South Carolina continued its recent mastery of arch-rival Clemson on Friday, as Jordan Montgomery (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K) dominated in the Gamecocks 6-0 win in Clemson. With South Carolina clinging to just a 1-0 lead in the seventh, the Tigers unraveled, as a dropped fly ball and three consecutive walks led to a three-run rally against Daniel Gossett (6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) and the Clemson bullpen. The Tigers tacked on two more in the eighth, and Tyler Webb struck out the side in order in the ninth to slam the door.
On to some of Friday's other highlights (we'll keep this tight after a 13-hour day at Minute Maid Park):
Top 25 Showdowns
• (14) Oregon at (17) Cal State Fullerton: The Titans won the opener 8-2 behind Thomas Eshelman (9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), who needed just 95 pitches to go the distance and improve to 3-0. The Titans broke a 1-1 tie with three runs on just one hit in the fifth against Jake Reed (5.2 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K), as wild pitches, walks and a passed ball undid the Ducks. Carlos Lopez and Anthony Hutting had two RBIs apiece to lead the Fullerton attack.
• (1) North Carolina vs. (13) Rice: Chaz Frank doubled and scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the ninth, leading UNC to a 2-1 win. Kent Emanuel (7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and Austin Kubitza (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K) were both strong in no-decisions. For more, see my report on the College Blog.
Top 25 Upsets
• Gonzaga vs. (3) Arkansas: Marco Gonzales (9 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K) threw a shutout in Gonzaga's 3-0 upset, dropping the Hogs to 0-2 at the Coca-Cola Classic in Arizona. Barrett Astin (5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER) was solid in defeat for the Razorbacks, but the Bulldogs got to him for three runs in the sixth, and Gonzales made it stand up by showing exceptional command of his 88-90 fastball, excellent changeup and good breaking ball, according to a source at the game.
• Portland at (21) UC Irvine: Travis Radke (6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 K) shut down the Anteaters in Portland's 2-0 upset. Andrew Thurman (6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) was solid in defeat for Irvine, but the Pilots jumped on him for two runs in the first, and Radke and Billy Sahlinger (2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R) made it stand up.
• Mark Appel (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K) was utterly brilliant in Stanford's 2-0 win against Parker French (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER) and Texas. Appel needed just 110 pitches to go the distance despite his high strikeout total.
• Speaking of brilliance, Kevin Ziomek (9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 15 K) had a career day in Vanderbilt's 9-0 win against Illinois-Chicago. Ziomek needed just 114 pitches to get through nine innings, despite finishing just two strikeouts shy of David Price's Tim Corbin-era Vandy record for a single game.
• Florida's losing streak reached six games, and Miami's season-opening winning streak reached 10, as the Hurricanes earned a 3-2 win in Gainesville. Miami's Chris Diaz (7 IP, 8 H, 0 R) outpitched Jonathon Crawford (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), but both earned no-decisions, as Miami broke a 2-2 tie on David Thompson's RBI single in the ninth. Miami, which snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Gators, is 10-0 for the first time since 1981.
• Marco Gonzales wasn't the only ace who shined in front of loads of scouts in Surprise, Ariz. Trevor Williams (9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) also turned in a gem in Arizona State's 8-1 win against Pacific.
• Liberty's Nick Paxton hit for the cycle in a 6-4 win against Army. Paxton went 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs, becoming the first Liberty player to hit for the cycle since Chad Miller in 2006.
• Who would have expected 17 runs to be scored in a matchup between Pepperdine's Scott Frazier and Oklahoma's Dillon Overton? The Sooners put up seven runs in the third against Frazier (6 IP, 8 H, 8 ER), but the Waves answered with six in the fourth against Overton (6 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 10 K), who persevered to improve to 4-0. Three freshmen at the bottom of OU's lineup—Anthony Hermelyn, Kolbey Carpenter and Hunter Haley—drove in two runs apiece, and Haley hit his first collegiate home run.
• Aaron Nola (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K) shined, but Brown scored twice in the eighth against the Louisiana State bullpen, setting the stage for LSU's come-from-behind, 4-3 win on Christian Ibarr's walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth.
• A.J. Reed went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs, and pitched six innings of two-run ball in Kentucky's 21-2 shellacking of Akron. The Wildcats put up an 11-spot in the second.
• Chris Anderson (9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K) was outstanding in Jacksonville's 5-3 win against Texas Christian, dropping the Horned Frogs to 1-7.
• Louisville hammered Kent State ace Tyler Skulina (2 IP, 9 H, 11 ER, 3 BB, 0 K) in a 14-2 blowout. Chad Green (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) was strong for the Cardinals, who improved to 8-1 while dropping the Golden Flashes to 1-8.
• Buck Farmer (6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) kept his ERA at 0.00 in Georgia Tech's 13-1 blowout of Rutgers.
• Jacob Lindgren (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K) threw a dandy in Mississippi State's 10-0 win against St. Joseph's.
• Seth Miller (4-for-6, 3 R, 3 RBI) led a 22-hit barrage, as Florida State pummeled Villanova 23-5. The 'Noles hit Wildcats ace Pat Young hard (2.2 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 5 BB).