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Gamecocks headed to Omaha; Houston clips Owls

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Brian Buscher homered twice and drove in six runs as South Carolina beat North Carolina 14-4 on Saturday to sweep their super regional series and advance to the College World Series.

Landon Powell also hit two home runs and had four RBIs for South Carolina
(44-20), which lost to Texas in the national championship game last year.

After falling behind 2-0 in the second, the Gamecocks scored four times in the third to take the lead for good on Buscher's RBI single and Powell's three-run homer. South Carolina, which won the first game of the series 5-4 on Friday, scored 10 runs over the last three innings to clinch its seventh CWS berth.

Ryan Blake had two RBIs for North Carolina (42-23), which was looking for its first College World Series trip since 1989.

In other games Saturday, it was: Miami 10, North Carolina State 9; Houston 5, Rice 2; LSU 6, Baylor 5; Arizona State 7, Cal State Fullerton 6; Stanford 4, Long Beach State 2; and Southwest Missouri State 13, Ohio State 8.

Texas' game at Florida State was postponed by rain. The first game of the series was rescheduled for Sunday, with the second game Monday and a third game, if necessary, on Tuesday.

Miami 10, North Carolina State 9

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Ryan Braun hit a game-winning home run in the ninth and led Miami to a comeback victory over North Carolina State in the first game of their super regional.

Braun went 2-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs, and Gaby Sanchez also homered for the Hurricanes (43-15-1), who rallied from a six-run deficit.

Justin Riley capped a six-run sixth for North Carolina State (45-17) with a grand slam to give the Wolfpack a 9-3 lead. Miami came back in the bottom of the inning, scoring five times on Sanchez's three-run homer, Erick San Pedro's RBI double and Danny Figueroa's RBI single.

San Pedro tied it in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.

Tied 9-9 with two outs in the ninth, Braun homered off Wolfpack closer Joey Devine, giving Miami the win.

Houston 5, Rice 2

HOUSTON — Cole Bruce hit a three-run homer to cap Rice's four-run sixth inning, and Danny Zell pitched seven strong innings as Houston beat Rice in the first game of their super regional series.

Zell (9-5) retired 10 in a row during one stretch, and allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out three. Ryan Wagner struck out four in two innings of perfect relief.

Houston (37-28), trying for its first College World Series appearance since 1967, snapped an eight-game losing streak to Rice at Reckling Field. The teams will play the second game of the best-of-three series Sunday.

Enrique Cruz, the brother of major leaguer Jose Cruz Jr., and Austin Davis drove in runs for Rice (51-11), which beat the Cougars four times in the regular season. The Owls are trying to reach the CWS for the fourth time in seven years.

LSU 6, Baylor 5

BATON ROUGE, La. — Clay Harris and Ivan Naccarata hit back-to-back homers in the eighth and Louisiana State tied its super regional series against Baylor.

LSU (44-20-1) took a 3-0 lead in the first on Aaron Hill's homer, but trailed 5-4 in the seventh after RBI singles by Chris Durbin and David Murphy.

Harris tied it in the eighth with a homer off Abe Woody, and Baylor coach Steve Smith brought in Ryan LaMotta, who earned the save in Friday's game. But Naccarata homered to put LSU up 6-5.

The win was the Tigers' first in a super regional since a 4-3, 13-inning victory over Tulane on June 1, 2001, and improved them to 58-11 in NCAA tournament home games.

The Bears (45-22) are attempting to become the first team to win any round of an NCAA tournament game in Baton Rouge against LSU, while the Tigers are seeking their 12th trip to Omaha since 1986.

Southwest Missouri State 13, Ohio State 8

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Brooks Colvin and Rick Wilson each hit RBI singles in a five-run eighth inning as Southwest Missouri State beat Ohio State in the first game of their super regional series.

Dant'e Brinkley's three-run homer capped a seven-run third for the Bears (39-24), who led 8-2 before Ohio State (44-20) tied it on Brett Garrard's two-run homer in the top of the eighth.

But the Bears scored five times in the bottom of the inning to take control. Colvin and Wilson hit RBI singles, and Shawn Marcum, Tony Piazza and Greg Mathis drew consecutive bases-loaded walks. Southwest Missouri improved to 33-1 when leading after six innings.

Jedidiah Stephen, Drew Anderson, Steve Caravati and Garrard all homered for the Buckeyes.

Arizona State 7, Cal State Fullerton 6

FULLERTON, Calif. — Jeff Larish and Andre Ethier each hit home runs as Arizona State held off Cal State Fullerton and forced an elimination game in their super regional series.

Larish was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Ethier was 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Sun Devils (54-13). The teams will play Sunday, with the winner advancing to the College World Series.

The Titans (47-14) fell behind 7-2, but clawed back, getting three runs in the sixth on Justin Smyres' pinch-hit two-run triple and Ronnie Prettyman's sacrifice fly RBI.

Cal State Fullerton cut it to 7-6 on Richie Burgos' homer in the seventh, but Ryan Schroyer came in and retired all seven batters he faced.

Stanford 4, Long Beach State 2

STANFORD, Calif. — Danny Putnam hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning, and Carlos Quentin had four hits and an RBI as Stanford won the super regional series against Long Beach State and advanced to the College World Series for the fifth straight year.

Mark Romanczuk (12-0) scattered 10 hits over 8 1-3 innings and became the first Stanford freshman to win his first 12 decisions. He struck out two and walked one. Matt Manship got two outs for his ninth save.

The Cardinal (46-15) have won nine straight, and 18 of 19 overall. Stanford will make its 15th trip to Omaha, where it will take on South Carolina in the first round. The Gamecocks beat North Carolina 14-4 earlier Saturday.

Adam Heether hit a home run and drove in two runs as Long Beach State (41-20) was eliminated by the Cardinal in postseason play for the second straight year.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. contributed to this report.

02/23/2007 10:44:41 AM

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