TEAM OF THE DAY
The Cardinals received a big boost in the RPI department this week, and added yet another solid win to their resume with an 11-7 triumph over Vanderbilt. Louisville outfielders Cole Sturgeon and Jeff Gardner were terrific against the Commodores, with Sturgeon recording three doubles and scoring four runs, while Gardner went 2-or-4 with a run scored and three RBIs. Meanwhile, third baseman Alex Chittenden hit a home run and knocked in three runs, as the Louisville offense touched up Vandy righthanded pitcher Walker Buehler for seven runs on six hits in just 2 2/3 innings of work. UL improved to 38-11 overall and is knocking on the door to the RPI top 10.
Oregon State: The Beavers continued their mastery of rival Oregon with a 4-3 road win in 12 innings. The Beavers scored the winning run in the 12th on a sacrifice fly from Jeff Hendrix. Hendrix led the way at the plate with a 2-for-5 performance and three RBIs, while four more Beavers, including outfielder Michael Conforto, finished the night with a pair of hits. On the mound, righthanded pitcher Scott Schultz was terrific out of the bullpen, striking out three, walking two and allowing no hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Cal Poly: Things haven't come easy for the Mustangs the past couple of weeks, but they picked up a nice midweek win at home over Pepperdine. Cal Poly righthanded pitcher Danny Zandona struck out four and walked just one in five shutout innings, while hard-hitting Brian Mundell had a big day at the plate with two hits, one a triple, a run scored and three RBIs.
Mercer: The pitching combination of Brandon Barker and Grant Papelian held Florida scoreless for five innings in Tuesday's 4-2 road victory. The duo combined for five strikeouts, while the bullpen, led by closer Dimitri Kourtis, finished the job to end the game. Offensively, leadoff hitter Michael Massi had a hit and two RBIs, while Sasha Lagarde and Charlie Madden each had two hits and an RBI. The Bears already were in fantastic shape to make the NCAA postseason, but this is the type of RPI victory that could help solidify a No. 2 seed.
Andrew Lantrip, rhp, Houston: Lantrip was one of the area's top high school righthanded pitchers last year, and has a bright future at UH. He put his stuff on display Tuesday night in an easy 6-0 win over Prairie View A&M. He struck out 10, didn't allow a walk and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings.
UC Irvine: The Anteaters have been impressive the past couple of weeks, and added to their resume Tuesday night with a wild 16-11 road win over San Diego. Irvine first baseman Connor Spencer and Jonathan Munoz each finished the contest with three hits, while Ryan Cooper knocked in three runs and outfielder Evan Cassolato went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Maryland: The Terrapins apparently got the memo they need to finish strong the final couple of weeks of the regular season or they won't be going to the NCAA postseason. The Terps captured an impressive 12-1 road win over a solid VCU club with second baseman Brandon Rowe leading the way with a pair of hits and five RBIs, in addition to designated hitter Nick Cieri going 2-for-3 with an RBI. On the mound, reliever Bobby Ruse had a nice day, allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels suddenly are playing much better baseball and captured a nice 5-0 midweek win over Campbell. UNC freshman righthanded pitcher Zac Gallen struck out six, walked one and allowed just five hits in six innings, while reliever Trevor Kelley allowed just one hit in three scoreless frames. Offensively, Skye Bolt and Michael Russell each had three hits and an RBI to lead the way.
San Diego State: The Aztecs still very much have their sights set on the NCAA postseason after a 6-3 road win over Long Beach State. SDSU leadoff hitter Greg Allen hit a double in the contest, while second baseman Tim Zier also had a double and finished the contest with a pair of hits. Starting pitcher Marcus Reyes led the way on the mound, allowing just two runs on seven hits in five innings, while righthanded pitcher Michael Cederoth earned his fifth win of the season by allowing just a run (no hits) in 2 1/3 innings to close out the contest.
Cal State Fullerton: It has been a tough season for the Titans, but righthanded pitcher Phil Bickford made sure they took care of UCLA, 1-0, Tuesday night. Bickford struck out six, walked two and allowed just four hits in 5 2/3 innings of work, while Willie Kuhl and Koby Gauna each did impressive jobs out of the bullpen, Gauna earning another save by tossing 1 2/3 scoreless frames to end the contest.
Dallas Baptist: The Patriots are in the mix for an NCAA at-large bid heading down the stretch, but suffered a tough midweek loss, 18-3, at home, to Texas Tech. DBU starting pitcher Joseph Shaw allowed four runs on four hits in four innings, while relievers Sean Stutzman and Drew Smith struggled, the two allowing a combined nine runs on six hits. DBU doesn't have a lot of opportunities to notch marquee wins, so Tuesday's loss to Tech, in that fashion at least, certainly hurts.
UCF: Fresh off a road series loss to Houston, the Knights had hoped to get back on track Tuesday against Florida Atlantic. That didn't happen, though, as the Owls defeated the Knights 1-0. FAU starting pitcher Kyle Miller threw 3 2/3 shutout innings to begin the game, while relievers Brandon Rhodes, Reily Monkman and Kevin Alexander each threw well against the Knights. For UCF, the offense wasted a really solid start from Spencer Davis, who allowed just a run (unearned) on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Tennessee: The Volunteers were headed the right direction after a series win over Kentucky, and they're hoping a 7-5 midweek setback to UNC Asheville won't be too costly for a team on the NCAA postseason bubble. Vols starting pitcher Pete Lenstrhom struck out just one and allowed three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings, while the offense, which was held in check for much of the night, mustered four runs on six hits against UNCA starting pitcher Ethan Steible, but was quiet the rest of the contest.