CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Towson's baseball team faced an uncertain future a few months ago, unsure if the program would exist beyond this season.
Saved by some state funding last month, the Tigers will be playing baseball at least a while longer. And they might stick around in this NCAA tournament, too.
Andrew Parker hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning while starter Mike Volpe allowed one unearned run in seven innings to help Towson beat Florida Atlantic 7-2 on Friday in the Tigers' first regionals appearance since 1991.
Parker's blast capped a five-run inning for the third-seeded Tigers (30-28), whose team was supposed to be cut because of financial problems in the athletic department and gender-equity imbalance. But the team was saved last month when the state of Maryland approved $300,000 to fund the team for two years.
"Maybe they discussed the future or a lack of one, I never heard of it," coach Mike Gottlieb said. "I never heard it. And they never played like they didn't care. They played hard. To their credit, we're here and we were able to get a victory today."
Jeremy Strawn (5-3) allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings for the second-seeded Owls (39-21), who had won 11 straight but will take on Canisius (42-16) in an elimination game Saturday.
Towson will take on regional host and No. 1 overall seed North Carolina (53-8) in the winners' bracket game. Chaz Frank had three hits and Brian Holberton drove in two runs to help North Carolina beat Canisius 6-3.
In the Los Angeles regional, Brian Mundell homered and had four RBIs to lead Cal Poly to a 9-2 victory — its first in the NCAA tournament — over San Diego.
Cal Poly (40-17) broke the game open with six runs in the sixth inning, with Mundell and Jimmy Allen each hitting two-run singles. The Mustangs lost twice in their only other regional appearance in 2009.
Joey Wagman (13-3) allowed six hits in eight innings for the win. PJ Conlon (9-1) took the loss.
"It's a great way to start off a region," Cal Poly coach Larry Lee said. "Joey has been our Friday guy all season. He has what it takes and wants to be out there at the most important times. So far, so good."
Cal Poly will take on regional host UCLA (40-17), which topped Tony Gwynn's San Diego State Aztecs (31-30) 5-3.
Adam Plutko (8-3) gave up two runs over seven innings, and David Berg earned his 19th save to set a school single-season record.
William & Mary also earned its first NCAA tournament victory as Jason Inghram threw eight solid innings and the Tribe held on to upset Mississippi 4-2 in the Raleigh regional.
Inghram (9-6) allowed two runs and eight hits, and struck out three to help the third-seeded Tribe (38-22) top second-seeded Ole Miss (37-23). The Rebels brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth before closer Matt Wainman got Stuart Turner to fly out to left field to end it.
William & Mary will take on regional host North Carolina State (45-14) in the winners' bracket after the Wolfpack got home runs from Tarran Senay and Trea Turner to beat Binghamton 4-1.
Binghamton (30-24) plays Mississippi in an elimination game.
First baseman Bobby Melley had four hits and an RBI to lift the Connecticut Huskies to a 5-2 victory over Virginia Tech.
The Huskies (35-26) had 16 hits — all singles. UConn scored three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-0 lead, and starting pitcher Carson Cross and the UConn bullpen made it stand.
UConn will play Oklahoma (41-19) on Saturday after the Sooners beat Coastal Carolina (37-22) 7-3.
The Hokies (38-21) had runners at second and third with two outs in the ninth inning. But Mark Zagunis struck out to end the game.
In the early game, Matt Oberste's two-run single in the fifth inning gave Oklahoma the lead for good, helping the Sooners rally. Oklahoma trailed 3-0 after the Chanticleers got two runs in the first and one in the second off pitcher Jonathan Gray, a possible No. 1 overall draft pick next week.
Brandon Waddell and Kyle Crockett combined on a five-hitter and Virginia (48-10) opened the NCAA tournament with a 2-1 victory against Army (29-22).
Waddell (6-2) allowed three hits and a run in seven innings while striking out eight. Crockett finished for his 11th save, striking out the side in the ninth.
Virginia will take on Elon in the winners' bracket Saturday after the Phoenix (33-28) got four RBIs from Antonio Alvarez in a 10-7 victory against UNC Wilmington (37-22).
Kyle Martin broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single as part of South Carolina's four-run eighth inning and the Gamecocks beat Saint Louis 7-3, their 25th straight NCAA tournament victory at home.
South Carolina (40-19) led 3-0 through six until the Billikens (41-20) tied things with a two-run eighth, helped by third baseman Chase Verguson's high throw past first. Like so often during their NCAA run, though, the Gamecocks came back to continue a streak that began with a super regional win over Miami in 2002.
The Gamecocks next face Liberty (35-27) on Saturday in a winner's bracket game. The Flames surprised Clemson 8-3 earlier, as Trey Wimmer drove in six runs and starter Josh Richardson allowed six hits to lead Liberty to a win in its first NCAA tournament game in 13 years.
Atlantic 10 tournament champion Saint Louis will take on Clemson (39-21) in an elimination game Saturday.
Louisville's Coco Johnson hit two home runs, and the Cardinals beat Bowling Green 8-3.
The Cardinals (47-12) were locked in a 1-1 tie when a 25-minute rain delay interrupted the bottom of the third inning. Once play resumed, a two-out throwing error by shortstop Brian Bien allowed Johnson to come to the plate and hit his second home run of the night. Louisville then took command of the game with a four-run fifth inning.
Louisville and Miami (37-23) will play in the winner's bracket after the Hurricanes got 10 strikeouts in seven shutout innings by Chris Diaz to cruise past Oklahoma State 7-0.
The Hurricanes were without coach Jim Morris, who did not make the trip to Louisville due to pneumonia. He has been hospitalized in Durham, N.C., since Saturday. Assistant coach Gino DiMare led the team Friday.
Bowling Green (24-30) and Oklahoma State (39-18) will play in an elimination game Saturday afternoon.
Stephen McGee hit a two-run homer to cap a five-run second inning as Florida State routed Savannah State 10-0.
Scott Sitz (10-1) scattered seven hits and struck out eight before leaving with one out in the eighth. In his last three postseason appearances, Sitz has fanned 24 in 18 innings and allowed just two runs.
Florida State (45-15) extended its regional tournament winning streak to 17, dating to 2008, and will meet Troy in Saturday's winners' bracket, while Savannah State (33-22) will take on Alabama in an elimination game.
Troy's Trae Santos hit a three-run homer and Ali Knowles singled in two more runs as the Trojans (41-18) scored all of their runs in the fourth inning of a 5-2 victory over Alabama (34-27).
Chad Clark hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run bottom of the ninth inning for Indiana and lift the Hoosiers to a 5-4 win over Valparaiso.
Clark, who committed a costly two-run error in the top half of the ninth, made amends for his mistake by sending a pitch over the wall in left field for the Hoosiers (44-14). Indiana scored all four ninth-inning runs against Valpo closer Karch Kowalczyk, who had allowed only one earned run over 25 innings (0.36 ERA).
Indiana will take on Austin Peay in the winners' bracket after the Governors (46-13) got a three-run homer from Michael Davis in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Florida 4-3.
The Gators (29-29) face Valparaiso (31-27) in an elimination game.
Conrad Gregor and Connor Harrell each drove in two runs and Kevin Ziomek pitched seven strong innings, leading No. 2 overall seed Vanderbilt to a 9-1 victory over East Tennessee State.
The Commodores (52-9) strung together six singles, including five straight, in the first inning off starter Jimmy Nesselt to take a five-run lead. Gregor's two-run single up the middle sparked the inning.
The Buccaneers (36-23), Atlantic Sun tournament champs, are playing in their first regional since 1981 and will take on Georgia Tech (34-26) in an elimination game.
Jordan Parr hit two home runs to lead Illinois (35-18) to a 6-4 win over Georgia Tech earlier Friday. Kevin Duchene (9-1), the Big Ten freshman of the year, scattered eight hits over seven innings and allowed three runs.
Nick Zaharion and Dustin Dalken combined to drive in seven runs to lead South Alabama past Mercer 9-4.
South Alabama (43-18) opened the game with a three-run first inning on Zaharion's sacrifice fly and Dalken's two-run single. Zaharion singled in another run in the second inning against Mercer (43-17).
South Alabama starter Anthony Izzio (4-0) earned the win, giving up just one run on seven hits over six innings. The Jaguars will take on Mississippi State (44-17) in the winners' bracket game.
Alex Detz had three hits, Wes Rea added two run-scoring singles and Mississippi State scored three runs in the sixth inning to push past Central Arkansas 5-3.
Central Arkansas (39-21) managed just five hits in falling to the loser's bracket, where it will face Mercer in an elimination game.
BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
Mason Katz drove in four runs, two on a towering home run to center, and LSU beat Jackson State 11-7.
Jared Foster added a two-run homer over the left-field bleachers for LSU (53-9), the host of the Baton Rouge regional. Foster entered the game in place of left fielder Raph Rhymes after Rhymes bloodied his nose and lip in a collision with shortstop Alex Bregman. Rhymes needed three stitches on his upper lip and said he's fine. Bregman was taken to a hospital to be checked for possible fractures to bones in his face, but later returned to the stadium, saying he was fine to play LSU's next game Saturday.
Charles Tilery hit two run-scoring doubles, and Fred Hampton homered for Jackson State (34-21).
In the late game, Luke Plucheck's early home run and late two-run double lifted Sam Houston State to a 4-2 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette. The win earned the Bearkats (38-20) a winner's bracket matchup with LSU, while the Ragin' Cajuns (41-19) were relegated to an elimination game against Jackson State.
Blake Fox's two-out single in the 11th inning drove in the winning run in Rice's 3-2 win over San Francisco.
San Francisco left fielder Derek Atkinson apparently lost Fox's fly ball in the sun at PK Park, allowing the ball to drop in for a single and Leon Byrd to score from third base. Keenan Cook, Geoff Perrott and Fox had two hits apiece for Rice (41-17). Mitchell Rowan and Zachary Turner got two hits each for San Francisco (34-22).
Ryon Healy hit a two-run double in the eighth to give Oregon a 3-2 win against South Dakota State.
Oregon had just one hit before Healy's double reached left-center field and gave the Ducks (46-14) their first lead.
Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy finished the game in the ninth for his 21st save of the season.
Oregon advances to play Rice, while South Dakota State (35-23) will take on San Francisco in an elimination game Saturday.
Dylan Davis' walk-off two-run double led Oregon State to a 5-4 comeback victory over Texas-San Antonio.
Davis drove a first-pitch fastball from reliever Matt Sims (6-3) to the right-center field fence scoring Tyler Smith and Michael Conforto as the Beavers (46-10) rushed out onto the field. The Roadrunners (35-24) had taken a 4-3 lead in the eighth when an error by third baseman Kavin Keyes allowed Jesse Baker to score from second base.
In the earlier game, Austin Pettibone scattered two runs on seven hits over 7 2-3 innings and UC Santa Barbara moved into the winners' bracket by beating Texas A&M 6-4.
The Gauchos (35-24) went up 1-0 on the Aggies (32-28) in the second inning before adding two more runs in the third on a hit-and-run RBI single by Woody Woodward and an error by Texas A&M center fielder Krey Bratsen.
James McDonald hit a two-run home run and Arizona State took advantage of three errors by New Mexico to beat the Lobos 4-3.
McDonald went deep with one out in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie for the Sun Devils (36-20-1). They will meet Cal State Fullerton, which beat Columbia 4-1.
New Mexico entered the game as the NCAA leader in several offensive categories. The Lobos (37-21) outhit the Sun Devils by an 8-4 margin but couldn't overcome their mistakes in the field.
Matt Chapman had two hits with a home run to pace Cal State Fullerton (49-8), which reached Columbia starter David Speer for two runs in the first inning and never looked back. The Titans added two more runs in the fourth.
The only run for Columbia (27-20) came on David Vandercook's home run in the second inning.
Grahamm Weist (9-3) allowed three hits and retired 21 of the last 23 batters. He picked up his first complete game of the season.