Starkville, Miss., Sporting Alert – Arizona carved out another narrow victory over Mississippi State in Game 2 of the Starkville Super Regional and advance to the NCAA College World Series on Saturday.
The Wildcats trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but rallied to score three runs, with Ryan Aguilar knocking out a 3-run home run in that inning to pull his team within one before they went on to secure a 6-5 victory in the 11th inning and silenced the crowd of 13,452 at Dudy Noble Field.
Alfonso Rivas drove a single to score Cody Ramer and tie the game at 5-5 prior to Cesar Salazar delivering a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded and two outs to finish off the thrilling comeback, which ended with five straight runs for the Cats.
With Saturday’s win, Arizona, which had also defeated the No. 6 ranked Bulldogs 1-0 in Game 1 on Friday, won the best-of-three series and advanced to its 17th trip to the College World Series in Omaha.
“I pride myself on knowing the right thing to say, but I’m speechless right now,” Arizona coach Jay Johnson said after the game. “This is the best moment of my life.”
Mississippi State was the only loser from Friday that failed to win on Saturday, as Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Boston College all landed Game 2 victories to force a winner-take-all third game on Sunday.
The No. 4 Aggies bounced back from Friday’s defeat with a thumping 7-1 victory over TCU to even the College Station Super Regional series at 1-1, while No. 5 Texas Tech turned back East Carolina 3-1 in the Lubbock Super Regional and No. 3 Miami (Fl) fell 5-3 to Boston College in the Coral Gables Super Regional.
Elsewhere, No. 1 Florida dropped Game 1 in the Gainesville Super Regional, 3-0 against Florida and heads into Sunday’s Game 2 facing elimination.
Oklahoma State also got its series off to a flying start after securing a 5-1 win over South Carolina in the Columbia Super Regional, but No. 2 Louisville was beaten 4-2 by UC Santa Barbara in the Louisville Super Regional and Coastal Carolina put away LSU 11-8.
Baton Rouge Super Regional
Coastal Carolina 11, LSU 8
College Station Super Regional
Texas A&M 7, TCU 1
Columbia Super Regional
Oklahoma State 5, South Carolina 1
Coral Gables Super Regional
Boston College 5, Miami 3
Gainesville Super Regional
Florida State 3, Florida 0
Louisville Super Regional
UC Santa Barbara 4, Louisville 2
Lubbock Super Regional
Texas Tech 3, East Carolina 1 (13 innings)
Starkville Super Regional
Arizona 6, Mississippi State 5 (11 innings)
Mississippi State eliminated from the NCAA tournament
Arizona advances to the College World Series