Saturday Roundup: Virginia Bounces Back

Nathan Kirby

Nathan Kirby (Photo by Alyson Boyer Rode)

WILMINGTON, N.C.—After opening the season with an underwhelming performance in a loss to Kentucky, top-ranked Virginia bounced back strong Saturday with a dominating 12-0 win against Virginia Military Institute. Mike Papi, Brandon Downes, Derek Fisher, Nick Howard and Ronnie Coman had two hits apiece as part of a balanced 12-hit attack. The Cavs played flawless defense, while VMI committed six errors. And Virginia got a very strong start from sophomore lefty Nathan Kirby (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K), who showed very good command of his 90-91 fastball, sharp 77-78 curve, 83 mph slider and 81-82 changeup.

In Saturday’s second game in Wilmington, Kentucky continued to roll, beating up on host UNC Wilmington 10-4. First-team preseason All-America two-way player A.J. Reed (2-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR, 2B) led the Kentucky offense behind Chandler Shepherd (5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Reed put the Wildcats ahead for good with a three-run homer in the fourth inning against power-armed righty Jordan Ramsey, who worked at 90-92 mph. Kentucky fell just outside our preseason Top 25, and the Wildcats figure to push their way into the rankings Monday after starting the season with a flourish.

Let’s take a look the rest of Saturday’s Top 25 action.

Top 25 Upsets

(3) Indiana at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders swept a doubleheader, 10-5 and 6-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series. Tyler Neslony’s grand slam highlighted Texas Tech’s five-run first inning against Kyle Hart (3 IP, 5 ER, 5 BB) in the first game, and Matt Withrow (5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) picked up the win. Nelsony (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI) helped lead the Tech offense again in the second game, while Chris Sadberry (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and Corey Taylor (3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R) kept Indiana’s potent offense in check.

Washington State at (4) Cal State Fullerton: Collin Claybaugh, Nick Tanielu and Yale Rosen combined for 10 hits, four runs and five RBIs to power Washington State to a 9-7 win, leveling the series. Jason Monda delivered a two-run single in the 11th, and Ian Hamilton worked three scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win. J.D. Davis (4-for-6, 3 R, RBI, 2 3B, HR) had a big day for the Titans, but fellow All-American Justin Garza (5.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) was not sharp in his season debut.

Justin Garza

Justin Garza gave up four earned runs in his season debut. (photo by Larry Goren)

Maine at (16) Miami: Scott Heath (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) outdueled Bryan Radziewski (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K), as the Black Bears evened the series with a 3-1 upset. Maine out-hit Miami 8-2.

(17) North Carolina at College of Charleston: The Cougars answered UNC’s four-run fourth inning with five runs in the sixth to chase Benton Moss (5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), then went on to win the series opener 7-4. Baily Ober (5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) was dominant in relief for CofC, which got a three-run homer from Brandon Glazer in that big sixth-inning rally.

(18) Texas at California: The Golden Bears and Longhorns split a doubleheader, as Cal took the opener 2-1 and Texas won the nightcap 6-2. Lefties Dillon Peters (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and Kyle Porter (5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) were strong in no-decisions in the opener, and Cal broke a 1-1 tie on Devin Pearson’s RBI single in the eighth. Mark Payton (2-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR) led the Texas offense in Game Two behind Lukas Schiraldi (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER), who picked up the win in his Texas debut. Cal leads the four-game set 2-1.

(20) Louisville at The Citadel: Bo Thompson (2-for-4, R, 3 RBI, HR) led the Bulldogs to a 5-3 win, as Zach Sherrill and Skylar Hunter worked 3.1 combined innings of no-hit relief. Kyle Funkhouser (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) took a no-decision for Louisville.

(22) Kansas State at Cal Poly: The Mustangs clinched their second nonconference series against K-State in two years with a 5-2 win. Jordan Ellis and Nick Torres combined for seven hits to lead the Poly offense in support of freshman Slater Lee (6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), who was outstanding in his debut. Jared Moore (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) took the loss for K-State.

Maryland at (23) Florida: The Gators trailed 6-0 in the sixth, then stormed back to get within a run in the eighth inning, but the Terrapins held on for a 9-7 upset, evening the series. Charlie White and Brandon Lowe sparked the Maryland offense out of the top two spots in the order, combining for five hits, four runs and four RBIs. Brett Morales (3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER) took the loss in his Florida debut.

Other Top 25 Results

• (2) Oregon State vs. Nebraska: Michael Conforto and Kavin Keyes had three RBIs apiece as part of OSU’s balanced 13-hit attack in support of Jace Fry (7 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K), as the Beavers won 15-7.

Michael Conforto

Michael Conforto had three RBIs in Oregon State’s win Saturday. (photo by Bill Mitchell)

Niagara at (6) Florida State: Brandon Leibrandt (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) shined in FSU’s 4-1 win.

Bucknell at (7) South Carolina: The Gamecocks pounded the Bison in a doubleheader sweep, 17-4 and 12-2. D.C. Arendas (3-for-4, 3 RBI, HR) led the offense in the first game behind Jordan Montgomery (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K). Tanner English (3-for-4, R, 5 RBI, 3B) spearheaded a 12-hit attack in support of Jack Wynkoop (5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) in the second game.

Western Carolina at (8) Mississippi State: The Bulldogs evened the series with a 6-1 win behind Trevor Fitts (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K).

(9) LSU at New Orleans: Sean McMullen and Alex Bregman had three hits apiece to lead a balanced 13-hit attack behind Kyle Bouman (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), as the Tigers won 7-4.

(10) Vanderbilt at Long Beach State: Jared Miller (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) and Carson Fulmer (3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) sparkled in Vandy’s 6-0 win, clinching the series.

(11) Oregon at Hawaii: Tyler Baumgartner (3-for-5, 2 R) and Mitchell Tolman (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI) led a balanced 14-hit attack, as the Ducks cruised to a 10-5 win, taking a 2-0 lead in the four-game series.

Portland at (12) UCLA: Grant Watson (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) picked up where he left off in Omaha, and Chris Keck (4-for-5, 3 R, RBI, 2B, 3B) led UCLA’s 16-hit barrage in a 12-1 win, leveling the series.

Eastern Michigan at (13) Clemson: Tyler Krieger and Steven Duggar combined for six hits and three RBIs in support of Matthew Crownover (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K), as the Tigers evened the series with a 5-3 win.

Eastern Illinois at (14) Louisiana-Lafayette: The Cajuns bounced back from a flat opening-day performance by allowing no runs in a doubleheader sweep, 1-0 and 13-0. Louisiana-Lafayette’s two power-armed juco transfers dominated in their debuts, as Carson Baranik (7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) won the first game and Greg Milhorn (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) won Game Two. The Cajuns lead the four-game set 2-1.

(15) Rice at Stanford: Blake Fox (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K) and Zech Lemond (3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) stifled Stanford in a 5-1 win. Skyler Ewing (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) led the Rice offense for the second straight day.

Jacksonville at (19) Texas Christian: Preston Morrison (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) was stellar in TCU’s 5-1 win, clinching the series. Boomer White had three hits to lead the offense.

Saint Louis at (21) Alabama: The Billikens took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but Alabama came back to tie the score by the fifth, then won it on Wade Wass’ walk-off RBI single in the ninth. Nick Eicholtz and Thomas Burrows worked a combined four innings of two-hit, shutout relief for the Tide, which evened the series.

Northeastern at (24) Texas A&M: Hunter Melton (2-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B) led the A&M offense behind Parker Ray (5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) in an 11-2 win.

Appalachian State at (25) Arkansas: Chris Oliver (5 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) was strong in his third career start, and the 3-6 hitters in the Arkansas lineup (Brian Anderson, Tyler Spoon, Eric Fisher and KrisJon Wilkerson) did the heavy lifting, combining for nine hits, five runs and five RBIs in a 7-6 win.