EUGENE, Ore. - 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, lifting Kent State to a 3-2 win over Oregon and sending the Golden Flashes to their 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 Monday night.
Derek Toadvine scored from second base before Thomas could attempt a throw, making Kent State (46-18) the first team from the Mid-American Conference since Eastern Michigan in 1976 to advance past the NCAA super regional for a trip to Omaha.
"It's really hard to find words to describe what this means for Kent State and the Mid-American Conference to make it to the College World Series," Kent State coach Scott Stricklin. "I'm just overcome."
Oregon (46-19), second in the Pac-12 behind co-champs Arizona and UCLA, was trying to end an even longer drought, just missing its first CWS appearance since 1954.
"J.J. and I both gave it our all," the Ducks' Thomas said of Rider's fair ball. "Bet he couldn't hit that same spot if we gave him 100 tries."
Kent State will open up Saturday against Arkansas.
• Arkansas 1, Baylor 0: In Waco, Texas, Jake Wise drove in a run with a two-out single in the top of the 10th inning as Arkansas advanced to the College World Series over host Baylor.
It will be the seventh CWS for the Razorbacks (44-20), and the first for Arkansas freshman Joe Serrano of Tucson. Serrano, a Salpointe Catholic High grad, singled in the ninth as a pinch-hitter, then played left field.
Wise, a sophomore catcher who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, grounded a ball into left out of the reach of diving shortstop Steve DalPorto.
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.
• South Carolina 5, Oklahoma 1: In Columbia, S.C., the two-time defending champion Gamecocks took advantage of two Oklahoma errors to build a 2-0 lead in the seventh en route to their 21st straight NCAA tournament win.
Chase Vergason's two-run double put things away an inning later for a 5-1 lead.
South Carolina (45-17) will try to join USC as the only teams with more than two straight CWS titles. USC holds the record with five straight crowns (1970-74).
South Carolina opens CWS play Saturday against SEC foe Florida, which it beat last year for the title.