Getting Offensive

There were a few noteworthy games last night, so let’s touch on them quickly. North Carolina scored 11 runs in the second inning against Davidson, then tacked on 12 more in the third en route to a 28-5 shellacking, the most runs the Tar Heels have scored since a 31-15 win over Jacksonville in 1981. If the season ended today, UNC first baseman Dustin Ackley would be the indisputable freshman of the year; he went 2-for-2 on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 19 games and raise his average to .495 through 105 at-bats. Unbelievable. Of course, Ackley didn’t rack up three hits yesterday like Josh Horton, Kyle Seager, Tim Federowicz or Tim Fedroff, and he didn’t slug two homers like Benji Johnson. Quite an outburst for the Tar Heels. At this point in the season, if I had to rank the best offenses in college baseball, I would probably put the UNC offense behind only Arizona State’s, though the Tar Heels rank 20th in the nation with 8.1 runs per game. The UNC offense has more power than Florida State’s deep, balanced lineup, and more versatility than Oklahoma State’s lineup of mashers. I would round out the top five with Texas. By season’s end, I expect Miami, Rice, Georgia Tech and South Carolina to be in this discussion as well.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Georgia routed Furman 17-1 behind two home runs (including a grand slam) and seven RBIs from sophomore shortstop Gordon Beckham. Beckham is Georgia’s most important hitter, and he seems to be emerging from his early-season slump; he now has six homers on the year, to go along with a .301 batting average. Winthrop appears to be getting hot as well; after sweeping Virginia Military Institute this past weekend, the Eagles topped Wake Forest 15-9 on Wednesday for their fourth straight win, raising their record to 17-13. That Big South race between Winthrop and Coastal Carolina could come down to the wire; the Eagles host the Chanticleers in the final weekend of the regular season May 18-20.

Wednesday wasn’t all about the bats. Washington State got its first complete game since 2004 in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep against Brigham Young, as junior lefthander Jayson Miller went the distance, striking out six and allowing just one run. And five Maryland pitchers combined to no-hit lowly Coppin State (0-20), the first no-hitter in Maryland coach Terry Rupp’s six-year tenure. Speaking of coaches, Richmond coach Ron Atkins picked up his 700th career win in the Spiders’ come-from-behind 4-3 win against James Madison.