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Davidson Stuns UNC Again To Reach Super Regionals

Strike One: Cinderella Dances On

A week ago, Davidson had never played in the NCAA Tournament. Now the Wildcats are a step closer to their first College World Series.

The small private school, located about two hours south of Chapel Hill, knocked off its much-better-known, in-state opponent North Carolina for the second time in three days at Boshamer Stadium, sending the national No. 2 seed home with a 2-1 win Sunday.

The Atlantic 10 champions pounded UNC 8-4 in the regional opener, but barely escaped with the win Sunday. The Wildcats broke a scoreless tie in the fifth after the Tar Heels—sensing the urgency—brought in closer Josh Hiatt with two men on and one out. Will Robertson singled home two runs against Hiatt for a 2-0 lead.

Michael Busch homered in the bottom of the inning for the only run sophomore righthander Josh Hudson allowed in seven strong innings for Davidson. The Wildcats then turned to Durin O'Linger, the future pharmacist who got the win in Friday's victory over UNC. O'Linger had already thrown 330 pitches this postseason—including 94 on Friday. This time he just held on.

After Kyle Datres grounded out to start the ninth, Brandon Riley and Lynn singled, putting runners on first and second. Zack Gahagan followed with a single to right, appearing to tie the game as Riley attempted to score. But Riley missed the plate and Davidson catcher Jake Sidwell dove to tag out Riley. With two outs and runners on the corners, Busch pulled a grounder wide of first that first baseman Brian Fortier ranged to field. His flip to O'Linger was hit, but O'Linger caught the bag for the final out to cap the amazing regional run.

“That’s going to be talked about forever,” Davidson coach Dick Cooke told reporters about the game's ending.

O'Linger needed another 34 pitches to get through two innings Sunday.

“I had a lot of adrenaline going, so I didn’t really feel anything,” O’Linger told reporters after the game.

Davidson is the fifth regional No. 4 seed since 2006 to advance to a super regional, following Missouri (2006), Fresno State (2008), Stony Brook (2012), College of Charleston (2014) and Virginia Commonwealth (2015). The super regional starts Friday or Saturday against the winner of the Houston Regional.

Strike Two: Four Others Advance

Beside Davidson and Cal State Fullerton, which advanced to supers on Saturday by beating Stanford, four other programs moved on on Sunday, including No. 1 national seed Oregon State, which beat upstart Yale 8-1 to close out the Corvallis Regional.

• No. 7 national seed Louisville is going to super regionals after rallying twice to beat Xavier, 8-7. Josh Stowers, who homered earlier in the game, doubled home the tying run in the seventh and scored the winning run later in the inning on Logan Taylor's hit. The Cardinals will play Kentucky or North Carolina State in the super regionals.

• Wake Forest went unbeaten in its regional hosting duties in Winston-Salem, N.C., capping the weekend with a 12-8 win over West Virginia. Stuart Fairchild homered twice, including a grand slam in the fourth inning that broke open a 4-3 game.

• Louisiana State was the other school to close out a regional Sunday, winning the Baton Rouge regional by blanking Rice, 5-0, behind freshman righthander Eric Walker, who struck out eight in eight shutout innings, walking none.

Strike Three: Upset City

Sam Houston State, the No. 3 seed in Lubbock, forced a Game Seven Monday by edging host Texas Tech 9-8 in the nightcap after eliminating Arizona earlier in the day. Sophomore Clayton Harp drove in four runs for the Bearkats, who had 14 hits to beat the Red Raiders.

“We're David competing against a bunch of Goliaths," coach Matt Deggs told "To get beat up like we did last night and to have enough fire to sweep a doubleheader between Arizona and Texas Tech . . . if you told anyone that, they'd tell you it's highly improbable. We made some big plays and came up with some timely hits. That's our formula.”

Meanwhile, Gainesville No. 3 seed Bethune-Cookman pulled off the doubleheader sweep as well, eliminating USF 6-4 in the early game and then stunning host Florida 6-2 in the late game to force Game Seven on Monday.

Nate Sterijevski drove in four runs, while TJ Densmore and Anthony Maldonado combined on 7.2 innings of shutout relief.

The Wildcats were 0-31 against the Gators coming in, a fact that did not escape coach Jason Beverlin.

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“I knew we never beat them when I was here, put it that way," Beverlin told reporters. "And I knew our record, if we had beaten them, we hadn’t beaten them much. But, yeah, they’re a great team every year. So to beat anybody of their caliber, any of the big three in our state is a big deal for us.

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