Conference USA:Old Dominion couldn't capitalize on a bases-loaded opportunity in the top of the ninth inning and lost 3-2 to Middle Tennessee State (31-25) in the first round of the Conference USA tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Fifth-seeded ODU (33-23), which needs a strong showing in the losers' bracket to boost its NCAA tournament at-large berth, even if it can't record five consecutive victories to take the C-USA title,will play at 10 a.m. Thursday against eighth-seeded Florida International.
The Golden Panthers lost 9-2 to Rice, the tournament's top seed and nation's 18th-ranked team. The Owls' Michael Aquino was 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBI.
ODU coach Chris Finwood said of his team's contest, “It was a good ballgame. I thought both teams pitched pretty well."
Dustin Delgado's two-run double to left-center off losing pitcher Ryan Yarbrough (6-7) put the fourth-seeded Blue Raiders ahead 2-0 in the second inning. Jake Ellison's RBI single made it 3-0 in the fourth.
The Monarchs came back with two runs in the fifth. After Jordan Negrini and Ben Slaton were hit by pitches by winner Zac Curtis (9-3), they scored on singles by Tyler Urps and Nick Walker, respectively.
In the ninth, Urps and Walker singled, and pinch hitter Taylor Ostrich fouled off numerous two-strike pitches to draw a one-out walk. But reliever Matt Blackham induced P.J. Higgins to pop out and struck out Gloucester's Josiah Burney swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
"The story of that game is that we just couldn’t get a big hit with guys on second," Finwood said. "We had a lot of chances today, we just didn’t make due with enough of them. They made some pitches, but at the end of the day, somebody has to get a big hit." ...
In the other bracket, the lower seeds won.
No. 7 Texas-San Antonio beat No. 2 Alabama Birmingham 4-1, and No. 6 East Carolina disappointed the Hattiesburg crowd by edging No. 3 Southern Mississippi 9-8 in 11 innings.
On the first day of Atlantic Coast Conference tournament pool play in Greensboro, N.C., former Peninsula Pilot Josh Heddinger pitched seven innings for a victory as No. 9 seed Georgia Tech upended top-seeded Miami 6-3.
The Yellow Jackets (34-24) pounded out 14 hits and scored three runs in the latter innings. Ryan Pueriefoy batted 4-for-4 and scored three runs. Heddinger yielded seven hits and three runs and struck out five. ...
Tyler Krieger's two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning gave Clemson (35-22) the lead for good in its 5-3 victory over Duke (32-24).
Duke took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Ryan Deitrich's two-out, two-run homer.
After Clemson scored in the fourth inning on Garrett Boulware's run-scoring single, one-out singles by Chris Okey and Weston Wilson in the fifth inning set up Krieger's two-run double down the right-field line to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Clemson added two runs in the ninth inning on Steven Duggar's single.
No. 4 seed Delaware overcame a three-run deficit to edge No. 5 Northeastern 4-3, earning the right to face top-seeded William and Mary at noon Thursday in the double-elimination Colonial Athletic Association tournament in Wilmington, N.C.
Dan Gatto pitched a complete game for the win. In the eighth, Nick Liggett hit a tying RBI single before Ty Warrington's sacrifice fly brought in the eventual winning run.
James Madison became the first school eliminated, losing a pair of games to finish 17-36.
First, the sixth-seeded Dukes fell 11-10 to No. 3 UNC Wilmington, squandering an 8-4 advantage. Freshman Teddy Cillis’ two-out single in the bottom of the 10th won it for the Seahawks.
Drew Farber had four hits for UNCW, which will face the second-seeded College of Charleston on Thursday.
JMU senior Ty MacFarland, the son of Dukes coach Spanky MacFarland, collected four hits and knocked in three runs. Kevin Husum added three hits while Kyle Weston was 2-for-2 and scored three runs.
JMU then lost 3-1 to Northeastern as the Huskies' Nick Berger pitched a four-hitter and struck out 10. Connor Lyons' two-run singlein the fifth propelled the Huskies.
Heath Dwyer pitched 6 1/3 innings for the win, and Bill Cullen and Chris Ayers each had two hits for the Rams (35-18). The Spiders (24-27-1) dropped to the losers' bracket.
Also, St. Joseph's beat Dayton 9-4. Rain played havoc with the rest of the schedule.
Shane beat Boise State's Andy Bettles 6-3, 6-3. But No. 4 seed Mitchell Frank lost 6-2, 7-5 to UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald, and No. 6 Alex Domijan dropped a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 decision to Minnesota's Alejandro Toledo.
Virginia Tech's Amerigo Contini pulled out a 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 win against Illinois' Tim Kopinski, an alternate.
VCU's Alexis Heugas lost 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to No. 12 seed Nik Scholtz of Mississippi.
Virginia's Danielle Collins won her first-rounder in Athens, Ga., but teammate Julia Elbaba -- the No. 4 seed -- was ousted.
Collins defeated Northwestern's Veronica Corning 7-5, 6-2, while Elbaba dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Stanford's Krista Hardebeck.
On Auto Racing Night in North Carolina, where NASCAR's Michael Waltrip and Joey Logano threw out the ceremonial first pitches, the Tides were racing around the bases.Norfolk pounded out 13 hits -- including eight doubles -- in a 10-3 win at Charlotte, giving the Tides three wins in their last four games.
Norfolk starter Suk-min Yoon was solid over four innings before exiting the game in the fifth after taking a line drive off of his knee.
Knights slugger Matt Davidson lined the ball off Yoon's knee in the fifth, and the Korean right-hander had to be helped off the field. Reliever Nick Additon (3-1, 2.60 ERA) pitched three scoreless innings for the victory.
Devin Harris clubbed two home runs to help the Richmond Flying Squirrels (23-21) defeat the New Britain Rock Cats 7-5 in Connecticut.
It marked the first win in the series for Richmond after New Britain (20-24), the Minnesota Twins' Double-A affiliate, had grabbed the first two games.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun