Rubber Matches: Ranked Teams Aplenty This Sunday

No. 11 East Carolina hosts No. 15 North Carolina, while several other ranked teams attempt to avoid dropping home series.

rubber matches

A series win — whether in conference play for standing position or non-conference – can mean the world to a team when the NCAA Tournament field is selected. We’ll be highlighting those rubber matches every Sunday morning with a list of games and three key ones.

If you want to jump ahead to the list of rubber matches, click here. Otherwise, here’s four highlights on Sunday’s schedule.

No. 11 East Carolina vs. No. 15 North Carolina

The highest-profile series of the weekend has lived up to the hype. Last year’s series saw three one-run games and it’s been similar margins thus far.

On Friday in Chapel Hill, it was a classic pitcher’s duel between East Carolina’s seasoned veteran Trey Yesavage and North Carolina freshman Folger Baez. Both earned no-decisions, with Yesavage piling up 11 strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball while Baez pitched into the fifth. With the score tied heading into the final innings, it was Tar Heels’ star Vance Honeycutt that came up big with a go-ahead solo home run off reliever Danny Beal for a 2-1 win.

The series moved to Fayetteville, N.C., on Saturday and the neutral Segra Stadium saw the Pirates gradually build what became an insurmountable lead in a 7-4 win. East Carolina’s Zach Root spun a gem, scattering three hits over seven scoreless with seven strikeouts. The Pirates went up 7-0 through seven innings behind RBIs from the likes of Carter Cunningham, Jacob Starling, and Jacob Jenkins-Cowart. North Carolina rallied for four runs in the final two innings but it wasn’t enough.

The rubber match in Greenville, N.C., is at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.

No. 10 Clemson at Kennesaw State

A trip to Doug Kinsmore Stadium and a matchup with a top-10 team didn’t phase Kennesaw State in the slightest: The Owls racked up 20 hits in an 18-1 win on Friday afternoon. Every single starter logged a hit, highlighted by a 4-for-5 day from Nick Hassan — he hit two doubles and homered while driving in five runs. Meanwhile, Clemson was stifled by Braden Osbolt as he spun six scoreless, limiting the Tigers to one hit while fanning seven.

In a credit to Clemson, the Tigers fought back on Saturday and won 8-6 in a game that featured five lead changes. After a Cam Cannarella two-run home run gave Clemson a lead in the third, Kennesaw State came right back to tie it. Cannarella drove in two more with a single in the fourth, only for the Owls to chip away and eventually take a lead on a throwing error in the seventh. Clemson forced the rubber match late, though, striking for three runs in the eighth behind Jacob Hinderleider’s second home run of the game and a go-ahead single for Blake Wright.

Sunday’s series finale is set for 2 p.m. on ACCNX.

No. 21 South Carolina vs. Belmont

After piling up double-digit runs in four of five games to start the year, the Gamecocks took the opener with Belmont by a *slightly* closer 8-1 margin. Four pitchers combined to hold the Bruins to one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts while Parker Noland hit a two-run home run and the duo of Dylan Brewer and Gavin Casas combined for five hits and five RBIs.

The script was quickly flipped in Saturday’s game. South Carolina hadn’t given up more than four runs in a game before Belmont erupted: After four scoreless frames, the Bruins piled up runs in the final five innings of an 11-2 rout. Jake Timbes turned in five innings of one-run ball, keeping Belmont in it before the bats got going. All nine members of the lineup scored a run while Landon Godsey and Brodey Heaton both hit two-run home runs.

Sunday’s rubber match is on SECN+ at 1:30 p.m.

No. 24 Kansas State vs. Holy Cross

Runs have been aplenty at Tointon Family Stadium this weekend: These two teams have combined for 51 runs and 11 home runs across the first two games.

On Friday, Holy Cross set the tone for the series with a four-run first inning — and led 9-7 heading into the bottom of the fifth. The lead didn’t last long, though, as Danniel Rivera started the host Wildcats’ rally with a solo shot in the fifth. A five-run sixth inning — highlighted by a Raphael Peletier three-run home run — gave Kansas State the lead for good. Jayden Lobliner paced the offense, going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs.

Saturday was more of the same. Holy Cross again jumped on Kansas State out of the gate, putting up five in the first again thanks to a three-run homer from Jake McElroy. The ball was flying out of the park as the teams traded big innings, eventually setting up a furious finish. In the eighth, Chuck Ingram tied it at eight apiece with a solo home run before a scoreless ninth inning. That set up  extra inning dramatics where the Crusaders broke it wide open: Sean Scanlon hit his second home run of the series, a three-run shot, and Holy Cross claimed a dramatic 13-10 win in 10 innings.

The rubber match — which figures to be a high-scoring affair — is scheduled for 11 a.m. on ESPN+.

Here’s a full table with the rest of Sunday’s rubber matches. Highlight indicates ranked team.

Rubber Matches
Home Away Results
North Ala. Morehead St. Morehead St., 5-2 | North Ala., 9-6
George Washington Bryant Bryant, 13-10 | George Washington, 12-4
UAB Southeastern La. UAB, 3-2 | Southeastern La., 6-3
Middle Tenn. Miami Miami, 10-6 | Middle Tenn., 8-3
UT Arlington Boston College UT Arlington, 11-6 | Boston College, 3-0
Lipscomb Xavier Xavier, 9-5 | Lipscomb, 17-8
Charleston So. Lehigh Lehigh, 13-9 | Charleston So., 17-6
No. 10 Clemson Kennesaw St. Kennesaw St., 18-1 | Clemson, 8-6
Southern Miss. Missouri St. Southern Miss., 4-3 | Missouri St., 3-1
ULM Murray St. Murray St., 2-0 | ULM, 12-10
Pacific North Dakota St. Pacific, 7-6 | North Dakota St., 9-7
No. 21 South Carolina Belmont South Carolina, 8-1 | Belmont, 11-2
UNCW Princeton UNCW, 14-1 | Princeton, 2-1
San Jose St. Seattle U Seattle U, 7-0 | San Jose St., 4-3
Jacksonville Delaware Jacksonville, 10-7 | Delaware, 14-4
No. 15 North Carolina No. 11 East Carolina North Carolina, 2-1 | East Carolina, 7-4
Radford Le Moyne Le Moyne, 8-6 | Radford, 19-2
Eastern Ky. Oakland Eastern Ky., 10-5 | Oakland, 5-4
Miami LIU Miami, 9-3 | LIU, 4-2
Elon NJIT NJIT, 5-4 | Elon, 27-8
VCU Merrimack VCU, 12-3 | Merrimack, 16-12
Mississippi St. Ga. Southern Mississippi St., 5-1 | Ga. Southern, 11-4
VMI Georgetown VMI, 12-1 | Georgetown, 8-1
Southern California Portland Portland, 4-0 | Southern California, 6-5
Hawaii No. 13 NC State NC State, 17-12 | Hawaii, 7-5
Sacramento St. No. 22 UC Santa Barbara Sacramento St., 6-2 | UC Santa Barbara, 9-1
Liberty Hofstra Hofstra, 9-7 | Liberty, 9-4
No. 24 Kansas St. Holy Cross Kansas St., 17-11 | Holy Cross, 13-10
Little Rock Illinois St. Little Rock, 5-4 | Illinois St., 14-5
Memphis Bowling Green Bowling Green, 9-1 | Memphis, 14-13
South Alabama Jacksonville St. South Alabama, 8-6 | Jacksonville St., 9-3
Ole Miss High Point High Point, 7-3 | Ole Miss, 12-2

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