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TEAM OF THE DAY: Mississippi State -- The Bulldogs are still a long shot to
host an NCAA Regional, but they’re certainly making a statement down the
stretch. MSU starting pitcher Kendall Graveman only lasted 3 2/3 innings, but
the bullpen was terrific in a 4-3 win over Kentucky to clinch an important SEC
series. State third baseman Daryl Norris smacked a home run in the game.
UPSET OF THE DAY: Iowa over Purdue -- Just a day after winning their first Big
Ten regular season title since the 1900s, the Boilermakers showed quite a bit
of rust in a disappointing 6-1 loss to Iowa. Purdue starting pitcher Lance
Breedlove allowed five run on four hits in 4 1/3 innings, while Iowa starting
pitcher Sasha Kuebel struck out four and allowed just one run on eight hits in
a complete game performance.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: RHP Mark
Appel, Stanford -- The Cardinal is squarely in the mix for a national seed, and
the talented right-handed pitcher led the charge in a 6-0 win over Utah. The
heralded top prospect had one of his best starts of the season, striking out 13
and allowing four hits in a complete game shutout. For the season, the Cardinal
has a 2.45 ERA in 103 innings of work.
Vanderbilt (28-25) -- The
Commodores made a big statement last weekend with a series win over LSU.
They’re once again putting on an impressive display this weekend, capturing a
huge series win over Mississippi with a 6-2 triumph on Friday. Vandy
left-handed pitcher Sam Selman had an outstanding start, allowing just six hits
in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Florida State (42-12) -- After
dropping Friday’s series opener to North Carolina State, the Seminoles needed
someone to rise up from a pitching standpoint. Freshman starting pitcher
Brandon Leibrandt struck out four and allowed just one run on two hits in five
innings, as the Seminoles captured a 3-2 win over the Wolfpack. FSU closer
Robert Benincasa recorded his 13th save in 1 2/3 scoreless innings of work.
Arizona (35-15) -- The
Wildcats definitely are playing like they want to host an NCAA Regional.
Wildcats starting pitcher Kurt Heyer put together an outstanding start in a
dominant 11-1 triumph over USC. Heyer struck out four batters and allowed just
one run on six hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, leadoff hitter Joey
Rickard had a productive day at the plate, collecting three hits in the
UCLA (37-13) -- Speaking of
Pac-12 teams playing an impressive brand of baseball, the Bruins continued
their successful ways Friday with a 7-2 triumph over California. Bruins
right-handed starting pitcher Adam Plutko struck out three and allowed just six
hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings of work. Meanwhile, catcher Trevor Brown led
the way at the plate with a three-hit performance.
Appalachian State (38-13) --
The Mountaineers have had an outstanding campaign, and they officially captured
the Southern Conference regular season title with a 5-4 triumph over Western
Carolina. Mountaineers starting pitcher Seth Grant allowed just one run in
seven innings of work, while outfielder Tyler Zupcic collected three hits.
Texas Tech (28-26) -- What a
disappointing campaign it has been for the Red Raiders. Fortunately it’s about
to come to an end, but things hit rock bottom Friday. Tech dropped a 5-1
decision to Kansas State, officially eliminating it from the Big 12 tournament.
Tech was unable to get anything going against Kansas State starting pitcher Joe
Flattery, who allowed just a run on six hits in a complete game performance.
Sam Houston State (35-18) --
The Bearkats likely punched their ticket to the NCAA postseason last weekend
with a series win over Southeastern Louisiana, but they might just give the
committee something to think about. SHSU starting pitcher Justin Jackson
allowed 10 runs (two earned) on seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings of work, as
the Bearkats dropped a 13-4 decision to Central Arkansas.
Virginia Tech (34-20) -- The
Hokies certainly hurt their postseason chances on Friday with yet another
disappointing loss to North Carolina, this time 2-1. VT starting pitcher Joe
Mantiply tossed an absolute gem, striking out seven and allowing just two runs
on four hits in eight innings, but the Hokies were unable to do much against
UNC starting pitcher Benton Moss.
Auburn (29-26) -- The Tigers
are in deep trouble entering the series finale against Florida. AU starting
pitcher Daniel Koger allowed six runs on five hits in just two innings of work,
as the Tigers dropped a disappointing 10-1 decision to the Gators. Meanwhile,
UF starting pitcher Brian Johnson put together an excellent start, striking out
seven and allowing just one run on two hits in seven innings.
Georgia Tech (31-24) -- The Yellow
Jackets appeared to be in good shape for the NCAA postseason just a few weeks
ago, but they’re in trouble entering the series finale against Miami. Tech
starting pitcher Jake Davies allowed six runs on seven hits in three innings of
work, as the Jackets dropped an 8-6 decision to the Hurricanes, and the series.
With the setback, the Jackets are now a dismal 11-18 in the ACC.
* Keep an eye on the LSU-South
Carolina series finale on Saturday if you want to keep track of national seeds.
Chances are good the series winner will have locked up a national seed. LSU
starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was terrific in a series-opening 5-2 win over
the Gamecocks, while South Carolina reliever Matt Price was clutch in the
nightcap in a 5-4 triumph over the Tigers.
* Oklahoma State scored six
runs on nine hits in seven innings of work against Texas A&M starting
pitcher Ross Stripling, but still managed to drop an 8-7 decision to lose the
series. With the series loss, the Cowboys will enter the Big 12 tournament in
dire straits from an NCAA postseason at-large standpoint.
* Virginia starting pitcher
Scott Silverstein allowed three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings of work,
but reliever Nick Howard was tremendous, tossing 5 1/3 scoreless frames in a
series-clinching 10-3 win over Maryland. With the loss, the Terrapins are now
9-20 in the ACC. In other words, their postseason hopes are pretty much gone.
* Oklahoma dropped the series
opener to Samford on Thursday, but bounced back in impressive fashion Friday
with a 6-2 triumph. OU starting pitcher Jonathan Gray struck out nine batters
and allowed just two runs on eight hits in seven innings, while reliever Steven
Okert allowed just two hits in two shutout frames.