Friday Roundup: Gamecocks, Rebels Win Big Series Openers

The Southeastern Conference race gets more scrambled by the day. After Friday’s action, three teams are tied for first place overall in the conference at 8-5: South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. Eight other teams are within two games of first. And the last-place team, Missouri, is still just three games back.

Two SEC series are among the five battles this weekend between ranked teams, which is where we begin the Friday Roundup.

Top 25 Showdowns

(14) Clemson at (2) Virginia: Nate Irving’s RBI double in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie against Matthew Crownover (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER), and Nathan Kirby (6 IP 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) improved to 7-1 in UVa.’s 3-2 victory.

Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery (Photo by Tony Farlow)

(15) Florida at (5) South Carolina: Jordan Montgomery (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) allowed just one earned run over seven innings for his third straight start, as the Gamecocks beat Logan Shore (7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER) and the Gators 4-1. Grayson Greiner’s two-run single highlighted South Carolina’s three-run fifth.

(13) Louisville at (8) Houston: Cole Sturgeon (3-for-5, 3 RBI) hit a two-run double in Louisville’s crucial three-run fifth in support of Kyle Funkhouser (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K), as the Cardinals won the first game of a key AAC showdown series, 4-2. Aaron Garza (6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) took the loss.

(19) Mississippi at (17) Mississippi State: Sikes Orvis and Braxton Lee had two hits and two RBIs apiece to lead Mississippi’s balanced 13-hit attack in support of Chris Ellis (6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER), as the Rebels won the opener 6-1. Ross Mitchell (8.2 IP, 13 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) allowed five runs over the first four innings and then settled down for MSU, but the damage was done.

(18) Cal State Fullerton at (22) UC Santa Barbara: Play was suspended by darkness with the score tied 9-9 in the top of the 11th. Justin Garza made his first career appearance out of the bullpen for Fullerton, allowing one run on one hit and a walk over two innings. It was his first appearance since March 8 at Baylor.

Top 25 Upsets

(1) Florida State at Georgia Tech: Connor Justus’ two-run single highlighted Georgia Tech’s five-run first against Luke Weaver (7 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), and Josh Heddinger (5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) held the Seminoles in check, as the Yellow Jackets earned their seventh straight win, 5-3. Georgia Tech is now 22-13 overall, 9-7 in the ACC, and it has responded well since getting swept at Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

(6) Oregon State at Washington State: Joe Pistorese (9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) went the distance in Wazzu’s 4-1 victory, as Ben Wetzler (5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 3 K) took his first loss since March 30, 2013.

Keegan Thompson (photo by Zach Bland)

Keegan Thompson (photo by Zach Bland)

Auburn at (10) Alabama: The Tigers scored twice in the second against Spencer Turnbull (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K), and that proved enough support for Dillon Ortman (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) in a 2-1 win. Keegan Thompson came out of the bullpen to earn his first save in dominating fashion, striking out five over two scoreless innings.

Texas A&M at (11) Vanderbilt: Nick Banks had four hits, and Ryne Birk delivered a pinch-hit three-run triple in the seventh, as the Aggies toppled the Commodores 10-4. Tyler Beede (5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) fell to 5-4, while Parker Ray (5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) earned the win in relief of Jason Jester (4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), who made his first career start for the Aggies.

Missouri at (12) Kentucky: Eric Anderson (3-for-5) delivered a game-winning three-run homer in the eighth, as the Tigers won a back-and-forth affair 8-7. A.J. Reed (7 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 K) and Brett Graves (6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER) each earned no-decisions, and Reed went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and his 13th homer in a losing cause.

Other Top 25 Results

Arkansas-Little Rock at (3) Louisiana-Lafayette: The Cajuns scored single runs in each of the first five innings in support of Carson Baranik (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K) and went on to a 7-0 win.

(4) Cal Poly at Hawaii: Matt Imhof (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) improved to 7-2, and Reed Reilly (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) picked up his sixth save with sterling relief, as Cal Poly came from behind in the middle innings to win 3-2.

(7) Texas at Oklahoma: Texas won a seesaw battle 10-8 in 10 innings. The Longhorns scored six runs in the first, and Oklahoma answered with six in the third before taking the lead with two in the fifth, but UT tied it with two in the seventh, thenĀ  won it with two in the 10th. C.J. Hinojosa (2-for-4, 2 R) led off the 10th with a go-ahead solo homer. Morgan Cooper (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) earned the win with strong relief work.

Stanford at (9) Washington: Braden Bishop and Robert Pehl delivered a pair of two-run singles in Washington’s four-run second, and Jared Fisher (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K) turned in a strong start in UW’s 6-1 win.

Arkansas at (16) Louisiana State: Alex Bregman delivered a two-run single in the first and Sean McMullen added a two-run homer in the third in support of Aaron Nola (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 13 K), who set a career high for strikeouts in LSU’s 5-3 win.

San Jose State at (20) UNLV: Edgar Montes (2-for-3, 3 RBI) led UNLV’s balanced 13-hit attack behind Erick Fedde (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) in a 9-1 win.

(21) Rice at Tulane: With Zech Lemond sidelined, Kevin McCanna (7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) stepped into the Friday starter role and picked up the win, as Rice beat Tulane 4-3. Shane Hoelscher went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the Owls. Rice coach Wayne Graham told reporters Friday that Lemond will miss two to three weeks with soreness in his lower right arm.

Sam Travis

Sam Travis (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Morehead State at (23) Indiana: Sam Travis (3-for-4, 4 R, 6 RBI, 2 HR, 2B) went bonkers in Indiana’s 13-1 blowout, as Joey DeNato (5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) became IU’s all-time wins leader. The Hoosiers have won eight straight.

Pittsburgh at (24) Miami: Dale Carey (3-for-5, 3 R, RBI) led a balanced 11-hit attack in support of Chris Diaz (6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K) in Miami’s 12-2 win.

UC Riverside at (25) Oregon: Tyler Baumgartner (2-for-4, 2 2B, 4 RBI) led the Oregon offense in support of Tommy Thorpe (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) in a 7-2 win.