College Roundup: Texas Tech Raids Frogs

(1) Florida: won, 5-4, at (6) South Carolina
(2) Texas A&M: postponed at Arkansas
(3) Mississippi State: postponed at Alabama
(4) Miami: won, 13-4, vs. Florida A&M
(5) Florida State: off
(6) South Carolina: lost, 5-4, vs. (1) Florida
(7) Texas Christian: lost, 7-3, vs. (13) Texas Tech
(8) Louisiana State: won, 6-3, at (9) Mississippi
(9) Mississippi: lost, 6-3, vs. (8) Louisiana State
(10) Louisville: swept DH, 8-4, and 6-5, vs. St. John’s
(11) Vanderbilt: won, 15-3, vs. Georgia
(12) North Carolina State: won, 3-2, vs. Duke
(13) Texas Tech: won, 7-3, at (7) Texas Christian
(14) Southern Mississippi: lost, 9-5, at Florida Atlantic
(15) Rice: split DH, lost, 1-0, won, 5-1, vs. UNC-Charlotte
(16) Michigan: won, 4-3, vs. Michigan State in 11 innings
(17) UC Santa Barbara: won, 14-2, vs. Hawaii
(18) Oregon State: won, 3-2, vs. Stanford
(19) Coastal Carolina: lost, 9-1, at Georgia Tech
(20) Tulane: lost, 10-6, vs. Houston
(21) East Carolina: lost, 3-0, vs. Cincinnati
(22) Virginia: off
(23) Louisiana-Lafayette: postponed at UT-Arlington
(24) Minnesota: split DH, lost, 2-0, won, 3-1, at Illinois
(25) Oklahoma State: postponed at Texas

Strike One: Texas Tech Raids Frogs Texas Tech arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, as the first-place team in the Big 12. With Friday’s 7-3 win against Texas Christian, the Red Raiders ensured they’ll leave in first place, too. The Red Raiders (33-12, 13-3 Big 12) built their conference lead to three games over the second-place Horned Frogs (29-11, 10-6) with the win, riding a sharp outing from freshman righthander Davis Martin and taking advantage of two key TCU errors to score four runs in the sixth. “They outplayed us in every phase of the game—starting pitching, defense, timely hitting,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle told the Star-Telegram. Martin allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in 6 1/3 innings to move to 7-0, 2.28 in an excellent freshman campaign, outpitching TCU freshman lefthander Dalton Horton. Martin gave way to hard-throwing righthander Robert Dugger, who pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for Texas Tech. The Frogs were within striking distance until the sixth, when errors by shortstop Ryan Merrill and righthander Brian Trieglaff kick started a four-run Texas Tech rally. Texas Tech Right fielder Stephen Smith had the big knock in the inning, hitting a two-run triple to push the score to 6-1. He led the Red Raiders with a 4-for-6 day. The Horned Frogs are without talented two-way freshman Luken Baker on the mound this weekend, and with their pitching depth tested, turned to sophomore catcher Zack Plunkett to pitch the ninth—his first collegiate inning. Plunkett reportedly touched the low 90s with his fastball. More than just a battle for Big 12 supremacy, the weekend series could have national seed implications, as well. Texas Tech was the No. 6 national seed in this week’s projected field of 64 and would only strengthen its case with a series win.

Strike Two: Wolverines Walk Off Against Spartans Michigan 5-foot-8 freshman second baseman Ako Thomas might not be the most imposing presence in the Wolverines lineup, but the nine-hole hitter played the role of hero Friday night. Hosting rival Michigan State in an intense 11-inning Big Ten battle, the Wolverines won on a two-out, 3-2, opposite-field single by Thomas that dunked in just in front of the right fielder, sending the Wolverines into a post-game frenzy. The Wolverines (29-10), now 9-3 in the Big Ten, moved to a half-game back of conference leader Minnesota with the win—their eighth in nine games. The Spartans (28-11) dropped to 8-5. Michigan knocked out Michigan State ace Cam Vieaux after just 1 1/3 innings, tallying four hits and taking a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by junior Harrison Wenson and a sacrifice fly by Thomas. But the Spartans never backed down, tying the game at 2-2 in the fifth, then tying again, 3-3, on a single by Brandon Hughes in the ninth. Righthanders Watler Brokovich and Dakota Mekkes combined for 9 1/3 innings in relief of Vieaux, with Mekkes striking out nine in his four innings. “He’s got swing-and-miss stuff, and you saw that again tonight,” Michigan State coach Jake Boss told “It was longer than we wanted to throw him, but that’s what he does. He’s a competitor and his stuff his outstanding.” Mekkes took the loss, unable to put away Thomas in the 11th. The teams will move to East Lansing, Mich., Saturday to resume the rivalry series.

Strike Three: LSU Rides The Lange Train Video Louisiana State righthander Alex Lange hasn’t quite been the same unstoppable force as a sophomore that he was in his 12-0, 1.97 freshman season. He’s been beatable at times this year. Friday wasn’t one of those times. With the Tigers looking to recover from a series-opening 7-6 loss at Mississippi, Lange willed LSU victory, tossing his second consecutive complete game in a 6-3 series-tying win. Lange struck out seven and allowed three runs (two earned) to move to 5-3, 4.05 on the season. “Alex Lange would not be denied tonight,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri told “He upped it another notch and showed what he is capable of being. We needed him desperately because of how we went into our bullpen yesterday. I’ve never seen a more determined athlete in my life. He put his team on his back.” Catcher Jordan Romero led LSU offensively, driving in three runs and hitting his team-leading seventh home run of the year, as the Tigers tagged Ole Miss starter David Parkinson for four runs on nine hits. The LSU win not only evened the series but put the Tigers (28-15, 11-9) and Ole Miss (32-12, 11-9) in a tie for third place in the SEC West.

The Lineup Jonathan India, 3b, and Nick Horvath, of, Florida: In a topsy-turvy blockbuster matchup between No. 1 Florida and No. 6 South Carolina, India and Horvath combined to deal the final blow. Both homered in the top of the ninth against Gamecocks closer Josh Reagan to shock South Carolina and jump ahead for a 5-4 Florida win. John Naff, 1b, Washington: Naff went 3-for-3 and hit the tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning of a 4-2 Huskies win over Cal. The win gives the Huskies an early edge in an important series for both teams. Washington is trying to hold on to first place in the Pac-12 and enter the hosting discussion; the Bears are trying to get back on the winning track. Mike Shawaryn, rhp, Maryland: After an early-season rough patch, Maryland’s ace seems to be back to his dominant self, throwing a complete-game four-hit, one-run gem against Penn State. Even better, with his six strikeouts, Shawaryn became Maryland’s all-time strikeout leader, passing the previous mark of 272. “I thought it was a really important night for our team and him,” head coach John Szefc told “The guy goes out and throws a complete game in tough weather, and these guys are good. Him breaking the strikeout record is icing on the cake for Mike. He was vintage Mike Shawaryn.” Evan Mendoza, 3b, North Carolina State: With the game tied 2-2, two outs and the game-winning run on third, Mendoza singled to right field, giving the Wolfpack a come-from-behind win against visiting Duke. Brandon Gold, rhp, Georgia Tech: Gold shut down a red-hot Coastal Carolina team in the opener of a non-conference series that could have playoff implications for both teams. The righthander held the powerful Chanticleers to one run on six hits in eight innings of work in a 9-1 Yellow Jackets win. Austin Bush, 1b, UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos dismantled Hawaii, 14-2, Friday as they bounced back from sweep against Cal Poly last weekend. Bush was at the center of it all, homering and driving in five runs in a 3-for-5 day. Elliot Surrey, lhp, UC Irvine: The southpaw stymied Cal State Fullerton, holding the Titans to just five hits and striking out seven in his first complete game of the season. At one point in the shutout, Surrey retired 12 Titans in a row. Corey Ray, of, Louisville: The potential first-round talent hit home runs No. 12 and No. 13 in Louisville’s first game of a doubleheader with St. John’s and added his ACC-leading 34th stolen base (in 40 attempts) for good measure. Jordan Sheffield, rhp, Vanderbilt: Matched up against Georgia ace Robert Tyler, Sheffield outdueled him, throwing seven scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out six. With the outing, Sheffield extended his scoreless innings streak to 24 over his last three starts.

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