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CB TICKET: Sunday's RPI Report (3.25)
With Saturday'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: Central Florida
The Knights had stumbled in some midweek affairs the past couple of weeks, so taking care of business against East Carolina this weekend was a must. UCF hasn't had much of an issue doing so far this weekend. The Knights clinched a huge series victory over the Pirates with a 10-6 triumph on Saturday. Hard-hitting first baseman DJ Hicks went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs, while catcher Ryan Breen went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Max Muncy, 1b, Baylor
The Bears are playing extremely well with hard-hitting first baseman Max Muncy leading the charge. Muncy had a huge day at the plate as the Bears captured a series-clinching 9-0 win over Kansas. Muncy went 2-for-5 with two home runs, two runs scored and five RBIs, bringing his home run total for the season to four.
UPSET OF THE DAY: Maryland-Baltimore County over Tulane
It's always incredibly risky to face weak competition during the season. Well, that plan has backfired a bit for the Green Wave. The Green Wave was upset, 3-2, by the Retrievers on Saturday. UMBC starting pitcher Mac Gill put together an impressive start, allowing just two runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings of work. The win was just UMBC's sixth of the season, while Tulane's RPI is destined to plunge following the setback.
Texas A&M (19-5): The Aggies really couldn't have had a better weekend against Pepperdine. After winning the series opener on Friday, the Aggies swept a doubleheader from the Waves on Saturday to sweep the important road series. The Aggies won the first game of the doubleheader 9-2 with right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling leading the way. Meanwhile, leadoff hitter Mikey Reynolds had a huge game at the plate in the series finale.
Florida (21-2): The Gators played an impressive brand of baseball after losing the first game of the South Carolina series. UF won the series finale on Saturday, 5-4, with sophomore right-handed pitcher Jonathon Crawford leading the way. Crawford allowed just a run on three hits in five innings, while Steve Rodriguez and Austin Maddox each took care of business out of the bullpen.
N.C. State (16-4): There's absolutely no doubt at this point the Wolfpack has been one of the nation's pleasant surprises this season. They continued their winning ways Saturday with a 3-1 triumph over in-state rival North Carolina. N.C. State junior right-handed pitcher Ethan Ogburn allowed just a run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings, while reliever D.J. Thomas tossed 3 1/3 shutout innings to finish things.
Auburn (15-8): What an impressive stretch the Tigers have been on the past two weeks. They surprised us last weekend with a road series win over Mississippi. They took another step forward this weekend, earning a series win over LSU with a 3-2 triumph on Saturday. AU starting pitcher Will Kendall allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings, while the bullpen did a great job with Jay Wade leading the charge.
Purdue (16-3): The Boilermakers made a huge statement in non-conference play with some fantastic wins, so it was interesting to see how they'd start Big Ten play on the road against Ohio State, which has some legitimate talent. The Boilermakers passed their first Big Ten test of the year in impressive fashion, sweeping the Buckeyes with victories of 8-5 and 8-1.
Clemson (11-10): It's surprising to think about, but the Tigers just might fail to make the NCAA postseason. They dropped to 3-5 in ACC play on Saturday with a disappointing 5-1 setback to Virginia. Clemson starting pitcher Dominic Leone had a tough day on the mound, allowing five runs on five hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the offense only mustered a run on two hits against Cavaliers starting pitcher Branden Kline.
Georgia Tech (15-9): The Yellow Jackets could be in some trouble moving forward. It's partly because they have some key injuries, but they're also not taking care of business in contests they're expected to win. The Jackets dropped the front end of a doubleheader to Boston College on Saturday to lose the ACC road series. GT must find a way to bounce back.
Texas State (14-8): The Bobcats recorded an impressive midweek win over TCU earlier in the week, but have taken a step back this weekend with a pair of losses to Sam Houston State. Texas State dropped Game 2 of the series, 10-4, on Saturday. Bobcats starting pitcher Colton Turner had a tough day on the mound, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings.
Stetson (15-8): What a rough week the Hatters have had on the diamond. They started the week with a pair of losses to Florida State before losing the series opener to Belmont on Friday, 23-4. Well, things didn't get any better on Saturday as they dropped a 5-0 decision to the Bruins. Belmont has outscored the Hatters 28-4 in the first two games of the series.
Maryland (15-9): Remember when the Terrapins started the season with a huge road series win over UCLA? Well, things have taken a turn for the worse this weekend. The Terps dropped to 1-7 in ACC play on Saturday with a 9-1 setback to Miami. Maryland starting pitcher David Carroll had a rough night against the Hurricanes, allowing three runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.
In addition to earning a series win over South Carolina, the Florida Gators got more good news Saturday as right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson threw yet another good bullpen session. UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan still hasn't announced when Whitson will throw again, but chances are good it'll be in midweek action against Florida State. Meanwhile, on a not-so-good note, third baseman Josh Tobias will be out at least three-to-four weeks with a fractured hamate bone.
We wrote earlier this week about the success of the Florida State pitching staff. Well, the Seminoles once again are impressing this weekend against Wake Forest. After the Seminoles won the series opener against the Demon Deacons, they once again pitched well in the second game of the doubleheader. Mike Compton allowed just two runs on six hits in five innings. Meanwhile, FSU closer Robert Benincasa continued his dominant pitching by striking out three batters in the ninth inning. With that, Benincasa has already recorded his eighth save of the season.
Missouri State rising starting pitcher Pierce Johnson pitched an absolute gem in the series opener against Creighton. Well, another top prospect, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Petree, put together a fantastic start in Game 2 on Saturday in a 7-0 triumph. Petree struck out 10 and allowed just four hits in a complete game performance. Additionally, Petree threw 112 pitches, 69 of them for strikes.
Hartford has had a tough campaign so far this season with just a 4-16 overall record. However, the Hawks had a reason to celebrate on Saturday. After losing the first game of a doubleheader to Yale, they bounced back in the nightcap with a 2-0 triumph over the Bulldogs. Most important, the Hawks got a no-hitter from Sean Newcomb, who struck out 10 hitters in seven innings of a seven-inning affair. Newcomb fell short of a perfect game with two walks and hit-by-pitches.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball managing editor for Perfect Game and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org