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PREMIUM ANALYSIS: Sunday's RPI Report
The Longhorns and Huskers meet for the last time in the Big 12 this weekend, and it’s the ‘Horns that’ll head home with a solid series win. UT got off to a fast start and didn’t let up in Game 2 on the way to an impressive 16-5 triumph. UT starting pitcher Cole Green allowed just three runs in eight innings, while Jacob Felts, Paul Montalbano and Mark Payton each finished the game with three hits. While UT picks up another solid series win, the Huskers likely ended their postseason chances.
After getting silenced in the series opener against Florida State, the Knights hoped to respond in a big way in Game 2 on Saturday. They did just that in an impressive 14-10 triumph over the Seminoles. UCF outfielder Ronnie Richardson recorded three hits while Erik Hempe recorded two hits. It’s also worth noting that Jonathan Griffin hit a huge home run in the game to help the Knights to victory. UCF really needs to seal the deal in the series finale. It’s a big rubber match for both squads.
The Horned Frogs were silenced in the series opener against Oklahoma State, but they bounced back in a big way in Game 2 on Saturday with a 10-2 triumph. TCU starting pitcher Erik Miller allowed just two runs on nine hits in 7 1/3 innings to lead the way on the mound. Offensively, first baseman Joe Weik smacked a pair of home runs and went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs, while leadoff hitter Brance Rivera also recorded three hits. The series finale is huge for both teams, who are aspiring to earn an NCAA Regional host.
The Commodores had some tough luck against Kentucky in the series opener on Friday, but were solid on Saturday on the way to a 10-3 victory. Vandy starting pitcher Grayson Garvin, who has been very consistent this season, allowed just a run on six hits in eight innings to lead the way on the mound. Offensively, Conrad Gregor went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs, while leadoff hitter Tony Kemp chipped in a four-hit performance. VU is still in solid shape for a national seed no matter what happens in the finale.
The Sooners have had issues taking care of the elite teams in the Big 12 on the weekend this season, but they’re letting out their frustrations on Kansas so far this weekend. They continued their winning ways on Saturday with an 11-4 triumph. OU starting pitcher Burch Smith allowed one earned run on seven hits in seven innings, while nine OU hitters collected one hit in the game. It was an all-around team effort for the Sooners on Saturday. They need to finish off a sweep in the finale.
The Aggies won the series opener against gutsy Dallas Baptist before falling apart on the mound in Game 2 on Friday. Well, the Aggies finally put all the pieces together in the series finale on the way to a 14-2 triumph. A&M starting pitcher Ross Stripling allowed just two runs on six hits in eight innings to set the tone. Offensively, outfielders Tyler Naquin and Krey Bratsen led the way. Naquin went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI while Bratsen went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and four RBIs. It’s also worth noting three-hole hitter Matt Juengel had three hits. While it was a solid win for A&M, the series likely ended DBU’s postseason hopes.
UC Irvine earned a solid win in the series opener against the Mustangs, but CP responded on Saturday with a solid 7-3 triumph. CP starting pitcher Steven Fischback allowed just three runs in eight innings to lead the way on the mound. Offensively, Denver Chavez and DJ Gentile each recorded two hits and two RBIs, while Mike Miller chipped in a three-hit performance. Both teams desperately need to take care of business in the series finale.
The NCAA Selection Committee definitely should take note of how consistent the Golden Eagles have been this season. They recorded another solid win on Saturday, earning a dominant 13-4 triumph over UAB. USM starting pitcher Geoffrey Thomas allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings, Adam Doleac and Isaac Rodriguez each recorded three hits and three RBIs in the contest. USM should be a solid contender for a national seed if it finishes the weekend with a sweep.
It was another week and another fabulous start for UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer. Bauer struck out 12 and allowed just a run on four hits in a complete game performance as the Bruins defeated Oregon 3-1 to clinch a series win. While Bauer led the way on the mound, second baseman Kevin Williams led the way at the plate with a hit and two RBIs. The Bruins avoided a potential major setback by clinching a road series win over the Ducks.
The Owls apparently benefited a great deal from having a weekend off for final exams. The Owls put together another fantastic performance as they clinched a series win over rival Houston with a 12-6 triumph. Rice starting pitcher Matthew Reckling allowed just two runs in six innings, while shortstop Derek Hamilton recorded two doubles and second baseman Michael Ratterree had another huge day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and three RBIs. What a weekend it has been for the Owls.
East Tennessee State
Could the Buccaneers really find their way to the NCAA postseason? They defeated N.C. State on Friday before earning another solid win, this time 2-0, on Saturday to clinch a huge series victory. ETSU starting pitcher Derek Bushey struck out six and allowed just two hits in a complete game performance, while catcher Derek Trent led the way at the plate with a hit and an RBI. The Bucs, who improved to 30-15 with the win, are all the way up to 29 in the latest RPI. However, there’s still a strong belief their unimpressive Atlantic Sun record will hurt them.
The Spartans have made their statement this weekend and now have total control of the Big Ten after earning a series-clinching 5-3 win over Purdue on Saturday. MSU starting pitcher Tony Bucciferro allowed just two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, while relievers David Garner and Tony Wieber also threw well. At the plate, leadoff hitter Tyler Spillner finished the contest with two hits. With the two wins, the Spartans now are two games ahead of the Boilermakers in the standings.
It’s safe to say the Cardinals had a weekend to forget and are having a season to completely forget. They finished the weekend with a 0-3 record on the road, getting swept by Seton Hall in dismal fashion with a 9-4 loss in the finale. The pitching was rough and the Cardinals failed to get key hits. SHU starting pitcher Brian Gilbert threw well against the Cards, allowing just three runs on four hits in six innings. The Pirates’ bullpen also performed at a high level. UL suddenly only is 11-10 in the Big East.
The Red Storm is doing a solid job of making the South Florida series last weekend seem like ancient history. The Johnnies clinched a solid series win over Pittsburgh on Saturday with a 7-0 triumph. St. John’s starting pitcher Brendan Lobban allowed just two hits in six shutout innings while reliever Stephen Rivera allowed just three hits in three shutout frames. Robert Case, Joe Witkowski, Jimmy Brennan and Joe Panik each finished the contest with two hits. St. John’s is up to 54 in the RPI.
The Tigers still have an outside shot of reaching the NCAA postseason, but it’ll take a series win over Tulane this weekend. After losing a heartbreaker on Friday, the Tigers bounced back on Saturday with a 7-6 triumph. Memphis reliever Tyler Farley finished the game with 2 2/3 shutout innings, but it was the offense that took care of the most business with leadoff hitter Drew Martinez recording three hits in the game. The series finale is huge for both teams’ postseason hopes.
The Bluejays suffered a setback in the series opener against Wichita State, but responded in Game 2 with a solid 7-5 victory. Creighton starting pitcher Jonas Dufek was simply fantastic against the Shockers, striking out 12 and allowing just three runs on seven hits in seven innings in the winning cause. Offensively, CU second baseman Alex Staehely went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs, while catcher Scott Thornburg went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. The Bluejays are in great shape moving forward in the regular season title race if they win the series finale.
The Bulldogs needed a series win over Tennessee this weekend, and they got exactly what they needed with a 5-3 series-clinching win on Saturday. State starting pitcher Nick Routt allowed just three runs in six innings, while second baseman Nick Vickerson continued his hot weekend with a 2-for-3 performance that included a run scored, a home run and two RBIs. It’s also worth noting that first baseman Ryan Collins went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs.
The Crimson Tide suffered a tough loss in the series opener against LSU, but bounced back on Saturday with an impressive 4-0 triumph. Crimson Tide starting pitcher Adam Morgan was fantastic, striking out five and allowing just eight hits in eight shutout innings. Offensively, Brocket Bennett and Austen Smith each finished the contest with two hits. The Tigers desperately need to win the series finale to get back in the NCAA postseason mix. What a huge rubber match ahead.
We’ve said this since the first week of the season, but the Tigers are incredibly difficult to beat when they pitch at a high level. Auburn starting pitcher Derek Varnadore was fantastic as AU clinched a series win over Georgia with a 3-0 triumph. Varnadore struck out seven and allowed just five hits in a complete game shutout performance. Offensively, Dan Gamache, Casey McElroy, Tony Caldwell and Wes Gilmer each finished the contest with two hits. Georgia is now 24-23 and needs to win Sunday to stay above .500.
What a solid weekend it was for the Razorbacks. They dropped a 5-3 decision to Florida on Saturday to not sweep, but still won two of three in the huge SEC series. Arkansas starting pitcher Cade Lynch allowed a run in four innings in the finale, while Florida two-way star Austin Maddox tossed 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief work to finish the game and headline the win. The Hogs are squarely back in the hosting mix after a solid weekend.
The Bobcats are doing exactly what was expected of them against Texas-San Antonio this weekend. They clinched a series win over the Roadrunners with a 9-7 triumph. And with Stephen F. Austin also losing on Saturday, the Bobcats now are in total control of the Southland Conference title race. Texas State leadoff hitter Tyler Sibley had a huge day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIS, while Casey Kalenkosky chipped in a three-hit performance.
After getting silenced by Troy starting pitcher Tyler Ray in the series opener on Friday, the Ragin’ Cajuns really couldn’t have made more of a statement than earning a 17-1 win over the Trojans on Saturday. ULL starting pitcher Jordan Nicholson struck out seven and allowed just a run in a complete game performance, but the offense led the charge with a big day. Greg Fontenot and Mike Petello each recorded four hits in the game, while Jordan Poirrer went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and three RBIs. The series finale should be a dandy.
The Golden Panthers haven’t been ultra consistent this season, but they’re now playing a solid brand of baseball. FIU starting pitcher R.J. Fondon allowed just two runs on five hits in eight innings as the Panthers defeated Middle Tennessee State 11-2. While Fondon was solid on the mound, Pablo Bermudez and Jeremy Patton led the way at the plate. Bermudez went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs, while Patton went 3-for-5 with a home run, a run scored and three RBIs. FIU, which now is looking better postseason-wise, hopes to finish off a sweep.
The Huskies have played exceptional baseball the past few weeks, and that trend continued on Saturday in a 2-1 win over South Florida. Huskies starting pitcher and top prospect Matt Barnes struck out 10 and allowed just a run on three hits in eight innings to lead the cause. Offensively, John Andreoli and George Springer each finished the contest with two hits. The Huskies now lead the Big East regular season title race by four games over second-place St. John’s.
The Pirates won the series opener against Marshall on Friday, but they didn’t play well in a 7-1 loss in Game 2 on Saturday. ECU starting pitcher Kevin Brandt allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings, while Marshall starting pitcher Mike Mason allowed just a run in six innings. The Pirates still are in solid shape to reach the NCAA postseason, but a series loss to Marshall could change their situation. That’s why Sunday’s series finale is so important.
It’s extremely impressive how well the Sun Devils have played the past few weeks. ASU starting pitcher Kramer Champlin struck out seven and allowed just two runs on eight hits in eight innings as the Sun Devils earned a series-clinching 9-2 win over Long Beach State. While Champlin led the way on the mound, third baseman Joey DeMichele went a perfect 5-for-5 with a run scored and three RBIs. It’s also worth noting Zack MacPhee, Austin Barnes and Matt Newman finished the contest with two hits.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball editor for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org