Baylor and Oklahoma skirted elimination four times over the last three days and won NCAA baseball regional titles Monday night to move on to the super-regional round of 16 and still with a chance to make it to the 2012 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Fifth-ranked Baylor punched its ticket to the next round with an 8-2 win over No. 2 seed Dallas Baptist Monday night in Waco. The Bears, now 48-15 on the season, fought back from an opening-game loss to Oral Roberts in the regional they are hosting before eliminating the University of Texas-Arlington on Saturday and then defeating both Oral Roberts and Dallas Baptist on Sunday to set up the championship final with Dallas Baptist.
Designated-hitter and lead-off man Nathan Orf drove in two of the Bears' runs in the championship finale, and shortstop Jake Miller chipped in two more RBI for the Big 12 champions. Baylor scored three runs in the top half of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead, which turned out to be all the Bears needed to secure the regional crown.
The Bears are now 41-37 all-time in the NCAA Baseball Championship and 12-6 in NCAA Tournament games played in Waco. Baylor has a .winning percentage close to .700 in games with Dallas Baptist contested on the Bears' home field.
OU second-baseman Jack Mayfield, one of the heroes of the Sooners 5-4 victory over regional host Virginia Sunday night, drove in three runs for the Sooners, two on a bases-clearing double in the first inning to stake OU to a 3-1 lead in its championship finale with Appalachian State.
Oklahoma received an outstanding pitching performance from little-used Drew Harrison, who had only pitched nine innings total in five appearances all season before Monday night. Harrison, who is listed on the Sooners' roster as a first baseman, delivered strong innings against Appalachian State, giving up just three hits and two runs before yielding the mound to Jordan John for two innings and closer Steven Okert who worked a three-up and three-down ninth to record the save.
Appalachian State finished out the season with a record of 41-18, the most single-season wins in the school's history.
The Sooners now head to Columbia, S.C., where they will take on two-time defending national champion South Carolina, the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Baseball Championship, in a best two-out-of-three super regional. It is OU's third appearance in a super regional, all under coach Sunny Golloway, since the format was started in 1999.
The last time the Sooners and the Gamecocks met was in the 2010 College World Series. OU upset the Gamecocks in the opening World Series game for each team, and the Sooners were one out away from eliminating South Carolina from the CWS when the Gamecocks staged a thrilling comeback to beat OU 3-2. South Carolina went on to win the College World Series that year.
With their backs to the wall, facing elimination with a loss, the Sooners' bats came alive earlier in the day on Monday for the first real time in four games in the NCAA regional tournament, pounding out 13 hits and producing four innings of three runs or more, in a 14-6 win over Appalachian State, which had won its previous two games including a 5-4 win over No, 2 seed Oklahoma on Saturday..In their three previous games before Monday, the Sooners had managed only 11 hits total.
Baylor and Oklahoma were the only teams in all 16 regional sites that had to win four games, after suffering opening-game losses, going 4-1 to capture their respective regional titles.
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