Stanford announced Tuesday that lefthander Brett Mooneyham had surgery on his left middle finger and will miss the remainder of the season. Mooneyham, a two-year weekend starter who also pitched for Team USA last summer, cut his left middle finger in January and had surgery last week.
As recently as last Tuesday, Cardinal coach Mark Marquess told Baseball America that Mooneyham was working his way back and might be available to pitch an inning or two during opening weekend. So this development is a surprise and a major disappointment.
Mooneyham arrived at Stanford as one of the top pitching prospects in his class, but control problems have kept him from becoming an elite college pitcher. He issued 54 walks in 67 innings as a freshman (when he went 6-3, 4.14), then walked 62 in 87 innings last year (going 3-7, 5.07). He did a better job throwing strikes last summer with Team USA and in the fall, and the Cardinal had high hopes for him heading into this spring.
Still, the Cardinal is loaded with power arms, many of whom have taken steps forward. Stanford did win a series at Rice without Mooneyham, and it also rode its strong pitching to a win against rival California on Tuesday, 3-2. Junior righty Jordan Pries got the start and allowed just one hit over four shutout frames, and A.J. Vanegas and Scott Snodgress followed with five combined innings of solid relief, allowing just two runs on five hits.
Which leads us to some other highlights from a busy slate of Tuesday games:
• The day's other big showdown, between No. 4 Texas Christian and No. 16 Baylor, was also dominated by pitching. The Horned Frogs won 2-0 behind 6 2/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball from touted freshman righty Andrew Mitchell, and 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief from fellow freshman Stefan Crichton. TCU's weekend rotation is loaded with veterans, but the Frogs needed some of their freshmen to mature quickly in order to give the staff depth. So far, so good.
• Two other perennial Lonestar State powers did not fare as well as TCU. No. 6 Texas was toppled by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 8-7. The Longhorns tried to staff the game, using eight different pitchers for short stints, but they fell behind 5-0 early and their comeback bid fell short. Catcher Jumpy Garcia had four RBIs to lead the Islanders, who are 5-0 heading into a big tournament in Corpus Christi against Indiana, Oregon State and Connecticut. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi clearly looks improved, but this weekend will reveal just how far it has come.
• Rice was also upset by an in-state mid-major, falling to Lamar 12-7. The Cardinals hammered Owls starter Tony Cingrani (2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER) and led 12-3 after five innings, paced by catcher Joey Latulippe's four hits. Rice's four-run rally in the ninth was too little, too late. At 1-3, the Owls are off to a slow start for the third straight year. Last year they began 0-4, but they recovered, and they will recover this year, too.
• No. 2 UCLA continued to dominate on the mound, and this time Cole, Bauer and Plutko were not involved. Led by starter Scott Griggs (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K), five Bruins combined on a five-hit shutout in a 9-0 win against Pepperdine. The offensive explosion was encouraging for the Bruins, who scored just eight runs in three games this weekend against San Francisco. But they have now surrendered just one run in four games.
• No. 1 Florida is firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. The Gators followed their dominating sweep of South Florida with a 13-2 win against a talented Florida Atlantic team on Tuesday. Righty Anthony DeSclafani (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and five relievers shut down the Owls' potent lineup, while Preston Tucker and Daniel Pigott had four hits and two RBIs apiece for Florida.
• Florida State also won a nice midweek game against an in-state regionals contender, beating Jacksonville 5-3. Junior-college transfer Gary Merians (5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER) earned the win in his FSU debut.
• Georgia Tech imploded in the bottom of the ninth, as closer Kevin Jacob walked in the tying and winning runs in a 6-5 loss against Georgia Southern. The two teams will go at it again today.
• Dallas Baptist earned a nice midweek win against Oklahoma State, 7-3. Jordan Staples (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) earned the win in relief, and second baseman Tyler Robbins had three hits to lead the DBU offense. The independent Patriots have at-large aspirations, so they'll need as many wins against power-conference teams like Oklahoma State as they can get. Tuesday was a nice start.
• Loyola Marymount continued its impressive start, beating Long Beach State 5-1 behind a strong outing from Aaron Griffin (5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). The Lions are 4-1 against quality Big West opponents UC Riverside and Long Beach.
• CAA favorite Georgia State improved to 4-0 by clubbing A-Sun favorite Mercer, 14-5. Rob Lind had five RBIs to lead a 16-hit attack for the Panthers, who won despite making five errors.
• Southeastern Louisiana followed its big series win against Florida International by clobbering Tulane, 13-1. Jeff Harkensee had three hits and five RBIs to pace the Lions, who weren't too far removed from at-large contention last year and look like they will be major factors in the Southland Conference again this year. Tulane, meanwhile, has scored just nine runs in four games during a 2-2 start against Southland teams.
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