The first day of the NCAA Tournament headed into Friday night with no surprises among the national seeds.
No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 5 LSU and No. 12 Kentucky won their regional openers, with the other four Southeastern Conference teams that earned national seeds playing at night.
The Atlantic Coast Conference went 2 for 2 with No. 4 Clemson and No. 7 Virginia posting wins.
No. 8 Stanford, the only Pac-12 school nationally seeded, also won.
Indiana State, seeded 14th and hosting a regional for the first time, got a scare from Wright State before winning 6-5.
The Sycamores of the Missouri Valley Conference trailed until they got to Horizon League pitcher of the year Sebastian Gongora in the eighth. Tristan Haught, who came on with one out and two runners on, gave up a sacrifice fly and walked two straight before Grant Magill singled in two runs for the lead.
“That wasn’t the way we drew it out, by any means,” Sycamores coach Mitch Hannahs said. “It wasn’t the prettiest, but it worked out. I told our club we didn’t play real well but sometimes toughness, fight and resiliency trumps that, and I thought that’s what happened today.”
Four No. 3 regional seeds won. Washington beat Dallas Baptist 9-5, with Michael Snyder’s two-run homer and Johnny Tincher’s three-run shot highlighted a seven-run fifth inning. Texas Tech’s Mason Molina struck out 12 in six innings in a 3-2 win over Connecticut. LuJames Groover III homered twice as North Carolina State beat Campbell 5-1. Garrett Staton had four hits with two doubles in Samford’s 4-2, 10-inning win over Southern Mississippi.
LSU RIDES SKENES, CREWS
LSU’s Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes performed like guys projected to be the top two picks in the amateur draft.
Crews was 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI in the Tigers’ 7-2 win over Tulane. Skenes scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out 12 in his first complete game.
Skenes also made one of the defensive plays of the day when he caught James Agabedis III’s line drive between his legs and threw to first to double off the runner.
“I got tired of them hitting the ball up the middle,” a grinning Skenes said, “and I wanted to catch one.”
100 RBI SEASON
Maryland’s Nick Lorusso became the first player in 20 years to drive in 100 runs in a season when he homered in the first inning in a 7-2 win over Northeastern. New Mexico State’s Billy Becher was the previous player with 100 RBIs in 2003.
Duke’s MJ Metz homered on three straight plate appearances in a 12-3 win over UNC-Wilmington. … Billy Amick hit a grand slam to break open the game in the eighth and finished with five RBIs in Clemson’s 12-5 win over Lipscomb. … Alex Vergara homered twice for Lipscomb. … Kendall Diggs’ bases-clearing single highlighted a five-run fourth inning in Arkansas’ 13-6 win over Santa Clara. … Dylan Campbell went 2 for 4 in Texas’ 4-2 win over Louisiana and set the Big 12 record with his 36th straight game with a hit.
Four relievers combined to keep the Musketeers scoreless over the last five innings of Oregon’s 5-4 win over Xavier. The Ducks’ bullpen has a 1.44 ERA in five postseason games. … Virginia had a no-hitter going in its 15-1 win over Army until Braden Golinski singled with one out in the seventh off Cullen McKay, who took over for Brian Edgington at the start of the sixth. … Travis Smith and Mason Moore combined on a three-hitter in Kentucky’s 4-0 win over Ball State, the Wildcats’ first shutout in 31 all-time NCAA Tournament games.
AROUND THE HORN
Florida got a two-run homer from Josh Rivera in the first inning and six shutout innings from Jac Caglianone in a 3-0 win over Florida A&M. … Virginia scored its most runs in an NCAA Tournament since 2016. The Cavaliers led 10-0 early and scored in all but two innings. … Wright State’s Andrew Patrick became the first Division I player this season to hit 20 homers and steal 30 bases. … Wright State lost all nine of its regional openers since 2006 and eight straight games overall in the national tournament. … Dallas Baptist’s Ryan Johnson gave up eight earned runs in six innings against Washington, the most in his career. … The crowd of 7,367 in Gainesville was a Florida record for a postseason home game.
Eric Olson, The Associated Press