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COLLEGE BASEBALL TICKET: Analysis/Prospect Reports on Baylor-A&M Game 1
With Friday's college baseball action in the books, here's our inside look back at the highlights and lowlights from around the country.
Florida State (31-7)
TEAM OF THE DAY: LSU
The Tigers are playing such an impressive brand of baseball these days. Shortstop Aaron Nola went two for three with a double and three RBIs, as LSU defeated red-hot Kentucky 5-4 in an important SEC series opener. While Nola led the charge at the plate, LSU sophomore right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman put together another solid outing. He allowed four runs on 10 hits in seven innings of work, but also struck out 11 batters, only walking one in the game. With the win, the Tigers are now 32-7 overall, an outstanding 12-4 in the SEC.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: Matthew Reckling, rhp, Rice
Few college baseball players have made more strides than Reckling this season. Reckling has always had very good overall stuff, but consistency had always been an issue -- that was until this spring. Reckling put together his sharpest outing of the year in a 2-0 win over East Carolina. The talented righty struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in a complete game performance. He overshadowed a good performance by ECU starter Kevin Brandt, who allowed just two runs on six hits in eight innings.
UPSET OF THE DAY: Boston College over N.C. State
Could N.C. State be working its way out of an NCAA Regional host site? It's certainly possible, especially if it loses another game this weekend. Usually reliable starting pitcher Ethan Ogburn had a rough night against the Eagles, allowing three runs in just 4 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the N.C. State bullpen also was unable to take care of business in a disappointing 11-10 loss to the Eagles. Shortstop Anthony Melchionda led the way offensively for the Eagles, finishing the contest with three hits.
Mississippi State (23-16)-- -- The Bulldogs have really struggled in SEC play, but finally have something to smile about after they clinched a series win over Tennessee with a 7-1 triumph. State starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was outstanding against the Volunteers, striking out eight (walking two) and allowing just one run on three hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, first baseman Wes Rea had two doubles and three RBIs in the game.
-- -- The Seminoles certainly looked like the nation's top-ranked team on Friday, as they captured a dominant 11-2 win over ACC rival Miami. FSU starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt was terrific, allowing just a run on two hits in five innings of work, while reliever Hunter Scantling threw two strong innings. However, shortstop Justin Gonzalez was the player of the game, smacking two homers and finishing the contest with three RBIs.
Baylor (33-7) -- The Bears have been incredibly lately, and that trend continued Friday night in a thrilling 5-3 win over Texas A&M. BU starting pitcher Josh Turley started the game on a negative note, but settled in and got the job done, striking out four and allowing three runs (one earned) on eight hits in seven innings of work. Meanwhile, reliever Max Garner tossed two strong innings and outfielder Logan Vick had two hits in the game.
Georgia Tech (23-16) -- The Yellow Jackets have been struggling and entered the North Carolina series needing a huge series win. Well, the Jackets couldn't have started the series in better fashion, beating the Tar Heels 11-4. Jackets right-handed pitcher Buck Farmer allowed just two runs on six hits in seven innings of work, while second baseman Thomas Smith went 2-for-4 with a double.
Stanford (23-10) -- The Cardinal looks to get back into the mix for an NCAA Regional host site and a national seed this week. They certainly took a big step forward on Friday in a 17-5 win over Arizona State. The Cardinal touched up ASU stud right-handed pitcher Brady Rodgers for eight runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, Stephen Piscotty and Alex Blandino each finished the game with three hits and four RBIs, with Blandino also hitting a home run in the game.
Texas (21-14) -- Barring an amazing finish to the regular season, the Longhorns will be hitting the road for the NCAA postseason this year. The 'Horns dropped a very surprising 7-2 decision to Kansas in that series opener. UT starting pitcher Nathan Thornhill was lifted after allowing three runs on eight hits in four innings of work, while reliever Hoby Milner allowed four runs in two innings of work. Meanwhile, KU starting pitcher Frank Duncan pitched an absolute gem, striking out 11 and allowing just two runs on three hits in a complete game performance.
Pepperdine (22-16) -- The Waves are a very legitimate postseason contender this spring, but have issues establishing consistency at times. Pepperdine starting pitcher Jon Moscot allowed six runs on nine hits in eight innings of work, as the Waves dropped a 6-2 decision to struggling Santa Clara. SCU starting pitcher Tommy Nance tossed a gem, allowing just two runs on eight hits in a complete game.
Elon (22-18) -- The Phoenix definitely is one of those teams that must turn the corner this weekend and find a way to take the series from Wofford. A heavy bubble team, the Phoenix dropped a brutal 11-5 decision to Wofford on Friday night. Elon starting pitcher Dylan Clark had a rough night on the mound, allowing five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, while reliever Andrew MacDonald allowed four runs in just 2/3 innings of work.
Virginia (22-15) -- There's no doubt the Cavaliers are one of the nation's toughest teams to figure out. They played well the past two weekends, but opened this weekend with a 6-3 setback to Duke. Blue Devils starting pitcher Marcus Stroman struck out nine and allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings of work, while Cavaliers right-handed starting pitcher Branden Kline struck out five (walked four) and allowed six runs on nine hits in seven innings.
Cal Poly (21-15) -- The Mustangs haven't played a good brand of baseball lately, and that doesn't seem to be changing -- yet, at least -- this weekend. CP starting pitcher Joey Wagman allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings of work, as the Mustangs dropped a 6-1 decision to Cal State Fullerton. The Mustangs are now .500 on the season and must find a way to record some impressive wins down the stretch.
Kendall Rogers is the college baseball managing editor for Perfect Game and can be reached at email@example.com