12 innings; Virginia finished off Kansas State with a 10-4 victory; and North Carolina defeated West Virginia 2-1 to send Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey into retirement.

The ACC will have at least three teams in the CWS for the first time since 2008, and the league still has North Carolina State and Clemson alive in super regionals. The ACC sent four teams to Omaha in 2006. No conference has had five teams among the eight in a CWS.

FSU's James Tibbs III hit his third homer of the game, a two-run shot, to break an 8-all tie in the 12th and Conner Whittaker pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief.

The Seminoles will be in their 24th CWS, and first under second-year coach Link Jarrett. Last year, they finished with a losing record for the first time in program history and didn't make the tournament.

“I couldn't be more thankful to be here and help put Florida State baseball back on the map,” Tibbs said. “It's been a wild ride.”

Virginia's Casey Saucke homered in the first inning and Jacob Ference's triple and Luke Hanson's double highlighted a five-run ninth that broke open the game against K-State. The Cavaliers will make their second straight CWS appearance, third in four years and seventh overall under Brian O'Connor.

“They played their best baseball the last two weekends," O'Connor said. "Certainly we have more to do in front of us. We’re going to enjoy today and tonight and regroup tomorrow and get ready for our plan of what we need to do in Omaha to keep this thing going.”

North Carolina closer Dalton Pence got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to send the Tar Heels to their 12th CWS and first under Scott Forbes.

Pence covered first on Ben Lumsden's grounder that pulled first baseman Parks Harber off the bag. Pence was able to beat Lumsden to the base and catch Harber's throw to end the game.

Vance Honeycutt, whose homer gave the Tar Heels a walk-off win on Friday, hit Tyler Switalski's first pitch of the game out of the park and Harber's base hit in the third brought in the go-ahead run.

“What a team, what a team,” Honeycutt said. “Not done yet, though.”

Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina State and Texas A&M won their super regional openers.

Trey Pooser limited Oregon State to one hit and four walks over seven innings and Jackson Nove retired all six batters he faced in No. 2 national seed Kentucky's 10-0 victory. Pooser has allowed one run and struck out 18 in 19 innings over his last three starts.

Jac Caglianone's three-run homer highlighted a seven-run fifth inning that fueled the Gators' 10-7 win at No. 6 Clemson.

The No. 10 Wolfpack hammered No. 7 Georgia 18-1 in Athens, with Jacob Cozart hitting two of his team's five home runs and Noah Soles driving in five runs on two doubles in the 11-run second inning.

No. 3 Texas A&M got 7 1/3 innings of shutout relief from Chris Cortez and Evan Aschenbeck and came from behind to beat Oregon 10-6 in College Station.

Evansville, the pride of the Missouri Valley Conference, had to endure some late-game tension to extend its series with Tennessee to a third game. The Volunteers, down five runs, singled twice and drew three walks off Nick Smith to start the ninth. Shane Harris issued a one-out walk to load the bases before he struck out Cal Stark and got Christian Moore to fly out to end the game.

The Purple Aces converted four singles and a double into a 6-5 lead in the fifth. Brendan Hord, who was 0 for 18 in the tournament, and Kip Fougerousse each hit two-run homers in the sixth to make it 10-5.

Evansville has taken a nothing-to-lose attitude through their first six games in the NCAA Tournament. That changes Sunday in a winner-take-all game.

“The stakes are high for us, too,” Carroll said. “As a coach, it's very challenging to get here. You don’t know if you're going to get here again. It’s going to be one of those things that might be one game away (from Omaha) for the rest of my life, so I’m going to cherish it and embrace it and most importantly want to make sure our boys are ready to compete like they did today — loose and with a lot of belief.”


Texas A&M's Braden Montgomery, projected to be one of the first players taken in the amateur draft, was injured on a play at the plate in the first inning and had his right leg in an air cast when he left the field and later was on crutches in the dugout.

Montgomery dived headfirst trying to score from second base on a hit to left field. He was tagged out and grabbed his lower right leg immediately. Coach Jim Schlossnagle said he didn't know the exact nature of the injury but added that Montgomery won't play again this season.


Florida State's Tibbs, having already hit two home runs in the game, said he went up to teammate Daniel Cantu and others in the dugout before the 12th inning to tell them he was going to do it again for the win.

“That was just pure luck,” he said, “but I was confident and I was hoping I would get a pitch to hit — and luckily I did.”


Oregon State was shut out in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since a 14-0 loss to Stanford in 1983 and had its most lopsided tournament loss since UC Irvine won 14-2 in 2014. The Beavers' one hit was their fewest since Washington State held them to one on March 12, 2023. ... Evansville issued 10 walks, third-most in a game this season. ... NC State's 17-run margin of victory was its largest in an NCAA Tournament game. ... Georgia managed only four hits against Sam Highfill and Andrew Shaffner, the Bulldogs' fewest this season besides back-to-back games with three hits against Kentucky in March. ... Caglianone's homer was his 32nd of the season and 72nd of his career, second among active players behind LSU's Tommy White (75).


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not so much for the super regional victory and going to omaha for our seventh time, and i think someone said 3 of last 4 years, tha'ts very small company that's done that. they played their best baseball the lat two weekends. certaily we have more to do in front of us. we're goin gto enjoy today and otnight and regroup tomorrow and get ready for our plan of what we need to do in omaha to keep this thing going.