TEAM OF THE DAY
The Ragin’ Cajuns were a couple of wins away last season from reaching the NCAA Super Regional round, and used that as motivation during the offseason. ULL returned an excellent squad this spring, and has started the campaign, not surprisingly, 10-1, after Saturday’s 6-0 series-clinching victory over Alabama.
ULL junior college transfer right-handed pitcher Carson Baranik arrived in Lafayette, La., with very high expectations, and he’s been impressive. Baranik, who previously had two solid starts, was brilliant against the Crimson Tide. He struck out four, walked two and allowed just three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
On the offensive side of things, the Cajuns were led by consistent shortstop Blake Trahan, who had three hits and an RBI, while first baseman Greg Davis also had three hits and an RBI.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Jake Stinnett, rhp, Maryland
The reviews on the Terrapins, and specifically, Stinnett have been very good so far this season. The talented veteran right-handed pitcher made a sizable statement on Saturday by tossing the program’s first no-hitter since 2008 in a 4-0 home win over Massachusetts. Stinnett struck out nine and walked two in a complete game shutout performance.
UPSET OF THE DAY
South Alabama takes series from Arkansas
The Jaguars were expected to have a rebuilding campaign in 2014, but coach Mark Calvi’s club apparently has other things in mind. South Alabama left-handed pitcher Locke St. John struck out three, walked two and allowed just a run on eight hits in 8 1/3 innings, as the Jaguars won the first side of a doubleheader, 2-1 over the Hogs. In the second game, it was much of the same, as the Jaguars used strong pitching to beat the Razorbacks 5-3 to take the series. USA starting pitcher Kevin Hill struck out five and allowed just three runs on seven hits in eight innings.
MORE NOTABLE UPSETS:
St. John’s 4, No. 20 Florida Atlantic 3
Belmont 6, Mercer 5 (Belmont clinched series)
Dartmouth 3, Florida International 0
DID YOU SEE THIS?
* Head coach Mike Fox has transformed North Carolina into a perennial power, and Saturday, he notched win No. 700 as the Tar Heels captured a series win over North Florida.
* Rice head coach Wayne Graham said before his team’s game against TCU that right-handed pitcher Jordan Stephens was lifted from Friday’s game against Texas because of arm soreness, adding that he’ll be reevaluated next week. The Owls have plenty of solid arms, but losing Stephens, who was off to a terrific start, would be tough to endure for Graham, who’d like, if at all possible, to keep hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Zech Lemond in the bullpen.
* Tennessee is off to its best record in school history, 9-0, after beating Quinnipiac 4-3 on Saturday. Vols starting pitcher Andrew Lee didn’t have a great day, but reliever Andy Cox was fantastic out of the bullpen. Cox struck out eight, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just two hits in 6 2/3 innings.
South Carolina beats Clemson … again: There are cycles in every sport, and Clemson eventually will get the tide turned against the Gamecocks. However, that won’t be during this regular season, as the Tigers dropped yet another series to their rivals from Columbia, S.C., in an ugly 10-2 setback. Clemson starting pitcher Matthew Crownover allowed five runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings, while the Gamecocks got a huge day offensively from Connor Bright and Kyle Martin, who each knocked in runs. South Carolina’s Marcus Mooney also got into the action with three RBIs … From a pitching perspective, Gamecocks sophomores Jack Wynkoop and Joel Seddon shined. Wynkoop allowed just two runs in six hits, while Seddon’s domination continued with three scoreless frames to end the game.
Ohio State off to hot start: Buckeyes head coach Greg Beals was cautiously optimistic about his club going into the season, and he’s got to be proud with how they’ve played the first three weeks. OSU improved to 2-0 on the weekend with a 5-4 win over Western Kentucky. Buckeyes starting pitcher Robert Riga allowed three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, but it was the offense with Connor Sabanosh leading the way that led the charge. Sabanosh went 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Jacob Bosiokovic also had a nice afternoon at the plate with a pair of hits.
Illinois wins yet again: It seems to be quite often this time of year we keep talking about big wins for the Big Ten Conference. Well, Illinois took care of business against Florida Gulf Coast, 9-1, just a night after dominating Florida on the road. Illinois right-handed pitcher John Kravetz allowed just a run on six hits in seven innings, while Ryan Nagle and Casey Fletcher each led the offense with three hits and two RBIs.
Ole Miss finding ways to win: It’s hard to imagine Ole Miss having the ability to sneak up on some teams, but they’re for once quietly putting together an impressive campaign. Though it took extra innings, the Rebels improved their overall record to 10-1 with a 5-4 victory over UCF. Will Allen led the Rebels offensively with two hits (one a home run) and three RBIs, while athletic outfielder Auston Bousfield recorded three hits.
UCLA’s bounce back weekend: The Bruins still have some work to do on Sunday, but it’s been so far so good at the Irish Classic, beating N.C. State 2-0 on Saturday. UCLA junior left-handed pitcher Grant Watson was fantastic against the Wolfpack, striking out three, walking one and allowing just three hits in eight innings … UCLA’s only two runs of the game came via a Trent Chatterton two-RBI single … N.C. State left-hander Carlos Rodon struck out eight, walked three and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in seven innings.
Fresno State takes series from A&M: Brink has been terrific so far this season, and that trend continued Saturday afternoon in a 5-0 win over Texas A&M. Brink struck out five, walked three and allowed just one hit in seven innings. Brink entered the contest with a stellar 0.61 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, along with 10 strikeouts and four walks … In the nightcap, Fresno didn’t get a great start, but the offense rose to the occasion with five runs in the sixth inning, as well as two shutout innings of relief work from Jimmy Shull to capture a 6-5 victory, and the series.
Cal State Fullerton clinches Oregon series: After playing just OK the first two weeks of the season, drawing the ire of coach Rick Vanderhook, the Titans have gotten back to business this weekend against Oregon. Fullerton right-handed pitcher Justin Garza struck out four, walked no one and allowed just two runs on six hits in eight innings … Meanwhile, third baseman Matt Chapman had two hits and scored a run. For the Ducks, freshman left-hander Matt Krook struck out eight and allowed just two runs in six innings.
North Carolina’s pitching: North Florida headed up to UNC this weekend looking for an upset series win. However, the Tar Heels had other things in mind, and their pitching staff has done a marvelous job against a potent offensive lineup through two games. North Carolina right-handed pitcher Benton Moss struck out four, walked no one and allowed just a run on six hits in a complete game performance.
Florida State bounces back: After dropping a tough contest to begin the weekend, the Seminoles bounced back in impressive fashion Saturday with a 10-2 win over arch-rival Miami. FSU starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt allowed just two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, while offensively, third baseman Jose Brizuela had an afternoon to remember with three hits (one double) and four RBIs.
Florida’s Karsten Whitson shines: For the Gators to meet their expectations at the end of the season, guys like Whitson must consistently rise to the occasion. Well, Whitson was very solid in a 4-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast. He struck out just one batter in the game, but allowed just a hit in five innings.
Texas pitching shines yet again: You know, the Longhorns might not ever have a potent offense this season, but it’s at least slightly better, and the pitching staff is equally dominant. Texas junior right-handed pitcher Parker French struck out seven, walked one and allowed just three runs on three hits in seven innings in a 3-2 win over previously undefeated Houston.
Daniel Rizzie, c, Xavier: The Musketeers overwhelmed Dayton Saturday afternoon in a 16-1 victory to improve to 5-3 for the season. Rizzie led the way at the plate with a huge afternoon, going 4-for-6 with a pair of homers, four runs batted in and four RBIs.
Charleston Southern outlasts Holy Cross … 1-0 in 15: When you think about games that last 15 innings, they’re typically not affairs that end in 1-0. But don’t tell that to Charleston Southern and Holy Cross, as that contest ended just that way with CSU taking home the victory. CSU starting pitcher Tony Schroff allowed just five hits in seven innings, while relievers Austin Weekley (3.0 IP, 0 R) and Tyler Weekley (5.0 IP, 0 R) rose to the occasion.
Shane McCain, lhp, Troy: The veteran entered the season with high expectations, and he put together an impressive road performance in a 5-0 win over Southern Mississippi. McCain struck out six, walked two and allowed just four hits in seven shutout frames. He threw 106 pitches, 68 strikes.
Keegan Thompson, rhp, Auburn: After dropping a surprising contest to Presbyterian on Friday, the Tigers desperately needed a strong start from Thompson on Saturday. They got that and more. Thompson was fantastic in a 3-0 win over the Blue Hose, striking out five, walking on one and allowing just a hit in a complete game shutout performance.
Rice pitching leads the charge: The Owls dropped a heartbreaker to Texas on Friday night despite making a late ninth-inning rally. But this team was ready to play on Saturday against TCU — especially the pitching staff. Owls left-handed pitcher Blake Fox, who topped out in the mid-to-upper 80s, along with a mid-70s curveball, struck out seven, walked two and allowed just five hits in six shutout frames, while right-handed pitcher Zech Lemond, who topped out at 96, tossed three shutout frames to end things.
Missouri: The Tigers had hoped to get off to a fast start this season, but that’s not happening, as they dropped to 3-6 on the year with a disappointing 11-8 loss to IPFW. Mizzou starting pitcher John Miles struggled in the contest, allowing seven runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of work … That performance overshadowed what was a good day offensively for shortstop Ryan Howard, who tallied three hits and knocked in four runs.
Nebraska struggling this weekend: We wrote last week about how impressive the Huskers were out at the Pac-12/Big Ten tournament. Well, the opposite is holding true for the Big Red this weekend as they continue to struggle against The Citadel, dropping a 12-8 contest on Saturday to lose the series. NU left-handed pitcher Aaron Bummer struggle in the contest, allowing seven runs, six earned in four innings of work.
Texas Tech takes a step back: Tech caught the nation’s attention two weekends ago by taking a series from Indiana in impressive fashion. However, things have turned south this weekend, as the Red Raiders have been outscored 19-6 in two games, losing 10-6 to Sam Houston State on Saturday. Tech starting pitcher Matt Withrow didn’t have a good start, allowing six runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.