Friday Roundup: Finnegan Dominates As Other Aces Stumble

FORT WORTH, Texas—A number of All-America aces struggled Friday night, but Brandon Finnegan kept on rolling.

The Texas Christian lefthander allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings in a 9-0 win against Texas Tech. Finnegan walked two and struck out 10, giving him five double-digit strikeout games in six starts this year. He improved to 4-2, 1.44 with 65 strikeouts and nine walks in 44 innings on the season.

Brandon Finnegan

Brandon Finnegan (Photo by John Williamson)

Finnegan is gaining steam as a potential top-10 overall pick for the upcoming draft, and he sure looked like a marquee talent Friday. His fastball touched 96 mph several times, and he worked comfortably at 91-95 thoughout his outing. The Red Raiders squared up his fastball a number of times, but ultimately he allowed just one runner to reach second base. His feel for his 81-84 mph slider was spotty in the early innings, but the pitch was a devastating weapon from the third inning on, and he used it as the putaway pitch on seven of his strikeouts, including all three punchouts in the seventh.

“That’s as bad as his breaking ball has been, and it was still good enough,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “But his breaking ball has been better than that, and he had some big misses, which he hasn’t had this year. But I thought he battled through it. They hit some balls right at us a couple times, but he’s matured. A year ago, one of those innings runs away from him and somebody else has to be in the game. I can’t say enough about how far he’s come in his presence and maturity.”

I’ll have a full profile of Finnegan next week. Now, on to the roundup.

Top 25 Showdowns

(2) Florida State at (13) Clemson: Tyler Krieger (2-for-4, R, 3 RBI, 2 2B) led Clemson’s 13-hit attack against Luke Weaver (7 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) in a 9-3 win. Daniel Gossett (7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K) improved to 2-0. The Tigers climbed to 6-1 in the ACC, while FSU fell to 5-2.

(6) Vanderbilt at (21) Mississippi State: The Bulldogs rocked Tyler Beede (2.2 IP, 6 H, 11 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) and cruised to a 17-2 blowout win. Seth Heck and Zack Randolph combined for seven RBIs to lead the MSU offense in support of Preston Brown (8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER), who earned the win in his first career SEC start and notched his third quality start of the season. Vanderbilt committed five errors and issued nine walks in an abysmal performance.

Top 25 Upsets

(1) South Carolina at Kentucky: A.J. Reed (8 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER) helped his own cause with two hits as part of a balanced 14-hit attack, as Kentucky jumped out to a 9-1 lead through two innings and cruised to a 13-5 win. The Wildcats throttled Jordan Montgomery (2 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 7 ER), who has struggled in his three big tests against Clemson, Ole Miss and Kentucky, allowing a combined 21 runs (19 earned) in 13.1 innings. Entering the series, South Carolina led the nation in ERA, while Kentucky led the nation in runs scored.

Jake Stinnett

Jake Stinnett

(10) North Carolina State at Maryland: Jake Stinnett (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 14 K) was dominant in Maryland’s 10-0 blowout win. The Wolfpack committed four errors behind Carlos Rodon (4.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K), who fell to 2-4 on the season. Maryland broke open a 2-0 game with six runs in the fifth.

(16) Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas: Justin Treece (2-for-3, 2 R, 3 RBI) led UCA’s balanced attack against Tyler Epple (5.1 IP, 8 H, 8 ER) in a 9-7 upset.

Auburn at (18) Tennessee: Dillon Ortman (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) improved to 5-1 in Auburn’s 3-2 win against Nick Williams (8 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) and the Vols. Keegan Thompson’s RBI single in the sixth gave Auburn a 3-0 lead, and the Tigers held off Tennessee’s comeback bid. Sunny Golloway’s Tigers have won nine of their last 10 and are off to a 3-1 start in the SEC.

Washington State at (22) UCLA: Jason Monda (7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K) bested James Kaprielian (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) in Washington State’s 2-0 win. Ian Sagdal went 4-for-4 to lead the offense for the Cougars, who improved to 9-9 overall with their sixth win in eight games.

Loyola Marymount at (24) San Diego: Tommy Cheeks (4-for-5, 3 RBI) led the LMU offense against P.J. Conlon (6.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER) in LMU’s 7-0 win. Colin Welmon (8 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) improved to 4-1 for the Lions.

Other Top 25 Results

Arizona State at (4) Oregon State: Ben Wetzler (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) continued his dominance, and Scott Schultz combined with him on a four-hit shutout in OSU’s 4-0 win. Wetzler has won 14 consecutive decisions and now sports a 0.59 ERA in 31 innings, during which he has allowed just nine hits. The Beavers have won 11 straight.

Georgia State at (5) Louisiana-Lafayette: Caleb Adams (3-for-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR) led the ULL offense behind Austin Robichaux (8 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K) in an 8-3 win. Robichaux improved to 4-1, 1.76, as the Cajuns ran their winning streak to 10.

California at (7) Cal Poly: Mark Mathias (3-for-4, R, RBI) led Poly’s 11-hit attack in support of Matt Imhof (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 9 K), who improved to 5-1 in the Mustangs’ 4-1 win. Cal Poly improved to 4-2 against Pac-12 teams this year.

Georgia at (8) Louisiana State: Aaron Nola (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K) improved to 5-0, 0.22 with a 56-8 K-BB mark in 40 innings, as LSU blanked Georgia 4-0. Christian Ibarra (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI) led the LSU offense.

Long Beach State at (9) Cal State Fullerton: Matt Chapman (2-for-4, 3 RBI) hit his third home run of the season in support of Thomas Eshelman (9 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), as the Titans won the opener of their annual nonconference series against LBSU 5-1.

Zech Lemond

Zech Lemond (Photo by Andrew Woolley)

Florida Atlantic at (11) Rice: Zech Lemond (8.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 12 K) set a career high for strikeouts in Rice’s 2-0 win. The Owls scratched out runs against Austin Gomber (8 IP, 9 H, 2 ER) in the third and eighth.

Utah at (12) Oregon: Tommy Thorpe (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) out-dueled Mitch Watrous (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) in Oregon’s 1-0 win. The Ducks broke the scoreless tie with a run in the eighth on a wild pitch.

Rutgers at (14) Louisville: Jeff Gardner’s three-run double in the first put Louisville ahead for good, as Kyle Funkhouser (7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) stymied the Scarlet Knights in a 6-1 win.

Columbia at (15) Texas: Collin Shaw (3-for-4, R, 3 RBI) led UT’s 13-hit attack in support of Dillon Peters (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) in a 7-3 win.

Georgia Tech at (17) North Carolina: The Tar Heels won 3-2 in 13 innings despite striking out 16 times against Tech pitching, as UNC got strong mound work from Trent Thornton (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) and Reilly Hovis (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K). Wood Myers (2-for-6, R, 2 RBI) delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 13th.

Wagner at (19) UC Santa Barbara: Tyler Kuresa (3-for-4, 3 R, 5 RBI) homered three times in support of Justin Jacome (7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER), as UCSB came from behind in the late innings to win 8-4.

Missouri at (20) Mississippi: The Rebels jumped out to a 4-0 lead through three innings and held on for a 4-3 win behind Chris Ellis (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). John Miles (7.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) filled in admirably on short notice for Missouri ace Brett Graves, who was hit in the head by an errant throw during infield/outfield before the game.

College of Charleston at (23) Houston: Kyle Survance and Justin Montemayor had three RBIs apiece in support of Aaron Garza (9 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), leading Houston to an 8-3 victory.