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College Baseball Top 25 Tracker: Feb. 19, 2018

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1. Florida
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Siena: W 7-1, W 10-2, W 19-2
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Florida Atlantic
Feb. 21: Bethune-Cookman
Feb. 23-25: @ Miami

The defending national champs picked up right where they left off with a dominant weekend against visiting Siena. All three of the Gators’ weekend starters-Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Tyler Dyson-delivered quality outings. And the offense looked to be in midseason form, outscoring the Saints by a stunning margin of 36-5. The Gators will face a stiffer test this weekend when they travel to rival Miami.


2. Oregon State
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Pac-12 (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results:
Surprise, Ariz., Tournament
Feb. 16: vs. New Mexico: W 5-2
Feb. 17: vs. Gonzaga: W 4-3
Feb. 18: vs. Cal Poly: W 16-7
Upcoming:
Suprise, Ariz., Tournament
Feb. 18: vs. New Mexico
Feb. 22: vs. Nebraska
Feb. 23: vs. Ohio State
Feb. 24: vs. Nebraska
Feb. 25: vs. Ohio State

Realistically, the Beavers probably won’t repeat last season’s historic 56-6 showing, but they got off to a good start to do so. Pat Casey’s club rolled through the weekend, displaying its pitching prowess in games against New Mexico and Gonzaga and then showcasing its offensive might against Cal Poly. The star of the weekend? Junior Trevor Larnach, who homered in each of the team’s first three games-the first Beaver to accomplish that feat since Michael Conforto in 2013.


3. Florida State
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Xavier: W 11-1, W 7-2, W 5-1
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: South Florida
Feb. 23-25: Troy

The Seminoles showed the kind of balanced offense and pitching expected from a team with as much returning experience as they have, cruising to a weekend sweep of Xavier. However, Preseason All-American lefthander/first baseman Tyler Holton left Friday’s opener with an apparent injury to his throwing arm and is scheduled for an MRI. His loss, if he were to miss time, would be a huge blow. Holton is highly regarded nationally as one of the best pitchers in the college game. FSU will hope for the best as it takes on Troy this weekend.


4. Arkansas
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Bucknell: W 14-2, W 32-4, W 3-1
Upcoming:
Tony Gwynn Classic in San Diego
Feb. 21: vs. Arizona
Feb. 23: vs. Cal Poly
Feb. 24: @ San Diego State
Feb. 25: @ San Diego

The featured team on the cover of BA’s College Preview Issue, the Razorbacks put together a front-cover-worthy weekend. The highlight, clearly, was Saturday’s eye-popping 32-4 victory over Bucknell-one run shy of Arkansas’ school record for a single game. The Hogs hit a whopping six home runs in that game. That offensive outburst, paired with excellent starting pitching, was very much a winning recipe. The Razorbacks will try to take that show on the road at the Tony Gwynn Classic.


5. Texas Tech
Last week 4-0
Overall: 4-0, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Maine: W 4-2, W 12-1, W 12-5, W 21-6
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: New Mexico State
Feb. 23-25: @ Texas-San Antonio

Both ace Davis Martin and flamethrower John McMillon delivered dominant outings, and the Red Raiders offense exploded in the final three games of a four-game sweep of Maine. Preseason All-American lefthander Steven Gingery left his start Saturday in the third inning and is scheduled for an MRI. Losing him would be a blow to the Red Raiders. Offensively, third baseman Josh Jung was the star of the weekend, homering three times and tallying 10 RBIs on 10 hits. The Red Raiders will try to carry that momentum with them to San Antonio this weekend.


6. North Carolina
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: @ South Florida: L 4-3, W 12-5, W 9-8 (10)
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: vs. UNC Wilmington
Feb. 21: vs. (24) St. John’s
Feb. 23-25: @/vs./vs. East Carolina

The Tar Heels’ season started on a sour note, as they were unable to solve talented South Florida southpaw Shane McClanahan on Opening Day. However, UNC rebounded quickly, riding a stellar outing by righthander Tyler Baum on Saturday-along with a 12-run outpouring-and then held off a late seven-run rally by the Bulls on Sunday to claim the series in extras. UNC has a difficult week ahead against quality opponents in UNC Wilmington, St. John’s and East Carolina.


7. Texas Christian
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: @ Grand Canyon: W 3-2, W 14-6, L 9-8
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Texas-Arlington
Feb. 23-25: Long Beach State

The Horned Frogs spoiled the unveiling of Grand Canyon’s brand-new facilities, and an excellent outing by top prospect Jake Wong, with a three-run ninth inning to claim the series opener. The Horned Frogs received a scare when slugger Luken Baker was struck in the eye by a ball in Saturday’s 14-6 series-clinching win. However, he was back in the lineup Sunday in a 12-inning epic. The Frogs will make their home debut this week, hosting a series against Long Beach State.


8. Kentucky
Last week 4-0
Overall: 4-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results:
Spartanburg, S.C., Tournament
Feb. 16: @ Wofford: W 6-1
Feb. 17: @ South Carolina-Upstate: W 6-5 (10), W 10-3
Feb. 18: vs. Evansville: W 8-4
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Xavier
Feb. 23-25: Oakland

The loaded Wildcats had few problems on the road at a tournament in Spartanburg, S.C., starting with a stellar outing by 6-foot-11 ace Sean Hjelle. Preseason All-American outfielder Tristan Pompey paced the offense on the weekend, batting .471/.550/.824 with a homer. The Wildcats will return home to host Xavier and Oakland this week.


9. Stanford
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Pac-12 (3-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: @ (11) Cal State Fullerton: W 5-1, W 5-3, W 6-5
Upcoming:
Feb. 19: @ UC Davis
Feb. 23-25: Rice

The Dave Esquer era couldn’t have started any better with a loud weekend sweep of then-No. 11 Cal State Fullerton. Righthander Tristan Beck made a triumphant return from last season’s back injury to lead the Cardinal to victory in Game 1, and shortstop Nico Hoerner went 6-for-11 on the weekend and stole four bases to spark the offense. Stanford will have a busy week with a four-game weekend set against Rice looming.


10. Texas A&M
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Rhode Island: W 4-1, W 4-3, W 10-2
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Stephen F. Austin
Feb. 23-25: Cornell

An Omaha team last year, the Aggies began their 2018 campaign with a fairly painless sweep of visiting Rhode Island. The Aggies rode their trademark strong pitching to victory, with ace Stephen Kolek (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 10 K) and converted closer Mitchell Kilkenny (6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7 K) both dealing. Texas A&M will host another team from the Northeast this weekend when Cornell visits.


11. Cal State Fullerton
Last week 0-3
Overall: 0-3, 0-0 in Big West (0-3 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-1
Results:
Feb. 16-18: (9) Stanford: L 5-1, L 5-3, L 6-5
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Nevada
Feb. 23-25: Houston

The Titans’ season may have began in uninspiring fashion, but there is a silver lining. The last time Fullerton began a season 0-3 was in 2006, also at Stanford, and that year the Titans advanced to the College World Series. While the Titans couldn’t keep pace with the Cardinal, none of the games were blowouts, and Fullerton should have pitching to compete against almost any team on the West Coast. The Titans will look to rebound in a home series against Houston.


12. Clemson
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: William & Mary: W 5-4 (10), W 7-6, W 2-1
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Furman
Feb. 23-25: Dallas Baptist

It seemed as though Clemson’s season would begin ominously, as the Tigers trailed William & Mary late in Friday’s home opener. However, Clemson rallied for three runs in the ninth to tie, and senior catcher Chris Williams hit a walk-off single in the 10th to salvage the opener. From there, the Tigers continued to push the right buttons and finished off a sweep-despite winning by just one run in each contest.


13. UCLA
Last week
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Pac-12 (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Portland: W 7-2, W 13-0, W 15-3
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Pepperdine
Feb. 23-25: Baylor

UCLA traditionally isn’t known as an offensive powerhouse, but don’t tell the 2018 Bruins that. UCLA torched Portland pitchers for 35 runs across three games in an easy sweep. Sophomore Chase Strumpf led that offensive charge, going 7-for-10 on the weekend with one homer, four doubles and 10 RBIs. Scoreless efforts by starters Jake Bird and Jon Olsen certainly didn’t hurt, either.


14. Texas
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results:
Feb. 16-18: Louisiana-Lafayette: W 3-0, W 5-3, L 2-1
Upcoming:
Feb. 21: Lamar
Feb. 23-25: @ (22) Louisiana State

The Longhorns would’ve dropped a hard-fought series against the Ragin’ Cajuns if not for a two-run walk-off shot by Austin Todd in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game. Other than that brief burst of muscle, the series was expectedly pitching-driven, with ace Nolan Kingham absolutely shoving (8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K) on Friday night. Things won’t get any easier for Texas this weekend as they’ll head to Louisiana State for one of the premier series in the country.


15. Virginia
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in ACC (0-1 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series 0-0
Results:
Central Florida Tournament in Orlando
Feb. 16: @ (22) Central Florida: L 6-3
Feb. 17: vs. Samford: W 10-4
Feb. 18: vs. Rice: W 3-0
Upcoming:
Feb. 20: Virginia Military Institute
Feb. 23-25: Eastern Kentucky

While the Cavaliers lost to host Central Florida on Friday, they were able to rally and salvage the weekend, thanks to strong outings by righthanders Derek Casey (5.2 IP, 1 R, 7 K) and Evan Sperling (6 IP, 0 R, 9 K) and strong offensive performances from infielders Andy Weber and Justin Novak. Virginia will return home for a weekend series against Eastern Kentucky.


16. Mississippi
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results
Feb. 16-18: Winthrop: W 7-3, W 8-1, W 3-1
Upcoming
Feb. 20: Memphis
Feb. 23-25: Tulane

The Rebels opened the season with a sweep for the third straight year. Ole Miss’ strong pitching staff held Winthrop, the preseason favorite in the Big South Conference, to just one earned run for the weekend. Ole Miss will look to keep its winning streak going this week as it hosts American Athletic Conference foes Memphis and Tulane.


17. Southern Mississippi
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in CUSA (3-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results
Feb. 16-18: (23) Mississippi State: W 11-0, W 7-4, W 5-2
Upcoming
Feb. 20: @ (21) South Alabama
Stephen F. Austin Tournament in Nacogdoches, Texas
Feb. 23: vs. South Dakota State
Feb. 24: vs. Texas-Arlington
Feb. 25: @ Stephen F. Austin

Southern Miss made perhaps the biggest statement of Opening Weekend with an emphatic sweep of Mississippi State. The Golden Eagles, fresh off a 50-win season, never trailed in the series and outscored the Bulldogs 23-6. Now, Southern Miss will look to keep its early-season momentum going as it hits the road this week to face a tough South Alabama team and then travels to Stephen F. Austin for a weekend tournament.


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We spent a day alongside one college coach as he traversed one of the most influential scouting weekends of the year.

18. Vanderbilt
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series:
Results
Feb. 16-18: Duke: W 9-1, L 5-4, W 9-1
Upcoming
Feb. 20-21: Presbyterian
Feb. 23-25: Massachusetts-Lowell

Vanderbilt ace Patrick Raby was limited to relieving as he works back from an ankle injury and the Commodores showed their depth on the mound to make up for his absence in the rotation. Vanderbilt held a potent Duke offense to seven runs and showed some offensive firepower of its own. The Commodores have a five-game week ahead and should be able to give the young players in their top-ranked recruiting class opportunities to get their feet wet.


19. Louisville
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results
Charleston Crab House Challenge in Charleston, S.C.
Feb. 16: vs. Richmond: W 4-3
Feb. 17: @ Citadel: W 8-3 (8)
Feb. 18: vs. George Mason: W 15-8
Upcoming
Feb. 20: Eastern Kentucky
Feb. 23-25: Youngstown State

Louisville began the post-Brendan McKay era with a perfect weekend at the Charleston Crab House Challenge. Junior lefthander Adam Wolf took over at the front of the Cardinals’ rotation and delivered five scoreless innings in his first career start and Preseason All-American second baseman Devin Mann led the offense with five hits. Louisville returns home for four games this week against Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State, which both had RPIs of 200+ last year.


20. Indiana
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Big Ten (1-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results
Brittain Resorts Baseball at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Feb. 16: vs. Oklahoma: L 6-3
Feb. 17: vs. Kansas State: W 5-0
Feb. 18: vs. (24) South Alabama: W 8-4
Upcoming
Feb. 19: vs. Coastal Carolina
Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Feb. 23: vs. Rutgers
Feb. 24: vs. Boston College
Feb. 25: vs. Chicago State

After an Opening Day loss to Oklahoma, Indiana rebounded to beat Kansas State and ended the weekend with a dramatic victory against South Alabama on a walk-off grand slam. The Hoosiers’ lineup is still rounding into form, but senior outfielder Logan Sowers came out swinging with two home runs. Indiana has another tournament on tap this weekend as it continues its three-week road trip to open the season.


21. South Alabama
Last week 3-1
Overall: 3-1, 0-0 in Sun Belt (0-1 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results
Brittain Resorts Baseball at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Feb. 16: vs. Kansas State: W 12-5
Feb. 17: vs. Oklahoma: W 6-5 (12)
Feb. 17: vs. Virginia Tech: W 7-5
Feb. 18: vs. (20) Indiana: L 8-4
Upcoming
Feb. 20: (17) Southern Mississippi
Feb. 23-25: Hartford

South Alabama put together a strong Opening Weekend performance at the Brittan Resorts Baseball at the Beach Tournament with wins against three Power Five Conference opponents. The Jaguars nearly made it a clean sweep, but were unable to hold off Indiana’s comeback on Sunday. South Alabama returns home for a big game Tuesday against surging Southern Miss.


22. Louisiana State
Last week 1-2
Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-1
Results
Feb. 16-18: Notre Dame: W 7-6, L 10-5, L 11-3
Upcoming
Feb. 21: New Orleans
Feb. 23-25: (14) Texas

LSU was certain to experience some growing pains early in the season after losing core pieces of last year’s national runner-up team such as Greg Deichmann, Alex Lange, Jared Poche’ and Kramer Robertson. Those growing pains arrived on Opening Weekend, as the Tigers struggled at home against Notre Dame. LSU had to erase a six-run deficit to secure an Opening Day win and then was outscored 21-8 the rest of the weekend. The Tigers will have to quickly get their pitching staff back on track with No. 14 Texas coming to Baton Rouge this weekend.


23. St. John’s
Last week 3-0
Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Big East (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 1-0
Results
Feb. 16-18: @ Campbell: W 3-1, W 1-0, W 7-1
Upcoming
Feb. 21: @ (6) North Carolina
Penn State Tournament in Cary, N.C.
Feb. 23: vs. Monmouth
Feb. 24: vs. Maryland-Baltimore County
Feb. 25: vs. Penn State

St. John’s strength coming into the year was its pitching staff and it showed why on Opening Weekend. The Red Storm surrendered one run total in its first two games of the season for the first time since 1938 and held Campbell to just two runs all weekend. St. John’s faces a stiff test Wednesday when it travels to No. 6 North Carolina.


24. Central Florida
Last week 1-2
Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in American (1-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0
Results
Central Florida Tournament in Orlando
Feb. 16: (15) Virginia: W 6-3
Feb. 17: Rice: L 5-4
Feb. 18: Samford: L 5-4
Upcoming
Feb. 20: @ Stetson
Feb. 23-25: Savannah State

UCF started the season with an Opening Day win against No. 15 Virginia, but was unable to build on that success. The Knights had chances to win both of their next two games in their final at bat, but their comeback bids fell just short. UCF will look to get back on track this weekend when it hosts Savannah State.


25. Connecticut
Last week 2-1
Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in American (0-0 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-0 (2-1 in ok tournament)
Results
Atlanta Challenge
Feb. 16: @ Kennesaw State: L 7-3
Feb. 17: @ Georgia State: W 10-1
Feb. 18: @ Georgia Tech: W 9-7 (10)
Upcoming
Feb. 23-25: @ Southeastern Louisiana

The Huskies bounced back from an Opening Day loss with Preseason All-American lefthander Tim Cate on the mound to win their next two games and move into the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. UConn’s strength is in its rotation, but it was its offense that carried it on Opening Weekend with 22 runs. The Huskies’ hitters will face a tough test this weekend when they travel to Southeastern Louisiana, which regularly produces a stern pitching staff.


Dropped out:

Mississippi State
Last week 0-3
Overall: 0-3, 0-0 in SEC (0-3 vs. Top 25)
Weekend series: 0-1
Results
Feb. 16-18: @ (21) Southern Mississippi: L 11-0, L 7-4, L 5-2
Upcoming
Feb. 21: @ Jackson State
Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas
Feb. 23: vs. UC Santa Barbara
Feb. 24: vs. Nicholls State
Feb. 25: @ Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Mississippi State had an Opening Weekend to forget at Southern Miss. The Bulldogs never led and struggled offensively all weekend. Outfielder Jake Mangum and first baseman Josh Hatcher, the top two hitters in the lineup, combined for 10 hits, but the rest of the team had a total of 11. Mississippi State will look to get its bats going this week as it continues its season-opening road trip to accomodate on-going construction at Dudy Noble Field.

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