College Roundup: Auburn Takes Two From Mississippi State
Strike One: Auburn Sweeps Doubleheader At Mississippi State
After losing the series opener Friday night, No. 5 Auburn swept a doubleheader Saturday at No. 8 Mississippi State to win the series between the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference West Division standings. The sweep erased the Bulldogs’ lead in the standings, and both teams are 14-7 in SEC play with three conference weekends left to play.
Auburn (32-14) won a slugfest in the first game of the day, claiming a 17-8 victory. The Tigers scored five runs in the fourth inning of the nightcap and held off a late comeback attempt by the Bulldogs (30-16) for a 5-3 victory. It was the third SEC road series victory for Auburn, the first time it has done that since 2010.
Righthander Casey Mize (6-1, 1.23) was sidelined for the second straight week by general soreness, again testing Auburn’s depth on the mound. But for the third time in seven SEC series this year, the Tigers won a series without the services of one of their twin aces, Mize and Keegan Thompson (5-2, 2.05).
The series loss was Mississippi State’s first since opening weekend of SEC play, when it was swept at Arkansas. The Bulldogs went 13-2 over the last five weekends, overcoming a myriad of injuries to climb to the top of the standings. They will have to get back on track quickly, as they play Texas A&M, which has won five straight series, on the road next weekend.
Strike Two: North Carolina Comes Back Again
Kyle Datres drives in a run with an infield single. Slides head-first into first base. Two on, one out. UNC down, 4-2. pic.twitter.com/thvukO2EsN— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) April 29, 2017
For the second day in a row, No. 3 North Carolina used a late-inning rally to defeat No. 6 Clemson. In Friday’s series opener, it was a five-run seventh. Saturday, the Tar Heels scored five times in the eighth to come back for a 5-4, series-clinching victory.
Clemson led North Carolina, 4-1, going to the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Tar Heels (35-9, 18-5) put together five straight one-out hits against a trio of Tigers’ pitchers. Zack Gahagan drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly, and closer Josh Hiatt threw a perfect ninth inning for his 13th save of the season.
This weekend’s series was North Carolina’s last opportunity to make a statement in the regular season, and it has done just that. The Tar Heels leapfrogged the Tigers in RPI, moving up to No. 2. They have won all eight of their Atlantic Coast Conference series and hold a five-game lead in the Coastal Division with six games to play.
After winning its first five ACC series, Clemson (34-10, 16-7) has now lost two of its past three—both coming on the road. It has fallen three games behind No. 2 Louisville in the loss column in the Atlantic Division. The Tigers still have a chance to make up that ground, however. After a series next weekend against Nevada on its ACC bye week, Clemson will host Louisville in a series that will likely have national seed implications.
Strike Three: Southern Cal Pulls Off A First
Going into Saturday, No. 1 Oregon State this season was 14-0 at Goss Stadium and had not lost a game it was leading after the seventh inning. Southern California, meanwhile, had lost five straight games.
The Trojans snapped all three streaks Saturday with a 7-5 victory, setting up a rubber game Sunday. Oregon State was the last team that has played more than three home games this season to be undefeated at home.
Southern Cal (19-21, 6-11) trailed 5-4 going into the eighth inning, but found a way to scratch a run out against Oregon State’s stout bullpen. The Trojans pushed ahead in the 10th inning against freshman lefthander Jake Mulholland when Cris Perez delivered a two-run single that proved to be the game-winner.
Saturday was a wild day throughout the conference, as Arizona State, USC and Washington State, the bottom three teams in the standings, all won on the road. Washington State defeated Utah, 5-4, to win the series, while Arizona State evened its series at Oregon with a 4-3 victory.
The Pac-12 standings behind the first-place Beavers (33-4, 17-3) remain as tight as ever. Oregon State holds a five-game lead on California and Stanford, which are separated from last-place Washington State by the same five-game margin.
The Lineup Nine newsmakers from Saturday's action
Kevin Milam, dh/rhp, St. Mary’s: In a wild, 9-8 victory in 10 innings against Gonzaga, Milam delivered on the mound and at the plate for St. Mary’s. He started the game at DH and went 5-for-6 with a home run. He moved to the mound in the fifth and threw the final 5.1 innings of the game for the Gaels, striking out six and holding the Bulldogs to one run on three hits and a walk.
Alex Robles, rhp, Austin Peay State: Robles did it all for Austin Peay in an 8-5 victory at Tennessee-Martin. The senior started on the mound and struck out six in six innings to earn the victory. He also helped his own cause at the plate, where he went 5-for-5 and hit for the cycle, becoming the first Governor to do so since 2005.
Ricky Tyler Thomas, lhp, Fresno State: Thomas was outstanding against San Jose State, throwing seven hitless innings in Fresno State’s 8-3 victory. The lefthander struck out eight, but was a bit wild, walking five batters, hitting another and throwing two wild pitches, which led to the Spartans scratching out a run. Thomas, who pitched for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team last summer, improved to 4-3, 3.74 with 75 strikeouts in 65 innings.
Zach Jarrett, of, Charlotte: In a 17-5 victory at Alabama-Birmingham, Jarrett flexed his muscles in the leadoff spot. He went 4-for-4 with three home runs, scored five runs and reached base in all seven of his plate appearances. Jarrett became the first 49er to hit three home runs in a game since 2008 and is now hitting .359/.437/.535 with seven home runs.
Elliott Raimo, rhp, George Washington: Riamo threw a two-hit shutout to lead George Washington to a 5-0 victory against Davidson. The freshman struck out nine, walked one and faced just one batter more than the minimum.
Cullen Dana, lhp, Seton Hall: Led by a strong start from Dana (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K), Seton Hall beat No. 22 St. John’s, 7-0, becoming the first team this season to shut out the Red Storm. Dana improved to 4-3, 3.60 this season with 63 strikeouts and 25 walks in 60 innings.
Hunter Tackett, dh, Miami: Miami scored 11 runs in the final two innings of a 14-5 victory at Boston College to clinch a series victory. Tackett (4-for-4, 3 R, 3 RBI) led the Hurricanes’ offense, as he homered for the second straight day.
Julio Gonzalez, ss, Florida Gulf Coast: The Florida Gulf Coast offense exploded for seven home runs and 20 runs in a 20-1 victory at New Jersey Tech. Gonzalez (4-for-6, 4 R, 3 RBI) led the Eagles from the top of the order, hitting a home run and a double.
Randell Kanemaru, 3b, Columbia: Kanemaru collected four hits, including two doubles, and scored twice to help Columbia to a doubleheader sweep at Penn. The sweep left the Lions and Quakers tied atop the Gehrig Division standings at the end of the regular season, forcing a one-game playoff next week. The winner will advance to the Ivy League championship series against Yale, the Rolfe Division champion.
Rangers Send Jesse Chavez to Cubs For Pitching Prospect
The Cubs add a versatile piece to their bullpen and the Rangers take a chance on a prospect with some college fame.
|How the Top 25 Fared|
|(1) Oregon State: lost, 7-5, in 10 innings vs. Southern California|
|(2) Louisville: won, 11-1, vs. Toledo|
|(3) North Carolina: won, 5-4, vs. (6) Clemson|
|(4) Texas Christian: suspended at (7) Texas Tech|
|(5) Auburn: swept DH at (8) Mississippi State, won 17-8 and 5-3|
|(6) Clemson: lost, 5-4, at (3) North Carolina|
|(7) Texas Tech: suspended vs. (4) Texas Christian|
|(8) Mississippi State: swept in DH vs. (5) Auburn, lost 17-8 and 5-3|
|(9) Long Beach State: won, 9-3, at UC Davis|
|(10) Kentucky: lost, 5-1, at South Carolina|
|(11) Florida: won, 6-3, at Georgia|
|(12) Virginia: won, 8-0, at Florida State|
|(13) Arizona: lost, 3-1, at (18) Stanford|
|(14) Cal State Fullerton: won, 3-2 in 14 innings vs. UC Irvine|
|(15) Louisiana State: won, 4-3, in 11 innings at Alabama|
|(16) Arkansas: off|
|(17) Wake Forest: off|
|(18) Stanford: won, 3-1, vs. (13) Arizona|
|(19) Texas A&M: postponed at Missouri|
|(20) Houston: lost, 7-4, at South Florida|
|(21) Maryland: split DH at Indiana, lost 9-2 and won 9-2|
|(22) St. John’s: lost, 7-0, vs. Seton Hall|
|(23) Michigan: won, 6-3, at Rutgers|
|(24) Mercer: won, 6-5, vs. UNC Greensboro|
|(25) West Virginia: split DH vs. Oklahoma, won 4-3 and lost 3-1|