Daily postseason analysis: Tennessee, UC Irvine, Indiana State, Maryland, Long Beach State.
TEAM OF THE DAY
Mike Gillespie’s Anteaters have been terrific the past few weeks, and continued their impressive ways on the road Friday night in a 3-2 win over Cal Poly. UCI righthanded pitcher Andrew Morales put together a gem against the Mustangs, striking out nine, walking one and allowing just two runs on five hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, Justin Castro led the offense with two hits and an RBI, while Cal Poly heralded lefthanded pitcher Matt Imhof struck out 13, walked four and allowed three runs on three hits in eight innings. With the win, UCI improves to 34-14, 15-1 in the Big West.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Carson Fulmer, rhp, Vanderbilt
Fulmer is one of the nation’s premier sophomore arms, and the righthanded pitcher shined in Friday’s 3-0 road win over Florida to even the series at 1-1. Fulmer was up to 95-96 late in the game and showed elite overall stuff, striking out eight, walking two and allowing just four hits in a complete game shutout performance. Fulmer is 4-0 with 28 scoreless frames since entering the Vandy weekend rotation.
UPSET OF THE DAY
UTSA over Rice
The Roadrunners have been very respectable in Conference USA this season, and they began the weekend with an impressive 4-2 win over No. 16 Rice. Sophomore righthanded pitcher Brock Hartson put together yet another impressive start, striking out eight, walking just one and allowing two runs on five hits in a complete game performance.
DID YOU KNOW? With Virginia’s 4-3 win over Georgia Tech Friday night, Cavaliers head coach Brian O’Connor earned his 500th career victory.
San Diego: The Toreros need a strong finish to the regular season to make the NCAA postseason, and they captured a nice 5-4 extra-inning win over Pepperdine to begin the weekend. USD’s winning run came via a Connor Joe single combined with an error. Joe finished the night 2-for-6 with an RBI, while Andrew Daniel and Kyle Holder each finished the contest with a pair of hits. USD preserved a solid start from Lucas Long, who struck out 10, walked one and allowed just two runs on four hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Brady Rodriguez, lhp, Abilene Christian: ACU hit the road and captured a nice 7-0 win over Oral Roberts to begin the weekend. Rodriguez was outstanding against ORU, striking out four, walking one and allowing just three hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Brandon Powell, of, Samford: The Bulldogs picked up a 16-10 win over Appalachian State with Powell leading the charge at the plate. Powell went 2-for-4 with a pair of homers, two runs scored and three RBIs.
Trey Killian, rhp, Arkansas: The talented sophomore righthanded pitcher tossed a gem in a 3-2 win over Texas A&M. Killian tossed 6 1/3 innings without allowing a hit and his performance was preserved in the bottom of the ninth inning when Joe Serrano smacked a walk-off RBI single. Killian struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone, and allowed just two hits in eight innings … On another note, Texas A&M wasted a stellar performance from righthanded pitcher Daniel Mengden, who struck out 11 and allowed a run on five hits in six innings.
Tennessee: The Vols entered the weekend in a situation where it needed to take an important road series, and freshman righthanded pitcher Hunter Martin started the weekend on a positive note, striking out five, walking two and allowing just two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-2 win over Mississippi State. Freshman first baseman Nathaniel Maggio led the offense by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Jordan Montgomery, lhp, South Carolina: The talented lefthanded pitcher put together an impressive performance in an 8-2 win over Missouri at home. Montgomery struck out eight, walked one and allowed just two runs on five hits in 8 1/3 innings of work.
Kevin McAvoy, rhp, Bryant: The Bulldogs are another potential at-large team to keep an eye on down the stretch. The veteran righthanded pitcher continued his impressive campaign by striking out 10, walking two and allowing just five hits in seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over Fairleigh Dickinson.
Ryan Spaulding, 2b, Ball State: In a series between the top two teams in the Mid-American Conference, the Cardinals were victorious over Kent State, 16-5 in the series opener. Spaulding had a big night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run and five RBIs.
Chase Mallard, rhp, UAB: The veteran righthanded pitcher has had an outstanding campaign, and continued his impressive ways Friday night in a 1-0 win over Tulane. He struck out five, walked two and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Zac Curtis, lhp, Middle Tennessee State: The talented lefty has been terrific for the Blue Raiders this season, and put together yet another outstanding start in a 7-0 win over Florida International. Curtis struck out eight, walked four and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Eric Skoglund, lhp, Central Florida: The rising lefthanded pitcher had yet another dominant performance in a 10-0 triumph over Presbyterian. Skoglund struck out 11, didn’t allow a walk or a run, and allowed just three hits in eight shutout frames.
Jon Perrin, rhp, Oklahoma State: The Cowboys are having a magical campaign, and winning continued Friday night in a dominant 8-0 win over Kansas State. The talented righthanded pitcher struck out 10, walked one and allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout.
Kansas: The Jayhawks made noise last weekend by sweeping Texas Tech at home. They picked up another solid victory Friday night in a 5-2 triumph over West Virginia. KU starting pitcher Jordan Piche struck out three and allowed just two runs on eight hits in seven innings, while outfielder Michael Suiter went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
Tanner Tully, lhp, Ohio State: It hasn’t been a great season for the Buckeyes, but Tully certainly was a bright spot Friday night in a 1-0 road win over rival Michigan. Tully struck out three, didn’t walk anyone and allowed seven hits in a complete game shutout.
Kyle Funkhouser, rhp, Louisville: The outstanding sophomore righthanded pitcher tossed a gem in a 2-0 road win over Temple. He struck out 12, walked one and allowed just four hits in eight shutout innings. Funkhouser, who can get up to 96-97 mph with his fastball, threw 109 pitches, 76 for strikes.
Luke Weaver, rhp, Florida State: The Seminoles hit the road to face a suddenly improving North Carolina club, and didn’t disappoint in a dominant 7-0 victory. Weaver touched the mid-90s with his fastball, struck out six, walked just two and allowed five hits in seven shutout innings. Meanwhile, FSU reliever Billy Strode tossed two shutout frames, and outfielder DJ Stewart had a trio of doubles and three RBIs to lead the offensive cause.
Ben Wetzler, lhp, Oregon State: The senior lefthanded pitcher put together yet another dominant performance in a 4-2 comeback win over UCLA to begin the weekend. Wetzler struck out eight and allowed two runs on eight hits in eight innings.
San Diego State: The Aztecs need a marquee series win over UNLV to boost their postseason resume, but they suffered a 6-1 setback to the Rebels on Friday. SDSU starting pitcher Bubba Derby struck out 10 and walked three, but also allowed five runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, UNLV starting pitcher John Richy was terrific, striking out five and allowing a run on four hits in eight innings.
Cal State Fullerton: The Titans got some good news earlier in the day when it was announced head coach Rick Vanderhook was returning next weekend against UC Irvine. However, it might be too late from a postseason standpoint if the Titans can’t bounce back the rest of the weekend after dropping a 3-2 decision to UC Riverside on Friday. Fullerton’s J.D. Davis went 4-for-4, but the rest of the Titans were unable to figure out UCR’s Jacob Smigelski and reliever Dylan Stuart, who allowed just a hit in four shutout innings out of the pen.
Duke: The Blue Devils narrowly made our field of 64 this week, which means they need to take care of business against Miami this weekend. Duke began the series with a 6-1 setback, as righthanded pitcher Drew Van Orden allowed six runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work, while Miami starting pitcher Chris Diaz struck out five, walked three and allowed just a run in eight innings.