TEAM OF THE DAY
Terry Rooney's club has been very solid the past few weeks, but were looking for a marquee series win entering Thursday's doubleheader against top-10 Louisville. Well, the Knights did the talking in the DH, sweeping the two games to clinch a series win by scores of 8-2 and 4-3. In the first game, lefthanded pitcher Eric Skoglund struck out seven, walked one and allowed just two runs on eight hits in 8 2/3 innings, while at the plate, first baseman James Vasquez led the offense with two hits, one a home run and three RBIs … In the second game, the Knights captured a win in extra innings as they won in the 11th inning on a wild pitch. UCF used six pitchers in the contest, while offensively, catcher Jordan Savinon tallied three hits. With the wins, UCF improved to 25-15, but most impressive, 12-2 in the American Athletic Conference.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Jeff Hoffman, rhp, East Carolina
The outstanding righthanded pitcher couldn't have been much better in a home win over Middle Tennessee State. Hoffman struck out 16, walked one and allowed just three hits in eight shutout innings in the 1-0 victory. Hoffman threw 117 pitches in the contest, 81 for strikes.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Santa Clara over San Diego
The Toreros typically don't have too much trouble taking care of business at home, but dropped a disappointing 8-5 decision to Santa Clara on Thursday. USD starting pitcher PJ Conlon had a tough start, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings, while for the Broncos, T.J. Braff went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs to lead the offensive cause.
Air Force over UNLV
The Rebels have been very consistent this spring, but suffered a tough setback Thursday night in a 10-9 road loss to Air Force. UNLV righthanded pitcher Erick Fedde, an elite MLB draft prospect, allowed seven runs on eight hits in six innings, while for the Falcons, catcher Travis Neubeck hit a home run and knocked in four runs.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …
Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore has had a very successful tenure with the Chanticleers, and he reached yet another milestone Thursday night in a 4-3 win over Presbyterian. With the win, Gilmore recorded his 1,000 career victory as coach.
Pepperdine: Steve Rodriguez must be ecstatic with the way his team is playing right now. The Waves improved to 29-8 overall, 13-3 in the West Coast Conference with a 13-2 home thrashing of San Francisco. Veteran righthanded pitcher Corey Miller allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings, while at the plate, Bryan Langlois hit a double and Aaron Brown tallied three hits and three RBIs.
Colin Welmon, rhp, Loyola Marymount: The Lions hit the road and captured a nice 2-0 win over BYU. Welmon was terrific against the Cougars, striking out three, walking two and allowing just six hits in a complete game shutout performance.
LSU: The Tigers really needed a win on Friday with righthanded pitcher Aaron Nola on the mound, and they got it, scoring a run in the top of the 13th on an error by Ole Miss shortstop Errol Robinson to win 4-3. Nola put together yet another solid performance, striking out seven, walking two and allowing just two runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, offensively, Conner Hale went 3-for-5 with a double. For the Rebels, righthanded pitcher Chris Ellis showed elite stuff, touching 94, and even 95, and striking out six, walking two and allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits in eight innings.
Wyatt Strahan, rhp, Southern California: The Trojans must finish the season incredibly strong to reach the NCAA postseason, and they began the Arizona series with a 1-0 victory as righthanded pitcher Wyatt Strahan tossed a gem. Strahan struck out eight, walked two and allowed just five hits in a complete game shutout.
Oregon: Talented lefthanded pitcher Tommy Thorpe struck out eight in seven shutout innings, while the offense was impressive with leadoff hitter A.J. Balta hitting a home run, recording three total hits and knocking in three runs in an 11-1 win over Washington State.
Alex Robles, rhp, Austin Peay: The talented righthanded pitcher tossed a one-hitter in a 3-0 road victory over Belmont. Robles struck out nine, walked two and allowed just a hit in a complete game shutout performance.
Mike Robards, lhp, San Diego State: With a postseason berth on their mind down the stretch, the Aztecs recorded a very nice 3-1 road win over UC Irvine. The talented lefthanded pitcher struck out four, walked one and allowed just a run on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings.
Cole Webb, rhp, Valparaiso: The righty was great on the road as the Crusaders captured a 4-0 win over Milwaukee. Webb struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout.
Brock Hartson, rhp, Texas-San Antonio: The Roadrunners recorded yet another nice win, beating Old Dominion 5-0 with the righty leading the charge. Hartson struck out seven, walked one and allowed just eight hits in eight shutout frames. He now has a fantastic 1.65 earned-run average for the season.
Long Beach State: Though they'll need to finish the season incredibly hot to have a chance at the NCAA postseason, the Dirtbags began the weekend in impressive fashion with a 3-2 win over UC Santa Barbara. LBSU righthanded pitcher Andrew Rohrbach struck out five, walked one and allowed just a run on six hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, in his return to the rotation, UCSB lefthanded pitcher Justin Jacome struck out two and allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings.
Trey Lambert, rhp, Liberty: The Flames are on a roll and had another impressive performance in a 5-1 road win over Gardner-Webb. Lamber had another strong start, striking out eight, walking two and allowing just a run on seven hits in a complete game performance.
West Virginia: With the NCAA postseason is in mind for coach Randy Mazey's club, a road series win over Oklahoma this weekend would be important for their resume. WVU lefthanded pitcher John Means struck out six, walked one and allowed just seven hits in eight shutout frames in a 7-0 win over Oklahoma. While Means led the way on the mound, second baseman Billy Fleming led the offense with three hits and two RBIs.
Washington: It was another day and another win for coach Lindsay Meggs' team. UW starting pitcher Jared Fisher struck out two and allowed just a run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-3 win over California. Reliever Troy Rallings recorded his fifth save with 1 1/3 shutout innings out of the pen, while Trevor Mitsui had three hits and two RBIs.
TCU: Horned Frogs lefthanded pitcher Brandon Finnegan couldn't have been much better in a 3-0 road win over Texas. Finnegan struck out 11, walked just one and allowed four hits in eight shutout innings. He also 116 pitches, 76 for strikes, topping out at 94 on a chilly, misty night in Austin.
Cal State Fullerton: Could the Titans have had a worse Friday? First, news came out from Cal State Fullerton in the afternoon that head coach Rick Vanderhook was placed on administrative leave with pay while university officials investigated an allegation that was made against him. Then, at night, righthanded pitcher Justin Garza struck out just two and allowed seven runs (four earned) on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in an 8-0 loss to Cal Poly. CP lefthanded pitcher Matt Imhof was terrific against the Titans, striking out nine, walking four and allowing just two hits in six shutout frames.