TEAM OF THE DAY
We'll have much more on the Cavaliers Saturday morning, but for the roundup, talented outfielder Derek Fisher went 3-for-4 with three triples and two RBIs, his two-RBI double in the top of the 10th inning being the decisive blow in the 5-3 win over Florida State. While Fisher led the charge, the Cavaliers had some other offensive pluses. For instance, third baseman John La Prise hit his first home run of the season and played steady defense, while outfielder Mike Papi hit his eighth home run of the season in the victory.
Cavaliers sophomore lefthanded pitcher Nathan Kirby sat 90-94 with his fastball against the Seminoles, along with a good changeup, and struck out seven, walked one and allowed just three runs on seven hits in six innings. Meanwhile, FSU righthanded pitcher and heralded junior prospect Luke Weaver sat 89-92 with his fastball, while his 80-82 mph changeup was a plus offering against the Cavaliers. Weaver struck out five, didn't walk anyone and allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings.
The Cavaliers received a confidence boost from veteran righthanded reliever Whit Mayberry. Mayberry allowed just two hits in three shutout innings, but his most important frame was the ninth inning. With one out, the Seminoles loaded the bases, sending the Dick Howser Stadium crowd of 4,852 into a frenzy. However, the veteran beared down and got a strikeout and groundout to end the threat.
“That was a gut win right there. Certainly a difficult environment. We had a rough fifth inning, but our guys didn't hang their heads, and we got back at it,” Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor said. “Whit Mayberry was big for us out of the bullpen, and of course, Nick Howard closed things out the right way. Also, I thought Derek Fisher showed tonight why we and others think so highly of him. To interject him back into lineup, as you saw tonight, is a pretty big deal.”
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Carlos Rodon, lhp, North Carolina State
It's not often we choose a losing pitcher as the player of the day, but Rodon deserves it despite losing 1-0 to Georgia Tech on Friday. Rodon was phenomenal against the Yellow Jackets, touching 96 and 97 mph on the radar gun and striking out 15, walking just two and allowing just a run on six hits in a complete game performance. Rodon surprisingly threw 132 pitches in the contest, 87 for strikes. However, N.C. State's offense didn't give him any run support, thus they dropped to 23-18, 7-15 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Rodon became the fourth pitcher in ACC history to reach the 400 career strikeout milestone … Also worth noting, Georgia Tech starting pitcher Josh Heddinger also tossed a gem, striking out four in 7 1/3 shutout frames.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Washington State over Washington
The Cougars haven't had the greatest of seasons, but they have a chance to finish the regular season strong. Don Marbut's club earned a high quality 6-4 win over rival Washington to begin the weekend. WSU leadoff hitter Collin Slaybaugh had three hits, one a double, while third baseman Nick Tanielu knocked in a pair of runs. In the bullpen, righthanded pitcher Ian Hamilton struck out three and allowed no hits in 1 1/3 innings.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg earned career win No. 500 in a dominant 12-0 triumph at home over Nevada.
Justin Hageman, rhp, Western Kentucky: The veteran righthanded pitcher tossed a gem in an 8-0 home win over Arkansas-Little Rock. Hageman struck out seven, walked three and allowed just four hits in eight shutout frames in the victory.
Samford: The Bulldogs entered the weekend hoping to make a statement, and began the series against Western Carolina on a positive note with an impressive 10-4 victory. Samford third baseman Tripp Martin went 3-for-3 with a home run, four runs scored and two RBIs, while Frankie Navarrete and Drew McWhorter each finished the contest with a pair of hits.
Auburn: Sunny Golloway's club has scuffled in SEC play the past few weeks, but started the weekend on a positive note with a 2-1 road win over Arkansas. Righthanded pitcher Dillon Ortman struck out five, walked one and allowed just a run on six hits in 8 1/3 innings of work, while the Razorbacks wasted a good start from Trey Killian, who struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two runs on four hits in eight innings.
South Carolina: In impressive fashion, the Gamecocks once again recorded a nice victory despite some injury setbacks, beating Alabama 9-3 to begin the weekend. Gamecocks lefthanded pitcher Jordan Montgomery struck out eight, walked two and allowed just two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, while catcher Grayson Greiner, who's fighting through a sore thumb, went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Athletic outfielder Tanner English also had a big night with three hits and two RBIs.
Ole Miss: Rebels first baseman Sikes Orvis displayed his power on Friday in a dominant 12-4 win over Kentucky on the road. Orvis hit a home run and went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the way, while Preston Overbey had a triple and two total hits, and catcher Will Allen went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Also worth noting, righthanded pitcher Chris Ellis had another quality start, striking out five, walking three and allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings.
Ben Wetzler, lhp, Oregon State: The outstanding lefthanded pitcher tossed yet another gem in a 3-1 win over rival Oregon. Wetzler earned career win No. 31, beating the previous Oregon State wins record. He struck out seven and allowed a run on five hits in 8 1/3 innings of work.
Southern California: We had the Trojans on the NCAA postseason bubble this week, and this might be the series that propels them forward. USC captured its first series win over rival UCLA since 2008 with a 3-2 victory on Friday. USC starting pitcher Brent Wheatley struck out four, walked three and allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits in six innings, while Jake Hernandez finished the night 2-for-3 with an RBI.
UNLV: The Rebels struggled last weekend with a series loss to Air Force, but have started this weekend on the right foot with an 11-2 home win over New Mexico. UNLV catcher Erik VanMeetren had a huge day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBIs, while third baseman T.J. White had four hits and knocked in a run. On the mound, righthanded pitcher Erick Fedde struck out seven, walked two and allowed a run on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Seth Varner, lhp, Miami (Ohio): The veteran lefthanded pitcher tossed a gem in a 1-0 home win over Toledo. He struck out 12, walked two and allowed just two hits in a complete game performance. Varner threw 115 pitches, 83 for strikes.
Zac Curtis, lhp, Middle Tennessee State: The Blue Raiders have enjoyed several good Curtis performances this season, and the latest took place Friday night in a 1-0 win over Old Dominion. Curtis struck out 11, didn't walk anyone and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout.
Kevin McCanna, rhp, Rice: McCanna has provided a serious boost the past couple of weeks and he had another impressive start in a 5-0 win over Southern Mississippi. He struck out eight, walked one and allowed just four hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the Owls also got a solid performance from reliever Matt Ditman, who allowed just a hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings.
Kurt Wertz, of, Towson: The Tigers captured a thrilling 15-12 win over James Madison at home with Wertz leading the charge. He went 4-for-5 with three homers, three runs scored and seven RBIs to lead the way.
Thomas Eshelman, rhp, Cal State Fullerton: What an impressive performance the talented righty put together in a 1-0 win over Hawaii. Eshelman struck out six, didn't walk anyone as usual and allowed just six hits in 10 innings of work. Meanwhile, he out dueled Hawaii's Matt Cooper, who struck out 11 and allowed just four hits in nine innings of work.
Sam Kmiec, lhp, Winthrop: The Eagles captured a nice 1-0 win over Virginia Military with Kmiec leading the charge. Kmiec struck out five, didn't walk anyone and allowed just five hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Josh Prevost, rhp, Seton Hall: To no surprise, Prevost put together yet another impressive start in a 10-0 home win over Villanova. He struck out 13, didn't walk allow a walk and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Jordan Piche, rhp, Kansas: The Jayhawks will need to finish the regular season incredibly strong to reach the NCAA postseason, but Piche started the Baylor series in impressive fashion. He struck out five, walked two and allowed just one hit in a complete game shutout performance and 1-0 win.
Texas: The Longhorns didn't have a huge night at the plate against Oklahoma State, but the pitching again was exceptional in a 1-0 win over the Cowboys. UT junior righthanded pitcher Parker French allowed just a hit in six shutout innings, while righthanded reliever Chad Hollingsworth struck out three, didn't walk anyone and allowed just one hit in three shutout innings.
Duke: The Blue Devils and Wake Forest are fighting for an NCAA postseason berth, with the Devils taking the series opener on the road, 5-2. Duke righthanded pitcher Drew Van Orden struck out six, walked two and allowed just two runs (one earned) on seven hits in seven innings, while at the plate, outfielder Ryan Deitrich hit a home run, had two hits and knocked in three runs.
Miami (Fla.): Miami's Chris Diaz struck out five, walked three and allowed just two runs (none earned) on four hits in 7 2/3 innings of work, as the Hurricanes captured a solid 5-2 road win over Clemson. While Diaz led the charge on the mound, outfielder Ricky Eusebio led the way at the plate with three hits and an RBI.
Oklahoma: It was just a few weeks ago the Sooners were in the mix for the PG College Top 25, but things have turned for the worse, losing 9-5 to Texas Tech on Friday to fall to 5-8 in the Big 12. Oklahoma lefthanded pitcher Adam Choplick struggled in the contest, allowing seven runs in just three innings, while the offense was unable to capitalize off a first inning that included two runs.