Nearly all of the teams that make the NCAA tournament end their seasons with a loss, of course. So the nation's longest active winning streak—14 games—dates back to last season, when a Cal Poly team that missed out on regionals finished its season with seven straight wins.
A 14-game winning streak is nice, but the Mustangs would have strongly preferred to end their season in the NCAA tournament. Cal Poly figured it had a good chance to get in after going 36-20 in the regular season, and finishing in second place in the Big West at 16-8, just a game behind league champion Cal State Fullerton.
But Poly wound up in the 60s in the Ratings Percentage Index, so it had to endure another at-large snub—an experience that has become too familiar to coach Larry Lee.
"By about the last three weeks of the season, we were really good, and we won 14 of of our last 17, nine of our last 10, seven in a row," Lee said. "I just thought we were playing as well as anyone out here in the West. Our players knew it, I think it carried over to this year, and I also think they understand how difficult it is for Cal Poly to get a regional berth. So in saying that, it's always stressed that every ballgame, no matter what day of the week it is, is important. Home or on the road, we just need to win ballgames. We can't afford to have a subpar nonconference or conference results. So far, so good."
At least the Mustangs were able to build confidence from their strong second half last year. Pitching has carried Cal Poly to a 7-0 start, including a quality sweep at San Francisco and a home sweep of Seattle. [...] Continue Reading »
After three straight trips to the College World Series, Florida isn't accustomed to losing streaks. The Gators were swept out of the Top 25 by Florida Gulf Coast this weekend, and their struggles continued Tuesday with a 7-6 loss to North Florida in Gainesville.
Florida rallied from behind to force extra innings with two runs in the ninth, but Corey Bass delivered a game-winning RBI double in the 10th for the Ospreys, handing Florida its fifth straight loss. It doesn't get any easier for the Gators this weekend, as they'll host 8-0 Miami. Smoke Laval's North Florida club, meanwhile, improved to 6-2, having won series against West Virginia and The Citadel over the first two weeks.
Tuesday's slate also featured a number of ranked teams getting knocked off. Here's a roundup of the day's action:
Top 25 Upsets
• Memphis followed up its sweep of Missouri with a fourth straight win against an SEC foe, knocking off No. 8 Mississippi 4-3 in Oxford. With the score tied 3-3, the Rebels made three errors in the eighth, leading to the winning run. Keaton Aldridge (3-for-5, 2 R) led the Memphis attack.
• Andrew Freter (5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and two Utah Valley relievers held No. 20 Arizona to just five hits in a 3-1 win in Tucson. Colby Croft had three hits to pace the Wolverines. [...] Continue Reading »
Stanford junior outfielder Austin Wilson, a first-team preseason All-American and projected first-round pick, has been sidelined since Feb. 16 with a stress reaction near the tip of his elbow, a team spokesman said Tuesday. The spokesman called it "a minor injury" that "typically takes four to six weeks to recover, if not sooner." That timetable would put Wilson's expected return somewhere between March 16 and March 30. That contradicts an internet report that suggested Wilson is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
In Wilson's absence, sophomore Austin Slater has filled in exceptionally in right field. Slater had two hits in each of Stanford's three wins against Fresno State this weekend, and he leads the team with a .421 average on the season. The Cardinal has recruited very well over the last few years, and now it is reaping the rewards of its impressive depth of talent.
The Cardinal hosts Texas this weekend. Wilson has at least a chance to return for the start of Pacific-12 Conference play March 22 against Utah, and Stanford could use his bat back in the lineup, as the Cardinal is hitting just .229 with four homers on the season.
Strike One: FGCU's Sweep Rewards
Florida Gulf Coast has already spent some time in the national spotlight in its brief Division I history, thanks to the brilliance of Chris Sale, who went on to be a first-round pick and then a big league all-star in just his second full pro season.
But since beginning D-I play in 2008, the Eagles had yet to break into the Baseball America Top 25 rankings, though they knocked on the door a few times during the Sale era, winning 36 or more games for three straight years.
Everybody's talking about the Eagles now, after they went to Gainesville and swept Florida right out of the Top 25 this weekend. FGCU replaced the Gators in the rankings, making its debut at No. 23.
Even more remarkably, the Eagles did it without two of their key players: two-way talent Brady Anderson and weekend starter Richie Erath. Anderson, a plus-plus runner who would have played center field and served as the closer, tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee knee jumping for a ball in the outfield before the season began. And Erath is out at least six to eight weeks with a stress fracture in his elbow.
"We thought we were going to be good from the start. We didn't know how much Brady Anderson's injury would hurt us, which was a real big blow in the first week of practice," FGCU coach Dave Tollett said. "So we had to move Harrison Cooney from No. 2 (starter) to the back end of the game."
That worked out very well for the Eagles this weekend, as Cooney threw five shutout innings of relief in Sunday's 7-4 win in 11 innings. Tollett said Cooney worked in the 94-96 mph range for the first two innings of his outing Sunday, then settled in at 92-94 with serious arm-side life. He complemented it with a nasty 82-83 mph slider, and his power stuff helped him escape a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the 10th, setting the stage for Sean Dwyer's game-winning three run homer in the 11th. [...] Continue Reading »
You can watch our College Top 25 Google+ Hangout here.
For the second straight day, college baseball saw a combined no-hitter, as Colby Holmes (6 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER) teamed with Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab on Sunday to throw South Carolina's first no-hitter since 1975, as South Carolina beat Albany 14-1. L.B. Dantzler homered in that one and drove in four, while Chase Vergason (3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI) also went deep to lead off South Carolina's nine-run fifth. Dantzler (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, 2 2B) capped his big weekend with another huge game in support of Nolan Belcher (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K) in the second game of South Carolina's doubleheader sweep, which also included a 6-4 victory. Through six games this season, Dantzler is hitting .545 with three homers and 13 RBIs.
On to the rest of Sunday's action:
Top 25 Showdowns
• (20) Cal State Fullerton at (22) Texas Christian: The Titans completed a dominating three-game sweep with a 7-0 win. Fullerton, which never trailed in the series, improves to 8-0, its best start since 2003, while TCU falls to 0-6. Grahamm Wiest (7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) stymied the Frogs on Sunday, and Matt Chapman (3-for-4, 2 RBI) led the Fullerton offense. TCU has faced two very good pitching staffs this season, but the Frogs have scored just eight runs in six games and are hitting .183 as a team.
Top 25 Upsets
• Florida Gulf Coast at (17) Florida: FGCU earned a thrilling 7-4 win in 11 innings to sweep the series—the first time Florida has been swept at home since 2009. The Gators had the bases loaded with no outs in the 10th but failed to score against Harrison Cooney (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K), and Sean Dwyer (4-for-6, 2 R, 3 RBI) delivered a game-winning three-run homer off Justin Shafer in the 11th. [...] Continue Reading »
Saturday's college baseball action featured both a no-hitter and a player hitting for the cycle. First-team preseason All-America pitchers have fared much better this week than they did last week, and the latest to bounce back was North Carolina State's Carlos Rodon, who struck out a career-high 14 while issuing just one walk over seven hitless innings against La Salle. Freshman Karl Keglovits worked two perfect innings to complete the combined no-hitter, as the Wolfpack won 5-0. Rodon struck out the last six batters he faced, and nine of his last 11. It was N.C. State's first no-hitter since Gib Hobson threw one in 2005.
The cycle came in Dallas Baptist's 24-3 win against Mississippi Valley State. DBU's Duncan McAlpine went 4-for-5 with 3 runs and four RBIs, hitting a two-run homer in the seventh to complete his cycle.
On to the rest of Saturday's highlights:
Top 25 Showdowns
• (20) Cal State Fullerton at (22) Texas Christian: Freshman pitchers continued to come up huge for the Titans, who clinched the big road series with a 6-2 win. Justin Garza (7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) turned in his second stellar outing in as many weeks, a day after fellow freshman Thomas Eshelman did likewise. Another freshman, Jake Jefferies, gave TCU some crucial insurance with an eighth-inning grand slam. Eshelman and Garza are a combined 4-0, 0.36 with 25 strikeouts and one walk through 25 innings. Preston Morrison (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) was solid in defeat for the Frogs.
Top 25 Upsets
• Brigham Young at (9) Louisiana State: BYU broke a 1-1 tie with five runs in the sixth against reliever Nate Fury, propelling the Cougars to a 9-4 upset and handing LSU its first loss. Brennon Anderson's three-run homer highlighted BYU's sixth-inning rally, and Mark Anderson (6.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER) kept the Tigers in check. Brent Bonvillain (4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) set down the first 12 batters of the game for LSU before hitting the wall in the fifth, when BYU loaded the bases twice but managed just one run. [...] Continue Reading »
I was on hand for a great pitching duel between Kent State's Tyler Skulina and San Diego's Michael Wagner on Friday; you can read my report here. There were plenty of other standout pitching performances across college baseball Friday; let's round up the action.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (20) Cal State Fullerton at (22) Texas Christian: Thomas Eshelman (5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K) turned in another outstanding start, leading the Titans to a 7-2 win. Fullerton got to Brandon Finnegan (4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) for a pair of runs in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 lead that it would not relinquish. Carlos Lopez and Michael Lorenzen had two RBIs apiece for the Titans.
Top 25 Upsets
• Loyola Marymount at (14) Oregon: Colin Welmon (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K) wriggled out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in the first two innings, and LMU got to Jake Reed (5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) in the middle innings to pull off a 7-2 win. Cullen Mahoney (2-for-5, 3 RBI) led the offense for the Lions, one of our preseason picks to make a regional. LMU is now 3-2 against Pac-12 teams, after winning two of three from Utah last week but falling to Southern California midweek.
• Florida Gulf Coast at (17) Florida: Ricky Knapp (9 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) needed just 92 pitches to go the distance against Florida, leading FGCU to an 8-2 win—the second win in program history against the Gators, and the fifth against a ranked opponent. The Eagles erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the sixth to chase Jonathon Crawford (5.1 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), who hit a batter and issued a walk to start the frame. Daniel Gibson took over and surrendered a three-run homer to Brooks Beisner. The Eagles put the game out of reach with five in the eighth. [...] Continue Reading »
SAN DIEGO—In a matchup between two teams that entered the season with high hopes but entered Week Two winless, San Diego earned its first win in Fowler Park in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion, beating Kent State 2-1 on Friday.
Aces Tyler Skulina of Kent State and Michael Wagner of USD went head-to-head in a fine pitching duel, keeping the game scoreless through six innings. The Golden Flashes got on the board in the seventh on Evan Campbell's solo homer to right, and Skulina left after 95 pitches with a 1-0 lead through eight innings. But Dillon Checkal sparked USD's ninth-inning rally with a leadoff walk against closer Eric Dorsch, and Dillon Haupt doubled into the left-field corner to score the tying run. Two batters later, A.J. Robinson fell behind in the count against lefty Brian Clark, but he went the other way with a breaking ball for a walk-off RBI double into shallow left field, prompting the Toreros to mob him near second base.
"He knew he was going to get that offspeed pitch away, away, away, and he just fought it off," San Diego coach Rich Hill said. "Great at-bat."
Skulina, a 6-foot-6 junior who ranks as the top prospect in the Mid-American Conference, was masterful for eight shutout frames, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. He threw strikes with his 88-93 mph fastball as well as his tight 80-84 slider, and mixed in some low-70s curveballs for a change of pace. I'll have a midweek feature on Skulina coming soon.
Wagner, who ranked second in the nation with 19 saves last year, proved he is up for the challenge of competing against another marquee Friday night starter. He gave up just the lone run on six hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings. Wagner had three quality pitches going: an 88-90 fastball with good arm-side run, a sharp 81-84 slider with good depth and an excellent 82-83 changeup. He used the changeup effectively against righthanded hitters as well as lefties, keeping the Flashes off balance. [...] Continue Reading »
SAN DIEGO—One of Week Two's best pitching matchups was a Thursday night showdown between Oregon State junior righthander Dan Child and San Diego State sophomore righty Michael Cederoth. And while Cederoth showed the much more impressive stuff, Child made big pitches in big spots to earn the win. The Beavers broke open a 2-1 game with five runs in the seventh en route to an 8-1 win, keeping them unbeaten at 5-0.
Cederoth worked comfortably in the 94-98 mph range in the first few innings, before settling in at 93-95 in the middle innings. But the Beavers made him work—he issued five walks while striking out six and allowing just two hits over six innings, yielding two runs. He walked the bases loaded in the third, but managed to escape after allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly—but that inning helped drive his pitch count up. He was at 80 pitches after four innings, and he finished with 111.
"We've got guys that just will battle out at-bats, and I think that's what we did today," Oregon State shortstop Tyler Smith said. "He was throwing hard; it's tough when the other guy's throwing that hard to really square balls up. You've just got to be ready for that fastball. I think we only got a couple hits off him, but I think we really battled against him. He wasn't commanding his secondary pitches too well, walking some guys. So we just had good at-bats; guys got on and executed."
It's clear that Cederoth has special ability, and his feel for pitching is improving. At times he showed a better curveball Thursday in the 75-77 range, and he got some swings and misses with his 80-82 slider. He just needs to avoid those innings where his command abandons him for a few batters.
"He did a good job; his problem tonight was the pitch count," San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn said. "He settled in, he had a couple innings where he threw a lot of pitches, but all in all he did a good job managing the game. USD was pretty patient (last week), Oregon State tonight, the guys at the top of the lineup were pretty patient. You've just got to get a feel for your stuff and you've got to trust it. For me, that's his next hurdle, just trusting that his stuff is good enough to get people out." [...] Continue Reading »
Heading into an opening-weekend series at Wichita State, Pittsburgh coach Joe Jordano had no idea that the Shockers had never lost a home game in the month of February.
"I'm glad nobody told me that before we went," Jordano said. "One of my student managers mentioned to me after the first game that they were 69-0 in February, and I said, 'Interesting.' You know how Wichita State fits into the whole story of college baseball—it's pretty neat. Great atmosphere, great facilities, and I think they have a pretty good team. We just did some pretty good things this weekend."
The Panthers entered the season with little fanfare, picked by Big East coaches to finish seventh in the conference, well behind conference heavyweights Louisville, St. John's, Notre Dame and Connecticut. But Pitt created some shockwaves by sweeping the Shockers—the first time Wichita has been swept at home in any three-game series since 1970.
"I can assure you that Wichita State didn't expect it," Jordano said. "We just went in there and played very solid baseball the whole weekend. I think we're a very solid baseball team. We're one of only three teams that made the Big East tournament the last four years; we've been flying under the radar for quite some time, but two out of the last three years we finished in third place. We've had 40-plus players sign professionally in the last 10 years or so, and we're doing that on about nine and a half scholarships."
The Panthers haven't made a regional since 1995, but they've been knocking on the door, and their recruiting efforts have gotten a boost from the Petersen Sports Complex that opened in 2011, and from an impending move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jordano said his recruiting class of 2013 will be his first fully funded class, as the school ramps up its commitment to baseball in anticipation of the move to a power conference.
Jordano knows it will be a challenge to compete in the ACC, but it's a challenge he is excited to take on. [...] Continue Reading »
LONG BEACH, Calif.—Before we get to the Tuesday Roundup, here are a few observations from the game I attended. On a chilly, wet night at Blair Field, Long Beach State hosted defending champion Arizona in its home opener, and the Dirtbags showed off their improved lineup before rain suspended play in the eighth inning, with LBSU leading 5-4.
Since the BBCOR bat era began in 2011, just seven home runs have been hit in college games at Blair Field. The Dirtbags didn't hit their first long ball at home until the final weekend last year, but they matched that season total in their first home game of 2013. With a stiff wind blowing out to left field, Josh Guerra launched a soaring two-run shot to left in the fourth inning, capping Long Beach's four-run rally against Arizona starter Nick Cunningham. One batter earlier, freshman catcher Eric Hutting had broken a 1-1 tie by flicking a breaking ball into left field for a two-run single. And in the third, No. 9 hitter Michael Hill smacked a triple off the left-field wall, then scored on a sacrifice fly.
Hutting, Guerra and Hill comprised the bottom third of LBSU's lineup, which appears to be very capable from top to bottom. Colby Brenner and Jeff McNeil bring speed and bat control to the top of the order, and the middle of the order has some thump with Ino Patron and Richard Prigatano. It certainly looks like a regional-caliber lineup.
Arizona's lineup is bookended by a pair of quality freshmen in speedy leadoff man Scott Kingery and heady shortstop Kevin Newman, who hits ninth. Those two are nice additions to a depleted lineup that will rely on veterans Johnny Field and Brandon Dixon to do much of the heavy lifting in the middle.
The Wildcats hope Cunningham can be a key contributor as a senior; poor command has held him back in the past. He did a nice job pounding the strike zone with his 88-90 fastball and 74-77 curve on Tuesday, though he wasn't overpowering. If he can continue to throw strikes, he will be a significant factor on this pitching staff. [...] Continue Reading »
Four Top 25 teams were in action Monday, and all four of them picked up victories to remain undefeated on the season. Top-ranked North Carolina jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 7-1 win against Coastal Carolina, as three UNC relievers combined for 5 2/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief. Few teams have bullpens that can shorten games more effectively than UNC.
No. 6 Oregon State wrapped up an unbeaten run at the Palm Springs Tournament with a 5-4 win against UC Riverside in 11 innings. Tyler Painton provided six innings of one-hit, shutout relief for the Beavers, who won it on Joey Matthews' walk-off RBI double in the 11th. No. 14 Oregon completed a four-game sweep of Hawaii with a 4-2 win. J.J. Altobelli (3-for-4, 2 RBI) led Oregon's offense, which did most its damage in a three-run fifth.
And No. 11 Kentucky trailed 10-6 after seven innings but stormed back with four in the eighth and another in the ninth to win 11-10. Thomas Bernal delivered a game-winning pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth.
Let's move on to this week's mailbag question. As a reminder, you can submit questions for the mailbag on Twitter (@aaronfitt), or by emailing email@example.com.
I read your tweets from the USC game on Sunday, and I was wondering what you thought about the Trojans. I know they're young, but is the talent level improving? Is there any reason for optimism this year?
I was on hand for first-week Southern California head coach Dan Hubbs' first victory, a stirring 4-3 comeback Sunday against Nebraska. The Trojans trailed by a run heading into the ninth, but freshman Vahn Bozoian kickstarted a rally with a one-out single up the middle, and Adam Landecker capped it with a walk-off RBI single. [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: The Anteaters Are Back
IRVINE, Calif.—Matt Whitehouse went upstairs to do a radio interview, then back down to the field to speak with print reporters. His media duties completed, he strolled toward the backstop to greet some fans, and he was hailed by UC Irvine baseball super fan Keith Franklin, a long-haired, tie-dye-shirt-wearing, vociferous fixture at Anteater Ballpark.
"Whitehouse!" Franklin bellowed in his Macho Man Randy Savage growl. "Thank God you're back, man. Thank God!"
UC Irvine's 2012 season was derailed in part by injuries to Whitehouse, Kyle Hooper and Ronnie Shaeffer. Now, at long last, that trio is healthy again and providing invaluable veteran leadership—and production—for a reinvigorated Irvine club. The Anteaters made a loud statement during opening weekend by dismantling reigning Big 12 champion Baylor in a three-game sweep.
"To have Whitehouse and Hooper healthy—last year's bad news had this silver lining," Irvine coach Mike Gillespie said. "Same with Shaeffer. It's early, but so far he's been good for us, and he is good."
Shaeffer, a fifth-year senior, runs the show from behind the plate and is also Irvine's best run producer in the middle of the lineup thanks to his mature approach and line-drive stroke. He went 6-for-13 (.462) with three RBIs this weekend.
In Saturday's 5-0 win, fourth-year juniors Whitehouse and Hooper combined on a three-hit shutout. A 6-foot-1 lefthander, Whitehouse has battled injuries since 2010—first a pulled hamstring, then a knee strain, and finally a shoulder strain that sidelined him after just three outings last year. He spent the summer training with Dave Coggin at Performance Fitness for Athletes in Upland, Calif.—alongside UCLA's Adam Plutko and Pepperdine's Scott Frazier, among others—and said he added 7-10 pounds of muscle. [...] Continue Reading »
Every Monday during the college season, Aaron Fitt and John Manuel will discuss the teams that moved into the College Top 25 Rankings with a Google+ Hangout On Air. The broadcast of the Hangout will go live beginning at 12 p.m. ET. You can watch it right here.
Who says the long ball is a thing of the past in college baseball? Florida's Zack Powers became the second college baseball player this weekend to belt two grand slams in one game, joining Virginia's Kenny Towns, who did it Friday. Powers finished with nine RBIs in Florida's 16-5 win against Duke.
We'll recap Sunday's Top 25 action below, but first let's take a look at some of the other major storylines of the day and the weekend:
• Pittsburgh bludgeoned Wichita State, 11-3, to complete a three-game sweep—the first time the Shockers have been swept in a three-game set at home since 1970. This series also marked WSU coach Gene Stephenson's first home losses ever in the month of February. The Shockers had been 69-0 all-time at home in February. On Sunday, the Panthers put up six runs in the first, and Rhys Aldenhoven (6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) kept the Shockers in check.
• The Big West had a big weekend. Conference favorite Cal State Fullerton went 4-0, but UC Irvine also made serious noise with a dominating sweep of Baylor, capped by a 15-3 thrashing Sunday (more on the Anteaters in Monday's Three Strikes). Cal Poly completed a three-game sweep of a quality San Francisco club with a 10-5 win Sunday, as Chris Hoo smacked a grand slam to cap Poly's seven-run sixth inning. UC Santa Barbara erupted for eight runs in the seventh inning Sunday to beat Fresno State 11-3, clinching a road series against a talented club. And UC Davis won three of four against a Washington team that entered the season with some buzz. Nick Lynch (3-for-5, 2 RBI) led a 13-hit attack in UC Davis' 7-5 win Sunday.
• Georgia Southern pounded Georgia, 11-2, to clinch its first three-game series win against the Bulldogs since 1986. A record-setting three-game attendance of 9,225 took in the series in Statesboro.
• Clinton Freeman had a massive weekend for East Tennessee State, which won two of three against Penn State. Freeman, a junior first baseman/lefthanded pitcher, went 8-for-10 at the plate with a double, a triple, three home runs, five RBIs, seven runs scored and three walks. He also made two appearances on the mound, striking out three while earning a save in 1.1 innings of work. [...] Continue Reading »
It's been another long day of college baseball here in Southern California, so today's blog will just focus on the Top 25 results. UC Irvine and San Diego State made loud statements by clinching series today, and I liked what I saw from both of them. I'll have plenty on both teams in Monday's Three Strikes.
Weather wreaked havoc on the East Coast, causing a number of cancellations and postponements. Many Sunday games look to be in jeopardy as well.
We have two particularly notable individual performances to highlight before we get to the Top 25 roundup. Troy's Danny Collins hit for the cycle in a 22-5 win against Florida A&M, going 5-for-6 with three runs and six RBIs. And Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Trevor Foss posted an sterling line in a 6-0 win against Texas-Pan American: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 15 K.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (9) Stanford at (18) Rice: The Cardinal evened the series with a 3-2 win. Justin Ringo's RBI double in the eighth broke a 2-2 tie, and the Cardinal got strong relief work from Daniel Starwalt (3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and Garrett Hughes (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R for the save). Jordan Stephens (7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) was solid in a losing effort for the Owls.
• (14) Texas Christian at (13) Mississippi: The Rebels erased a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the eighth to pull out a 5-2 win, clinching the series. Tanner Mathis hit an RBI single to tie the game, then scored the go-ahead run on Auston Bousfield's RBI single. Preston Morrison (7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) pitched very well into the eighth for TCU, but Ole Miss got to Justin Scharf and Andrew Mitchell. Aaron Greenwood (3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K) sparkled in relief for the Rebels to earn the win. [...] Continue Reading »
College baseball's Opening Day is in the books, and there is plenty of action to digest. Quality pitching performances abounded, and there were even a few offensive explosions (led by Virginia DH/3B Kenny Towns' two-grand slam day in a rout of East Carolina). Let's round up the Top 25 showdowns and upsets, then touch on a few other highlights from a fun first day.
Top 25 Showdowns
• (9) Stanford at (18) Rice: Austin Kubitza (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 12 K) pitched much better than first-team preseason All-American Mark Appel (5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), leading Rice to a 5-1 win. Kubitza set a career high for strikeouts in a game and escaped trouble by getting inning-ending strikeouts in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Zech Lemond (3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) was strong in relief to earn the save.
• (14) Texas Christian at (13) Mississippi: Bobby Wahl (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K) bested Brandon Finnegan (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) in a crisp pitcher's duel, as Ole Miss pulled out a 1-0 win. Tanner Bailey and Brett Huber combined for 2.2 innings of one-hit relief for the Rebels, who pushed across the winning run on Will Jamison's squeeze bunt in the fifth.
Top 25 Upsets
• Indiana vs. (4) Louisville: Joey DeNato (4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) and Evan Bell (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) stifled Louisville's offense in a 2-0 upset at the Big East/Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten favorites got two hits apiece from Kyle Schwarber and Dustin DeMuth and pushed across runs in the fourth and fifth against Chad Green (4 IP, 7 H, 2 ER). [...] Continue Reading »
To celebrate the start of the college season, Aaron Fitt and John Manuel are talking about college baseball in a Google+ Hangout. You can watch the replay of it here. Among the topics discussed were the Southern California coaching change, Miami's PED issues and Karsten Whitson's injury. John and Aaron also discussed St. John's, Washington State, top freshmen and opening weekend plans.
Florida junior righthander Karsten Whitson, a third-team preseason All-American and unsigned 2010 first-round pick, will miss the 2013 season following cleanup surgery in his shoulder, according to his father, Kent Whitson.
The good news is Whitson's labrum and rotator cuff are in good shape, and Dr. James Andrews was able to locate and repair an impingement that was causing him discomfort.
"When they went in, there was not a definitive thing they were looking to do. They were looking for what was causing the discomfort, and they found it," Kent Whitson said. "It was the least invasive thing they could do. Now, putting a scope in your arm is invasive in itself. Honestly, you're talking about eight weeks before you can pick a baseball back up. That's why this year is going to be a scratch for him. There's really not a way for him to get himself caught back up. It would be silly to pitch the last two weeks of the year, burn a year (of eligibility), burning opportunities that down the road you probably would wish that you didn't do. So for him, it's just going to be better to not pitch this year. Realistically, Andrews told him four months before you can pitch again."
That timetable opens the possibility that Whitson could return to pitch in summer ball and try to boost his stock with scouts, but Kent Whitson said it's too early to determine whether Karsten will try to do that or just direct all his energy toward preparing for his redshirt junior season and the 2014 draft.
"He's going to come back 100 percent, without the pain, and he's going to be lights-out," Kent Whitson said. "He is really going to be tough come the spring of next year. He's never had a fall, a break, a spring, then rolling into competition. It hasn't worked out that way for him. I think what he'll do is just redshirt and go into '14 still having options open." [...] Continue Reading »
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