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Top 25 Tracker: Feb. 20

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Tate Blackman and Ole Miss enter the rankings this week (Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics)[/caption] SEE ALSO: Top 25 Top 25 Tracker, powered by Louisville Slugger, recaps last week's action and looks ahead to this week.
1. Texas Christian Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The nation’s top team cruised through opening weekend, outscoring Penn State 27-7 en route to the fourth season-opening sweep of coach Jim Schlossnagle’s tenure. TCU’s fans responded as well, as the combined attendance of 15,744 was the second largest for a regular-season series in program history. Results: Feb. 17-19: Penn State: W 6-3, W 12-1, W 9-3 Upcoming: Feb. 21: @ Texas-Arlington Feb. 24-26: Arizona State
2. Florida State Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 Florida State was on the wrong end of Opening Day’s biggest upset, but the Seminoles responded the rest of the weekend, drubbing VCU Saturday and Sunday. Second-team Preseason All-American Taylor Walls (six RBIs) and freshman Nick Derr (5-for-8) led FSU’s offense in the two wins, the second of which was the 1,900th in the career of coach Mike Martin, making him just the second coach in history to reach that mark. Results: Feb. 17-19: Virginia Commonwealth: L 3-0, W 12-3, W 11-3 Upcoming: Feb. 21: South Florida Feb. 24-26: Samford
3. Florida Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 Florida got a scare from William & Mary on Opening Day, as the Gators trailed for much of the game before pushing across a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead. They restored order over the next two days though, capped off by Jackson Kowar striking out 10 in 5.2 innings to complete the sweep Sunday. Results: Feb. 17-19: William & Mary: W 5-4, W 8-1, W 11-6 Upcoming: Feb. 21-22: @/vs. Jacksonville Feb. 24-26: Miami
4. Louisiana State Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Other than a rainout on Opening Day, it was smooth sailing for LSU as it opened the season hosting two of the service academies, Air Force and Army. The clear highlight was senior Jared Poche’s throwing a seven-inning no-hitter against the Black Knights in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader, the first solo no-hitter for a Tigers pitcher since 1979. That win was also the 2,500th in LSU program history. Results: LSU Tournament (Baton Rouge, La.) Army: W 6-0 (7 innings), W 9-0 (7 innings) Air Force: W 10-3 Upcoming: Feb. 21: @ New Orleans Feb. 22: Hofstra Feb. 24-26: Maryland
5. South Carolina Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Gamecocks had a brilliant weekend on the mound, limiting UNC Greensboro—one of the nation’s best offensive teams last year—to just three runs on 10 hits for the entire weekend. Junior righthander Wil Crowe (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO) had a strong outing Saturday in his return from Tommy John surgery, but the Gamecocks’ pitching dominance wasn’t enough for a sweep, as UNCG’s Matt Frisbee and Andrew Wantz combined on a four-hit shutout Sunday. Results: Feb. 17-19: UNC Greensboro: W 7-1, W 5-1, L 1-0 Upcoming: Feb. 21: Charlotte Feb. 23: Kansas State Feb. 24-26: (25) Wright State
6. Louisville Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (1-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Preseason All-American two-way player Brendan McKay struck out nine over six scoreless innings Friday and homered twice on the weekend, leading the Cardinals to a perfect showing in Clearwater. The Cards used a pair of big innings, a four-run second and five-run fourth, to win their showdown with then-No. 24 Maryland on Saturday. Results: Feb. 17-19 @ Clearwater (Fla.) Tournament Alabama State: W 7-0 (24) Maryland: W 10-7 Ball State: W 10-4 Upcoming: Feb. 22: Eastern Kentucky Feb. 24-26: Nebraska-Omaha
7. Cal State Fullerton Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Big West (2-1 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Titans took a series from rival Stanford for the fist time since 2009. Connor Seabold got Fullerton off on the right foot with seven shutout innings Thursday as the teams opened the weekend a day early, and Taylor Bryant’s five RBIs led the way Saturday. The Titans couldn’t finish the sweep though, as Stanford rallied from a 6-0 deficit and won in extras Sunday. Results: Feb. 16-19: (23) Stanford: W 1-0, W 8-1, L 7-6 (11 innings) Upcoming: Feb. 22: San Diego State Feb. 24-26: @ UNLV
8. Oregon State Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Pac-12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Luke Heimlich struck out a career-high 11 Indiana batters on Opening Day, setting the tone for a dominant weekend for the Beavers’ pitchers. Oregon State pitching allowed just two earned runs all weekend, while Elliott Cary’s 3-for-4 day led OSU’s offense in an 11-run outburst Sunday against Duke. Results: Feb. 17-19 @ Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic, Surprise, Ariz. Indiana: W 1-0 Duke: W 6-3 Duke: W 11-2 Upcoming: Feb. 20: vs. Indiana @ Surprise, Ariz. Feb. 23-26: @ Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, Surprise, Ariz. Nebraska, Ohio State, Nebraska, Ohio State
9. Vanderbilt Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in SEC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Commodores ran into a tough matchup on Opening Day, falling to hard-throwing San Diego lefthander Nick Sprengel. But Vanderbilt quickly rebounded to claim an unseasonably rainy opening series in Southern California, riding strong starts from sophomore Patrick Raby (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K) and freshman Drake Fellows (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) end exploding for 19 runs in the final two games. Results: Feb. 16-19: @ San Diego: L 3-2, W 8-2, W 11-1 Upcoming: Feb. 22: Evansville Feb 24-26: Illinois-Chicago
10. Washington Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Pac-12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Huskies received immediate contributions from their talented freshmen on opening weekend, with outfielder Christian Jones and catcher Nick Kahle both homering and righthander Jordan Jones throwing a gem (6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K) in the rubber game. Results: Feb. 18-19: @ Santa Clara: W 5-2, L 4-3, W, 8-1 Upcoming: Feb. 23-26: @ Saint Mary’s
11. East Carolina Last Week: 0-3 Overall: 0-3, 0-0 in American (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-1 Opening on the road against a tough Southeastern Conference team in Mississippi, the Pirates were competitive, but losses are losses and they dropped all three games to the Rebels. ECU led at some point in each game—making for a painful missed opportunity for the Pirates in their biggest non-conference weekend. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Mississippi: L 5-4, L 3-2, L 8-6 Upcoming: Feb. 22: @ Campbell Feb. 24-26: La Salle
12. North Carolina State Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Wolfpack made the most of its excursion to Hawaii, winning the series handily. Freshman Will Wilson had a strong debut, driving in three runs and tallying three hits on the opener. Meanwhile, both outfielder Brett Kinneman and first baseman Shane Shepard homered in the series. Junior Tommy DeJuneas, last year’s closer, started at first base in the second game and started on the mound in the third, allowing just one hit in 5.2 scoreless innings. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Hawaii: W 4-0, L 8-3, W 8-1 Upcoming: Feb. 24-26: Austin Peay State
13. Virginia Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 The Virginia offense simply wouldn’t be denied, totaling a whopping 29 runs across its first three games. The return of outfielder Jake McCarthy proved fruitful as he hit a three-run home run and tallied three hits in the opener. On Sunday, the Cavaliers matched the largest comeback in the Brian O’Connor era, coming back to win after being down 6-0 in the top of the seventh. Junior first baseman Pavin Smith hit the game-tying two-run homer—his second of the weekend. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Charleston Crab House Challenge, Charleston, S.C. Liberty: W 10-2 The Citadel: W 10-6 Kansas: W 9-6 Upcoming: Feb. 21: Virginia Military Institute Feb. 24-26: Rutgers
14. North Carolina Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 The Tar Heels used strong starts from junior ace—and top prospect—J.B. Bukauskas (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K) and junior Jason Morgan (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K) as well as a solid debut by freshman Luca Dalatri (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K) to sweep visiting Kentucky. Junior shortstop Logan Warmoth homered in the finale. Results: Feb. 17-19: Kentucky: W 3-1, W 6-5, W 5-4 Upcoming: Feb. 22: Gardner-Webb Feb. 24-26: Radford
15. Clemson Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-1 Clemson got a three-run homer from Seth Beer and six strong innings from Pat Krall in Saturday’s win, but otherwise not much went right for the Tigers as they opened the season by losing a home series to Horizon League favorite Wright State. The Tigers stranded 12 runners in Friday’s narrow loss and were blown out in Sunday’s rubber match. Results: Feb. 17-19: Wright State: L 6-4, W 6-2, L 9-2 Upcoming: Feb. 22: Western Carolina Feb: 24-26: Elon
16. Louisiana-Lafayette Last Week: 1-1 Overall: 1-1, 0-0 in Sun Belt (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 The Ragin’ Cajuns had mixed results through their first two games of the season. Though they pitched well, especially sophomore righthander Nick Lee (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K), the lineup only mustered one run through two games, on a double by first baseman Alex Pinero. Results: Feb. 18-19: @ Tangi Tourism Baseball Classic, Hammond, La. Murray State: L 2-0 Hofstra: W 1-0 Upcoming: Feb. 20: Southeastern Louisiana Feb. 21: @ Nicholls State Feb. 24-24: @ Sam Houston State
17. Georgia Tech Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in ACC (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Georgia Tech swept through the Atlanta Challenge for the second year in a row and has won 22 straight regular-season nonconference weekend games dating back to February 2015. Perhaps most importantly, however, was the performance of the Yellow Jackets’ young pitchers. Georgia Tech went with a rotation of freshman Xzavion Curry, redshirt freshman Jonathan Hughes and sophomore Keyton Gibson. They combined to go 2-0, 0.64 with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings, and their continued success is critical to Georgia Tech’s aspirations. Results: Feb. 17-19 Atlanta Challenge Brigham Young: W 5-3 Marshall: W 11-3 Western Michigan: W 8-3 Upcoming Feb. 21: @ Georgia Southern Feb. 24-26: Youngstown State
18. Coastal Carolina Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in Sun Belt (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 The reigning national champion Chanticleers received their rings but also picked up two losses in a challenging opening weekend. After defeating Richmond, 8-5, in the opener, Coastal surrendered a late run to Western Carolina for a loss Saturday. On Sunday, James Madison surprisingly roughed up College World Series most outstanding player Andrew Beckwith for seven runs on six hits in two innings. Results: Feb. 17-19: Caravelle Resort Baseball at the Beach, Conway, S.C. Richmond: W 8-5 Western Carolina: L 5-4 James Madison: L 11-3 Upcoming: Feb. 20: St. John’s Feb. 22: College of Charleston Feb. 24-27: Caravelle Resort Tournament, Conway, S.C. Ball State, West Virginia, George Mason, West Virginia
19. Arizona Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in Pac-12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 Arizona’s offense has gotten off to a hot start against Eastern Kentucky. In three games, the Wildcats have pounded out 19 extra-base hits and are hitting .381 as a team. After finishing the four-game series against Eastern Kentucky on Monday morning, Arizona welcomes McNeese State in for another four-game set starting Thursday. Results: Feb. 17-19: Eastern Kentucky: W 6-0, W 16-13, W 18-4 Upcoming: Feb. 20: Eastern Kentucky Feb. 23-26: McNeese State
20. Oklahoma State Last Week: 1-1 Overall: 1-1, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 (one series pending) The Cowboys still have one game remaining in their series with Grand Canyon after splitting the first two. Senior righthander Tyler Buffett (4 IP, 8 H, 5 R) struggled in the opener, but talented sophomore righthander Jensen Elliott made up for it with a sterling effort (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) in the second game. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Grand Canyon: L 6-1, W 6-5 Upcoming: Feb. 20: @ Grand Canyon Feb. 21: @ Arizona State Feb. 24-26: Texas State
21. Texas Tech Last Week: 3-1 Overall: 3-1, 0-0 in Big 12 (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Texas Tech’s young offense started the season strong (scoring 38 runs in four games) and it got three straight quality starts to begin the weekend in Starkville. While the Raiders weren’t able to finish an undefeated weekend, it was a solid opening statement. The schedule doesn’t ease up this week when Texas Tech returns home to host New Mexico State and California. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Mississippi State Tournament, Starkville, Miss. Western Illinois: W 15-1 Mississippi State: W 5-2 Western Illinois: W 13-5 Mississippi State: L 8-5 Upcoming: Feb. 21: New Mexico State Feb. 24-26: California
22. Mississippi Last Week: 3-0 Overall: 3-0, 0-0 in SEC (3-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 Ole Miss’ sweep of East Carolina was one of the most impressive results of opening weekend. The Rebels brought in the top-ranked recruiting class this fall and started four freshmen in their lineup, but were undaunted by facing a talented, veteran Pirates team. Ole Miss will face another stern test this weekend when UNC Wilmington, which reached a regional final last year, travels to Oxford. Results: Feb. 17-19: (6) East Carolina: W 5-4, W 3-2, W 8-6 Upcoming Feb. 21: Arkansas State Feb. 24-26 UNC Wilmington
23. Stanford Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in Pac-12 (1-2 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-1 Stanford scored just one run in the first 22 innings of its series at Fullerton and was down 6-0 in the finale before storming back to salvage a game on opening weekend. The Cardinal will hope to be able to ride that momentum into next weekend against Kansas. Friday’s game will be the final home opener at Sunken Diamond for coach Mark Marquess, who will retire at the end of this season. Results: Feb. 16-19: @ (8) Cal State Fullerton: L 1-0, L 8-1, W 7-6 (11 innings) Upcoming Feb. 24-26: Kansas
24. UC Santa Barbara Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in Big West (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-1 Led by junior shortstop Clay Fisher’s leadoff home run and three RBIs, UC Santa Barbara won the first game of the Division I season, but the Gauchos weren’t able to win the series, dropping the next two games at Loyola Marymount. They just narrowly lost the second game, 1-0, unable to solve Loyola Marymount starter Brenton Arriaga (9 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 K). Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Loyola Marymount: W 6-3, L 1-0, L 8-2 Upcoming: Feb. 21: Cal State Bakersfield Feb. 24-26: Tulane
25. Wright State Last Week: 2-1 Overall: 2-1, 0-0 in Horizon League (2-1 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 1-0 Wright State enters the rankings for the first time in program history following the biggest upset of opening weekend. Under first-year head coach Jeff Mercer, the Raiders, who had five players drafted last year, played solid all-around baseball to claim the series win at then-No. 10 Clemson. Wright State is in for another big test this weekend, when it returns to the Palmetto State to face South Carolina. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ (10) Clemson: W 6-4, L 6-2, W 9-2 Upcoming: Feb. 24-26: @ (5) South Carolina
Dropped Out Long Beach State Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in Big West (0-0 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-1 The Dirtbags were initially supposed to host Oklahoma, but the weather forecast prompted the teams to move the series to Norman, where the Sooners roughed up Long Beach State ace Darren McCaughan (6 IP, 7 H, 6 R) to set the tone for the rest of the series. Results: Feb. 17-19: @ Oklahoma: L 6-2, W 8-3, L 4-2 Upcoming: Feb. 21: @ Southern California Feb. 24-26: Fordham
Maryland Last Week: 1-2 Overall: 1-2, 0-0 in Big Ten (0-1 vs. Top 25) Weekend Series: 0-0 Maryland had an opening weekend to forget. Its pitching staff surrendered 25 runs and first-team Preseason All-American shortstop Kevin Smith went 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts. It doesn’t get any easier for the Terrapins, with a trip to Louisiana State on tap. The Big Ten Conference favorites will have to get things straightened out in a hurry. Results:
Chase Davis Courtesyarizonaathletics

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