— Texas Baseball (@TexasBaseball) April 9, 2017
Strike One: Clemens Bros. Power Texas
Texas came into this weekend’s edition of the Red River Rivalry against No. 9 Oklahoma having already lost two Big 12 Conference series and in need of building some momentum following a series loss at Kansas. The Longhorns did just that, beating the Sooners Friday night and then clinching the series Saturday with a 9-3 victory.
|How the Top 25 Fared|
|(1) Oregon State: won, 5-4, in 16 innings vs. Utah|
|(2) Louisville: won, 7-6, vs. (17) Wake Forest|
|(3) Texas Christian: won, 15-6, vs. Murray State|
|(4) North Carolina: won, 17-7, at Boston College|
|(5) Clemson: won, 6-3, vs. Virginia Tech|
|(6) Texas Tech: won, 5-3, vs. Baylor|
|(7) Auburn: lost, 6-3, at Texas A&M|
|(8) Florida: lost, 3-2, in 10 innings vs. Tennessee|
|(9) Oklahoma: lost, 9-3 at Texas|
|(10) Arizona: lost, 9-3, at Washington State|
|(11) South Carolina: won, 6-1, vs. Vanderbilt|
|(12) Cal State Fullerton: won, 9-8, vs. UC Davis|
|(13) Kentucky: lost, 10-6, at (22) Mississippi State|
|(14) St. John’s: lost, 7-4, at Creighton|
|(15) Louisiana State: won, 10-8, at (16) Arkansas|
|(16) Arkansas: lost, 10-8, vs. (15) Louisiana State|
|(17) Wake Forest: lost, 7-6, at (2) Louisville|
|(18) Florida Gulf Coast: won, 4-2, at Stetson|
|(19) Long Beach State: won, 11-4, vs. UC Riverside|
|(20) Stanford: won, 6-3, at Southern California|
|(21) Southern Mississippi: won, 5-1, vs. Florida International|
|(22) Mississippi State: won, 10-6, vs. (13) Kentucky|
|(23) Virginia: won, 5-2, vs. Pittsburgh|
|(24) Florida State: lost, 4-3, at North Carolina State|
|(25) Maryland: won, 8-5, at Nebraska|
The Longhorns (22-12, 6-5) used big offensive games from the Clemens brothers to win the series at home for the first time since 2011. Senior first baseman Kacy Clemens (2-for-4, 5 RBIs) blasted two home runs, including a grand slam, and sophomore DH Kody Clemens (2-for-4, 2 R) added a home run of his own.
Kacy Clemens told reporters in Austin that he and his brother are cherishing Saturday’s game.
“It’s obviously something we’re going to talk to our kids about when we’re 50,” he said. “It’s definitely a special moment, something that not a lot of kids get to do.”
The Sooners (26-8, 4-4) welcomed righthander Jake Irvin, their Opening Day starter, back Saturday. He had been sidelined the last two weeks, and was effective in his return. He struck out three batters, walked none and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in 3.2 innings.
Texas will now look to finish the sweep in Sunday’s series finale. It would be the first sweep in the series since 2014, win the Longhorns swept the Sooners in Norman, Okla.
Strike Two: Louisiana State, Miami Erase Late Deficits
Separated by more than 1,000 miles, the situation in the seventh inning looked bleak for both No. 15 Louisiana State and Miami on Saturday night. No. 16 Arkansas led LSU, 8-1, at home at the start of the seventh. Miami trailed Duke, 7-0, at home going to the bottom of the seventh.
But neither the Tigers nor the Hurricanes went quietly. LSU began its rally with a run in the seventh, added three more in the eighth and finished the comeback with five in the ninth to win, 10-8. Miami scored four times in the seventh and then completed their comeback with five in the ninth, capped by a walk-off, three-run, pinch-hit home run from Johnny Ruiz to win, 9-7.
— Miami Hurricanes (@MiamiHurricanes) April 9, 2017
LSU’s comeback was its largest in a road game since an eight-run comeback at Georgia in 1999. It also was reminiscent of the Tigers’ eight-run comeback last year at home against Arkansas, the game that spawned the legend of the “Rally Possum.”
The victory evened the series between Arkansas (25-7, 8-3) and LSU (21-11, 6-5), setting up a critical rubber game Sunday. The series winner will gain a game in the Southeastern Conference West Division race, which looks likely to go down to the wire.
Miami’s victory was perhaps the more improbable of the pair. Duke ace Mitch Stallings (7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K) had held Miami to one hit through six innings and the Hurricanes had scored more than seven runs in an Atlantic Coast Conference game just twice this season, both against Georgia Tech. But they were able to get their offense going late Saturday.
Both the Blue Devils (16-16-, 5-8) and Hurricanes (14-16, 6-7) are looking to gain footing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division race. Miami has lost three straight ACC series, but will have a chance to snap that streak Sunday in Game 2 against Duke.
Strike Three: Missouri State Takes Control in MVC
Dallas Baptist and Missouri State, the favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference, came into this weekend’s series with identical 18-10, 3-0 records. The Bears won Friday’s opener and then clinched the series Saturday with an 11-8 victory.
Missouri State (20-10, 5-0) scored eight runs in the first four innings to jump out to a big early lead, and then held off DBU’s late comeback. First baseman Justin Paulsen (2-for-4, 3 RBI) hit two home runs and second baseman Aaron Meyer (3-for-5, 3 R, 5 RBI) was a single shy of the cycle.
Dallas Baptist (18-12, 3-2) hit three home runs Saturday, but its starting pitching faltered again. Coby Weaver (0-2, 7.71) got just two outs before he was relieved. Of the six DBU pitchers who have started a game this season, only Ray Gaither (4-2, 3.18) has an ERA under 5.00.
Beyond clinching the series, the victory puts the Bears in the driver’s seat in the MVC. Missouri State is now 5-0 against Bradley (59) and DBU (72), the conference’s only other teams with top 100 RPIs, and will next month host Indiana State (14-13), the conference’s only other team with an overall record better than .500.
Brent Rooker, 1b, Mississippi State: Rooker’s incredible season continued with a phenomenal performance in No. 22 Mississippi State’s 10-6 victory against No. 13 Kentucky. Rooker (4-for-4, 3 R, 6 RBIs) blasted three home runs, including a mammoth grand slam, to lead the Bulldogs’ offense. The redshirt junior is hitting .447/.530/.1.008 with 15 home runs and 14 stolen bases this season.
Michael Grove, rhp, West Virginia: Grove (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 12 K) retired the first 23 batters he faced in West Virginia’s 8-0 victory against Kansas before losing his bid for a perfect game on a two-out single in the eighth inning. The Mountaineers have now won their first three Big 12 series this season, and Grove improved to 3-1, 2.72 with 52 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.
Adam Hill, rhp, South Carolina: Hill struck out 11 in six hitless innings to earn the victory as No. 11 South Carolina defeated Vanderbilt, 6-1. The sophomore righthander relied heavily on his fastball, which sat 89-92 mph. He wasn’t always able to locate it, however, and walked five batters and threw 110 pitches.
“I had a little bit more life today than I usually have, so I got behind him in some counts,” Hill said. “But I was able to give us six strong. I wish I could’ve gone longer, but that’s just how it worked out.”
Jake Mulholland, lhp, Oregon State: In a 16-inning marathon against Utah, Mulholland held the Utes to two hits in 6.2 innings of relief to help the top-ranked Beavers to a 5-4 victory. The freshman eventually surrendered a run in the 16th, but Oregon State came back to score two in the bottom half of the inning to extend its winning streak to 22 games.
Trey Harris, of, Missouri: Harris (1-for-3, 3 RBIs) homered to help lead Missouri to a 6-1 victory against Georgia in the first college game at SunTrust Park, the Braves’ new stadium. The game was played in front of 33,025 fans, the second-largest crowd in college baseball history.
Joey Morgan, c, Washington: Morgan went 4-for-4 with two doubles to lead the Huskies to a series-clinching 6-3 victory at UCLA. He is hitting .362/.478/.521, and leads the team in batting.
Alex Maloney, 3b, Ball State: In a doubleheader sweep at Western Michigan, Maloney, the son of coach Rich Maloney, collected five hits (four extra-base hits), scored six runs and drove in seven. The senior is hitting .271/.362/.449 with five home runs this season.
James Karinchak, rhp, Bryant: In the first game of a doubleheader sweep against Wagner, Karinchak (7 IP, 0 BB, 11 K) threw a one-hit shutout to lead Bryant to a 1-0 victory in seven innings. The junior threw 90 pitches and faced just two batters above the minimum.
Ako Thomas, 2b, Michigan: While Michigan’s pitching staff combined for a one-hitter, Thomas (4-for-5, 2 SB) led Michigan’s offense to a 7-0 victory against Illinois. The sophomore extended his on-base streak to 31 games, and is hitting .336/.456/.361 with 18 stolen bases this season.