TEAM OF THE DAY
The Seminoles made a statement a few weeks ago with a home series win over rival Miami, but it doesn’t compare to what they did this weekend, sweeping No. 6 North Carolina State with a pair of victories 8-2 and 9-8 on Saturday.
The first game of the doubleheader showcased a pair of quality arms in N.C. State veteran right-handed pitcher Logan Jernigan and crafty FSU lefty Brandon Leibrandt. Jernigan struck out five, walked five and allowed three runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings, while Leibrandt controlled the Wolfpack, striking out eight, walking three and allowing just a run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Offensively, Ben DeLuzio had a home run and two RBIs, while outfielder D.J. Stewart had two hits and an RBI, and John Nogowski got rolling with three hits and two RBIs.
The two teams traded runs throughout the contest in the finale on Saturday, with the Seminoles eventually grabbing the victory in the 13th inning with a Jose Brizuela walk-off RBI single. Brizuela finished the night 2-for-6 with a pair of RBIs, while hot Ben DeLuzio and Justin Gonzalez each recorded three hits, and reliever Jameis Winston tossed three shutout frames with seven strikeouts and no walks.
"What a great win that was in the manner that we got it done," Florida State head coach Mike Martin said. "Some clubs might have felt sorry for themselves, so to speak, the way that we fell behind there, but then all of sudden our young men did such a great job of stringing together some great at-bats."
With the series sweep over the Wolfpack, the Seminoles improved to 17-2 overall and 5-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, making quite the statement for the top spot in the Perfect Game College Top 25.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Ross Mitchell, lhp, Mississippi State
After dropping the series opener to Georgia on Friday, the Bulldogs looked to the crafty left-handed pitcher to give them a boost on Saturday. Mitchell made his second start of his career against the Bulldogs, and set the tone for a doubleheader sweep.
Mitchell, who tops out in the mid-80s on a good day, but has good secondary offerings, struck out five, walked four and allowed just four hits in a complete game performance. Mitchell and the Bulldogs captured a 6-1 victory in the first game of the day, while they won the series with a 4-1 triumph in the nightcap.
UPSET OF THE DAY
St. Mary’s over Cal State Fullerton
Just a night after losing a heartbreaker in extra frames to Cal State Fullerton, the Gaels returned the favor on Saturday in a 6-0 triumph with right-handed pitcher Cameron Neff leading the way. Neff couldn’t have been much better against the Titans, striking out three, walking two and allowing just four hits in a complete game shutout.
Meanwhile, the Gaels had success at the plate with shortstop Ricky Boas collecting three hits and knocking in a pair of runs … For the Titans, starting pitcher Grahamm Wiest didn’t allow an earned run in eight innings, while the bullpen wasn’t particularly impressive.
More notable upsets:
Georgia Tech 13,3 – No. 17 Miami (Fla.) 7,2
Maryland 3, No. 13 North Carolina 2 (Taylor Stiles: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1BB, 5 K)
Louisiana Tech 3, Florida Atlantic 2 (Phil Maton: 9 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K)
Pacific 6, No. 25 Pepperdine 4 (Jake Jenkins: 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)
IN CASE YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS …
Kansas State hasn’t been a headline for a few weeks, and that’s understandable given how slow it started the season. However, the Wildcats suddenly are red-hot and have won 10-straight, sweeping a doubleheader from Northern Colorado and outscoring them 35-3.
Connor Joe, c, San Diego: The Toreros are off to an impressive start in WCC play, improving to 3-0 with a dominant 17-8 road win over BYU. The hot-hitting Toreros once again had a productive day at the plate, as Connor Joe, Andrew Daniel and Louie Lechich led the charge. Joe hit a home run, had three hits, and also knocked in three runs.
Elon: Mike Kennedy’s Phoenix entered the weekend hoping to make a statement, and they did just that, splitting a doubleheader with previously red-hot Georgia Southern to capture an important Southern Conference series. After losing the front end of a doubleheader 7-4, the Phoenix responded in the nightcap with a 4-2 triumph. Elon’s Michael Elefante struck out five and allowed just two runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, while reliever Ryan Pennell was terrific, striking out four in 2 1/3 shutout frames.
Florida: Remember when folks counted out the Gators just a week ago? Well, UF has now won seven-straight contests after capturing an important SEC opening series over Arkansas with a 1-0 win on Saturday. UF starting pitcher Eric Hanhold struck out two and allowed just two hits in five shutout innings, while Bobby Poyner was terrific with 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief work.
Tennessee: The Volunteers were tested in a big way this weekend. After losing the series opener to Missouri on Friday, it was interesting to see how Dave Serrano’s club responded. Well, they passed the test, outscoring the Tigers 9-2 to sweep a doubleheader and take the series. In the first game, reliever Andy Cox saved the day with three-plus innings of stellar relief work, while in the finale, Andrew Lee struck out three and allowed just a run in 5 2/3 innings.
Auburn: Though the Tigers lost the series finale to Texas A&M late Saturday afternoon, they already took care of business in the series, as coach Sunny Golloway won his inaugural SEC series with a 5-2 triumph. AU star freshman and right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson once again was terrific, striking out 10, walking one, and allowing just two runs on four hits in a complete game performance.
Alabama: There’s a reason the Crimson Tide entered the season ranked. Though the Tide dropped the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Kentucky, 7-2, they responded in impressive fashion in the nightcap with a 5-3 victory, thanks to a walk-off home run from shortstop Mikey White. Georgie Salem had three hits for the Tide, while on the mound, reliever Ray Castillo tossed three shutout frames.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores dropped the series opener to LSU on Friday, but responded in solid fashion Saturday with a pair of wins over the Tigers to take the overall series. Vandy won the front end of the doubleheader 5-3 with starting pitcher Jared Miller allowing just a run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings, while it cruised 9-3 in the nightcap with leadoff hitter Vince Conde recording three hits, one a double, and knocking in a pair of runs.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks have proven several times already this season they’re one of the toughest teams to beat. Well, Ole Miss found that out the hard way on Saturday, as the Gamecocks double dipped the Rebels to take the crucial SEC series. In the front end of the doubleheader, Ole Miss had a commanding lead heading to the bottom of the ninth inning. However, the Gamecocks rallied and hobbled Max Schrock hit a clutch home run to take the game into extra innings. There, Brison Celek won it with a walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning for a 5-4 victory … In the nightcap, talented freshman right-handed pitcher Wil Crowe struck out two and allowed just a run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, while reliever Cody Mincey was terrific with three shutout frames in the 3-1 win.
Grant Watson, lhp, UCLA: The Bruins have several talented pitchers on this year’s staff, but Watson definitely is the most underrated at this point. Watson struck out four and allowed just a run on two hits in eight innings, as the Bruins captured a solid series victory over California with a 3-1 triumph.
Nick Leiningen, lhp, Sacred Heart: SHU double-dipped Fordham on Saturday with Leiningen tossing a gem in the back end of the doubleheader. Leiningen struck out three, walked one and allowed just seven hits in seven shutout frames.
Wichita State: The Shockers dropped the series opener to the Gauchos, but responded in impressive fashion on Saturday with a 16-5 victory. Second baseman Dayne Parker went 4-for-6 with a double and four RBIs to lead the way offensively, while catcher Tyler Baker had two hits and three RBIs. Chase Simpson also had a big day at the plate with four RBIs, while on the mound, starting pitcher Cale Elam allowed just two runs in seven innings.
Norm Donkin, of, Delaware: The Blue Hens captured a dominant 15-4 win over Fairfield with Donkin and others leading the way. Donkin went 3-for-5 with a pair homers and five RBIs to lead the offensive charge.
Nebraska: The Huskers haven’t been ultra consistent the past couple of weeks, but picked up a nice home series win over UC Irvine by taking both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday, 13-4 and 7-4. In the first game, catcher Tanner Lubach led the way with three hits, a home run and four RBIs, while in the second game, leadoff hitter Austin Darby went 3-for-5 with an RBI.
Indiana State: How about the job coach Mitch Hannahs is doing with the Sycamores right now? The Sycamores lost some key talent during the offseason, but is off to a tremendous start this season. The Sycamores captured a big road series win over UNC Wilmington by sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday by scores of 11-5 and 6-1. In the first game, leadoff hitter Landon Curry went 3-for-5 with a double and five RBIs to lead the way, while in the nightcap, starting pitcher Kurt Kudrecki struck out six, walked two and allowed just a run on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Dallas Baptist pitching: The Patriots have put together quite the weekend from a pitching standpoint, shutting out Missouri State 2-0 and 1-0 on Saturday. Cy Sneed struck out seven, walked two and allowed just five hits in eight shutout innings in the first game, while Cory Taylor shined in the nightcap, striking out 11, walking one and allowing just four hits in seven shutout frames.
Heath Dwyer, lhp, Virginia Commonwealth: How about the performance put together by the talented lefty in a 1-0 win over Buffalo? Dwyer had a performance to remember against UB, striking out 15, walking four and allowing just two hits in a complete game shutout.
Michigan State’s pitching: The Spartans captured an impressive road series win over TCU last weekend, and had a Saturday to remember this weekend, shutting out Harvard in a pair of contests, 1-0 and 4-0. Mick VanVossen struck out three, walked two and allowed just two hits in seven shutout frames in the first game, while talented righty Justin Alleman struck out five, walked three and allowed just four hits in eight innings in the nightcap.
Rice: Florida International has a good club and hoped to make a statement against the Owls this weekend. However, Rice proved it still is the team to beat in Conference USA, making its presence known with a 10-2 victory to clinch a road series victory. Rice’s John Clay Reeves went 5-for-5 with two RBIs, while lefty Blake Fox struck out six, walked one and allowed just two runs on 10 hits in eight innings.
UAB: Here’s one of the great stories of the year thus far, as the Blazers improved to 16-4 overall with an 8-6 road win over Old Dominion to clinch a series win. UAB didn’t get great pitching early in the contest, but first baseman Jeff Schalk was impressive at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Third baseman Evan Peterson also had two hits and two RBIs.
San Francisco: Consistency is the key for the Dons moving forward the rest of the season. USF could be a dangerous team if it could make the NCAA postseason, but that won’t happen losing series at home to teams such as struggling Gonzaga. The Bulldogs clinched a series over the Dons with a 4-3 win, as starting pitcher Brandon Bailey struck out four, walked three and allowed just three runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, while for USF, starting pitcher Christian Cecilio allowed four runs in seven innings.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs were riding high after a series sweep over then ranked Texas A&M a few weeks ago, but they’ve since been beatable. The Bulldogs dropped their series with New Mexico in a 6-2 setback on Saturday. Fresno starting pitcher Jimmy Lambert allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, while the offense wasn’t able to do much against UNM’s Colton Thomson, who tossed six shutout innings.
Tulane: The Green Wave would like to return to the NCAA postseason this spring, but that’s looking unlikely if they can’t right the ship soon. The Green Wave had their third-straight losing weekend, dropping both games of a doubleheader to East Carolina on Saturday, 5-2 and 13-8. In the first game, the Green Wave couldn’t figure out ECU starting pitcher Reid Love, who allowed just two runs on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, while in the second game, young pitcher J.P. France had a tough day on the bump, allowing six runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Miami: The Hurricanes gained a lot of recognition a few weeks ago with a home series win over Florida, and rightfully so. However, they’ve been very beatable since and dropped a road series to Georgia Tech with a pair of losses – 13-7, 3-2 – on Saturday. In the first game, reliable left-handed pitcher Bryan Radziewski had an uncharacteristic performance, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings, while in the second game, starting pitcher Andrew Suarez was terrific in a complete game performance, but the Hurricanes couldn’t do much offensively against Georgia Tech starting pitcher Devin Stanton and relievers Jonathan Roberts and Dusty Isaacs.