For our Sunday roundup, let's run through the Top 25 series, then take a look at some other notable results from around the nation:
• (21) Alabama at (1) Vanderbilt: Curt Casali (2-for-4, 4 RBI) and Mike Yastrzemski (3-for-3, 3 R) powered the Commodores to an 11-6 win against the Crimson Tide, completing the sweep. Casali's three-run homer highlighted Vandy's six-run seventh. Vandy improved to 30-3 overall and kept pace with South Carolina for first place in the SEC East—both are 10-2 heading into next weekend's showdown between the teams in Columbia.
• (2) Virginia at (14) Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets avoided a sweep with a 10-8 win Sunday. Buck Farmer (7 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) wasn't his best for Tech but battled and picked up his sixth straight win, as Jake Davies (4-for-4, 2 2B) led Tech's 14-hit attack. Keith Werman capped his big weekend by going 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Virginia.
• (4) Florida at Mississippi State: Preston Tucker's two-run single broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh and provelled Florida to a series-clinching 3-1 win. Karsten Whitson (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) was solid in a no-decision for the Gators, who mixed and matched on the mound thereafter. [...] Continue Reading »
Our roundup of Saturday's college baseball action begins in the Southeastern Conference, where Arkansas and Louisiana State provided plenty of drama for a national television audience on ESPNU, and a Baum Stadium record crowd of 11,014 (actual attendance).
• In perhaps the most compelling game of the weekend, Arkansas beat No. 17 Louisiana State, 4-3, to clinch a series against the Tigers for the first time since 2004. The two teams traded zeroes until the ninth inning, when the Tigers scored three in the top of the frame, only to lose on James McCann's massive walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Gausman (8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) was very strong in a no-decision for the Tigers, who broke the scoreless tie on Mason Katz's two-run triple off Hogs relief ace Nolan Sanburn. The Razorbacks trailed 3-1 with two outs and two on when McCann launched a three-run shot against Kevin Berry, who had temporarily wrested the closer spot away from Matty Ott. Arkansas clinched its first conference series win of the season in its fourth try, while LSU fell to 3-8 in the SEC—all alone in the West basement.
• Top-ranked Vanderbilt clinched a series win against SEC West-leading Alabama with a 7-0 win behind Grayson Garvin (7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K). Jason Esposito (2-for-4, R, RBI) led Vandy's balanced 11-hit attack. The 'Dores built a 5-0 lead over the first three innings against Adam Morgan (6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
• No. 3 South Carolina finished off its road series sweep of Tennessee with a 2-1 win behind Forrest Koumas (7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). Closer Matt Price escaped a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the eighth, then worked a scoreless ninth for his third save in three days. The Gamecocks gave up just one run in the three-game series, which improved them to 10-2 in the SEC, while dropping Tennessee to 2-10. [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown Friday in the Atlantic Coast Conference leads off our look at the highlights from the day's action in college baseball. We'll try to touch on all of the Top 25 teams, as well as some other big series.
• Midseason Player of the Year Danny Hultzen (8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K) improved to 7-0 in No. 2 Virginia's 6-2 win at No. 14 Georgia Tech, in a battle of 11-1 ACC teams. The Yellow Jackets actually carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh, when David Coleman put Virginia ahead with a three-run homer off Mark Pope (7.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K).
• In the other clash of ACC powers, No. 7 Florida State rallied past No. 16 North Carolina, 5-3. Both teams got solid work from their aces—FSU's Sean Gilmartin (7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and UNC's Patrick Johnson (6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K)—but both got no-decisions, as UNC took the lead on Colin Moran's two-run homer in the eighth, only to see Florida State answer with three in the bottom of the frame. James Ramsey doubled home a run to tie the game, then scored the go-ahead run on Jayce Boyd's sacrifice fly. The Tar Heels put runners at second and third with two outs in the ninth, but FSU closer Mike McGee struck out UNC star Levi Michael to end it. [...] Continue Reading »
After a months-long fight, California's baseball program has been reinstated.
The school announced today that, after a significant increase in philanthropic pledges in the last few days, commitments totaling $9 million were presented to chancellor Robert Birgeneau on Thursday by San Francisco attorney Stu Gordon, a former Cal pitcher and leader of the fundraising effort. The fundraising efforts remain about 10 percent short of the previously identified $10 million goal, but donors and the campus administration have agreed that the team's formal reinstatement will be announced once the $10 million target is reached through continued fundraising.
"The baseball team's preservation is yet another example of how our alumni are stepping up to support their alma mater during a time of unprecedented financial challenges," Birgeneau said in a statement. "I am grateful, on behalf of the campus community, for what our alumni and supporters have accomplished, and pleased that Cal baseball will continue to represent the university in intercollegiate competition. Most especially, I want to thank Stu Gordon for his inspired leadership of this fundraising effort. It would not have happened without him. I have faith in the community's ability not only to meet, but to exceed, the $10 million target in the near future."
School officials are working with team supporters to develop a strategic plan to raise significant additional annual resources, beginning with the 2011-12 season. The strategic plan will focus on improved game-day revenues, as well as additional annual gift and special event revenue. The plan also calls for a substantial increase in the sport's permanent endowment, seeded by some of the gifts already raised. [...] Continue Reading »
Tuesday was chock full of notable upsets and big rivalry games. Here's a rundown:
• Darnell Sweeney's two-run double in the ninth inning propelled Central Florida to a 4-3 upset at No. 4 Florida. It was redemption for Sweeney, who had committed an error at shortstop in the eighth to allow Florida to break a 2-2 tie. Center fielder Ronnie Richardson recorded two strikeouts in a perfect ninth against the heart of Florida's order to pick up the save in his second career mound appearance. In theory, Florida's absurd pitching depth should give it an advantage against everyone in midweek games, but four of the Gators' six losses this season have come in midweek play. UCF, meanwhile, bounced back after being swept at home by Southern Miss to win a midweek road game against a ranked for for the second straight week.
• Arizona State improved to 3-1 this season against rival Arizona with a 10-5 win in Tucson. Deven Marrero had four hits to lead ASU's 12-hit attack. Arizona, which committed four errors in the infield, has lost five of its last eight games.
• In a midweek, nonconference edition of the Bedlam rivalry, No. 10 Oklahoma beat No. 23 Oklahoma State, 8-3. Freshman lefty Dillon Overton (6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) picked up the win with sterling relief of Jack Mayfield, and Garrett Buechele had four RBIs to lead the Oklahoma offense. [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Cowboys Up
Oklahoma State won just eight conference games in all of 2010, sinking to last place in the Big 12. Pitching was a major culprit, as the Cowboys ranked eighth out of 10 teams in the league with a 5.56 ERA.
Through three weeks of conference play in 2011, OSU already has five conference wins, and its pitching is a big reason why. Through 28 games, Oklahoma State owns a 2.38 ERA, second in the Big 12 behind only Texas A&M (1.98). After winning back-to-back series against Texas and on the road against Nebraska, the Cowboys have climbed to 5-4 in conference play, and into the Baseball America Top 25.
"There's still a lot ahead of us, but we're getting better. We're a lot better than we were last year," Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson said. "For the most part, we've done a pretty good job of pitching and playing defense. We play infield defense at a pretty high level, but we need to get better at our outfield defense. Like everybody, we're trying to figure out what you have to do with the bats."
The Cowboys have figured out that part of it better than most, in fact. Oklahoma State ranks second in the Big 12 in batting (.307) and third in home runs (19). The Cowboys rode a power surge to Friday's win at Nebraska, bashing five home runs in a 12-7 win, and they scored 10 runs again Saturday in a blowout victory. Mark Ginther, Davis Duren, Dane Phillips, Zach Johnson and Jared Womack give the lineup a solid core of physical veterans with some extra-base potential. [...] Continue Reading »
Now that conference play is in full swing across the country, let's take a conference-by-conference approach to the roundup blog. We'll start with a look at the action in the Pacific-10 Conference, which has featured a number of the nation's most compelling series in Week Seven.
• Arizona State clinched a series win against Oregon with a 3-1 win behind Kramer Champlin (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). With back-to-back series wins against preseason Top 25 foes Arizona and Oregon already under their belts, the Sun Devils look poised to dominate the Pac-10 again.
• Stanford and Oregon State each reversed their fortunes in a big way after sustaining crushing defeats Friday. A day after blowing a late six-run lead to Washington State, the Cardinal bludgeoned the Cougars 22-3, led by mammoth performances from the bottom of the lineup: freshmen Brian Ragira (3-for-6, HR, 7 RBI), Lonnie Kauppila (6-for-6, 3 R, 4 RBI, 3B) and Austin Wilson (4-for-6, HR, 4 RBI) each went nuts for Stanford. The Beavers, meanwhile, bounced back from an 18-0 loss to Arizona with a 10-4 victory on Saturday, led by three-run homers by Ryan Barnes and Ryan Dunn. [...] Continue Reading »
Some highlights from Friday's action in college baseball:
• Hudson Randall is a machine. The Florida sophomore righthander moved up to the Friday starter role and threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout on just 74 pitches in a 3-0 win against Tennessee. Randall became the first Gator to throw back-to-back complete games since Tommy Boss in the 2005 postseason, and the first to throw a complete-game shutout since Boss did it in the 2004 postseason. Randall improved to 5-0, 0.54 on the season, and he has not given up an earned run in his last 30.1 innings.
• The top two hitters in Vanderbilt's lineup—Tony Kemp and Anthony Gomez—combined for eight of the Commodores' 20 hits in an 11-6 win against Auburn. Sonny Gray (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) improved to 6-1.
• North Carolina broke open a 5-3 game with six runs in the sixth, highlighted by Seth Baldwin's two-run single, as the Tar Heels clubbed Clemson, 13-3. Patrick Johnson (7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 11 K) improved to 6-0 for UNC, which climbed to 8-2 in ACC play. Clemson fell to 4-6.
• Brady Rodgers (7.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) earned the win in his return to the Friday starter role, as Arizona State beat Oregon 5-2, handing Tyler Anderson (7 IP, 10 H, 5 ER) his first loss of the season.
• Stanford led 8-2 after seven innings, but Washington State stormed back with eight in the eighth against the Cardinal bullpen to win 10-8. Mark Appel (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) bounced back from a rough outing last week to pitch well Friday, but A.J. Vanegas (0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and Scott Snodgress (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER) were knocked around in the eighth. Derek Jones capped the comeback with a game-winning, three-run homer.
• Arizona slaughtered Oregon State, 18-0. Jett Bandy (3-for-6, 3 R, 6 RBI) led an 18-hit attack in support of Kurt Heyer (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K). Oregon State committed five errors, leading to six unearned runs against ace Sam Gaviglio (5 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 4 ER), who fell to 5-1. [...] Continue Reading »
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