Saturday Roundup: Ryne Stanek Bests Ryan Eades

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—The weekend’s marquee pitching showdown featured a pair of potential first-round picks in Louisiana State righthander Ryan Eades and Arkansas righty Ryne Stanek. Eades has been the more consistent of the two pitchers this season, but he lacked his best stuff and command Saturday, while Stanek was strong in Arkansas’ series-leveling 8-3 win.

Stanek struck out the side in the first inning and finished with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and three walks. He threw first-pitch balls to five of the first eight hitters and threw 37 pitches over the first two innings, but then he settled into a groove and became more efficient in the middle innings.

Ryne Stanek

Ryne Stanek (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

“Once he got through their lineup once—and they have a great lineup—it seemed like he got stronger to me, and we’ve seen that a lot,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “He came out there in the seventh inning, he looked like he had lost a little bit off that fastball. And he recovered, then he just didn’t have his command, he was right at 100 pitches, and we felt like it was time to go get him, with those lefties coming up. But it was great for him to give us all those innings.”

Stanek’s fastball ranged from 92-96 mph, and he was still sitting 93-95 in the sixth, and touching 96 in the seventh. He mixed four pitches effectively, showing a plus slider at 84-87 and a quality downer curve at 79-82, along with a solid changeup.

“I felt pretty good,” Stanek said. “My stuff wasn’t as good as it has been in the past, but my command was OK, I was able to throw a lot of pitches in the zone, and it was moving pretty good so they weren’t able to put a lot of really good swings on it. I was fortunate that a lot of the balls they hit the hardest were outs, so that was pretty big for me.”

Eades, meanwhile, allowed the leadoff man to reach base in four of the five innings he began, and it caught up with him in the fourth. After walking Brian Anderson, he allowed a single down the line to Brian Anderson to put runners on the corners. With one out and Jake Wise coming to the plate, LSU coach Paul Mainieri went to the mound and told his players to expect a safety squeeze (he later said Van Horn safety squeezes “99 percent of the time” in that situation). But Van Horn said he anticipated that Mainieri would expect the squeeze, so he told Wise to swing away. Wise proceeded to hit a first-pitch fastball over the left-field fence for a three-run homer.

Eades exited after allowing the first two runners to reach in the fifth. His final line: four-plus innings, five earned runs on eight hits and three walks. His fastball velocity lacked its usual explosiveness, sitting at 91-92 and peaking at 94. He did use his 76-79 downer curve as an out pitch on three of his five strikeouts, and he flashed a good 80-81 changeup, but his command was not sharp after the second inning.

“He’s been pitching 93-95 most of the year, but it didn’t seem to me he was throwing as hard today—I don’t know what it was,” Mainieri said. “Maybe it was last weekend I let him go out there for the ninth inning to try to get that shutout, maybe it took a little out of him, I don’t know. He just didn’t look like himself tonight.”

The Tigers saw their 15-game winning streak snapped. Cody Glenn takes the mound for LSU in Sunday’s rubber game against Arkansas’ Randall Fant, and both teams have their top bullpen arms fresh and ready to go.

On to the rest of Saturday’s Top 25 action.

Top 25 Showdowns

• (5) Virginia at (20) Georgia Tech: Derek Fisher (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) and Reed Gragnani (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) powered the UVa. offense behind Scott Silverstein (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 ), as the Cavs leveled the series with a 7-2 win. Georgia Tech mustered just four hits, and Dusty Isaacs (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) struggled.

Top 25 Upsets

• (11) South Carolina at Florida: The Gators broke a 4-4 tie with 10 runs in the sixth en route to a 14-5 win, completing the three-game sweep. Casey Turgeon, Zack Powers and Vickash Ramjit had three hits apiece to lead Florida’s 17-hit assault. Colby Holmes (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER) started and struggled for the Gamecocks, who were swept for the second time in the last four weeks.

• (12) Indiana at Michigan State: After the Hoosiers rallied back from a 5-0 deficit in the final three innings to tie the game, Jimmy Pickens hit a walk-off solo homer in the 10th to lift Michigan State to a 6-5 win. Kyle Hart (6 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 1 ER) was knocked around a bit for the Hoosiers, who lost their first series of the year. David Garner (7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER) was solid in a no-decision for Michigan State.

• Tennessee at (13) Kentucky: Tennessee evened the series with a 10-9 win, holding off UK’s furious ninth-inning rally. A.J. Reed’s grand slam cut Tennessee’s lead to one in the ninth, and the Wildcats loaded the bases again after that, but Matt Reida flied out to end the game, stranding the bases full. A.J. Simcox (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led Tennessee’s balanced 15-hit attack.

• Central Florida at (14) Rice: The Knights clinched the series with an 11-7 win in 12 innings. Rice scored three runs in the ninth to force extra innings, but UCF won it with four in the 12th, highlighted by Tommy Williams’ two-run single. Christian Stringer (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI) led the Rice offense in a losing cause.

• (18) Notre Dame at Pittsburgh: Boo Vazquez (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, HR) led the Pitt offense in support of Matt Wotherspoon (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K), as the Panthers clinched the series with a 4-2 win against Adam Norton (7.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER) and the Irish. Eric Jagielo’s two-run homer in the fourth provided all of the scoring for Notre Dame, which has scored just three runs total in its last three games, all losses.

Other Top 25 Results

• (1) North Carolina at Virginia Tech: With Skye Bolt sidelined with a foot injury, Colin Moran (3-for-4, 5 R, 4 RBI) had a big day to lead UNC to a series-clinching 9-8 win in 10 innings. Moran, who hit his ninth homer of the year in the second, drew a leadoff walk in the 10th and eventually scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Trent Thornton (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K) escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam unscathed in the eighth and went on to earn the win, improving to 8-0, 0.56 in 48 innings on the year. UNC has won eight straight games.

• Missouri at (2) Vanderbilt: Tyler Beede (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) improved to 9-0, 1.07, and Vandy rapped out a season-high 19 hits behind him in a series clinching 12-1 win, extending the Commodores’ winning streak to 13. Beede did not issue a walk for the first start in his career. Spencer Navin (4-for-4, 4 R, 4 RBI, 2B) led the Vanderbilt offense, and Jack Lupo also had four hits.

• UC Santa Barbara at (4) Cal State Fullerton: Richy Pedroza, J.D. Davis, Chad Wallach and Matt Chapman had two RBIs apiece, and nine Titans recorded hits as part of a balanced 16-hit attack behind Justin Garza (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K), as the Titans clinched the series with a 10-2 win. Fullerton has now posted its third 10-game winning streak of the season.

• Utah at (6) Oregon State: Beau Day, who entered the game with two hits on the season, went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in support of Andrew Moore (6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K), leading the Beavers to a series-clinching 8-3 win.

• Duke at (7) Florida State: The Seminoles swept a doubleheader, 8-5 and 8-3, to complete the three-game series sweep. Stephen McGee and Jose Brizuela (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI) each homered to highlight FSU’s five-run third inning in the first game, helping Brandon Leibrandt (7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) improve to 5-3. Brizuela (3-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI) homered again in the finale, leading a 13-hit attack behind Scott Sitz (5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER), who improved to 7-0.

• Elon at (8) Louisville: Ty Young (3-for-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR) led Louisville’s 11-hit attack, and the Cardinals came from behind with three runs in the eighth to earn a series-clinching 7-5 win. Kyle McGrath (4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K) and two other relievers worked a combined 7.1 innings of hitless relief of Jeff Thompson (2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER), who struggled for the first time this year.

• (9) Oklahoma at Baylor: The Sooners scored two runs in the seventh to take the lead and went on to a series-leveling 3-1 win behind Dillon Overton (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K).

• (15) Arizona State at Southern California: Kasey Coffman (4-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3B, HR) fell a double short of the cycle, and Ryan Kellogg (6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) improved to 8-0 in ASU’s series-evening 6-3 win.

• (16) Oregon at California: Scott Heineman (3-for-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2B, 2 HR) had a big day to lead Oregon’s 14-hit attack behind Cole Irvin (5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER), as the Ducks clinched the series with a 10-4 win.

• Loyola Marymount at (17) UCLA: The Bruins clinched the series with a 3-1 win behind Nick Vander Tuig (6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). UCLA broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth, highlighted by Pat Valaika’s go-ahead RBI double.

• (19) North Carolina State at Boston College: The Wolfpack clinched the series by sweeping a doubleheader, 6-5 and 6-2. The Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings of the opener against Carlos Rodon (2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K), but N.C. State took advantage of four BC errors to come back in the middle innings, going ahead for good with two in the sixth. Tarran Senay had two hits and an RBI in the first game, then delivered two more hits and two RBIs in the second game, helping Ryan Wilkins (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) pick up the win in his second start of the season, and the longest outing of his career.

• (21) Mississippi State at Texas A&M: Adam Frazier (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, 3B) led Mississippi State’s 15-hit attack, and Hunter Renfroe homered for the second straight day (his 12th of the year), as the Bulldogs cruised to a series-clinching 9-3 win. Kendall Graveman (9 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) threw his third consecutive complete game for the Bulldogs.

• Wake Forest at (22) Clemson: Tyler Krieger’s RBI single in the fifth provided all the support necessary for Matthew Crownover (5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K) and the Tigers, who clinched the series with a 1-0 win.

• Alabama at (23) Mississippi: Will Allen’s tie-breaking two-run single highlighted Mississippi’s three-run eighth, propelling the Rebels to a series-clinching 5-2 win. Mike Mayers (6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) was strong in a no-decision, and Ole Miss got 2.2 combined innings of one-hit relief from Tanner Bailey and Brett Huber.

• Seton Hall at (24) Houston: Austin Pruitt (9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K) was masterful in Houston’s 4-0 win, leveling the series. Michael Pyeatt’s two-run single highlighted Houston’s three-run sixth, giving Pruitt some breathing room.

• Longwood at (25) Campbell: Elijah Trail’s sixth-inning RBI single provided all the scoring, as Heath Bowers (9 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K) shined in Campbell’s 1-0 win, evening the series.