Top 25 Showdowns
• (1) Florida at (16) Mississippi: Bobby Wahl (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K) allowed just one Gator to advance past first base in the longest outing of his career, leading Ole Miss to a 3-0 win. Matt Snyder's two-run homer highlighted Mississippi's three-run first against Hudson Randall (6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), and that was enough support for Wahl and Brett Huber, who worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.
• (2) Stanford at (8) Arizona: Mark Appel (8 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) carried a 7-4 lead into the ninth inning, but the Wildcats rallied for four runs in the ninth to win. Bobby Brown's two-run single up the middle tied the game, but Jake Stewart overran the ball in center field, allowing Seth Mejias-Brean to race all the way around from first with the winning run. Mejias-Brean and Brown combined for seven hits and six RBIs for the Wildcats, who committed five errors behind Kurt Heyer (8 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K).
• (3) Arkansas at (15) Louisiana State: JaCoby Jones (4-for-5, 2B, R, RBI) and Raph Rhymes (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI) led a 17-hit attack in support of Kevin Gausman (6.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 12 K), as LSU knocked of Arkansas 10-6. Rhymes, Ross and Hanover each hit their first homers of the year, giving LSU its first three-homer game since May 21, 2010. Gausman's 12 strikeouts were a career high.
• (10) Kentucky at (25) Georgia: For the third straight Friday, Georgia had to deal with wet weather. But while rain delays cut ace Alex Wood's starts to four innings in each of the last two weeks, this time around the game was postponed before it began. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday. [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• No. 13 Cal State Fullerton snapped its 19-inning scoreless streak in the first inning and went on to a 9-5 win at No. 14 Arizona State. The Titans and Sun Devils split their annual two-game midweek series for the fourth time in the last five years. Ten Titans recorded hits as part of an 18-hit barrage, led by three apiece from Richy Pedroza and Austin Kingsolver. Freshmen Tyler Peitzmeier and Willie Kuhl combined to work 6.2 innings of two-run ball for Fullerton, and Michael Lorenzne worked 1.1 innings for his ninth save, tied for second-most in the nation.
Top 25 Upsets
• Texas State completed a two-game midweek sweep of No. 23 Oregon with a 7-6 win. Bobcats slugger Casey Kalenkosky homered for the second straight day, a two-run shot in the first, and Brooks Orton followed with another two-run shot in the second to put Texas State up for good. [...] Continue Reading »
North Dakota State opened its season at Arizona during alumni weekend for the Wildcats, who packed 4,000 fans (including more than 100 baseball alumni) into their new home, Hi Corbett Field. It was a homecoming for Bison coach Tod Brown, a Tucson native who played for Jerry Kindall at Arizona in the early 1990s and then served as a volunteer assistant for the Wildcats in 1999. But Brown wasn't only excited to see his old Arizona teammates; he thought his team had a chance to open some eyes in Tucson.
Wildcats coach Andy Lopez quickly came to that same conclusion.
"We had 4,000 people there Friday night, Terry Fracona was back, this and that," Lopez said. "I looked at my staff pregame and said, 'These guys are here to play. They don't look intimidated at all.' I really give credit to coach Brown—that was not an easy weekend. I told my club, 'Those guys are going to beat some people.' "
After losing 3-1 in the opener at Arizona, the Bison pulled off an 8-2 upset Saturday, breaking a 2-2 tie with six runs in the eighth.
"I had a feeling we had a chance after that first game because our guys were really pissed," Brown said. "If we get a hit here or there, we win that game. Our guys were not happy with saying, 'Well, we showed well, this is a moral victory.' We went out and beat them 8-2.
"It was kind of a magical weekend, to have all my teammates there when I beat Arizona. They knew I took over a program that was winning 12 games a year, and now we just beat the fifth-ranked team in the country." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• Top-ranked Florida improved to 2-0 against No. 4 Florida State with a 4-1 win in Jacksonville in front of 10,751 fans. The Gators erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Casey Turgeon's two-run triple to center off the glove of James Ramsey. Vickash Ramjit followed with an opposite-field RBI single, then delivered another opposite-field RBI single in the eighth to give the Gators some breathing room. Johnny Magliozzi, who entered with the bases loaded and one out in the FSU sixth and induced an inning-ending double play, earned the win.
• No. 14 Arizona State won the opener of a two-game midweek series against No. 13 Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, in Tempe. Three ASU relievers combined for 4.2 hitless innings of relief of Zak Miller (4.1 IP, 7 H, 0 R), as the Fullerton offense's scoreless streak reached 19 innings. Koby Gauna (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) was solid in defeat for the Titans, but Joey DeMichele delivered the game-winning RBI single in the sixth.
Top 25 Upsets
• Richie Shaffer (3-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B, HR) led Clemson's 16-hit attack in a 10-5 win at No. 25 Georgia. The Tigers stopped their three-game losing streak and climbed back above .500 overall (12-11). Daniel Gossett (5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER) improved to 2-2.
• Another former Top 25 team, Texas State, also snapped a three-game losing streak with an 11-3 win against No. 23 Oregon behind Taylor Black (6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K). [...] Continue Reading »
Five Top 25 teams wrapped up weekend series on Monday. Here's a quick roundup:
• No. 5 North Carolina won the rubber game of its series against No. 20 North Carolina State, 7-4. Tommy Coyle hit a grand slam in the second inning against Logan Jernigan (2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 4 ER) to put UNC up 5-1. The Wolfpack chipped away at UNC's lead, getting back within a run in the seventh inning, but Jacob Stallings gave the Tar Heels some breathing room with a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. UNC got strong relief work from R.C. Orlan (3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Michael Morin (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K).
• Three other ranked teams were going for sweeps Monday, but only No. 24 San Diego completed it, beating Santa Clara 12-4. Kris Bryant homered and drove in two in support of Dylan Covey (5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), and James Pazos (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R) was strong in relief. The Toreros improved to 21-6.
• Southern California avoided a sweep at No. 2 Stanford with an 8-4 win. Garrett Stubbs' two-run triple highlighted USC's five-run first against John Hochstatter (1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 0 ER), and Stephen Tarpley (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) kept Stanford's offense in check. The Cardinal's explosive offense has produced just 11 runs over its past four games.
• Washington State blitzed Grant Watson (1.2 IP, 8 H, 8 ER) for nine runs over the first two innings in a 10-4 win, as the Cougars salvaged the series finale at No. 6 UCLA. Ty Jackson's three-run homer and Adam Nelubowich's two-run shot highlighted the Wazzu rallies, and Kyle Swannack (5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) earned the win. Scott Simon (4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) was strong in relief for the Cougars, while the Bruins got good bullpen work from Eric Jaffe (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R). UCLA's Eric Filia-Snyder started in left field in place of Cody Keefer, who sprained his wrist sliding for a ball Saturday (X-rays were negative, and Keefer is considered day to day).
Washington State followed with another win later Monday at Long Beach State, 11-1. Nelubowich went 2-for-4 with four runs in support of Tanner Chleborad (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K).
Strike One: Auburn Makes Noise in SEC West
After losing seven of the top eight hitters and 34 of the 39 home runs from a team that finished 29-29 a year ago, Auburn entered 2012 with modest expectations. The Tigers opened the season with three straight losing weekends (against Missouri, Arizona and at their own tournament), and there was little reason to expect much from them once Southeastern Conference play began.
But the early tribulations helped Auburn recognize and address its shortcomings. The Tigers shuffled some pieces around to new roles on the pitching staff and on the diamond, and they have opened plenty of eyes through two weeks of SEC play, winning back-to-back series against ranked SEC West foes. Auburn has played five one-run games in two weeks against Ole Miss (in Oxford) and Louisiana State, and its veteran bullpen has given it an advantage in close games.
"It keeps you on the edge of your seat, that's for sure," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said of all the nail-biters.
Fifth-year senior Justin Bryant, who earned Auburn's starting second base job in 2010 but missed nearly all of last year following Tommy John surgery, has emerged as a key righthander in the late innings, going 1-0, 3.09 with three saves in nine appearances. Bryant's hard curveball is one of the better out pitches on Auburn's staff, and his velocity has returned to the 88-92 mph range. Bryant has teamed sinkerballer Slade Smith and wily lefthander Cory Luckie to give Auburn a reliable, veteran core in the bullpen. [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• (1) Florida at (8) South Carolina: Nolan Fontana's two-run triple against Matt Price (2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER) in the ninth inning broke a 3-3 tie, propelling the Gators to a 5-4 win in the rubber game of the big series in Columbia. The Gamecocks had runners at second and third with one out in the eighth, but Austin Maddox escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts. Jonathon Crawford (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER) was solid in a no-decision for the Gators, and Steven Rodriguez worked 2.1 hitless innings of relief. Florida (5-1) now leads South Carolina (1-5) by four games in the SEC East.
• (20) North Carolina State at (4) North Carolina: In the opener of the Saturday through Monday series, the Wolfpack got strong mound work from Ethan Ogburn (5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER) and D.J. Thomas (3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) in a 3-1 win in Chapel Hill. Brett Austin's two-run single off Kent Emanuel (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh. UNC All-America third baseman Colin Moran broke his right hand during the game and is expected to miss three to four weeks.
• (5) Arizona at (19) Oregon State: Bobby Brown and Riley Moore hit home runs in the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie and lead Arizona to a 5-4 win in Corvallis, knotting up the series at a game apiece. Konner Wade (7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) was solid in a no-decision for Arizona, and Dan Child (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) was strong for the Beavers, who got three hits and three RBIs from Tyler Smith.
Top 25 Upsets
• (11) Louisiana State at Auburn: Auburn clinched its second consecutive series win against a ranked SEC West power, beating LSU 3-2 in 10 innings. Garrett Cooper's RBI single in the eighth inning tied the game at 2-2, and Dan Glevenyak followed with a game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th. Starting pitchers Will Kendall (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) and Ryan Eades (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) pitched well in no-decisions. [...] Continue Reading »
When freshman Shell McCain stepped into the on-deck circle for All-America third baseman Colin Moran in the ninth inning Saturday, with North Carolina trailing North Carolina State 3-1, it was clear something was amiss.
Moran, it turns out, had broken the fourth and fifth metacarpals in his right hand during the game, according to a team spokesman. Dr. Don Bynum, who performed highly publicized surgery on UNC point guard Kendall Marshall's wrist last week, will perform surgery on Moran's hand Tuesday, and BA's 2011 Freshman of the Year is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks. The Tar Heels did not say specifically how Moran suffered the injury.
Like Marshall is to the UNC basketball team, Moran is the baseball team's most indispensable player, the fearsome centerpiece of a lineup that has struggled somewhat to score runs in recent weeks. He leads the team in the three slash categories (.389/.458/.556) as well as RBIs (24), and is tied for the team lead with two homers. McCain, a 5-foot-9 freshman with 11 career at-bats, is the likeliest candidate to fill in for him.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (1) Florida at (8) South Carolina: The Gators bounced back from Thursday's 9-2 loss with an 8-2 win Friday to level the series. Vickash Ramjit, who entered the game in left field after third baseman Josh Tobias left with a hand injury (causing the Gators to shuffle their defense), homered twice, while Mike Zunino and Brian Johnson each added a homer apiece to help Johnson (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) improve to 4-0. Rain delayed the start of the game for an hour, 15 minutes, and Florida jumped on Forrest Koumas (1 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 5BB, 3 K) for five runs in the first when play finally got going.
• (5) Arizona at (19) Oregon State: The Beavers won the series opener in walk-off fashion, 6-5. Oregon State built a 5-1 lead through three innings against Kurt Heyer (6.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K), and Ben Wetzler (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB 7 K) held the Wildcats at bay until they rallied for two runs in each of the final two innings against the OSU bullpen to tie the game. But Ryan Dunn hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Top 25 Upsets
• (3) Arkansas at Mississippi State: Chris Stratton (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) shined in his second straight start against an SEC West power, leading the Bulldogs to an 11-2 win. With C.T. Bradford back in the lineup in center field, Hunter Renfroe slid to right for MSU and had a big game, hitting two homers (one of them inside-the-park) against Arkansas ace D.J. Baxendale (3 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 7 ER). [...] Continue Reading »
COLUMBIA, S.C.—The scene was a familiar one. Matt Price was on the mound, closing out a South Carolina victory against Florida.
It looked more like 2010 and 2011 for the two-time defending national champions than like the last week. Entering their Southeastern Conference series against top-ranked Florida, the Gamecocks had lost four of their last five games. But the pitching heroes of their Omaha runs held the Gators to four hits while the lineup broke out for seven runs to break a 2-2 tie.
The scoreboard showed a 9-3 Gamecocks victory Thursday night in front of an announced sell-out crowd of 8,242. It was the first win of the SEC season for South Carolina (17-5, 1-3), while it ended Florida's winning streak at 18. Both teams knew the game was better than that, at least until South Carolina broke things open in the seventh and eighth.
When it was still close, Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner turned to Price, the redshirt junior righthander who had made all five of his appearances as a starter in 2012. At 2-1, 3.71, Price had thrown well as a starter, but after losing three close games to Kentucky last weekend, Tanner said he gave plenty of thought to using Price out of the pen in this series. After all, Price had 30 saves the previous two seasons, including 20 last year.
"We told him all week, 'Seventh or eighth inning, if we have an opportunity, we're going (to you),' " Tanner said. "And he said, 'I'll be ready.' He pitched well early, not so well late . . .
"I was tempted (to take him out in the ninth). I turned to coach (Jerry) Meyers, and he wasn't tempted. I said, 'Well, I'm not the pitching coach,' so that's the end of that story." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Upsets
• New Mexico State completed a two-game midweek sweep of Arizona with a 13-8 win. The Aggies pounded out 16 hits and drew nine walks against five Arizona pitchers, including Konner Wade (1 IP, 0 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K), who continued to scuffle in a midweek relief appearance. Zac Fisher (4-for-6, 4 RBI) led the offense for the Aggies, who improved to 17-8.
• No. 8 South Carolina heads into its big showdown against Florida on a down note. The Gamecocks were knocked off by Wofford, 5-4 in 11 innings, for their fourth loss in their last five games. Mac Doyle (2-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI) went deep twice for the Terriers, and Konstantine Diamaduros delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the 11th. Eric Eck (3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) sparkled in relief to earn the win. South Carolina is in the midst of five games in five days, as this weekend's series will be played from Thursday through Sunday to accomodate ESPNU's broadcast.
• Lamar knocked off No. 9 Rice, 5-4. Eight Lamar pitchers scattered 10 hits, and the Owls left 10 runners on base. The Cardinals broke a 4-4 tie with a run in the seventh on Garret Autrey's RBI single. [...] Continue Reading »
Southeastern Louisiana coach Jay Artigues admits he wasn't sure how good his club would be in 2012 after losing its top two weekend starters and five everyday regulars from last year's 35-win team.
But with a roster filled with "tough, hard-nosed Cajun kids," as Artigues put it, the Lions have gotten off to a strong 15-6 start, highlighted by a pair of midweek wins against Mississippi State last week. Artigues wants his Lions to be the most mentally and physically tough team on the field every game, and that blue-collar approach has helped him build Southeastern Louisiana into a very competitive program that has won 32 or more games in each of Artigues' last five seasons, including a 40-win campaign in 2010.
Junior second baseman Brock Hebert (pictured at right) embodies the values that make Southeastern Louisiana successful.
"The thing about Brock, he plays with an unmatched confidence level," Artigues said. "In the box, on the basepaths, defensively at second base, he just plays with confidence. There's no doubt in him when he plays. He has an aura about him that makes everybody around him better as well."
He also has the kind of tools that make him one of the top second basemen in college baseball. Hebert is red-hot, riding a 15-game hitting streak that has boosted his season line to .450/.526/.600 with 12 doubles in 80 at-bats.
Hebert has evolved into a disciplined hitter since arriving at Southeastern. He hit .288 with 51 strikeouts and 19 walks as a freshman, then saw his average climb to .340 as a sophomore, when he struck out 56 times but drew more walks (28). So far this year, he has 12 walks and 15 strikeouts.
Top 25 Showdowns
• No. 18 Georgia cruised to a 7-1 win in its first game this season against No. 15 Georgia Tech. Brett DeLoach's solo homer leading off the second sparked a four-run outburst for Georgia, highlighted by Conor Welton's two-run single, and the Bulldogs never looked back. David Sosebee (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R) was the first of six Georgia pitchers in the game, combining for 11 strikeouts. UGa. has won five of its last six since getting swept by UCLA.
Top 25 Upsets
• New Mexico State overcame a 4-3 deficit with four runs over the final three innings against the Arizona bullpen, upsetting the No. 5 Wildcats 7-4. Arizona committed four errors, leading to three unearned runs. The Aggies got four innings of two-hit, shutout relief from Evan Mott and Robert Roher, and three hits from Kurt Snowley.
• Southern Mississippi utterly dominated No. 17 Mississippi, 10-0, in Oxford. Blake Brown (3-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3B, HR) led USM's 17-hit barrage, while Boomer Scarborough (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K) and three relievers held the Rebels to just three hits. Ole Miss also committed three errors (leading to four unearned runs), while USM played error-free ball. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced today that their College National Team programs will resume an international friendship series for the first time since 1996. The U.S. will kick-off the renewed series by traveling to Cuba for a five-game set in 2012, scheduled for July 5-9, and Cuba has agreed to bring its National Team to the United States in the summer of 2013.
“I could not be more excited for our players and for our collegiate program as a whole,” USA Baseball executive director/CEO Eric Campbell said. “This series will be one of the highlights of our schedule each summer.”
USA Baseball records show that the U.S. and Cuba’s National Teams (U.S. professional teams did not begin competition until 1999) competed consistently each year from 1987-1996, with various friendship games played as early as the late 1970s.
[...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Trading Places
LOS ANGELES—UCLA vs. Arizona State has been one of the marquee series on the Pacific-12 Conference calendar in recent years. Usually it comes later in the spring, but the two teams opened conference play against each other this weekend, and the series between a pair of teams ranked inside the top 11 was characteristically competitive.
But this UCLA-ASU showdown had a different feel to it than other recent meetings between these teams. In a reversal of the usual identities of these programs, UCLA entered the weekend as the better offensive team, while Arizona State boasted the more talented pitching staff.
"Arizona State, they do an unbelievable job of teaching hitting and getting players with (that) mentality," Bruins coach John Savage said. "It's been for 20 years, or at least as long as I've seen it, they've just been one of the best offensive programs in the country. They don't strike out. They've never struck out. They walk. They see pitches. They've always used the middle of the field."
UCLA's hitters have been similarly tough outs for the last four weeks—and the Bruins are 13-2 in that stretch, with series wins against three opponents who were ranked at the time of the meetings (Baylor, Georgia and ASU). But the Bruins got a little "out of character," as Savage termed it, in Sunday's doubleheader split with the Sun Devils, leaving 18 men on base.
That's partly a credit to Arizona State's pitching staff, which is filled with competitive gamers to match those in UCLA's lineup. It helps, too, that ASU's top two pitchers also have great stuff. Junior ace righthander Brady Rodgers has one of college baseball's best four-pitch mixes and perhaps the best control of any college pitcher. He attacked the zone with an 88-91 mph fastball, a quality slider at 82-85, a sharp downer curve at 73-75 and a solid 81-82 changeup in Friday's no-decision. [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• (21) Mississippi State at (13) Louisiana State: Mason Katz hit a two-run homer in the first, and LSU held on for a 4-3 win to clinch the series. Ryan Eades (7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER) picked up the win, as the Tigers won depite being out-hit 10-4. Evan Mitchell (4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) was strong in relief of Nick Routt (3.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER) for Mississippi State.
• (11) Arizona State at (9) UCLA: Postponed by rain; doubleheader scheduled for Sunday.
Top 25 Upsets
• (3) South Carolina at Kentucky: Fr. DH/LHP A.J. Reed delivered a tie-breaking, wind-blown RBI double in the seventh inning and picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief, as the Wildcats toppled the Gamecocks for the second straight day, 4-3. Jerad Grundy (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER) was solid in a no-decision for UK, and Trevor Gott recorded back-to-back strikeouts with the tying run on third base to end the game. The Wildcats improved to 20-0 on the season. Christian Walker had three hits in a losing cause, and Matt Price (6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) took his first loss of the year.
• Auburn at (12) Mississippi: The Tigers broke open a one-run game with five runs in the eighth, highlighted by Zach Alvord's grand slam, to win 10-4 and even the series. Slade Smith (4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) turned in a stellar relief outing for Auburn. Ole Miss committed five errors behind R.J. Hively (7 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) in Auburn's five-run first inning. [...] Continue Reading »
LOS ANGELES—Most of the sports world was buzzing about March Madness on Friday, but it was also a thrilling day in college baseball, where the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 schedules opened with a bang. Let's start the Friday Roundup with the game I attended between two of the top contenders in the Pac-12.
Top 25 Showdowns
(11) Arizona State at (9) UCLA: The sterling pitching matchup between ASU's Brady Rodgers and UCLA's Adam Plutko took some strange turns, but UCLA won it in walk-off fashion in the ninth, 6-5. The Sun Devils broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the third on Deven Marrero's two-run triple and Trever Allen's three-run homer, but Plukto retired the next 14 Sun Devils in order, and the Bruins tied the game with their own five-run outburst against Rodgers in the sixth.
"You're down 5-0 to Brady Rodgers, it feels like you're down by a lot more," UCLA coach John Savage said. "The guy is so good, he's so complete—four pitches for strikes, any count, competitive. He's as good as there is out there in terms of pitchability and competitiveness. I can't say enough about him. But our guys hung in there, we had some good at-bats in the sixth inning . . . You've got to give our guys a lot of credit; they battled back."
The Bruins took advantage of a leadoff error in that frame, then executed a perfect hit-and-run for a single through the right side, followed by a pair of infield singles, an RBI groundout, and three straight groundball singles. Maybe they didn't string together a bunch of hard liners or deep drives, but they did not let their big deficit stop them from having competitive at-bats.
"That inning got away from us," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. "A team like UCLA, you can't open the door. We opened the door. We let momentum get in their dugout, and they battled Brady." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• No. 6 Arizona beat No. 8 Rice, 8-5, to split the two-game midweek series in Houston. Joey Rickard and Seth Mejias-Brean had three hits and two runs apiece to lead the Wildcats, who overcame an early 3-0 deficit in the middle innings and stormed ahead with five runs in the last two innings. Arizona got seven innings of two-hit relief from Konner Wade, Stephen Manthei and Mathew Troupe. Troupe gave up two runs in the ninth but struck out Michael Fuda with the bases loaded to end the game.
• No. 14 Miami won a road game at No. 19 Central Florida, 3-2. Steven Ewing (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) was solid in a no-decision, and the Hurricanes broke a 2-2 tie with an unearned run in the eighth. Ray Hanson (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) pitched well in a no-decision for the Knights, who fell to 0-4 in midweek games against Sunshine State powers Florida, Florida State and Miami.
Top 25 Upsets
• Brad Collins (3-for-4, 5 RBI) fell a single short of the cycle, leading Gardner-Webb's 14-hit assault in a 7-4 upset at No. 5 North Carolina. The Tar Heels rapped out 11 hits and drew nine walks but left a season-high 17 men on base, as their winning streak ended at six games.
• Texas-Pan American knocked off No. 10 Texas A&M, 5-2, in College Station. Chris Torres (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 2B) an 11-hit attack for the Broncs, while Colby McCasland (4.2 IP, 1 ER) and Jonathan Sa (4.1 IP, 1 ER) held the Aggies to just five hits. UTPA improved to 9-1, though five of its wins have come outside Division I play, and three others came against 2-13 Southern Utah. So it's fair to say this is a major upset. It was UTPA's first win against Texas A&M since 2002, breaking a string of nine consecutive losses. [...] Continue Reading »
With four weekends in the books, Kentucky is the only unbeaten team remaining in college baseball. The Wildcats are 17-0 heading into today's game against Murray State, with a series against No. 3 South Carolina looming this weekend.
The Gamecocks will be Kentucky's first significant test, as the Wildcats have played just two games against teams with winning records: South Carolina-Upstate (12-2) and Morehead State (9-8). The rest of their opponents have an aggregate record of 59-89.
But that doesn't mean Kentucky is going to fold once Southeastern Conference play begins. These Wildcats are talented and balanced, with a deep collection of power arms on the mound (many of them lefthanded) and an intriguing blend of power and speed in the lineup.
"There's a few things," Wildcats coach Gary Henderson said by way of explanation for his team's hot start. "Our starting pitching's been solid. We've got some solid, if not better than that, depth in the bullpen, so we've got some options back there. You never feel like you're held hostage and have to run that starter out there for seven innings every time. Our starting position players have been outstanding playing defense. And our concentration at the plate has been really good." [...] Continue Reading »
Top 25 Showdowns
• Florida State has had Florida's number over the last two years, going 7-2 against the Gators in 2010 and '11. But the top-ranked Gators struck the first blow in this year's season series, cruising to a 9-2 win against No. 7 FSU in Gainesville on Tuesday in front of a McKethan Stadium-record crowd of 6,005. UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan improved to 5-0 at home against Florida State, and the Gators extended their winning streak to 14 games, matching the school record. Preston Tucker's three-run homer in the third inning put Florida ahead for good, as the top four hitters in the UF lineup (Nolan Fontana, Daniel Pigott, Tucker and Mike Zunino) accounted for all nine of the team's RBIs. Greg Larson, Steven Rodriguez, Daniel Gibson and Austin Maddox combined to work 6.1 scoreless innings of two-hit relief. Maddox now has 22 strikeouts and no walks in 15.2 scoreless innings over eight appearances this season.
• In Tuesday's other top-10 showdown, No. 8 Rice won the first of two midweek games against No. 6 Arizona, 5-1, to give coach Wayne Graham his 1,500th collegiate victory (including his 11 seasons at San Jacinto JC). The Owls jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning behind Andrew Benak (5.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R), who turned in his fourth consecutive strong midweek start to improve to 3-0, 0.78 with 25 strikeouts and seven walks in 23 innings. Jeremy Rathjen (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR) led the Rice offense.
Top 25 Upsets
• Louisville scored three runs in the first behind Jared Ruxer (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and held on for a 4-3 win against No. 12 Mississippi, in the opener of a two-game midweek set. Ty Young's two-run triple highlighted the first-inning rally, and Zak Wasserman's solo homer in the sixth provided the eventual winning run.
• A pair of errors led to six unearned runs for Washington State, which beat No. 15 Cal State Fullerton 9-8 in 11 innings. Taylor Ard and Derek Jones each homered and combined for five RBIs for the Cougars, who won it on Patrick Claussen's RBI double in the 11th. [...] Continue Reading »
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