By The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina is headed back to the College World Series, beating Oklahoma 5-1 Monday for its 21st straight NCAA tournament win.
The two-time defending champion Gamecocks wrapped up the super regional series for their third straight trip to Omaha and 11th CWS appearance overall.
Should South Carolina (45-17) again prevail, it would join the powerhouse program of Southern Cal as the only schools with more than two consecutive CWS titles. The Trojans hold the record with five straight crowns from 1970-74.
The game was suspended Sunday because of heavy rain. Once things resumed, South Carolina quickly took control to put away the Sooners (42-25).
Gamecocks closer Matt Price got catcher Dylan Neal on a check-swing, called third strike to set off the latest celebration at Carolina Stadium.
The Gamecocks took advantage of two Oklahoma mistakes to build a 2-0 lead in the seventh. Chase Vergason’s two-run double put things away an inning later for a 5-1 lead.
South Carolina opens CWS play Saturday against Florida, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and the Gamecocks’ Southeastern Conference rival. The Gators were also the club that fell to the Gamecocks in the CWS championship series last summer.
KENT ST. 3, OREGON 2
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Jimmy Rider drove in the winning run with a shallow pop fly that landed just inside the left-field foul line in the bottom of the ninth, sending Kent State to its first College World Series.
Rider’s hit off Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy fell just out of the reach of shortstop J.J. Altobelli and left fielder Brett Thomas, who appeared to lose track of the ball when it was hit.
Derek Toadvine scored from second base before Thomas could make a throw, making Kent State (46-18) the first team from the Mid-American Athletic Conference since Eastern Michigan in 1976 to advance past the NCAA super regional and book a trip to Omaha.
The Ducks (46-19) had tied it in the eighth inning on a two-RBI single by Ryon Healy.
ARKANSAS 1, BAYLOR 0
WACO, Texas (AP) — Jake Wise drove in a run with a two-out single in the top of the 10th inning and Arkansas advanced to the College World Series with a 1-0 victory over Baylor in the deciding game of their super regional on Monday night.
Wise, a sophomore catcher who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, grounded a ball into left field out of the reach of diving shortstop Steve DalPorto.
It will be the seventh CWS for the Razorbacks (44-20), who play Kent State on Saturday.
Colby Suggs (7-0), the fifth Arkansas pitcher, threw the last two innings. Dillon Newman (4-4) pitched the 10th for the Bears (40-17) after starter Tyler Bremer struck out eight and allowed three hits in nine innings.