Top 25 Showdowns
• (13) North Carolina State at (1) Florida State: The Seminoles continued to scuffle, getting blasted 10-5 in the series opener—their fifth loss in their last seven games. Ryan Mathews (2-for-4, 3 R, 4 RBI) stayed red-hot for the Wolfpack, blasting two homers, including a three-run shot to highlight N.C. State's four-run fifth inning, helping the 'Pack erase an early 4-1 deficit. Mathews extended the ACC's longest active hitting streak to 19 games; he has five homers in his last five games, giving him 13 on the season. Carlos Rodon (6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 6 K) struggled mightily with his control—nine walks is not a typo—but still gutted his way into the seventh inning to improve to 9-0.
• (9) Louisiana State at (2) South Carolina: Wet weather postponed the series opener; the two teams will play a doubleheader Friday.
• (5) Rice at (16) Central Florida: Rain suspended the opener with UCF leading 8-3 in the top of the fifth.
Top 25 Upsets
• (4) Kentucky at Mississippi State: Chris Stratton (6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) improved to 10-1 in MSU's 3-1 win over Taylor Rogers (5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) and the Wildcats. Wes Rea's two-run single broke a scoreless tie in the fourth, giving Stratton and the MSU bullpen all the support they'd need. Ross Mitchell provided 2.1 innings of one-hit, shutout relief before handing off to freshman closer Jonathan Holder, who recorded the final out for his fifth save. The Wildcats fell into a virtual tie with South Carolina atop the SEC (though the Gamecocks are percentage points ahead).
• (25) Mississippi at Vanderbilt: T.J. Pecoraro (9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) threw Vanderbilt's first complete-game shutout since Richie Goodenow in 2010, leading the Commodores to a 3-0 win against Bobby Wahl (7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and the Rebels. Anthony Gomez drove in two to lead the Vandy offense, which won despite mustering just three hits. The Commodores improved to 27-25, and Pecoraro picked up his first win of the season.
• Indiana State clinched its first outright regular-season title since joining the Missouri Valley Conference in 1977, beating Missouri State 6-3. The Sycamores did it by beating Nick Petree (6 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K), snapping his 38-inning scoreless streak (and 73-inning streak without an earned run) in the first inning. Indiana State rapped out 15 hits in support of Dakota Bacus (9 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). The Sycamores last won a piece of the Valley title in 1985, when they shared it with Wichita State. The regular-season title, coupled with a top 50 RPI, should put Indiana State in solid position to earn an at-large bid if it fails to win the MVC tournament.
• Third-ranked Florida blanked Auburn, 6-0, to climb within a game of Kentucky in the SEC. Hudson Randall (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) won his fourth straight start and threw the first complete game by a Florida pitcher since he went the distance on April 1, 2011. Preston Tucker went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and became Florida's all-time hits leader. His two-run homer in the second gave him 13 on the season, a new career high.
By and large, it was a poor day for bubble teams. A roundup:
• In a matchup between sure-fire first-round picks, Texas A&M's Michael Wacha (6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and Oklahoma State's Andrew Heaney (8.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 12 K) each earned no-decisions, but Matt Juengel dealt OSU's slim at-large hopes a blow with a game-winning three-run homer in the 13th inning, as Aggies won 5-2.
• Baylor pounded out 19 hits in support of Josh Turley (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) to dismantle bubble-dwelling Texas, 16-5. Dillon Peters (1.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER) had a short outing for the Longhorns, and Nathan Thornhill (3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER) provided little relief.
• In the Southland Conference, both Southeastern Louisiana and Texas State lost series openers against McNeese State and Northwestern State, respectively.
• Samford, which entered the weekend ranked 60th in the RPI, won the opener of a big series at fellow bubble-dweller Oklahoma, 4-2. Fellow SoCon bubble teams College of Charleston and Elon also won, as the Cougars beat UNC Greensboro 11-6 and the Phoenix bludgeoned The Citadel 18-5.
• Tulane won its series opener against Marshall, 3-1, behind Alex Byo (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K).
• St. John's at-large hopes continued to sag, as the Red Storm lost 4-1 against Seton Hall to fall into a tie with Louisville atop the Big East.
• Michigan State needs to win its final series at home against Penn State to have a realistic shot at an at-large spot, so its 3-2 loss Thursday was a setback. Jordan Steranka erased a 2-1 deficit with a two-run homer in the eighth for the Nittany Lions.
• Like the Spartans, Stetson is not in first place in its conference and needs a strong finish to snag an at-large spot. The Hatters lost their series opener against Florida Gulf Coast, 6-2.
• In the ACC, North Carolina smashed bubble-dwelling Virginia Tech, 13-2. The Tar Heels pounded out 14 hits in support of Kent Emanuel (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). Fellow bubble team Georgia Tech lost a home game against Miami, 5-4, as the Hurricanes erased a 4-0 deficit, winning with three in the ninth against Alex Cruz. Maryland's long shot hopes took a blow with a 7-6 home loss to Virginia. But Wake Forest did win, 5-2 against Clemson behind Tim Cooney (7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).
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