More coverage: Weekend preview | Q & A with OU's Pete Hughes
TEAM(S) OF THE DAY
Clemson: The Tigers need a statement series win, and this might be it if they can finish off the weekend with another victory. Clemson used a strong performance from righthanded pitcher Daniel Gossett to beat Florida State 9-3 on Friday. Gossett, I'm told, was consistently 93-96 throughout the game, touching 94 in the eighth inning, and struck out eight, walked four and allowed just a run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings. He outdueled Luke Weaver, who sat in the low-90s and allowed six runs on 11 hits in seven innings. Tyler Krieger led the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
Kentucky: South Carolina has struggled in Lexington, Ky., in the past, but it will need some extra spunk to shake that trend the rest of the weekend after dropping a 13-5 decision on Friday. UK's JaVon Shelby and Michael Thomas each had homers in the game, while Max Kuhn and A.J. Reed had a pair of hits. Fitting the same mold as other SEC aces on Friday, South Carolina lefthanded pitcher Jordan Montgomery had a night to forget, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in just two innings.
Mississippi State: Vanderbilt junior righthanded pitcher Tyler Beede is one of the elite arms in the game, but struggled mightily in a shocking 17-2 road loss to Mississippi State. Beede allowed 11 runs (five earned) on six hits in 2 2/3 innings in the contest. MSU's Seth Heck went 2-for-2 with a double and four RBIs, while first baseman Wes Rea had two hits and two RBIs, and Zack Randolph finished the night with three RBIs. MSU sophomore righthanded pitcher Preston Brown made a stellar SEC weekend start debut, allowing just two runs on seven hits in eight innings.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Tyler Kuresa, 1b, UC Santa Barbara
Sure, the Gauchos were just playing Wagner at home, but anytime a player hits three homers in a game, it needs to be noted in a big way. Kuresa now has seven homers after hitting those three, and going 3-for-4 with four runs scored and five RBIs in an 8-4 win over Wagner.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Maryland over North Carolina State
We've said throughout the week the Terrapins need a statement series if they want to reach the NCAA postseason. Well, a 10-0 win over Carlos Rodon and N.C. State is a nice way to start a weekend. Maryland righthanded senior Jake Stinnett struck out 14, walked one and allowed just four hits in eight shutout frames, outdueling Rodon, who was lifted after allowing eight runs (none earned) on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. Blake Schmit had a nice day at the plate for the Terps, going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
Central Arkansas over Sam Houston State (Justin Treece: 2 for 3, 2 R, 3 RBI)
Temple over Memphis (Matt Hockenberry: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K)
Auburn over Tennessee (Dillon Ortman: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)
Andrew Morales, rhp, UC Irvine: The Anteaters have gotten several big-time performances from Morales throughout his career. He shined in a 2-0 win over Grand Canyon, striking out 11, walking one and allowing just two hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Loyola Marymount: The Lions could take control of the West Coast title race this weekend on the road against USD. LMU improved to 4-0 on Friday with a dominant 7-0 victory over the Toreros. LMU staff ace Colin Welmon shined against the Toreros, striking out three, walking no one and allowing just seven hits in eight innings.
Guillermo Trujillo, rhp, Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles hit the road and captured a nice 2-0 win over McNeese State to begin the weekend. The talented righty, who shined last summer, struck out five, walked two and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout. He threw 94 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Elon: Junior righthanded pitcher Lucas Bakker put together yet another solid start in a 5-1 win over Western Carolina, striking out five and allowing just a run on five hits in 7 2/3 innings. With the win, the Phoenix improved to 14-7 overall, 3-1 in the Southern Conference.
Washington: The Huskies opened up their new ballpark in as perfect way possible, capturing a close, 8-7 win over Arizona to improve to 14-5 overall. Washington starting pitcher Jared Fisher didn't have a great day on the mound, but the offense more than made up for it, with catcher Austin Rei going 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs. Interestingly, Arizona dropped to 11-13 overall with the setback.
Tommy Thorpe, lhp, Oregon: The lefthanded junior had yet another impressive start as the Ducks defeated Utah 1-0 at home. Thorpe struck out five, didn't walk anyone and allowed just three hits in eight innings. He bested Utah starting pitcher Mitch Watrous, who struck out nine, walked one and allowed a run on four hits in eight innings.
Ben Wetzler, lhp, Oregon State: If you want to see a man on a mission, just take a quick peek at Wetzler's numbers so far this season. Wetzler has been terrific thus far, and had yet another strong showing in a 4-0 win over Arizona State. He struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two hits in seven innings.
Washington State: Much kudos to Don Marbut and his coaching staff at Wazzu. I was impressed with the Cougars in a series loss at Cal State Fullerton a few weeks ago, but that club quickly went into a slump. Well, WSU is out of it, sweeping midweek games from San Diego, and beating UCLA 2-0 on Friday with starting pitcher Jason Monda striking out five, walking two and tossing 7 1/3 shutout innings.
UNLV: In a series that very well could have major Mountain West title implications, the Rebels took the opening round of the bout, 5-4. UNLV righthanded pitcher Erick Fedde was terrific in his start, striking out 12, walking two and allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in a complete game performance.
A.J. Ladwig, rhp, Wichita State: Ladwig put together a very nice start in a 2-0 home win over Missouri State. He struck out six, didn't walk anyone and allowed just seven hits in seven shutout frames. Meanwhile, reliever Drew Palmer also threw well for the Shockers, striking out two and tossing two shutout frames.
UAB: How about the Blazers, specifically junior righthanded pitcher Alex Luna? Luna struck out six, didn't walk anyone and allowed just five hits in 7 2/3 innings of work in a 5-0 road win over Hawaii. The Blazers also received a nice performance from reliever Turner Lee, who tossed 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief work.
Zech Lemond, rhp, Rice: The hard-throwing righthander has made a seamless transition to the starting rotation. He struck out 12, walked three and allowed just six hits in 8 1/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 home win over Florida Atlantic. Overall, Lemond now has a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings, along with 39 strikeouts and 12 walks.
Houston: Cougars junior righthanded pitcher Aaron Garza continued his impressive campaign in an 8-3 win over College of Charleston. He struck out six, didn't walk anyone and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in a complete game performance. UH leadoff hitter Kyle Survance led the offense with two hits, a double and three RBIs.
Cal State Fullerton: Sophomore righthanded pitcher Thomas Eshelman had yet another strong performance with no walks in a 5-1 win over Long Beach State. He struck out six, allowed a run (not earned) on 10 hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, Titans third baseman Matt Chapman went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Brandon Finnegan, lhp, Texas Christian: How about the elite lefthanded pitcher? Finnegan and his mid-90s arm struck out 10, walked two and allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings in a commanding 9-0 home win over Texas Tech. He threw 105 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Iowa: First-year Hawkeyes head coach Rick Heller captured a 2-1 win over Nebraska in his first Big Ten contest, as righthanded pitcher Calvin Mathews was terrific. Mathews struck out five, didn't walk anyone and allowed a run on six hits in eight innings. Meanwhile, designated hitter Dan Potempa led the Hawkeyes with a pair of hits, as the club improved to 13-5 overall.
Michael Murray, rhp, Florida Gulf Coast: Murray just continues to have great outing after great outing, not changing the trend Friday night in an 8-0 road win over USC Upstate. Murray struck out 10, didn't walk anyone and allowed just two hits in eight shutout innings.
James Norwood, rhp, Saint Louis: Norwood has a mid-90s arm and only will get better as he refines his secondary stuff. But he didn't need all that in a 4-0 road win over Rhode Island. He struck out six, walked two and allowed just one hit in a complete game shutout. He threw 102 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Florida: The Gators are knocking back on the door to the PG Top 25 after beginning the weekend with a 5-3 extra-inning win over Texas A&M. Florida righthanded reliever Ryan Harris threw a career-high four innings, shutout, that is, while freshman righthanded pitcher Logan Shore gutted his way through a start, allowing two runs on nine hits in five innings. Hard-hitting catcher Taylor Gushue led the Gators with three hits and an RBI.
Baylor starting pitching: With the exception of Dillon Newman a couple of weeks ago, BU's starting pitching has been fantastic as of late. BU lefty Brad Kuntz struck out eight, walked one and allowed just a run on eight hits in seven innings in a 4-1 home win over Oklahoma State. The Bears suddenly are red-hot, improving to 3-1 in the Big 12.
San Francisco: We're seeing the Dons way too much in this category this season. USF starting pitcher Christian Cecilio struggled yet again in a 7-5 loss to BYU. Cecilio allowed six runs on six hits in just 3 1/3 innings. The Dons fell to .500 with the setback.
Kansas State: The Wildcats certainly have been playing better the past couple of weeks, but might've gotten a dose of reality in an 11-4 loss to Oklahoma to begin Big 12 play. Usually reliable K-State staff ace Levi MaVorhis had a tough night on the mound, allowing four runs on 10 hits in just 4 2/3 innings.
Arkansas: Though the Razorbacks typically are known for their pitching, that aspect of their club was non-existent in a 17-9 home loss to Alabama. Arkansas starting pitcher Jalen Beeks allowed three runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, while Zach Jackson (allowed five runs) and Jackson Lowery (allowed three runs) also struggled out of the bullpen.