Friday Roundup: Longhorns Rally Late To Stun Sooners
With first place in the Big 12 up for grabs, Friday night’s rivalry bout between No. 24 Texas and No. 15 Oklahoma offered no shortage of drama.
The Longhorns took Game 1, 7-6, rallying in the late innings to stun the Sooners in Norman. With the win, Texas (23-13, 10-3) is now just percentage points behind Oklahoma (25-12, 8-2) for first place in the Big 12 standings—at least for now.
The Longhorns trailed Oklahoma, 6-3, heading into the eighth inning. DH Zach Zubia hit a solo shot to cut the margin before Texas rallied for three runs in the decisive ninth. Left fielder Masen Hibbeler’s two-run double gave the Longhorns their first lead since the third inning, and closer Andy McGuire threw a scoreless bottom half to seal the win.
The Longhorns have been steadily surging after posting inconsistent results against a stiff non-conference schedule. Texas’ RPI rose to No. 26 with Friday’s win, and the team could push into the hosting conversation with continued success.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, has yet to drop a Big 12 series and has been one of 2018’s pleasant surprises. The Sooners are in the middle of a season-defining stretch with a series at Texas Tech looming next week and another rivalry series against Oklahoma State coming after that.
Upheaval in the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference remained as puzzling as ever Friday night, featuring three key upsets.
Notre Dame dealt No. 2 North Carolina State a stunning defeat in Raleigh, winning 12-8 after trailing 7-2 in the third inning.
Even wackier: Miami used an eight-run, seven-hit ninth inning at No. 7 Clemson to force extra innings before winning 12-11 in the 12th.
And in Charlottesville, Virginia blanked No. 20 North Carolina, 4-0, on the back of a strong outing from senior righthander Derek Casey. Even with the win, Virginia’s (20-14, 7-9) RPI sits at No. 112, giving the perennial ACC power slim odds and a steep climb to earn an at-large bid.
In the conference’s lone Top 25 battle, No. 10 Duke prevailed on the road against No. 9 Florida State, defeating the Seminoles, 7-1. With the win, the Blue Devils—already ranked higher than they’ve ever ranked in the BA Top 25—reclaimed sole possession of first place in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
After 16 Years, Virginia's Coaching Staff Continuity Ends
Until this week, Virginia had the longest-tenured coaching staff in college baseball's largest conferences.
Friday night is for the aces.
Stevie Powers, LHP, Southern Miss: The junior lefthander went the distance in a 5-0 shutout of Florida International. Powers scattered nine hits and struck out 10 as he threw the Golden Eagles’ first complete-game shutout in three years.
Jake Bird, RHP, UCLA: Bird had more run support than he needed in a 16-3 win against Utah. The righthander threw 7.1 strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out seven.
Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford: After hitting a rough patch over his last few starts, Beck appeared to be back in form against Arizona State, throwing seven scoreless innings and striking out five in a 3-1 win over the Sun Devils.
Brady Singer, RHP, Florida: Singer delivered the kind of outing we’ve come to expect from the Florida righthander, allowing just one run on one hit in seven innings in a 3-1 win against Missouri.
Griffin Roberts and Morgan McSweeney, Wake Forest: The pair of righthanders combined to throw 14 scoreless innings in a doubleheader sweep of Boston College, striking out 22, as Wake Forest earned back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1997. Roberts was especially exceptional, allowing just one hit and one walk and striking out 11 in eight innings.
Ryan Rolison, LHP, Mississippi: The southpaw helped lead the No. 5 Rebels to an 11-3 victory over No. 14 Vanderbilt, striking out eight and allowing two runs in 5.2 innings.
Around the Bases
No player in the country had a better day than Austin Peay first baseman Parker Phillips, who hit a whopping five home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Kentucky. Phillips went a combined 6-for-8 on the day with 10 RBIs in a mesmerizing performance.
Speaking of big days at the plate, No. 8 East Carolina’s Bryant Packard homered twice against South Florida in a 15-2 drubbing. Packard also added a three-run double—nearly a grand slam—against Bulls ace Shane McClanahan.
Sticking in the American Athletic Conference, Connecticut put together a huge day with a doubleheader sweep of Wichita State. The sweep pushed the Huskies to half a game back of ECU in the AAC standings and also elevated UConn’s RPI to No. 12.
After two consecutive Pac-12 series losses, Oregon State seemingly let out some frustration at Missouri State, where the Beavers posted 27 runs between two games—the second of which was suspended due to rain.