Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky in Men’s College World Series


Tennessee decisively ended Evansville’s surprise run in the NCAA tournament Sunday, Florida outlasted Clemson in a wild five-hour game, Texas A&M used a nine-run inning to pull away from Oregon and Kentucky made program history over Oregon State.

Next stop for the four SEC schools is the Men’s College World Series.

The Volunteers homered seven times in the first five innings and went on to a 12-1 victory over Evansville after the Purple Aces knocked off the No. 1 national seed Volunteers a day earlier to extend their best-of-three super regional to a third game.

Michael Robertson, Florida’s No. 9 hitter, sliced a ball into the left-center gap to bring home two runs in the 13th inning and deliver an 11-10 walk-off win. Florida has won nine straight super regionals under coach Kevin O’Sullivan, the longest streak by any team since the round was added in 1999, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Tennessee and Florida are in the MCWS for a second straight year, and Texas A&M is in for the second time in three years after Kaeden Kent’s grand slam in the nine-run seventh inning carried the Aggies past Oregon 15-9.

Kentucky advanced to the MCWS for the first time in school history with its 3-2 win over Oregon State. Nolan McCarthy doubled and scored the go-ahead run from second base on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.

North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia swept their super regionals Saturday to lock up spots in the MCWS in Omaha, Nebraska, starting Friday.

One MCWS spot remains. Georgia forced a third and deciding game Monday night against North Carolina State, bouncing back from a 17-run loss Saturday to beat the Wolfpack 11-2.

The last time Tennessee was the No. 1 national seed, in 2022, it lost a three-game super regional to Notre Dame in Knoxville. The Volunteers weren’t going to let that happen against the No. 4 regional seed Purple Aces.

They unleashed the power that has made them the top home run-hitting team in the nation, with Christian Moore connecting for his 34th leading off the bottom of the first and Dean Curley and Dalton Bargo going back-to-back in the second. Bargo and Moore went deep again and Billy Amick and Cal Stark also homered before the barrage ended. The seven homers were a Tennessee postseason single-game record.

The Vols have hit 26 homers in six NCAA tournament games and have 173 for the season, second behind LSU’s 188 in 1997.

Florida finally prevailed in its 5-hour, 3-minute game after the Tigers’ Cam Cannarella kept it going with a tying homer in the ninth and the defensive play of the tournament in the 10th. Alden Mathes hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the 13th.

The Gators led 9-6 with one out in the ninth when Cannarella came to bat with two runners on. Cannarella launched Brandon Neely’s first pitch out to right to tie it.

The next inning, Cannarella made an inning-ending over-the-shoulder basket catch on Ashton Wilson’s deep fly to center. Cannarella, who was playing shallow, turned and gave chase and the ball deflected off the heel of his glove into his chest as he left his feet to hit the wall. He was able to hang on to the ball and delay Florida’s celebration.

The Gators, the national runners-up last year, had to win their last regular-season series at Georgia to achieve a winning record and qualify as an at-large selection for the tournament. As a No. 3 regional seed, they went to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and beat host Oklahoma State twice to advance. Their sweep at Clemson came in the programs’ first meeting since 1983.

“Going through the struggles and having every game matter the last two or three weeks of the year probably toughed us up a little bit,” O’Sullivan said.

Texas A&M, down 8-4, sent 13 batters to the plate in the seventh inning against Oregon. The Ducks’ Brock Moore and Jaxon Jordan combined to walk seven and hit a batter in the inning. Kent, the second batter of the inning, singled. No one got another hit until he sent a Jordan pitch over the fence in right center.

Kentucky finished off its first super regional championship after winning the opener 10-0 with a one-hitter Saturday for the school’s first victory in a super regional.

No. 7 Georgia got homers from Slate Alford, Tre Phelps and Paul Toetz to get out to a 10-0 lead against NC State. Held to four hits Saturday, the Bulldogs had 15 Sunday. Their starter, Leighton Finley, pitched a season-high 6⅔ innings, allowing one run and striking out five.

“For us, the bounce-back was huge, and we just stayed focused on playing the game,” Georgia coach Wes Johnson said. “Obviously, scoring those two right there in the first got us off to a great start. Leighton threw the ball extremely well. It really put our bullpen at ease a little bit because you never know what you’ll have to do in a game like this.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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