The 2016 NCAA Baseball Tournament Has Displayed Everything: Walkoffs, Cinderellas, And Vicious Bat Flips

Edgar Michelangeli

A lot of great moments have occurred so far throughout the 2016 NCAA Baseball Tournament. However, these three are clearly the cream of the crop in terms of drama, cinderella stories, and incredibly clutch performances. 

3.) Miami’s Edgar Michelangeli Strikes Again With A Vicious Bat Flip, Propels Miami Over BC To Send The Canes Back To The CWS

The University of Miami holds one of the most storied baseball programs in all of division one collegiate athletics. On Sunday, the Hurricanes took on arguably the biggest Cinderella of the entire 2016 NCAA Tournament in fellow ACC foe, Boston College, in game three of the Super Regionals from Coral Gables. With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Miami’s Edgar Michelangeli came to bat with the bases loaded in a 5-3 game. Michelangeli crushed a 3-2 pitch over the fence in left-center field, giving Miami a commanding 9-3 lead and putting the Canes on the verge of heading back to Omaha for the second straight season. However, as clutch as the yabo was for Edgar Michelangeli and his team, it was Michelangeli’s bat flip after hitting the home run that is making headlines as the Canes get set to head to Omaha. To put it lightly, Michelangeli paused and admired his home run off of BC’s Jesse Adams before tossing his bat back towards the Miami dugout and trotting around the bases. The BC players did not exactly take too kindly to Michelangeli’s actions, as Eagles catcher Nick Sciortino can be seen jawing at Michelangeli as he trots around third towards home plate. The benches cleared briefly as players from both sides exchanged words, but no ejections were made. 

As many may remember, Michelangeli is no stranger to angering opposing teams and pitchers with vicious bat flips, as the junior infielder performed a very similar stunt following his game-winning homer against NC-State in the ACC Tournament. Multiple of the NC-State players exchanged words with Michelangeli as he crossed home plate, but things stayed pretty tamed.

On Sunday, that was not the case, as the Boston College players clearly knew of Michelangeli’s history of showing up opposing pitchers via the bat flip and took exception on the matter. However, as easy as it is to call Edgar Michelangeli a poor sport for flipping his bat in the manner that he did twice in the last couple of weeks, let’s not forget how huge his two home runs were that caused for the bat flips and words to be exchanged with opponents. Both of these home runs were absolute moon shots and were ones that allowed Michelangeli’s team the chance to advance in both the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. If there were ever two times in your baseball career to flip your bat, hitting a game-winning homer in both the conference and national tournaments are the times to do it. It’ll be interesting to see how opposing pitchers decide to attack Michelangeli out in Omaha with the way he is swinging the bat right now, and if Michelangeli were to smack another big hit, what will he and his opponent’s reactions be?  

2.) Anthony Marks Steals Second In Ninth Inning, A+ Dust Off, Scores On Base Hit To Send Coastal Carolina To Omaha

Before Sunday night, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers had never advanced to the College World Series. Founded in 1954, the CCU baseball program has reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times, with the first 12 appearances not resulting in a trip to Omaha. The Chanticleers entered Sunday one win away from making their first trip to the College World Series in the program’s history, but they would have to go through six-time CWS-champion and perennial SEC powerhouse, the LSU Tigers, in Baton Rouge. 

After surrendering the lead in the top of the ninth inning, CCU’s Anthony Marks reached base on a walk and then stole second base on the first pitch of the next at-bat by Michael Paez. Marks got up and did a savage-like celebratory dust off towards the direction of the CCU dugout, pumping his chest and showing extreme emotion. Baez then cracked a chopper over the glove of LSU third baseman Chris Reid down the left field line. Marks rounded third and plated the winning run to give the Chanticleers the 4-3 victory and CCU’s first-ever trip to Omaha. Just an absolutely spectacular moment for Anthony Marks and Michael Baez and one that they will both remember for the rest of their lives. But more importantly, this is a milestone win for Coastal Carolina. It’s hard to believe that it took a division-one program that plays in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this long to make it to the College World Series, but finally, the Chanticleers are en route to the heartland. This is the type of win that can completely change the fate of a school’s baseball program.

1.) Down 3-0 To Louisville, Sam Cohen Hits A Walkoff Grand Slam To Send UC-Santa Barbara To Omaha

There it is, the undisputed best moment of the entire 2016 NCAA Baseball Tournament. No matter what happens out in Omaha next week, there is no way that anything will be more dramatic or more exciting than watching that grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning by Sam Cohen to send UC-Santa Barbara to the school’s first-ever College World Series and send Louisville, who many picked to win the CWS, to the golf course.

The game-winning ding-dong by Sam Cohen (a freshman, by the way) was absolutely incredible, but how about this umpire standing over home plate and making sure that Cohen touched home before getting mobbed by his teammates, only to get engulfed in the mob himself? Obviously, you want to make sure the kid touches home plate on a home run that is going to send a team to Omaha. But what in the world is this umpire doing? We see stuff like this in college athletics all the time. First, we had referees running up to players and interrupting their celebration with teammates after scoring a touchdown and throwing a flag for pointing to the stands, and now, we have umpires getting engulfed in home plate mobs on a walk-off home run. It’s time that the NCAA stops treating its athletes like children by holding their hand and making sure they actually step on home plate and don’t celebrate scoring a game-winning touchdown “too excessively.” 

UCSB Umpire

^That moment when your day is about to get 20 times worse. 

If your team is out of contention and not heading to Omaha, it’s never too late to hop on the UCSB or Coastal Carolina bandwagons (unless you are a Louisville or LSU fan), as these two Cinderellas are raising a lot of eyebrows with their incredible runs to Omaha. 

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