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Saturday August 19th, 2017 6:31PM

Davidson ousts UNC, wins regional in 1st NCAA Tournament

By The Associated Press
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Best known as the school where Stephen Curry played his college basketball, Davidson is quickly making a name for itself in baseball.

The Wildcats from the 2,000-student private school 20 minutes from Charlotte, North Carolina, became the sixth No. 4 regional seed to advance to a super regional.

They did it by beating No. 2 national seed North Carolina 2-1 on Sunday night — their second win over the Tar Heels in three days.

And they did it in their first tournament appearance.

Davidson's run through the Chapel Hill Regional didn't come without some drama in the ninth inning. There was a play at the plate, with catcher Jake Sidwell diving to tag Brandon Riley after Riley missed the plate with his hand as he slid past. And then first baseman Brian Fortier was pulled far to his right to field Michael Busch's groundball, and his flip to pitcher Durin O'Linger was a bit high. But O'Linger held on in a close play for the final out.

"The way the game ended, with the play at the late and the bang-bang play at first, that's going to be talked about forever," Wildcats coach Dick Cooke said. "It's just very unusual. It's going to be a conversation piece down the road with people who have interest in Davidson and North Carolina and those who don't."

The victory validated the words O'Linger said after the Wildcats (35-24) won three games in two days to claim the Atlantic 10 Tournament title. The Wildcats were seeded sixth in that tournament.

"Everyone knows we're gonna go win the regional," O'Linger told the Charlotte Observer. "I feel bad for whatever No. 1 seed has to play us."

The bearded reliever got the win in Friday's 8-4 victory over the Tar Heels, and he earned the save for Sunday's milestone win. Davidson will play a best-of-three super regional starting Friday or Saturday against the winner of the Houston Regional.

Davidson joined Missouri in 2006, Fresno State in 2008, Stony Brook in 2012, College of Charleston in 2014 and VCU in 2015 as No. 4 regional seeds to advance. Fresno State went on to win the national title, and Stony Brook reached the College World Series.

A look around the country:

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OTHER REGIONAL WINNERS

No. 1 national seed Oregon State, No. 4 LSU, No. 7 Louisville and Wake Forest joined Davidson and Cal State Fullerton as regional winners.

Nick Madrigal went 4 for 4 and Michael Gretler homered and drove in three runs as Oregon State went 3-0 in its regional with an 8-1 win over Yale. The Beavers will host Clemson or Vanderbilt in a super regional.

Eric Walker scattered seven hits and struck out eight in LSU's 5-0 win over Rice. The Tigers will host Southern Mississippi or Mississippi State.

Louisville came from behind twice to beat Xavier 8-7. The Cardinals will host Kentucky or North Carolina State.

No. 1 regional seed Wake Forest beat West Virginia 12-8, with Stuart Fairchild hitting a grand slam for the first of his two homers. The Demon Deacons will visit No. 3 national seed Florida or host Bethune-Cookman.

TAKING ONE FOR TEAM

For the second straight day, an extra-inning game was decided by a bases-loaded hit batter. No. 1 regional seed Florida State got an 8-7 walkoff win over Auburn when Calvin Coker plunked JC Flowers in the bottom of the 10th, forcing a second final Monday.

"I'm just trying to give my team a chance to win. At least put the ball in play or get hit by a pitch," said Flowers, who came into the day 0 for his last 21 but had the go-ahead hit in a 5-3 elimination-game win over Tennessee Tech in the afternoon.

San Diego State beat UCLA on a hit batter in the 13th on Saturday.

MARVELOUS ON MOUND

— Tyler Jackson pitched a two-hit shutout, and host Clemson forced a winner-take-all final Monday with a 6-0 win over Vanderbilt.

— Tyler Radcliffe allowed two runs and struck out seven in five innings in his first career start for host Long Beach State, which forced a second final against Texas with a 4-3 win.

— Konnor Pilkington carried a one-hitter into the eighth inning for Mississippi State, which beat Illinois-Chicago 5-4 in an elimination game.

— Florida State closer Drew Carlton pitched two scoreless innings and, with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, got Chris Brown to look at strike three to end a 5-3 win over Tennessee Tech.

BIG HITTERS

— Connor Wong homered in the ninth, after Iowa's Jake Adams hit his nation-leading 29th to tie it in the bottom of the eighth, and host Houston won 7-5 in the elimination game.

— Nate Sterijevski went 4 for 4 with four RBIs in Bethune-Cookman's 6-2 win over Florida.

— Chad Spanberger's 20th home run of the season with two outs in the seventh broke a 3-3 tie and helped Arkansas eliminate Oral Roberts 4-3.

— Riley Mahan was 4 for 6 with a home run and five RBIs as No. 1 regional seed Kentucky ousted Indiana 14-9. The Hoosiers' Logan Sowers, who homered three times against Ohio on Saturday, went deep again and finished the regional 8 for 14 with eight RBIs in three games.

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AP Sports Writer Joe Reedy in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - College Baseball, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
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