Bad news out of Middle Tennessee State today: first-team All-America outfielder Bryce Brentz will miss two to three weeks with a hairline fracture on the inside of his right ankle, Blue Raiders associate head coach Jim McGuire confirmed to Baseball America.
Brentz hurt his ankle in pregame warmups Friday while horsing around with teammates, and MTSU originally hoped it was a sprain. But McGuire said the Raiders are hopeful the injury won't have any lingering effects once Brentz returns.
"They believe once it's healed and he's rested up, he should be 100 percent good to go," McGuire said. "But we're obviously going to take it pretty cautiously in the beginning. He's not going to travel with us to Florida Atlantic this weekend. He'll stay here, do treatments, do what they can to speed the recovery."
McGuire said Brentz's loss is a double blow because he had worked his way back from arm tightness and was scheduled to start getting some work in relief before the injury. Brentz has one of the best arms on the team and would have given the MTSU bullpen a valuable boost.
Let's turn our attention to the mailbag. [...] Continue Reading »
The other day, a reader named Jeff asked a question in the Deck McGuire / Matt Harvey post, but instead of answering it there—where it would likely get buried—I figured I'd give it its own post. Here's the question . . .
"I watched the first 5 innings of that game on Friday (via webcast). Does McGuire always give up long fly ball outs? That turned me off a bit. Harvey's stuff looked pretty nasty, especially in the second when he was just blowing fastballs by hitters. Control is obviously the issue with him, but he looked like a first-rounder in that brief look."
I went through McGuire's play-by-play logs and it looks like, so far this year, he's recorded 38 ground outs and 40 flyouts. For what it's worth, the ground outs number includes bunts and the fly out number includes all outs in the air.
Of course, the big problem with that is that it's only about two-thirds of his batted-ball totals for the season. He's also given up 34 hits on the year—26 singles, six doubles and two home runs.
[...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
Florida State improved to 2-1 this season against rival Florida with a 7-2 win in Jacksonville. Five Gator errors (two by freshman third baseman Austin Maddox) led to five unearned runs for the Seminoles, who got strong pitching from RHP Geoff Parker (4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER) and LHP Brian Busch (4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K).
Upset of the day:
In Austin, Oral Roberts toppled No. 7 Texas, 3-2. ORU starter Mark Guest (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) and reliever Jeff Burleson (3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) held down the Longhorns' offense, and the Golden Eagles broke a 2-2 tie on Jared Schlehuber's pinch-hit solo homer in the eighth.
Hitter of the day:
Missouri Sr. 1B Aaron Senne: 5-for-5, 4 R, 5 RBI, 2 2B, HR in 22-14 win vs. Purdue
Pitcher of the day:
East Carolina Jr. RHP Zach Woods: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 15 K in 8-0 win vs. Elon
UCLA Sr. RHP Garrett Claypool: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K in 2-1 win vs. Pepperdine, helping the Bruins improve to 21-0
Strike One: Week Six Roundup
It was an action-packed weekend in college baseball. Here are some highlights:
• As Florida State wrapped up its three-game sweep of Maryland on Sunday, junior outfielder Tyler Holt became the first Seminole to hit for the cycle since Stephen Drew in 2004. Holt singled in the first, doubled in the second, tripled in the third and homered in the fifth. Then coach Mike Martin hit one out of the park with his quote discussing Holt's day.
“I would like to say that I have been in this for a while in my life—I’ve never seen a single, double, triple and home run in order,” Martin said. “I’ve seen a number of cycles in my career but never one that was in that order. I’ll have to admit it was a big thrill for me. Tyler was no doubt the story of the ballgame.
“There are two things that really fire me up when I am watching a game: a no-no and the cycle. That fired me up. I will be honest with you, I don’t go to rock concerts but I guess they light the lighters—I would have lit a lighter on that one.” [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
Virginia split a doubleheader against Clemson to win its third series of the year against a Top 25 opponent. The Cavs got solo homers from Kenny Swab and Franco Valdes in a 3-1 win behind Cody Winiarski (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) in the finale. Tyler Wilson and Kevin Arico combined to throw three scoreless innings to preserve that win, allowing just one hit and one walk.
Upset of the day:
Nevada beat No. 13 UC Irvine for the second straight day, 6-4. Jr. DH Brock Stassi, brother of Athletics catcher Max Stassi, led the way with four hits for the Wolf Pack.
(tie) Memphis won the first game of a doubleheader against Rice to win the series against the Owls, who salvaged a win in the finale. Rice led 7-5 heading into the ninth in the first game, but the Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-7, capped by Adam McClain's walk-off RBI single.
Hitter of the day:
Mississippi Jr. OF Tim Ferguson: 5-for-5, 4 R, RBI, 2B in 15-3 win vs. Florida, giving the Rebels a series win against the No. 2 team in the nation.
Pitcher of the day:
Connecticut So. RHP Matt Barnes: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K in 6-3 win vs. Louisville
CONWAY, S.C.—For the second straight day, San Diego got strong pitching against Coastal Carolina. But unlike in Friday's 10-2 loss, the Toreros played flawless defense behind their pitchers on Saturday, and they provided some run support. Starter Sammy Solis and reliever Matt Hauser took care of the rest in a 5-3 win to even the series.
"When you get run support, it's really easy to go out there and relax," said Solis, a junior lefthander. "We haven't had it in the past, and when we get it in the game, it's exciting. We can go after those guys."
The Toreros got to Coastal lefthander Jimmy Birmingham for two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, allowing Solis to pound the strike zone and pitch to contact. He retired 10 straight batters from the end of the third until the start of the seventh inning, getting many of the outs early in counts.
"We established the fastball early in the count, because those guys were aggressive," Solis said. "They swung early in the count and with guys on base, so we went right after them and it worked out." [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
No. 1 Virginia broke a 3-3 tie with a run in the ninth to beat No. 12 Clemson, 4-3. In another sign of just how deep the Cavaliers are, Friday's hero was Fr. DH Stephen Bruno, who hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the fifth, then delivered a walk-off RBI single in the ninth. Lefties Casey Harman (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) and Danny Hultzen (6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER) were solid in no-decisions.
• Mississippi over Florida, 3-2
• Georgia Tech over North Carolina, 2-1
• Arkansas over Alabama, 9-8 (Razorbacks rallied from behind with four runs in the eighth)
• Vanderbilt over Kentucky, 7-0
Upset of the day:
Air Force shocked No. 5 Texas Christian, 14-11. Phenom Matt Purke (2.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) was roughed up for the Horned Frogs. Air Force starter Alex Truesdale got the win despite posting this line: 7 IP, 14 H, 10 ER. The Falcons improved to 6-16 on the year. [...] Continue Reading »
This week's Marquee Mound Matchup lived up to its hype and then some. Aside from the cold weather—it was in the low 40s with a constant light rain and some wind—the game was a classic pitchers' duel between two potential first-round picks.
With about 50 scouts in attendance—including numerous crosscheckers and scouting directors—North Carolina righthander Matt Harvey came out and mowed down the No. 3 Yellow Jackets through the first two innings. He got two strikeouts in the first inning and then struck out the side in the second.
The third inning got off to a little bit of a rocky start. Georgia Tech second baseman Jacob Esch drew an 11-pitch walk and then Harvey walked designated hitter Thomas Nichols. But the walks didn't hurt Harvey, as got three quick outs including two more strikeouts.
Harvey was sitting 92-95 mph with his four-seam fastball, but was also mixing in two-seamers to generate some groundball outs and showed a sharp slider throughout the game.
[...] Continue Reading »
CONWAY, S.C.—Friday's pitching showdown between San Diego junior righthander Kyle Blair and Coastal Carolina junior lefthander Cody Wheeler largely lived up to its billing, but San Diego's patchwork defense unraveled in the fifth inning, and the opportunistic Chanticleers took advantage. Coastal scored seven runs in that frame—six of then unearned—and cruised to a 10-2 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Watson Stadium.
With starting shortstop Zach Walters sidelined with a dislocated thumb, the Toreros started usual second baseman Chris Engell at short, and he committed two costly errors in the fateful fifth. To make matters worse for Engell, he left the game later in the frame after a bad-hop grounder hit him in the throat, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the ground. Engell walked off the field, but San Diego coach Rich Hill said he will have a CT scan to make sure he's OK.
Blair allowed a solo homer to speed merchant Rico Noel to lead off the game, then settled down, holding the Chanticleers hitless until Tommy La Stella's two-out double in the fourth. Blair's stuff was impressive: He located his 90-92 mph fastball well to both sides of the plate and effectively mixed in his 73-75 overhand curveball, his 81-83 changeup and his devastating 76-78 slider. He used the slider as a putaway pitch to rack up all nine of his strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, while allowing six hits and walking three. [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
Auburn extended its winning streak to seven games with an 8-6 win over rival Alabama at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits. So. SS Casey McElroy (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) led the offense for the Tigers, who took a 5-2 lead after three innings and held on for the win despite making three errors.
• Arizona over New Mexico, 11-7, giving the Wildcats a two-game sweep over the Lobos and extending their winning streak to 13. More on Arizona in Weekend Preview later.
• Oral Roberts over Wichita State, 8-1
Upset of the day:
Elon completed a two-game midweek sweep at No. 12 Clemson with a 4-3 win. The Phoenix broke a 3-3 tie with a run in the 10th inning when Ryan Adams hit a two-out double and Seth Canipe singled him home. Elon rebounded nicely from its five-game losing streak, which included a sweep at the hands of The Citadel—the first time Elon had been swept at home since 2005. [...] Continue Reading »
Before we get to today's mailbag, we've got a few injury notes on Friday starters to pass along. First, San Diego State junior righthander Addison Reed will miss at least three weeks after breaking his pinkie finger on a comebacker in Saturday's win against Santa Clara. After the game, he said his finger just felt stiff but was not broken, but he continued to feel pain over the next few days and had surgery on Tuesday, according to the Daily Aztec. Reed has been superb this spring in his transition from All-America closer to Friday ace, going 4-1, 2.70 with 36 strikeouts and seven walks in 33 innings.
The news is better for Louisiana State junior righthander Anthony Ranaudo. Tigers coach Paul Mainieri told BA last week that he hoped Ranaudo could return from his stress reaction in his throwing arm this weekend against Tennessee, and he confirmed this week that Ranaudo will indeed be back on the mound against the Volunteers. He will get the start Sunday and will likely only throw two or three innings.
And Boston College junior lefthander Pat Dean, a potential top-three-rounds pick in June's draft, will be back in action this weekend after missing last weekend's series against Virginia. The Eagles say Dean merely slept on his arm wrong and had some lingering stiffness. He wanted to throw Sunday, but BC held him back to be safe. He'll be back in the rotation this weekend. Dean was outstanding in his last start two weeks ago, striking out nine over eight shutout innings in a win against Miami. One scout said he has seen Dean up to 93 mph this year to go along with a good curveball and changeup, though another scout said he saw Dean working at 87-90.
On to the mailbag: [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
No. 8 Texas won its season series against No. 25 Rice with a 5-1 victory in Austin. The Longhorns broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning, and five Texas pitchers limited the Owls to two hits in the game. Closer Chance Ruffin (3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) picked up the win in relief.
Upset of the day:
Central Florida toppled No. 15 Miami, 6-3, in Coral Gables. The last time these two teams met, on March 9 in Orlando, the Hurricanes cruised to a 19-2 rout. UCF was much better on the mound this time, as five Knights pitchers held the 'Canes to three runs on eight hits. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball and the Omaha Sports Commission announced today that the 2010 USA Baseball collegiate national team and the Japanese collegiate all-stars will play in a one-game, international friendship competition in Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium on July 21.
“When you think of college baseball, you think of Omaha, and specifically Rosenblatt Stadium,” Paul Seiler, USA Baseball executive director/CEO, said in a statement. “It is only fitting that Rosenblatt play host to a game featuring teams made up of some of the best collegiate players in the world. We are honored to participate in this historic event.”
The U.S. and Japan have participated in a semi-annual international collegiate all-star series since 1972, alternating each series as the event’s host. Neither team, however, whether playing against each other or in other competitions, has ever competed in a sanctioned international event in Omaha. [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Tar Heels Feel Growing Pains Against Seasoned Seminoles
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—Coming into the season, North Carolina faced questions about its offense, its bullpen and its overall experience level, particularly in the bullpen. The Tar Heels proved this weekend against Florida State that they can compete with any team in the nation, but their offense, bullpen and overall lack of experience were the decisive factors in their losses Friday and Sunday.
In both games, the Tar Heels built an early 3-0 lead, and in both cases their offense failed to extend the lead and their bullpen relinquished the lead in the final two innings. UNC ace Matt Harvey shut down Florida State's potent offense for seven shutout innings Friday, allowing just two hits and four walks while striking out 11, but the Seminoles were able to bide their time until Harvey left the mound, then won it with two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
The Tar Heels were able to extend their lead early Saturday, and they cruised to a 10-4 lead. But Sunday, UNC took a 3-0 lead in the second on three Geoff Parker walks and a bases-clearing triple by Dillon Hazlett, but the UNC bats were silenced the rest of the way by FSU lefty Brian Busch (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R) and closer Mike McGee (who got the final two outs for the save). Florida State again kept its composure despite struggling against UNC starter Patrick Johnson, then scored two runs in each of the final two innings to win it.
"That was what was impressive about our guys today: We didn't get out of ourselves and try to hit six-run homers. We just stayed poised and got pitches to hit," Florida State coach Mike Martin said. "We've got a little experience, and I think experience can go a long way in the makeup of a club. You can't go try to do too much . . . North Carolina has a young club. They're going to be fine—they have excellent pitching, they're going to be fine. No question, it's growing pains. You go through that in this league." [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day
WIth Mississippi leading 3-2 heading into the eighth inning, the Rebels scored four runs in the top of the frame, and Kentucky answered with four of its own in the bottom of the inning before its comeback bid ran out of gas. Ole Miss held on for a 7-6 win, clinching the road series victory.
• Louisiana State evened its series with Arkansas, taking an 8-7 victory.
• North Carolina evened its series with Florida State, 10-4.
Upset of the day
Nebraska (9-8) evened its series against No. 2 Texas (14-5) with a 5-3 win Saturday. The Cornhuskers scored twice in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie and make a winner of starter Michael Mariot (7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER).
Other notable upsets:
• Saint Louis swept a doubleheader against Kansas, which has lost four straight since winning a series at Louisiana State.
• Louisville won its series against Ball State, but the Cardinals did pull off an upset by taking the second game of Saturday's doubleheader 5-1.
Hitter of the day
Georgia Tech Sr. OF Jay Dantzler: 4-for-6, 2 HR, 2B, 8 RBI in a 24-4 win vs. Maryland.
Pitcher of the day
Oregon State Jr. LHP Tanner Robles: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K in 12-2 win vs. Oral Roberts.
Showdown of the day:
No. 13 Arkansas beat No. 7 Louisiana State 6-3 behind seven strong innings from Sr. RHP Mike Bolsinger, plus two home runs and four RBIs from Jr. OF Brett Eibner. LSU starter Austin Ross was true to his M.O., holding Arkansas scoreless in five of his six innings, but allowing four runs in the fourth. He's got to find a way to eliminate the big innings. At least this week the Tigers did not have to waste their bullpen on Friday, so they've got a chance to bounce back and win this series. But it won't be easy; Arkansas has the pitching edge today with So. LHP Drew Smyly taking the mound against LSU So. RHP Joey Bourgeois.
• No. 5 Florida State over No. 24 North Carolina, 4-3 (check the BA Twitter feed for more on this one; the Tar Heels wasted a brilliant start by Matt Harvey and gave this game away in the final two innings)
• Alabama over No. 19 Vanderbilt, 4-1
• No. 21 Mississippi over No. 22 Kentucky, 9-0
• San Diego over No. 14 Rice, 6-4
Upset of the day:
Maryland stunned No. 3 Georgia Tech and ace Deck McGuire, scoring three runs in the first and holding on for a 5-2 victory behind a stellar day by Jr. RHP Brett Harman (8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and two homers by Sr. 1B/RHP Dan Gentzler, who also notched the save. As one scout who was on hand said in a text message: "I'm not sure this happens in the (former Maryland coach Terry) Rupp era." The Terrapins aren't overly talented, but first-year coach Erik Bakich is doing a great job getting them to believe in themselves. [...] Continue Reading »
Tickets to the final College World Series in Rosenblatt Stadium go on sale April 3 through Ticketmaster at 8 a.m. Pacific time. At this rate, there will be a lot of Arizona State fans getting up early that Saturday morning to get their hands on some tickets.
The Sun Devils improved to 17-0 with a come-from-behind 8-6 win at Cal State Fullerton yesterday, giving ASU a sweep of its two-game midweek series at Fullerton. The Titans led 5-3 heading into the eighth, but Arizona State scored five times on six hits in the eighth, and the stellar Sun Devils bullpen nailed down the win. Arizona State and Pacific-10 Conference brethren UCLA remain the nation's only unbeaten teams.
Elsewhere, Tulane completed its own impressive sweep of a two-game midweek series, beating Kansas 5-3. The Green Wave came from behind to win with three runs in the eighth. Tulane improved to 12-6 by winning two straight against a Kansas team coming off a series win at Louisiana State. [...] Continue Reading »
High-profile regional rivals clashed in a number of midweek games yesterday. In Houston, No. 2 Texas fell to 1-1 this season against rival Rice, which jumped on Longhorns sophomore righthander Austin Dicharry in the first three innings and kept the pressure on in a 10-6 win. Anthony Rendon hit his seventh homer of the year—and drew two more walks, of course—for the Owls.
No. 3 Georgia Tech got a solid outing from sophomore righty Mark Pope (6.1 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) in a 6-5 win against rival Georgia. Pope, making his first start in two weeks due to inclement weather in his last scheduled outing, held the Bulldogs scoreless through five innings before they got to him, taking a 5-4 lead into the seventh-inning stretch. But Tech responded with single runs in the seventh and eighth to sink Georgia back below .500 at 8-9.
Just as Rice evened its season record against Texas, No. 6 Florida improved to 1-1 against No. 5 Florida State with an 8-5 win in Gainesville. The Seminoles jumped out to a 5-2 lead through two innings, but the Gators stormed back behind two homers and seven RBIs combined from Josh Adams and Preston Tucker. Relievers Nick Maronde and Kevin Chapman combined to hold FSU to one hit over five scoreless frames to secure the win.
No. 10 Arizona State remained perfect with a 6-5 win in the first of two midweek games at Cal State Fullerton, which fell back below .500 at 7-8. The Sun Devils are doing it without the big names that Fullerton can boast, but clearly ASU has the deeper lineup and the more stable pitching staff between these two West Coast heavyweights.
Two Palmetto State powers were toppled by quality local opponents, as No. 7 Coastal Carolina fell to College of Charleston, 5-4, and No. 11 Clemson lost to Charlotte, 11-10. One other Top 25 team lost, as No. 19 Vanderbilt was pounded by Western Kentucky in Nashville, 17-2.
Let's get to this week's mailbag:
With a 15-1 record and series sweeps of OVC preseason favorite Eastern Illinois and at Mississippi State, are the Southeastern Louisiana Lions on your radar? Who are their best prospects? Thanks!
Hammond, La. [...] Continue Reading »
Louisiana State coach Paul Mainieri told Baseball America today that ace righthander Anthony Ranaudo will not pitch this weekend against Arkansas, but the Tigers hope he could return in time for the Tennessee series next weekend. Ranaudo, a first-team preseason All-American and the top-rated college pitcher for the 2010 draft entering the spring, has missed the last three weeks with a stress reaction in his right elbow.
"Yesterday was the first positive day that we've had," Mainieri said. "He played catch for the first time without pain, so that was a very positive thing. We'll just have to play it by ear and see how his body feels. It's a weird thing—it doesn't hurt him to throw; it was hurting when he takes the ball out of his glove and takes his hand back, the cocking motion. It has nothing to do with ligaments, it's just what they call a stress reaction on the bone, and it could develop into a stress fracture if you don't let it dissipate. I didn't want him to throw a ball until he was 100 percent asymptomatic."
Mainieri was on his way to watch Ranaudo throw again this afternoon, and if he reports no pain after this session, the Tigers will cautiously move forward with his throwing program.
"Your Friday night guy's really important, but you can't force things you can't force," Mainieri said. "My loyalty is to the kid. He's done so much for our program, that it just would be very unfair of me to try to push him before he's ready."
We'll have more on the Tigers and their upcoming showdown against Arkansas in Thursday's Weekend Preview.
Strike One: Road Warriors
It was a statement weekend for Kansas and Louisville. Both teams went on the road without two of their best players, and both teams won big series against Southeastern Conference powers. The Jayhawks took two out of three at Louisiana State, while the Cardinals took two of three at Mississippi.
Kansas outslugged LSU 11-9 on Friday and 8-4 on Sunday even without junior third baseman Tony Thompson, a second-team preseason All-American who won the Big 12 triple crown last year. Thompson sustained a hairline fracture of his left kneecap after fouling a pitch off his knee in practice in early February. Kansas coach Ritch Price said Thompson will remove his knee brace tomorrow and could return to the lineup a week from tomorrow.
"It's been a long six weeks without him. A long six weeks," Price said. "I told our club when this first happened that if we could fight through the adversity and find a way to stay in the hunt without him, we'd be better for it. Now we're even deeper than we would have been."
Thompson's absence has created playing time for senior Brett Lisher (.421/.465/.500 in 38 at-bats through Saturday) and freshmen James Stanfield (.353/.465/.441 in 34 at-bats) and Jake Marasco (.440/.440/.640 in 25 at-bats) at the corner infield spots, and all three have elevated their games. On Friday, the Jayhawks also lost No. 4 hitter Jimmy Waters (.357/.534/.667 with a team-leading three homers and 19 RBIs) to a separated shoulder that will sideline him at least a week. But Lisher came up big in Sunday's rubber game, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and the Jayhawks also got multi-hit performances from leadoff man Casey Lytle, No. 2 hitter Robby Price, DH Chris Manship and third baseman Jordan Dreiling. The latter two probably would not have been playing at all if not for injuries. [...] Continue Reading »
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