TEAM OF THE DAY
The Commodores entered the weekend hoping to solidify their position as an NCAA Regional host, and might’ve accomplished even more by taking care of Florida in impressive fashion in the series finale, 16-2. Vandy leadoff hitter Dansby Swanson had a big-time day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, while shortstop Vince Conde went 2-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs. On the mound, righthanded pitcher Tyler Ferguson didn’t need to do much, but went out there and tossed five shutout frames. What an impressive weekend for coach Tim Corbin’s club.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Robert Tyler, rhp, Georgia
We detailed the talented freshman righthanded pitcher earlier this week in our weekend preview, seen here, and he absolutely didn’t disappoint in a 2-0 road win over Ole Miss. Tyler struck out four, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just three hits in a complete game performance. For the season, the power-armed freshman now has a 2.57 ERA in 73 2/3 innings, along with 61 strikeouts and 22 walks.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Presbyterian at UCF
Though it’s just a non-conference series, the Knights hope to avoid giving the NCAA Selection Committee something to think about when it comes to their postseason resume in a couple of weeks. UCF suffered a tough setback at home Saturday, dropping a 6-3 decision to Presbyterian, which entered the afternoon with an RPI of 246. UCF starting pitcher Tanner Olson only allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings, but the bullpen imploded with Trent Thompson allowing three runs in just 1 1/3 innings of work.
Temple over Louisville
The Owls might be losing their baseball program in a couple of weeks, but what an impressive Saturday with a 4-2 win over Louisville. Temple starting pitcher Patrick Vanderslice allowed just two runs on four this in five innings, while reliever Zach Batchelor was terrific, allowing just three hits in 3 2/3 shutout innings of work. UL’s hosting chances would take a huge hit with a loss in the series finale.
Coley Bruns, rhp, Grand Canyon: The junior righthanded pitcher tossed a gem in a 4-0 road win over North Dakota. He struck out four, walked just one and allowed four hits in a complete game shutout performance. Bruns has a 2.44 ERA in 81 innings this season, along with 61 strikeouts and 18 walks.
Jordan Simpson, 2b, Furman: The Paladins captured a 14-3 home win over Elon with Simpson leading the charge. The infielder went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers, four runs scored and five RBIs.
Sam Howard, lhp, Georgia Southern: The lefthanded pitcher put together an outstanding performance in a 1-0 home win over Western Carolina. He struck out 10, walked two and allowed just five hits in 8 2/3 shutout innings of work.
Arkansas: Razorbacks righthanded pitcher Chris Oliver struck out three and allowed just two runs on five hits in seven innings in a 7-3 win over Texas A&M to clinch an important home series. Meanwhile, Eric Fisher hit a late home run to seal the victory, while Andrew Benintendi led the offense going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Miami: The Hurricanes are sizzling right now and continued their impressive ways Saturday with a 9-1 win over Duke. Miami lefthanded pitcher Andrew Suarez struck out three, walked two and allowed a run on five hits in seven innings, while leadoff hitter Dale Carey had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs. Miami is now 37-14, 21-5 in the ACC.
Aaron Nola, rhp, LSU: The Tigers and Alabama split a doubleheader on Saturday, but it was Nola’s performance in the series opener that caught everyone’s attention. Nola, who could’ve been making his final start at Alex Box Stadium, made it count, striking out nine, not allowing a walk and allowing just four hits in a complete game shutout, 2-0 win over Alabama. The Tide responded in the nightcap, 5-1.
Mississippi State: Seth Heck hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Bulldogs a thrilling 1-0 victory over Tennessee. MSU starting pitcher Ross Mitchell tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings, while reliever Jonathan Holder was terrific, striking out seven and not walking anyone in 3 2/3 shutout innings … The Vols wasted a great start from Nick Williams, who struck out eight and tossed nine shutout innings.
Evansville: The Purple Aces have been playing an impressive brand of baseball for a while now, and improved their postseason resume with a pair of wins over Indiana State on Saturday, 12-0 and 3-1. In the first game, lefthanded pitcher Kyle Freeland struck out five and allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings, while in the finale, starting pitcher Cole Isom allowed just a run on six hits in seven innings.
Ryan Wilkinson, lhp, Toledo: The senior lefthanded pitcher tossed a gem as the Rockets defeated Western Michigan 1-0 at home. Wilkinson struck out eight, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Columbia: The NCAA postseason is nearing, and the Lions became the first team to punch their postseason ticket on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader from Dartmouth, 6-2 and 4-1, to win the Ivy League championship. In the first game, talented lefthanded pitcher David Speer struck out seven, walked one and allowed two runs in eight innings, while in Game 2, Duncan Robinson struck out seven, walked one and allowed three runs on three hits in 7 2/3 innings.
Erik Heiligenstadt, lhp, Gardner-Webb: The lefthanded pitcher tossed a gem in a 6-0 home win over powerful William & Mary. Heiligenstadt struck out two, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout performance. He threw 92 pitches in the complete game, 73 for strikes.
Cal Poly: After dropping the series opener to UC Irvine, the Mustangs leaned on the arm of freshman righthanded pitcher Justin Calomeni in a 1-0 Saturday victory. Calomeni was impressive, striking out six, not allowing a walk and allowing just two hits in six shutout innings.
Kansas: The Jayhawks are looking more and more like a postseason at-large team after taking yet another important Big 12 series, this time against West Virginia with a 5-2 win on Saturday. KU starting pitcher Robert Kahana allowed just two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, while Dakota Smith went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to lead the offense. KU improved to 32-21, 14-9 in the Big 12.
Daniel Gossett, rhp, Clemson: The junior righthanded pitcher has been rising up the draft boards the past few weeks, and he put together another stellar start Saturday in an 8-0 win over Notre Dame. Gossett sat 91-94 in the contest with a plus slider, striking out 11, walking one and allowing just four hits in a complete game shutout.
Florida State: Seminoles righthanded pitcher Mike Compton put together an impressive start against Virginia a couple of weeks ago, and continued that trend Saturday in a 10-2 win over North Carolina to clinch a road series win. Compton struck out five, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just two runs on eight hits in eight innings. Meanwhile, shortstop Justin Gonzalez led the offense with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
UCLA: I said earlier this week the Bruins had a very small chance to reach the NCAA postseason. With an RPI in the 100s, the Bruins pretty much had to win every remaining series to even have a chance. Well, the defending national champions dropped a 9-3 contest to Oregon State Saturday night, thus clinching a road series loss. UCLA starting pitcher Grant Watson allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings.
Florida International: After making their way into this week’s NCAA postseason projections, the Panthers could very well be headed back out next week after losing a home series to Middle Tennessee State, dropping Game 2 9-6 on Saturday. FIU starting pitcher Cody Crouse allowed seven runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, while the offense was unable to muster a late comeback against MTSU reliever Kooper Kessler, who tossed two shutout innings to end the contest.