Auburn takes down defending national champs to reach NCAA semis

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn takes down defending national champs to reach NCAA semis

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Auburn takes down defending national champs to reach NCAA semis

STILLWATER, Okla. – The defending national champs have been dethroned.

Auburn took down Oklahoma, 3-2, in a Tuesday morning quarterfinal at the NCAA Championship. The Tigers had never reached match play at nationals until this week, and they had no delay in making a mark.

The fourth-ranked (and fourth-seeded) Sooners got what it needed on the front and back of the pairings, but the No. 8 Tigers (the fifth seed) dominated in between.

Blaine Hale defeated Jovan Rebula, 4 and 3, in the opening match to give the Sooners an early lead. But the Tigers fought back. Trace Crowe outlasted Quade Cummins, 1 up, and Ben Schlottman posted a 5-and-4 win over Garett Reband.

Brad Dalke won the anchor match, 4 and 3, against Wells Padgett to give Oklahoma its second point. Now 2-2, it all came down to the fourth match.

Brandon Mancheno, a freshman fresh off battling for the NCAA individual title and losing in a playoff, continued his hot form against Oklahoma’s Grant Hirschman.

The lefty lost the opening hole (No. 10) and was still one down on the par-3 15th. But he birdied that hole to square the match and also won Nos. 16 and 17 to move 2 up. He made it five wins in six holes when he captured Nos. 1 and 2.

He was now 4 up.

Hirschman fought back to 2 down, but Mancheno hit his second shot at the par-4 eighth to 8 feet and drained the birdie putt to close out a 3-and-1 win and advance the Tigers to the semifinals.

Auburn will take on top-ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma State in a semifinal Tuesday afternoon.

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