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MORE: PG Top 50 rankings | CB TICKET: Report/scouting notes - Baylor vs. New Mexico State (4.28) | Saturday's RPI Analysis
With Friday's college baseball action in the books, here's our inside look back at the highlights and lowlights from around the country.
TEAM OF THE DAY: StanfordFIVE PLUSES
Florida (33-10) -- The Gators haven't been consistent at times this season, but put together a good showing in a 3-2 series-opening win over Arkansas. UF starting pitcher Hudson Randall struck out three batters and allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings of work, while the bullpen trio of Greg Larson, Steven Rodriguez and Austin Maddox did their jobs. For the Hogs, starting pitcher Ryan Stanek allowed three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.
Georgia Tech (26-17) -- The Yellow Jackets sure haven't had a lot of things go their way lately, but perhaps luck is trending their way these days. The Jackets got a walk-off home run from hard-hitting outfielder Daniel Palka in the bottom of the 13th inning to claim a 6-5 win over Clemson. Palka finished the night 3-for-6 with three RBIs, while shortstop Mott Hyde continued his hot hitting with a pair of homers and three RBIs.
Purdue (33-6) -- It definitely appears the Boilermakers are primed to run away with the Big Ten regular season crown. The Boilermakers got a stellar performance from starting pitcher Joe Haase in a 6-2 win over Michigan State, which after the loss, is now 7-6 in conference play. Haase struck out three and allowed just a run on six hits in seven innings of work, while outfielder Barrett Serrato had a home run in the game.
Baylor (37-8) -- The Bears had their 24-game winning streak snapped two games ago against Texas-San Antonio, but things have been back to normal ever since. BU starting pitcher Josh Turley threw 7 1/3 innings of hitless baseball, improving his ERA to 1.74, as the Bears captured an impressive 5-0 win over red-hot New Mexico State. BU shortstop Jake Miller led the way at the plate with two hits and an RBI.
Texas A&M (30-12) -- Fierce rival Texas made a valiant rally in the ninth inning to close the game to within a run, but that wasn't enough as the Aggies defeated the Longhorns 6-5 in College Station. A&M right-handed starting pitcher and top prospect Michael Wacha had a huge night on the mound, striking out nine and allowing just four hits in eight shutout frames, while catcher Troy Stein led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the contest.
East Carolina (27-15) -- The Pirates took a step back last weekend with a road series loss to Rice. Now they need to bounce back this weekend after losing a home series opener to Tulane, 4-1. ECU starting pitcher Kevin Brandt allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings of work, while Tulane starting pitcher Andrew Reeves allowed just a run (not earned) on six hits in seven innings of work.
Southern California (20-17) -- Am I the only one who feels like USC's NCAA postseason chances are simply falling apart? The Trojans dropped to 20-17 overall, 5-10 in the Pac-12 on Friday after dropping a tough 5-3 decision to Oregon State. USC starting pitcher Brandon Garcia allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings of work, while Oregon State starting pitcher Ben Wetzler struck out seven and allowed just two runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Dallas Baptist (28-13) -- Speaking of teams that feel like their postseason chances are beginning to slip away, how about the Patriots? DBU starting pitcher Cy Sneed allowed seven runs on five hits in just two innings of work, as the Patriots dropped a difficult 13-3 decision to Wichita State. Meanwhile, WSU starting pitcher Josh Smith kept the Patriots at bay offensively, allowing just two runs in seven innings.
Texas Tech (23-22) -- It might just be time for the Red Raiders to pack it in for the season. Tech started the season on a high note, but its season of nightmares continued Friday with a disappointing 9-0 home loss to Missouri. Tech starting pitcher John Neely really struggled, allowing eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders were stymied by Missouri starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny, who struck out five and allowed just seven hits in a complete game shutout.
Liberty (33-14) -- With Coastal Carolina already in good enough shape postseason resume wise to make the field of 64, this weekend's key Big South series was huge for Liberty. Well, the Flames are now in a very tough position after losing the series, dropping Game 2 by a score of 4-2. Coastal starting pitcher Tyler Herb put together a solid start, striking out five and allowing just two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings, while Liberty starter John Niggli allowed four runs on nine hits in seven innings.
Stanford raised plenty of eyebrows last weekend when it swept Arizona State at home. Well, the Cardinal appears to be back where they were earlier this season. Stanford starting pitcher Mark Appel struck out 10 and allowed just a run on eight hits in seven innings of work, as the Cardinal cruised past UCLA, 7-2, in a crucial Pac-12 series opener. While Appel led the way on the mound, the Cardinal made easy work of UCLA starting pitcher Adam Plutko, scoring seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings off the right-handed hurler. Stephen Piscotty and Tyler Gaffney each had a home run in the contest.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Chris Stratton, rhp, Mississippi State
Mississippi State earned a huge home series sweep over Tennessee last weekend with big-time MLB draft prospect, right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton, leading the way. Well, Stratton was back to his usual tricks on Friday night, putting together an excellent start in a thrilling win over rival Ole Miss. Stratton struck out seven batters and allowed just five hits in a complete game shutout of the Rebels. Also worth noting, Stratton threw 71 of his 104 pitches for strikes and now has an impressive 8-0 record.
UPSET OF THE DAY: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over Sam Houston State
The Bearkats have put together quite a campaign for first-year head coach David Pierce, but what a rough contest they had on Friday, dropping a disappointing 5-2 bout to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which by the way, entered the contest with a 15-24 overall record. A&M-CC starting pitcher Trevor Foss kept the Bearkats, for the most part, off balance through six innings, while relievers Tyler Schnuriger and Phillip Garcia rose to the occasion. For SHSU, starting pitcher Caleb Smith was lifted after allowing four runs in five innings.
* Oregon veteran starting pitcher Alex Keudell continues to have a very good campaign. The talented senior struck out two batters and allowed just one run on five hits in a complete game performance and 4-1 Ducks win over California. While the Golden Bears need a series win this weekend to better their postseason stock, UO still has hopes of a national seed.
* Florida State is stepping out of conference this weekend to face Rhode Island, the perceived cream of the crop in the Atlantic 10. The Seminoles cruised past the Rams, 17-6, in the series opener, with first baseman Jayce Boyd putting together quite a performance. Boyd went 5-for-6 with a home run, double, two runs scored and four RBIs.
* After crushing in-state rival Kentucky in midweek action earlier this week, Louisville didn't show any signs of a letdown in a 5-0 win over Connecticut. UL right-handed starting pitcher Justin Amlung put together a very good start in the triumph. Amlung struck out six and allowed just four hits in seven innings of work.
* There are plenty of bubble teams out there, but Portland is an interesting club to watch. The Pilots took a huge step back last weekend, but could take a big step forward with a huge weekend against San Diego. Pilots starting pitcher Kyle Kraus struck out five and allowed just four runs (two earned) on eight hits in a complete game performance and 5-4 win over the Toreros.
* In what is a bout between a pair of ACC bubble teams vying for a spot in the NCAA postseason, Virginia Tech came up on the winning side of the ledger in the series finale, grabbing a 7-5 triumph over Maryland. Hokies talented outfielder and leadoff hitter Andrew Rash had a huge afternoon at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Another win this weekend really would help the Hokies' case.
* Long Beach State suddenly is an important team to watch down the stretch. The Dirtbags had been sitting under .500 for quite some time, but finally are 20-19 on the season after capturing an 8-2 win over Cal State Northridge. Both pitchers Matt Anderson and Matt Johnson threw well against the Matadors, but most important about this win is the fact the Dirtbags also are now 10-3 in the Big West. They're keeping pace with Cal State Fullerton.
* Missouri State has one of the nation's top one-two punches in the weekend rotation with Pierce Johnson and Nick Petree leading the charge. Well, in terms of actual production, Petree has been the better of the two. The redshirt sophomore right-hander extended his scoreless innings streak to 56 1/3 innings with a fabulous performance in a win over Southern Illinois. Petree struck out nine and allowed just five hits in seven shutout innings. With the win, his ERA is now down to 0.70 for the season.
* College of Charleston outfielder Daniel Aldrich hasn't quite had the powerful season he was expected to have this spring, but he put it all together on Friday in a road win over Western Carolina. Aldrich smashed three homers in the game, finishing the contest 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBIs. Another win this weekend and the Cougars have to feel good about their postseason chances.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball managing editor for Perfect Game and can be reached at email@example.com