Casey Burns struck out a career-high 15, and Jeff Kenney hit a grand slam last night as Richmond stayed alive in the NCAA baseball tournament with an 11-8 victory over Virginia Tech in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The second-seeded Spiders (40-16), taking the field an hour after losing, 12-1, to top-seeded Wake Forest, blew a 6-0 lead, but rallied with a run in the fifth and two each in the sixth and seventh innings to advance to today's title game.
Richmond would have to beat Wake Forest, 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament, twice to advance to one of eight Super Regionals.
Burns, clocked at 92 mph, struck out six consecutive Virginia Tech batters in the fifth and sixth innings -- and after allowing a leadoff double in the seventh -- struck out the side for the third straight inning.
Virginia Tech (42-17) had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but Kevin Bice became his team's 17th strikeout victim.
"It's pretty hard to win when you give up 12 runs," said Virginia Tech Coach Chuck Hartman. "Overall, it has been a great season, but it's always tough when that last one occurs."
Earlier yesterday, Virginia Tech rallied for nine runs in the final two innings to beat Siena, 11-5, and eliminate the Saints (34-22) in their first NCAA appearance.
S. ALABAMA 10, NAVY 0: South Alabama's Nick Gretz hit two home runs and drove in five runs as the Jaguars ousted Navy in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Navy (27-22-1) was outscored 26-3 and had just nine hits in its two tournament games.
"I don't want to make excuses, but there's a little bit more to concentrate on baseball for these guys than there is at a civilian university," said Midshipmen Coach Bob MacDonald. "They've got a whole lot of other things going on. Our seniors graduated on Wednesday, and that's a week-long celebration."
OTHER GAMES: Greg Dobbs had a two-run homer and an RBI single to lead Long Beach State to a 7-5 win over top seed Texas A&M in College Station, Tex. . . . Matt Cepicky tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth and Dan Firlit's RBI single in the 10th gave Southwest Missouri State a 9-8 win over top-seeded Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. . . . Jeff Robinson had three hits and three relievers held host Houston, a top seed, scoreless over the final six innings as Southwestern Louisiana rallied for a 5-3 win. . . . Justin Gemoll and Greg Hanoian both walked with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to give Southern California a 5-3 win over top seed Pepperdine in Los Angeles.