Let’s highlight a few impressive performances from Tuesday’s games:
• Charlotte redshirt freshman outfielder Shane Brown started his college career with a bang, hitting an inside-the-park grand slam in his first collegiate at-bat in the 49ers’ 8-4 win against Oakland. It came at just the right time for Charlotte, breaking a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning. Brown hit a 1-2 pitch to right-center and the Oakland outfielders collided, allowing the ball to reach the fence. Brown motored all the way around the bases before a throw could reach home.
• A more well-known freshman had a sparkling debut on the mound for Texas. Six-foot-4 righthander Austin Dicharry, the nation’s No. 25 freshman, threw six innings of two-hit, shutout ball in a win against Texas-Arlington, striking out five and allowing just one walk. Longhorns ace Chance Ruffin gave up UT’s 2-0 lead in relief, but Texas won 4-3 in 10 innings on Cameron Rupp’s walk-off, two-run double. The ‘Horns have now gotten five brilliant starts in a row from Ruffin, Cole Green, Taylor Jungmann, Brandon Workman and Dicharry–quite a collection of arms.
• The day’s top pitching performance probably belonged to Arizona State lefthander Josh Spence, who struck out 13 over seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 win against No. 15 Missouri. Impressively, this was Spence’s second strong start of the year, as he worked six scoreless innings Friday against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Looks like the Sun Devils have a special one in Spence. The reeling Tigers, who staffed the game, dropped to 1-4 and will likely turn to ace Kyle Gibson to stop the bleeding Thursday against ASU.
• Alabama senior outfielder Kent Matthes hit for the cycle and drove in five in an 11-4 win against Nicholls State. Matthes recorded the fifth cycle in school history with a three-run triple, a solo homer, a double and an RBI single in five at-bats. He completed the cycle on an infield hit int he bottom of the eighth, becoming the first Crimson Tide player to pull off the trick since Darren Wood in 2000.
• North Carolina wasn’t the only ranked Atlantic Coast Conference team to go down Tuesday, as No. 20 Georgia Tech dropped a 6-5 decision to Georgia Southern. The Eagles came from behind with two runs in the seventh against Tech reliever Thomas Nichols to take the lead for good.
• Arkansas dropped its first game of the year, a 9-3 decision against Kansas. The Jayhawks chased sophomore righty Brett Eibner in a four-run third inning and never looked back. The two teams will go at it again today.
• No. 16 Oklahoma went on the road and bludgeoned No. 11 San Diego’s much-balleyhooed pitching staff in an 11-2 win. OU leadoff man Jamie Johnson’s grand slam highlighted a seven-run fifth inning to chase USD starter Darrin Campbell (4 IP, 5 ER), and junior lefthander J.R. Robinson (6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER) made the lead stand up for the Sooners. Last night I watched San Diego’s sloppy win over Bethune-Cookman at the Urban Youth Academy Tournament; righthander Matt Thomson looked terrific in relief, but starter Kyle Blair really struggled with his control, especially early, hitting three batters in the first inning. Blair has otherwordly secondary stuff, but I’d like to see him command his fastball better and throw more of them. For B-CU, I was impressed with little second baseman Mark Brooks, a major speed threat out of the leadoff spot, and slugging first baseman Alejandro Jimenez, a lefthanded hitter with power in the No. 3 hole.
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