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Here’s our inside look at Friday’s college baseball action.
TEAM OF THE DAY: Florida
-- The Gators haven’t played the greatest brand of baseball the past few weeks, but they’ve risen to the occasion this weekend against Kentucky. UF won the series opener on Thursday night before capturing a series-clinching 5-1 win on Friday. UF starting pitcher Karsten Whitson allowed just a run in 4 2/3 innings, while the bullpen did a terrific job with left-hander Steven Rodriguez striking out two in two shutout frames. The series victory solidifies UF’s status as a national seed.
UPSET OF THE DAY: Houston 11, Rice 6
-- To say the Owls have dominated their crosstown rivals the past couple of seasons would be quite the understatement. The Owls had won 16-straight contests over UH entering Friday’s bout. But on this night, it was the Cougars that would have the last laugh, roughing up Rice ace pitcher Matthew Reckling on the way to an 11-6 win. UH leadoff hitter Landon Appling went 3-for-6 with a home run and six RBIs. Reckling has his worst outing of the year, striking out four and allowing eight runs in 2 1/3 innings.
PLAYER OF THE DAY: LHP Andrew Barbosa, South Florida
-- Barbosa missed all of last season with an arm injury, but has stepped up many times this spring. The left-hander once again did it on Friday in a 3-0 win over St. John’s. Barbosa struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits in the complete game shutout. Additionally, Barbosa has a 2.29 ERA in 70 2/3 innings of work.
South Carolina (35-11) -- The Gamecocks certainly seem to have that magic feeling again. Gamecocks starting pitcher Michael Roth allowed six runs in six innings, but relievers Evan Beal and Matt Price in addition to offensive key cog Gray Greiner rose to the occasion in an 8-6 extra-inning triumph over Arkansas.
Louisiana State (37-10) -- Sophomore right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman struck out four and allowed three runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work, while the bullpen did a tremendous job in a 4-3 13-inning triumph over Mississippi. LSU got a big-time offensive performance from designated hitter Grant Dozar, who had two hits, one of them a home run and two RBIs.
Stanford (29-12) -- Junior right-handed pitcher Mark Appel struck out four batters and allowed two runs on nine hits in seven innings of work, as the Cardinal captured an impressive 8-2 win over Oregon State. Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino had three doubles and two RBIs, while Stephen Piscotty and Brian Ragira each had three hits.
Oregon (33-13) -- The Ducks could be inching closer to their first national seed. Ducks senior right-handed pitcher Alex Keudell struck out seven and allowed just a run on seven hits in a complete game performance and 6-1 triumph over Arizona. While Keudell did the honors on the mound, second baseman Aaron Payne led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Oklahoma State (27-17) -- The Cowboys sure have been playing an impressive brand of baseball lately, and they added to their hot streak with a 3-0 win over Oklahoma. OSU left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney struck out seven and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout. He threw 74 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
Rice (31-13) -- The Owls entered Friday’s game against Houston with a 16-game winning streak over the rival Cougars. However, that streak came to an end in ugly fashion, as starting pitcher Matthew Reckling allowed eight runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings of work in an 11-6 setback.
Vanderbilt (21-24) -- The Commodores entered the weekend with hopes of beating the rival Volunteers two of three and getting back in the NCAA postseason race. However, they now have some work to do after dropping an 8-2 decision in the series opener. Vandy starting pitcher TJ Pecoraro was lifted after allowing three runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, while Brian Miller struggled out of the pen.
Gonzaga (27-17) -- The Bulldogs took a huge step back last weekend with a home series loss to Loyola Marymount. Well, they’re once again in trouble after dropping a 6-4 decision to St. Mary’s in Friday’s series opener, falling to 7-9 in the WCC. Zags starting pitcher Tyler Olson struck out six batters and allowed six runs on eight hits in eight innings of work.
Pepperdine (24-18) -- Very similar to Gonzaga, the Waves must finish the regular season on a high note to reach the NCAA postseason. They didn’t start the weekend on a positive note, dropping a 7-2 decision to San Francisco. Even without ace starting pitcher Kyle Zimmer, who’s out for the weekend with a hamstring injury, the Dons silenced the Waves with starter Abe Bobb allowing just two runs on four hits in nine innings.
Fresno State (19-23) -- The Bulldogs certainly are having a season to forget. Fresno starting pitcher Tyler Linehan allowed three runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, while the bullpen struggled in a big way in a 9-7 setback to Sacramento State. With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to an extremely disappointing 2-8 in the WAC.