A year ago, Oregon headed into the season with high expectations and a No. 14 ranking. The Ducks struggled to generate consistent offense all season and scuffled to a disappointing eighth-place finish (11-16) in the Pacific-10 Conference.
After losing a trio of first-five-rounds picks on the mound (first-rounder Tyler Anderson, second-rounder Madison Boer, fifth-rounder Scott McGough), plus their starting catcher (Jack Marder) and entire middle infield (Danny Pulfer and K.C. Serna), the Ducks were dealt blows this fall and spring, losing freshmen Cole Wiper and Sam Johnson plus key junior lefthander Christian Jones to Tommy John surgery.
So naturally, expectations were much lower for Oregon this year.
That is why the Ducks have opened eyes by starting the season 7-1, including a sweep at preseason No. 10 Vanderbilt that vaulted Oregon into the rankings at No. 18. Oregon's current seven-game road winning streak is its longest road winning streak since at least 1963 (that is as far back as Oregon's records go). Granted, the school did not have baseball for about three decades until reviving the program for the 2009 season, but the point is this hot start is a big deal for the Ducks.
Especially considering the rigors of the road trip. Oregon opened its season with four games at Hawaii (winning the last three), wrapping up the series on Monday. On Wednesday morning, they flew to Nashville, where they played Belmont on Thursday, then a weekend series at Vandy. [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Upsets
• Casey Kalenkosky's first-inning RBI triple proved all the offense Texas State needed, as Mitchell Pitts (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) and three relievers combined on a four-hit shutout in a 1-0 win against No. 22 Texas Christian. Brandon Finnegan (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) pitched well in defeat for the banged-up Frogs (2-5), who are still without three infield starters and center fielder Brance Rivera.
"We competed and I told the team that," said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle. "I don’t doubt anyone’s want or desire or effort, but I do doubt our ability to make an adjustment at home plate. We have guys out, but no one is going to feel sorry for us there. I expect the guys in the lineup to be able to represent TCU in the highest fashion and we didn’t do that tonight."
• Troy Barton (5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R) stymied No. 24 Louisville in Eastern Illinois' 3-2 upset. The Cardinals rallied from a three-run deficit with two in the ninth, but Adam Engel struck out with the tying run on third to end the game.
Other Top 25 Results
• Stephen Piscotty doubled and drove in three, leading No. 2 Stanford toa 5-1 win against UC Davis. The Cardinal improved to 8-0.
• Joey Pankake's solo home run in the first broke a 1-1 tie, propelling No. 3 South Carolina to a 2-1 win against Presbyterian. The 7-0 Gamecocks have yet to allow more than two runs in a game against VMI, Elon or Presbyterian.
• Brandon Moore (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout in No. 4 Arkansas' 5-0 win against Brigham Young.
• Andrew Benak (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) turned in his second straight strong start in No. 5 Rice's 4-1 win against crosstown rival Houston. The Owls (9-0) are also unbeaten.
It's hard to stay Under the Radar when your team goes on the road and wins a series at Louisiana State. So from that standpoint, Appalachian State (based in Boone, N.C.) is hardly Under the Radar anymore.
Until last weekend, though, the program was. Coach Chris Pollard believes his team's series win at Alex Box Stadium was more than just a good weekend. He hopes it's a sign that the program he's been building since arriving in Boone from Division II Pfeiffer (N.C.) has left its underwhelming past behind.
"It's a good validation of the progress we're making," Pollard said Monday morning, "but we've got to protect against just looking at one weekend. We don't want to look back at the end of the year and see that we went to LSU and won a series but didn't accomplish our other goals. So we need to enjoy it but get back to work soon and move on." [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Cardinal Rules
STANFORD, Calif.— Mark Marquess has been around college baseball long enough to know that seven straight wins at the beginning of the season won't matter in June if his team's season is over before the College World Series. So when asked what Stanford's second straight impressive sweep over a ranked opponent—this time against No. 12 Texas—shows about his team, the 36-year coaching veteran preached patience.
"We knew we had a good team, but it is still so early," Marquess said. "We haven't really been through tough times yet and we still have a lot of work to do, so we won't get too excited yet."
But redshirt junior lefthander Brett Mooneyham has been on The Farm for three seasons and Stanford hasn't made it to Omaha in any of those three seasons. So when he was asked whether this season's team was the best he has been a part of in his career after Saturday's series-clinching 7-2 win over the Longhorns, he was a little less reserved.
"Easily," Mooneyham said without hesitation. "This is easily the best team I have been on here." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• (12) Texas at (2) Stanford: The Cardinal broke open a 1-1 game by batting around twice in a 13-run fourth inning en route to a 15-1 win and an emphatic series sweep. Stanford outscored Texas 28-5 in its first-ever three-game sweep of the annual series against the Longhorns. Stephen Piscotty (2-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI) and Kenny Diekroeger (3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI) spearheaded a 17-hit attack in support of freshman John Hochstatter (6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K), who earned the win in his first collegiate start. Mike Lemaire will have more on this series on Monday's blog.
• (25) Baylor at (22) UCLA: The Bruins erased a two-run deficit with four in the eighth inning, highlighted by Cody Regis' two-run double off the glove of the diving second baseman, as the Bruins clinched the series with an 8-6 win. Regis had begun the season 2-for-22 before delivering in the eighth for UCLA, which got a big day from Pat Valaika (3-for-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI). Max Muncy homered twice and Logan Vick went deep once for Baylor, which had not homered in its previous 13 games dating back to last May.
Top 25 Upsets
• Valparaiso at (4) Arkansas: Valparaiso trailed 5-0 through four innings but stormed back against Randall Fant (4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Trent Daniel (0.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER) and pushed across a run in the 10th against Nolan Sanburn (3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) to pull off the 10-9 upset. Dominic Ficociello went 4-for-4 in a losing cause for Arkansas, and cleanup man Will Hagel had four hits for Valpo, including the game-winning RBI single in the 10th.
• Appalachian State at (7) Louisiana State: ASU's Rob Marcello (8.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) carried a shutout into the ninth, and the Mountaineers out-hit the Tigers 14-4 in an 11-1 drubbing, clinching the stunning series upset. It was Appalachian State's first-ever three-game series win against an opponent from a Bowl Championship Series conference. ASU pitching held the Tigers scoreless for 20.2 consecutive innings until Arby Fields' RBI triple in the ninth Sunday. Tyler Zupcic (2-for-5, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI) led Appalachian's assault on Kurt McCune (3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER) and the LSU bullpen. [...] Continue Reading »
Monmouth righthander Pat Light, ranked No. 53 on Baseball America's preseason Top 100 list of 2012 draft prospects, got his season off to a strong start Feb. 17 against Wright State.
Light gave up one run over seven innings while striking out six and walking none. His fastball sat in the low 90s, but touched 95 once and 96 once.
Baseball America editor John Manuel caught up with Light this week for our new In The Dugout video series. . .
Before we get to Saturday's highlights, we have news of a significant injury to pass along. Georgia Southern junior outfielder Victor Roache, a first-team preseason All-American after hitting a nation-leading 30 homers last year, broke his wrist diving for a ball in the outfield during the Eagles' doubleheader sweep of Radford. Roache will have surgery next week and there is no timetable for his return, though he told BA's Conor Glassey on Twitter that it looks like he'll miss the rest of the season.
As for the games, Chris Beck (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Eddie Butler (5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 4 K) each got no-decisions in the opener of the twin bill, but the Eagles went on to win both games 7-6.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (12) Texas at (2) Stanford: The Cardinal has made short work of its rigorous early-season schedule thus far. Stanford beat Texas 6-2 on Saturday to improve to 6-0, with five of those wins coming against teams ranked in the top 12. Kenny Diekroeger (3-for-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI) led an 11-hit attack in support of Brett Mooneyham (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K), as the Cardinal took an early lead against Texas LHP Hoby Milner (4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER) and cruised from there.
• (25) Baylor at (22) UCLA: Somebody finally slowed down Baylor. Jeff Gelalich's towering two-run homer capped UCLA's three-run first against Max Garner (4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER), and the Bruins broke open a 3-3 game with five runs in the sixth en route to a 9-3 win. Beau Amaral (3-for-5, 2 RBI) was one of five Bruins to post multi-hit games in support of Nick Vander Tuig (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER). [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• (12) Texas at (2) Stanford: First-team preseason All-American Mark Appel struck out a career-high 10, carried a no-hitter into the fifth and a shutout into the eighth, leading the Cardinal to a 7-2 win. Appel scattered three hits, allowed one run and walked three. Brian Ragira (3-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 2B), Jake Stewart and Tyler Gaffney had three hits apiece for the Cardinal, which improved to 5-0. The Longhorns continued to scuffle a bit on defense, as 2B Brooks Marlowe and 3B Erich Weiss each committed an error behind Nathan Thornhill (5 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).
• (25) Baylor at (22) UCLA: The only team that has made as much noise as Stanford so far this season is Baylor, which rocked the Bruins 15-3 on Friday to improve to 6-0. Leadoff man Nathan Orf (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B) and Jr. CF Logan Vick (4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 4 2B) led Baylor's 19-hit barrage against Bruins ace Adam Plutko (3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) and three relievers. Trent Blank (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief of Josh Turley (4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Blank, who has found great success with a lowered slot this season, already had three wins and a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings over three appearances.
Top 25 Upsets
• Florida International at (18) Florida State: The Panthers beat Florida State 8-5, their first win against the Seminoles since 1990. Pablo Bermudez and Adam Kirsch had three hits apiece, and eight Panthers hit safely in support of R.J. Fondon (5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 ER). Fr. LHP Brandon Liebrandt (2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) got the start for FSU and took his first collegiate loss. [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• Top-ranked Florida cruised to an 8-0 win over No. 19 Central Florida to improve to 4-1 on the season. Jonathon Crawford, who was part of Sunday's bullpen meltdown against Cal State Fullerton, rebounded with five scoreless frames, holding the Knights hitless for 4 1/3 innings in his first career start. Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan said Monday that he wasn't remotely worried about Crawford, who sat 93-95 with sink against the Titans but fell victim to some well-placed choppers, and his faith was rewarded Wednesday. Daniel Gibson, Bobby Poyner and Ryan Harris combined for four innings of four-hit relief for Florida, and Preston Tucker smacked his third homer of the season to tie UF's career RBIs record.
• No. 25 Baylor earned its fifth quality win of the young season, beating Texas State 5-1. The Bears broke open a 1-0 game with four runs in the fifth, and five Baylor pitchers held the Bobcats to four hits. In five games against Oral Roberts, Texas Christian and Texas State, Baylor pitchers have surrendered just 4.4 hits per game, and 1.1 runs per game.
• Zane Evans' three-run homer in the eighth broke an 8-8 tie, leading No. 11 Georgia Tech to an 11-9 win against Southern Conference favorite Georgia Southern. Preseason All-American Brandon Thomas (3-for-4, 3 R, 4 RBI, HR) had a big day for Tech. [...] Continue Reading »
Florida Atlantic has opened the season with a nice streak: The Owls have not trailed in any of their first 27 innings. That becomes even more impressive when you consider the streak that FAU snapped during opening weekend: Alabama had never been swept at home by a nonconference opponent until the the Owls swept the three-game set in Tuscaloosa. The Tide hadn't been swept in any nonconference series since 2001. And it was Florida Atlantic's first sweep over a Southeastern Conference Team since 1999.
Starting quick was key all weekend for FAU, whose strong bullpen should excel at protecting leads this year. The Owls got excellent relief work this weekend even though closer Hugh Adams did not make the trip to Tuscaloosa because of shoulder inflammation.
"(Getting early leads) was huge," FAU coach John McCormack said. "The one thing we did a really good job of all weekend was capitalizing on some of the opportunities we had and on their mistakes. We ran the bases well. We had a number of two-out hits, some big two-strike hits, a couple sac flies, guys got moved over. Our short game was exceptional. We got a lot of bunts down. We have a number of guys where that's part of their game. And whenever they were able to score, we answered right back. We didn't trail all weekend, and it was good, not playing from behind, especially on the road." [...] Continue Reading »
BY GREG AUMAN
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Long before you get to the Bulls’ final record, this could be the Year of the Comeback for South Florida baseball.
That was clear after USF’s season-opening 5-3 win against Ohio State to open the Big Ten/Big East Challenge, a game that offered promising starts for two of the four key Bulls returning from major injuries.
Senior DH Todd Brazeal (pictured at right), who tore his ACL during fall ball, not only made it back for the opener, but he went 4-for-4, trying even to leg out a triple in his last at-bat, only to be thrown out at third. Brazeal’s recovery time was a blink compared to closer Ray Delphey, who pitched Friday for the first time in nearly two years due to shoulder problems, getting two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth for the save.
“I want to be in a late-game situation with the game on the line, no matter what,” said Delphey, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder who had nasty curves for two third strikes Friday. “We did rehab every day over the fall . . . Hopefully it’s going to work out for us. It’s great to start off the year the way we did.” [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• No. 25 Baylor improved to 4-0 with a 7-1 win over No. 15 Texas Christian. Bears pitchers Trent Blank (4 IP, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K) and Kolt Browder (3 IP, 0 R, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K) held the Horned Frogs hitless through seven innings, but Josh Gonzales broke up the combined no-hit bid with a two-out single in the eighth off Joey Hainsfurther (2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). Baylor had at least one hit from all nine spots in the batting order.
Top 25 Upsets
• Preston Beck (2-for-4, 3 RBI) hit a two-run homer to highlight Texas-Arlington's four-run third, propelling the Mavericks to a 7-5 upset at No. 12 Texas. Lance Day (5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER) earned the win in relief for UTA, while Austin Dicharry (2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) got the start and took the loss for Texas.
• No. 18 Florida State outslugged Jacksonville, 16-9, to drop the Dolphins to 0-4. The Dolphins jumped out to an early 6-2 lead thanks in part to a Taylor Ratliff grand slam, which chased FSU starter Luke Weaver in the second. But the Seminoles stormed back with a 14-hit barrage, led by a big day from Jayce Boyd (4-for-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B). The Seminoles have allowed six or more runs in three of their first four games, but they have scored nine or more runs in all four, and they are 4-0.
• North Carolina State lefthander Carlos Rodon, the nation's No. 3 prospect in the freshman class, made his first career start and shined, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out three over five shutout innings in a 10-0 win against UNC Wilmington. Tyler McSwain (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R) turned in a quality start for the Seahawks, and the game was scoreless until the Wolfpack erupted for 10 runs in the eighth inning. Ethan Obburn gave NC State four perfect innings of relief.
• A trio of top 5 teams earned come-from-behind victories against plucky underdogs. Top-ranked Florida got two homers from Mike Zunino and one from Brian Johnson, and Preston Tucker's RBI single broke a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning, propelling the Gators past Bethune-Cookman 8-6. Austin Maddox continued to sparkle out of the Florida pen, working two scoreless frames for the win.
• No. 2 Stanford overcame an early 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 lead at Pacific, only to see the Tigers storm back to force extra innings. But Stephen Piscotty rescued the Cardinal with a game-winning two-run homer in the 11th.
• No. 4 Arkansas overcame deficits of 4-0 and 7-4 to beat Northwestern State, 8-7. Dominic Ficociello (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2B) and Tim Carver (3-for-4, RBI) led the Arkansas offense, and Jake Wise provided a walk-off walk in the ninth.
• Michael Fuda (4-for-5) and Jeremy Rathjen (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) led No. 5 Rice's 14-hit barrage, and Taylor Wall (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) picked up the win in relief, as the Owls beat New Mexico State, 7-5.
• UCLA's offense rebounded from a rough weekend against Maryland, pounding out 16 hits in a 19-7 rout at Cal State Northridge. Tyler Heineman, Cody Keefer, Jeff Gelalich and Trevor Brown all delivered three or more RBIs for the Bruins.
• Oklahoma State earned its first win of the year, holding off a late, furious Dallas Baptist rally to win 9-7. Chase Stevens (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) was stellar for the Cowboys, but the bullpen impoded during DBU's six-run eighth.
• In a battle of somewhat surprising unbeatens, Santa Clara earned a road victory against Cal Poly, 5-2. Pat Stover and Lucas Herbst had two hits apiece to lead the Broncos, who got a solid start from Powell Fansler (5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) and three-hit relief from three relievers.
• Another West Coast Conference team off to a fast start, Pepperdine, improved to 3-1 win a 6-1 win over Virginia Commonwealth. Corey Miller (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) turned in a gem for the Waves.
• Southern California stayed undefeated with a 4-2 win at Long Beach State. Brandon Garcia (5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), coming off a two-homer weekend at the plate, started on the mound and picked up the win for the Trojans, who go three hits from Matt Foat.
• Louisiana-Monroe thumped Tulane, 9-3, to improve to 3-1 on the young season. Shelby Aulds (5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R) was untouchable in relief for the WarHawks, who got two homers and five RBIs from Joey Rapp.
• In a matchup between winless teams, Wichita State hammered Oral Roberts, 10-3, behind nine combined RBIs from Don Lambert and Ryan Hege.
BY GREG AUMAN
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The opening weekend wasn’t what Michigan State coach Jake Boss wanted—one win and two one-run losses against the Big East—but what he liked was the change in his players’ reaction to such results.
“I told the kids, I think four years ago, had we come down here and played this schedule 1-2, we’d have been pretty happy,” he said. “I think these guys have taken this program to a level where we’re disappointed and feel we should have won two if not three games.”
Michigan State is coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 1993, including a 36-21 mark last year that included the Spartans’ first regular-season Big Ten crown since 1979, when Magic Johnson was walking around campus.
Gone are last year’s Big Ten Player of the Year, first baseman Jeff Holm, and the league’s Pitcher of the Year in Kurt Wunderlich, but Boss has a solid mix of returning talent and promising newcomers, which is why league coaches picked the Spartans as the preseason favorite to win the league. (Baseball America picked them second behind Purdue.)
“We’ve got some young guys who are still learning, reeling a little bit after their first weekend, but that’s OK,” Boss said. “They’re talented, and I think we have a chance to have a pretty good ballclub if we can just do the things we’re capable of.”
Those freshmen include projected starters at both corners in first baseman Ryan Krill and third baseman Kevin Goergen, who went a combined 0-for-13 on their first weekend, as well as rightfielder Jimmy Pickens, who had two hits in the season-opening win against St. John’s.
The Spartans’ best hitters on the opening weekend were returning veterans like second baseman Ryan Jones and center fielder Torsten Boss (no relation to Jake), who combined for 10 hits and two home runs; left fielder Jordan Keur went 7-for-12 for a .583 clip in the Spartans’ first three games.
“It’s a good mix between freshmen and upperclassmen—I think we’re going to have a good team,” Keur said. “The (newcomers) fit right in with the club, and they’re one of us now. We don’t consider them freshmen anymore.
"This program, there’s more talent now, and more expectations. We like that. It keeps us honest.”
On the mound, junior righthander Tony Bucciferro has 20 career wins—just four players in the NCAA enter the season with more—and righties Andrew Waszak and David Garner combined for 20 starts last year.
The league has had deep balance in recent years. Michigan State’s regular-season title came with a 15-9 record, a year after going 13-11 and finishing in a tie for seventh in the same conference.
“There was a lot of parity in the league,” Boss said. “You look at Minnesota, Ohio State, look at what Illinois did in the (NCAA) tournament last year (when it was a regional finalist). There’s good ballclubs in our conference and we can compete with anybody. I’ll take our chances at the end of the year against anybody.”
Strike One: Lying In The Weeds
MALIBU, Calif.—Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez admitted he was being a little cagey in the offseason. He did not spend any time lobbying for rankings or telling anyone how good his team was going to be. After last year's disappointing 22-34 campaign, expectations for the Waves were modest coming into the season (West Coast Conference coaches picked them to finish fifth in the league in the preseason poll), and Rodriguez liked it that way.
As he put it, he was "lying in the weeds" a bit with his team.
It's too early to anoint Pepperdine as a sure-fire postseason team, but the Waves made a statement during opening weekend, taking two out of three from then-No. 19 Oklahoma—whose coach, Sunny Golloway, spoke openly and confidently in the preseason about how good he expected his team to be. The Sooners should wind up being a solid club, but they were outplayed in Malibu, to the point that Golloway used the word "imposters" to describe the way his players performed in Saturday's ugly 10-0 loss.
Pepperdine squandered its share of opportunities on the weekend, but overall the Waves took what the Sooners gave them, did not beat themselves, and made enough winning plays to take the series. It helps that Pepperdine has a pair of very reliable, experienced middle infielders in shortstop Zach Vincej and second baseman Joe Sever, who anchor the team's defense and the top third of its lineup. That duo combined for five hits and four RBIs on Saturday, and the heady Sever gave Pepperdine a major jolt by scoring from second base on an infield single in the critical three-run fourth inning, which turned a 1-0 game into a 4-0 affair.
"I think when you have a middle infield like that, that has been here together for three years now, they form a bond," Rodriguez said. "Everybody sees it and everybody wants to be around them. I never have to tell them to do anything. I kind of just remind them about things, and they've got it. They're like extra coaches on the field; it makes my job a lot easier." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• (25) Cal State Fullerton at (1) Florida: The Titans avoided the sweep with a come-from-behind 8-5 win. Florida chased Fr. LHP Kenny Mathews with three runs in the second, but Fr. RHP Koby Gauna (5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER) gave the Titans strong relief work, and Fullerton erupted for four runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth against the UF bullpen. Gators starter Brian Johnson (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) pitched well but was on a 75-pitch limit. Carlos Lopez and J.D. Davis had three hits and three RBIs apiece in the middle of Fullerton's lineup.
Things got testy after Davis' three-run homer gave the Titans an 8-3 lead in the sixth. Lopez reacted with emotion after crossing the plate on the homer, and Florida reliever Steven Rodriguez threw the next pitch behind Austin Kingsolver. Rodriguez was ejected.
"I think Rodriguez got a little pissed," Titans coach Rick Vanderhook told the Gainesville Sun. "Our guys got excited. He didn't like the way they acted. I'd have probably done the same thing if I was on the other side."
• (10) Vanderbilt at (2) Stanford: The Cardinal continued to swing red-hot bats, bludgeoning Vanderbilt 18-5 to complete a three-game sweep, during which Stanford outscored Vandy 35-13. The Commodores jumped on A.J. Vanegas (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) for four runs in the second on Sunday, but the Cardinal responded with eight runs in the bottom of the frame against Sam Selman (5 IP, 8 H, 12 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K), highlighted by Stephen Piscotty's three-run double. Piscotty added a grand slam during Stanford's seven-run sixth inning, and Christian Griffiths went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Fr. LHP John Hochstatter (6.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R) provided sterling relief of Vanegas.
This year, we're tweaking the In The Dugout interviews that have been a feature of the Weekend Preview. Now, they will run separately as one of Baseball America's forays into video.
Our first In The Dugout feature is with North Carolina first baseman Cody Stubbs. A transfer from Walters State (Tenn.) CC, Stubbs is expected to be a vital power source in the middle of the Tar Heels' lineup, something he's showed already with three doubles in North Carolina's opening three-game series against Xavier. [...] Continue Reading »
By GREG AUMAN
Wet weather across the Texas and the South resulted in a number of doubleheaders Saturday—some of them makeups from Friday's postponed action, and some of them in anticipation of storms to come on Sunday. So many series have already been clinched or even completed. Let's take a look at the Top 25 action, followed by a look at some other noteworthy results outside the Top 24.
Top 25 Showdowns
• Top-ranked Florida clinched a series win against No. 25 Cal State Fullerton with a 5-2 win. Preseason All-Americans Karsten Whitson (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) and Austin Maddox (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) shut down Fullerton's offense, and Fr. DH Taylor Gushue put the Gators ahead for good with a two-run triple in the fourth. Grahamm Wiest (5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) was decent in defeat in his first collegiate start for the Titans.
• Brian Ragira (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI) posted his second consecutive three-hit game to lead No. 2 Stanford's red-hot offense to a 9-5 win against No. 10 Vanderbilt, clinching the series for the Cardinal. The Commodores made four errors behind Fr. RHP Tyler Beede (4.1 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 5 ER), wasting a two-homer day by Connor Harrell (2-for-4, 4 RBI). Jr. LHP Brett Mooneyham (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K) picked up the win for Stanford in his first appearance since 2010. Lonnie Kaupilla played shortstop for Stanford and Kenny Diekroeger (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) played second base—a switch from Friday.
• No. 22 Mississippi's game at No. 15 Texas Christian was rained out and will not be made up Sunday. The two teams will play their regularly scheduled Sunday game.
• North Dakota State broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the eighth inning against No. 5 Arizona's bullpen, earning an 8-2 upset—the Bison's first win ever on the road against a ranked Division I foe. Arizona So. RHP Konner Wade (7.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 13 K) was stellar in a no-decision, but the Wildcats mustered just four hits Luke Anderson (7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K) and Kyle Kingsley (2 IP, 0 R). [...] Continue Reading »
The college baseball season is officially underway. Here's a quick look at some of the highlights of Opening Day.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (1) Florida over (25) Cal State Fullerton, 7-3. The Gators chased Fullerton ace Dylan Floro (6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) with four runs in the seventh, breaking a 3-3 tie. Jr. LHP Steven Rodriguez (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) picked up the win with stellar relief of Hudson Randall (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER).
• (2) Stanford over (10) Vanderbilt, 8-3. So. 1B Brian Ragira (3-for-4, 2 RBI) led Stanford's 14-hit barrage in support of Jr. RHP Mark Appel (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), as the Cardinal hit So. LHP Kevin Ziomek (3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) hard.
• (22) Mississippi over (15) Texas Christian, 7-4. Alex Yarbrough (2-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR) paced the Rebels' offense, and Bobby Wahl (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) bested Andrew Mitchell (6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER) in the battle of hard-throwing sophomore righties.
• Xavier over (9) North Carolina, 10-4. In the second game of a doubleheader, the Musketeers chased Fr. LHP Chris O'Brien (4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) in the fifth inning, then broke open a 5-4 game with five runs over the final two innings. The Tar Heels won the opener, 10-2, as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two innings behind So. LHP Kent Emanuel (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER). [...] Continue Reading »
CARY, N.C.—Monmouth righthander Pat Light, ranked No. 53 on Baseball America's preseason Top 100 list of 2012 draft prospects, got his season off to a strong start Friday in a 10-2 Hawks victory against Wright State.
Light pitched seven innings, giving up a run in the second inning but cruising the rest of the way. He struck out six and walked none. Light's fastball touched 96 mph in the first inning and sat in the low 90s through the early frames, while settling into the 87-89 mph range in the later innings. His fastball had solid late life down in the zone, and after giving up a run-scoring double to Wright State's Zach Tanner and a hard single later in the innings, Light located his fastball well.
His slider and changeup both sat in the 79-81 mph range early, losing 3-4 mph as the game went on, but Light was effective locating both to his glove side. His command was good enough that he needed just 89 pitches to go seven innings.
Sophomore second baseman Jake Gronsky had three hits and four RBIs to pace the Hawks offense.
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