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College : : Story
27 takes: Looking back at Saturday
Published: Sunday, March 06, 2011

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PREMIUM COVERAGE: In-depth analysis of Saturday's Houston College Classic action

PREMIUM HD VIDEO: Check out Kentucky RHP and top 2011 prospect Alex Meyer

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Auburn finishes off good weekend: The Tigers earned a series victory over Radford last weekend, but didn’t play particularly well. Well, they hit the road this weekend and took care of business with a 3-0 record, including wins over College of Charleston and Western Kentucky. AU suddenly has a solid 9-3 record.

Minnesota cools off Washington State: After Washington State pummeled Oklahoma State on Friday, it seemed like no one could cool it off. Well, Minnesota took care of business against the Cougars on Saturday. Golden Gophers starting pitcher Phil Isaksson struck out three and allowed just five hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings as they captured a 2-0 victory over the Cougars. It was a fantastic win for the .500 Gophers.

Nebraska edges UCLA: UCLA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer struck out 17 hitters in 10 innings, but still earned a no decision on the way to a 2-1 loss to Nebraska. NU starting pitcher Matt Freeman put together a solid performance, but it was reliever Dylan Vogt who tossed five great innings in relief to guide the victory. The series is now tied 1-1 going into Sunday’s rubber match. NU has to be thrilled with how the weekend has progressed.

Oklahoma’s Burch Smith: The Sooners have been expecting big things from Smith, a top prospect, this season. And they got a solid start from Burch in a 5-3 win over California on Saturday. Smith only struck out two batters, but also only allowed three runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. OU is in fantastic shape if its starting rotation of Michael Rocha, Bobby Shore and Smith continues to progress .

Hawaii: After dropping its series opener against Loyola Marymount, it looked like the Rainbows might be in for another disappointing weekend. However, they’ve turned the corner since the opener and now hold a 2-1 series lead over the Lions after earning a 9-7 triumph on Saturday. Finishing the weekend with a 3-1 series win over LMU would be a significant step forward.

Penn State takes care of N.C. State: The Nittany Lions hit the road to face N.C. State this weekend, and certainly weren’t expected to win the series. Well, the Lions proved all the doubters wrong by splitting a Saturday doubleheader with the Wolfpack and winning the three-game set. PSU starting pitcher Michael Walter was solid in the series finale, allowing just a run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings in the 9-4 victory.

Florida’s Hudson Randall: We’ve talked all year about Florida’s fantastic pitching staff. Well, Gators starting pitcher Hudson Randall put together a fabulous start in a 1-0 series clinching victory over Miami. Randall struck out five and allowed just a hit in seven shutout innings. He also threw just 86 pitches. Florida extended its dominance over the Hurricanes.

Georgia’s Michael Palazzone: The Bulldogs desperately needed a clutch pitching performance and got exactly what they needed from junior right-hander Michael Palazzone. Palazzone struck out five and allowed just a run on five hits in seven innings as the Bulldogs shocked the Seminoles 2-1. Georgia now has a chance to earn a huge series win on Sunday.

Virginia’s pitching staff: The Cavaliers started the weekend with great performances from Danny Hultzen and Tyler Wilson, and finished the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record. Though the Cavaliers didn’t play the greatest competition this weekend, they allowed just four runs in four games. They’re now 12-1 and in fantastic shape moving forward.

TCU getting back on track: After being disappointed with last weekend’s result against Cal State Fullerton, the Horned Frogs hoped to return to normal against Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs took care of business in impressive fashion on Saturday, beating Tech 8-6 to clinch the series victory. Jason Coats, who busted out Friday, had another great day with two hits. The Frogs are suddenly a different offense with Coats back on track.

Rice freshman rises: The Owls looked to freshman right-handed pitcher Austin Kubitza to rise to the occasion against in-state foe Texas A&M. Kubitza did that and even more. The talented righty threw just 86 pitches, struck out seven hitters and allowed just six hits in a complete game shutout and 1-0 win over the Aggies. Kubitza and fellow freshman John Simms are two of the nation’s most talented arms.

Louisville bounces back: Just a week after suffering a tough home series loss to Toledo, the Cardinals got back on the winning track against Kent State. The Cards won the series opener against the Flashes and won Saturday, too, by a score of 5-3. Cards right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung struck out four and allowed just a run and a hit in seven innings. UL has shown us a lot so far this weekend.

Oregon fails to seal the deal: The Ducks were well on their way to another victory over Long Beach State as starting pitcher Madison Boer allowed just a run on three hits in eight innings, and the Ducks led 5-1. Reliever Scott McGough, though, was unable to hold the lead and allowed five runs on the way to a 7-6 setback. The Ducks must find a way consistently seal the deal if they want to get to Omaha.

Mississippi State: It was a rather bizarre day on the diamond for the Bulldogs. After starting the day with a solid win over Georgia State, the Bulldogs had high hopes entering the nightcap against Iowa. However, the Hawkeyes defeated the Bulldogs for the second time this weekend, this time 7-6. The Bulldogs were unable to hold down the Hawkeyes’ bats in their two meetings.

Utah 2-0 in Houston: The Utes might’ve entered the weekend with a rough record, but they’re playing like a very solid team. Pitcher Rick Anton led the Utes to a win over Texas A&M to begin the tournament, while Zach Adams struck out six in six innings to lead the Utes to a 4-3 win over Baylor. Relievers Ben Mordini and Tyler Wagner also threw well against the Bears.

Connecticut: After starting the season in unimpressive fashion the first two weekends, the Huskies desperately needed to start their West Coast trip on a positive note. They did just that Saturday with a 9-3 victory over struggling San Diego State. Starting pitcher Elliot Glynn had a solid outing, while reliever Dave Fischer tossed three shutout innings. It’s also worth noting that Nick Ahmed, Mike Nemeth and George Springer combined for 10 hits.

Fullerton surging, USC slumping: USC might’ve started the season on a positive not, but it is back in familiar territory after a pair of losses to Cal State Fullerton this weekend, including a 7-3 setback on Saturday. Heralded starting pitcher Austin Wood allowed five runs in just four innings against the Titans, while Fullerton starter Tyler Pill had another solid outing, allowing just three runs in seven innings. Fullerton is playing well while the Trojans still are looking for an identity.

Kentucky’s bullpen: UK heralded starting pitcher Alex Meyer put together a gutsy performance that could’ve led to a win over Houston. However, the bullpen failed in a big way in an 8-5 setback to the Cougars. Nick Kennedy, Corey Littrell and Alex Phillips had less than stellar relief performances. With another loss, the Wildcats are 4-6 and finish the Houston College Classic against red-hot Utah.

East Carolina victorious: Rain forced the Pirates to move up their series with Pepperdine, forcing a doubleheader on Saturday. The Waves won the opening game of the doubleheader before the Pirates claimed a 7-4 victory in the series finale. ECU starting pitcher Zach Woods didn’t have a good day on the mound, but veteran Brad Mincey was phenomenal out of the bullpen with 7 2/3 shutout innings of relief work. ECU continues to get positive showings from most of its pitchers.

Tulane’s pitching staff: The Green Wave dropped the series opener to Mississippi, but their pitching staff responding in a big way Saturday on the way to a huge 4-1 victory. Tulane starting pitcher Randy LeBlanc allowed just a run on five hits in 4 2/3 innings, while relievers Alex Facundus and Nick Pepitone were fantastic. The Green Wave is another win away from earning an important road series victory.

St. John’s: After dropping the series opener to Georgia Southern, St. John’s was hoping to get back on the winning side of the ledger on Saturday. The Johnnies did that with starting pitcher Kyle Hansen and sluggers Joe Panik and Paul Karmas leading the way. Karmas recorded four hits in the game and Hansen allowed just three hits in 5 1/3 innings on the way to a dominant 14-3 triumph.

Alabama’s Nathan Kilcrease: The Crimson Tide has struggled immensely this season, but finally rose to the occasion this weekend. The Tide pitched better in the series opener against Northwestern State, and did again on Saturday with starting pitcher Nathan Kilcrease helping the team earn a 4-2 win. Kilcrease struck out 10 and allowed no earned runs and just five hits in seven innings.

UNLV: The Rebels continue to play an impressive brand of baseball. They defeated rival Nevada 10-6 on Saturday to go up 2-0 in the series. More importantly, the Rebels improved their overall record to 10-2. Rebels outfielder Rance Roundy had a huge day at the plate with four hits and four RBIs. The Rebels join BYU and Utah as Mountain West teams that have played well so far this season.

Texas State: The Bobcats took a small step back a couple of weeks ago when they dropped a tough midweek bout to Rice. However, they’ve since played a solid brand of baseball with six-straight wins since that contest. The Bobcats have cooled off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this weekend with Bret Atwood leading the way on Saturday with five hits.

The Citadel: Perhaps the Bulldogs are ready to turn the corner. It was just last week it looked like the Bulldogs were in deep trouble. However, they’ve now won four-straight games after sweeping a decent Appalachian State team over the weekend. It only was a matter of time before the Bulldogs woke up. Perhaps the series win over the Mountaineers will get them going for good.

Winthrop: The Eagles didn’t play well last weekend, but they’ve put those games in the past. The Eagles are 3-0 so far this weekend, including a win over Manhattan and a pair of wins over Notre Dame. Perhaps the Eagles, who are now 5-5, are finding what leads them to success.

Oklahoma State’s Andrew Heaney: After suffering a tough loss to start the weekend, the Cowboys looked to talented pitcher Andrew Heaney to get them back on track Saturday against South Alabama. He accomplished that goal as he struck out five and allowed just a run on seven hits in 8 1/3 innings on the way to a 13-1 victory. OSU has a pair of very talented starters in Heaney and Jason Hursh.

Kendall Rogers is the managing editor of college baseball for Perfect Game USA and has covered the sport for over 10 seasons. He can be reached at kendall@perfectgame.org