TEAM OF THE DAY
Red Raiders head coach Tim Tadlock isn’t ready to say his program is back just yet, but make no mistake about it, his club is headed the right direction, as evidenced by Saturday’s doubleheader sweep over highly ranked Indiana.
There was a time under previous and historic coach Larry Hays when the Red Raiders were postseason mainstays. But things have since changed, and astonishingly, Texas Tech hasn’t reached the NCAA postseason since 2004.
Could this be the team that finally gets Tadlock’s crew over the hump?
It’s certainly possible. The Red Raiders took a 2-1 series lead over Indiana with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday — 10-5 and 6-2 in the nightcap.
In Saturday’s first contest, the Red Raiders got things going early on from an offensive standpoint, and were able to take control the rest of the way despite some potential big Indiana rallies.
Texas Tech starting pitcher Matt Withrow struck out five, walked two and allowed four runs (just one earned) on three hits in five innings of work. But it was the relief performance by Arizona transfer Dalton Brown that stands out most. Brown was fabulous in two innings of work, allowing just a hit in two scoreless.
Offensively, veteran second baseman Bryant Burleson, who spearheads one of the nation’s better infields, went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, while designated hitter Anthony Lyons also had three hits, and one RBI. The headliner of the first game was outfielder Tyler Neslony, however. Neslony hit a grand slam in the first inning to help the Red Raiders take total control.
In the nightcap, Neslony once again was very productive, going 2-for-3 with a triple, a run scored and two RBIs, while shortstop Tim Proudfoot led the charge at the plate with three hits, a run scored and two RBIs.
On the mound, junior left-handed pitcher Chris Sadberry struck out four, walked no one and allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work, while reliever Corey Taylor struck out two and allowed just four hits in 3 1/3 scoreless frames.
“We weren’t picked to be very high in the rankings, which we don’t care about,” Proudfoot said. “I think it made a statement that we can keep up with these guys.”
It’s still early, but the Red Raiders are worth keeping track of moving forward.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Dallas Baptist 2B Camden Duzenack
Just a freshman for the Patriots, Duzenack is having one heck of a weekend to remember against Mississippi Valley State. The Patriots captured a solid 19-3 win Saturday afternoon and Duzenack was fantastic.
The freshman went an impressive 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and most notably, he finished the contest with nine RBIs.
Duzenack will be an interesting guy to follow moving forward. Though only 5-foot-8 with a small frame, he was ranked as a high follow prospect out of high school and as one of the top 180 guys to watch out of the State of Texas.
DID YOU SEE THIS?
Mississippi State head coach John Cohen made it abundantly clear before the season that his starting rotation needed to get significantly better. Well, though right-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff struggled in his season debut on Friday, fellow righty and junior Trevor Fitts couldn’t have been better on Saturday.
In a contest that ended with a 6-1 Mississippi State triumph, Fitts might’ve put together the most impressive start of his career, striking out 11 batters and allowing just two walks and a run on seven hits in six innings of work. He also threw 99 pitches, 73 for strikes.
UPSETS OF THE DAY
Washington State over Cal State Fullerton: The Titans might be the No. 2 team in the country, but the Cougars rose to the occasion in a big way just a night after getting throttled 12-0. Washington State third baseman Nick Tanielu went 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI, while outfielder Yale Rosen went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a run scored and two RBIs. On the mound, starting pitcher Tanner Chleborad, who had solid overall stuff, topped out at 93 on the radar gun, while freshman right-handed closer Ian Hamilton, replacing veteran lefty J.D. Leckenby, rose to the occasion with three scoreless frames, sitting 90-92 with his fastball, along with a low-to-mid 80s slider. Perhaps most surprising about this contest is that Fullerton right-handed pitcher Justin Garza allowed seven runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.
College of Charleston over North Carolina: We told you a couple of days ago to keep an eye on this series as a potential upset watch with the Tar Heels shifting the series down to Charleston, S.C., because of weather concerns. Charleston defeated North Carolina 7-4 with some outstanding relief pitching leading the charge. For instance, though starting pitcher Nathan Helvey allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings of work, reliever Bailey Ober struck out four, walked no one and allowed just two hits in five shutout frames. Offensively, outfielder Brandon Glazer had a home run and three RBIs, while third baseman Carl Wise went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs.
The Citadel over Louisville: The Bulldogs put together an impressive performance in a 5-3 home win over Louisville. The Citadel didn’t get a great start, but the bullpen rose to the occasion with Zach Sherrill and Skylar Hunter combining for 3 1/3 scoreless innings of work. Meanwhile, offensively, first baseman Bo Thompson went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Maine over Miami (Fla.): Black Bears junior left-handed pitcher Heath Scott was outstanding in a 3-1 road win over the Hurricanes. Scott struck out eight, walked one and allowed just a run on two hits in seven innings of work. Meanwhile, the Black Bears also received a solid performance from reliever Jacob Deschesnes, who tossed two scoreless/hitless frames.
James Madison over East Carolina: The Pirates might have a good Hoffman, but the Dukes have a good Huffman. Chris Huffman. Huffman put together a very solid performance in a 5-2 win over East Carolina. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed just two runs (one earned) in five innings of work. Meanwhile, ECU starting pitcher David Lucroy, who had a huge fall, struggled, allowing four runs on six hits in two innings.
Maryland over Florida: Like many freshmen around the country, there’s a good chance starting pitcher Brett Morales will go through some growing pains at times. Call his debut against Maryland a lesson learned, as the Gators dropped a tough 9-7 contest to the Terrapins. Morales allowed five runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings of work, while for the Terps, second baseman Brandon Lowe went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Radford over Georgia Tech: This is expected to be somewhat of a rebuilding campaign for the Yellow Jackets, but it’s still a little bit of a surprise when they lose to Radford over the weekend. Radford sophomore right-handed pitcher Dylan Nelson shined against the Jackets, striking out six, walking two and allowing just one run and no hits in six innings of work. Meanwhile, Michael Costello tossed three scoreless innings of relief work, while Georgia Tech wasted a very solid start from Cole Pitts, who allowed a run on six hits in five innings.
MORE COACHING FIRSTS
Rick Heller (Iowa)
Heller made the move from Indiana State to Iowa during the offseason, and he couldn’t have had a better debut with the Hawkeyes as his club captured a doubleheader sweep of Austin Peay by scores of 11-5 and 15-3.
In the first contest against the Governors, two-way player Blake Hickman hit a grand slam to lead the offensive charge, while shortstop Jake Yacinich finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
In the nightcap, the Hawkeyes battered APSU pitching, as Iowa outfielder Dan Potempa led the charge by going 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Meanwhile, Hickman, yet again, had a solid offensive performance with two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs, while shortstop Jake Yacinich had three hits and two RBIs and outfielder Taylor Zeutenhorst hit a home run.
Jeff Duncan (Kent State)
The Golden Flashes might’ve lost Duncan’s debut on Friday, but boy, did they make up for it on Saturday with a strong showing in a 14-5 win over Arizona.
The Flashes touched up Arizona starting pitcher and left-hander Tyler Crawford for seven runs in the first inning. As a matter of fact, Crawford allowed those seven runs and recorded just one out in the process.
Veteran Kent shortstop Sawyer Polen went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI, while veteran Alex Miklos had a double and three hits. Also, designated hitter Zarley Zalewski went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while redshirt senior first baseman Cody Koch had a huge day, too, going 5-for-5 with a run scored and three RBIs.
Nathan Kirby, lhp, Virginia: The highly touted sophomore lefty shined in a 12-0 win over VMI, striking out seven, walking one and allowing just four hits in six shutout innings of work.
Michael Conforto, of, Oregon State: The All-American outfielder put together a very solid performance in a 15-7 win over Nebraska, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs.
Brandon Leibrandt, lhp, Florida State: The talented left-handed pitcher couldn’t have been more impressive in his debut for this season against Niagara. He struck out five, walked one and allowed just four hits in six shutout frames.
Grant Watson, lhp, UCLA: After dropping the season opener to Portland, Grant Watson, and the Bruins offense, made sure there wouldn’t be a repeat on Saturday. Watson struck out eight, walked one and allowed just a run on three hits in seven innings of work.
Jared Miller, rhp, Vanderbilt: Miller was outstanding in Vandy’s easy 6-0 win over Long Beach State. Miller struck out four, walked no one and allowed just one hit in six shutout frames. He also threw 68 pitches, 43 for strikes.
Grayson Greiner, c, South Carolina: Greiner will have a special year for the Gamecocks, and his fans got a taste of that on Saturday as the Gamecocks did a clean sweep of Bucknell in a doubleheader, Greiner going 4-for-8 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
Skyler Ewing, 1b, Rice: Starting pitcher Blake Fox and reliever Zech Lemond should get props for their performances against Stanford, but Ewing’s first two games have been dandy after he had such a strong summer at the plate. Ewing went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and two RBIs in a 5-1 win over Stanford to clinch the series.
Will Allen, c, Ole Miss: Allen and the Rebels had a very solid day in an 11-1 win over Stanford. Allen went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, a run scored and five RBIs to lead the offensive cause.
Michael Matuella, rhp, Duke: Matuella is one of the fastest risers in college baseball right now. The talented righty struck out nine, walked no one and allowed no hits in five innings of work in an easy win over Binghamton. Matuella sat 94-98 with his fastball, along with an 87 mph changeup and low 80-s curveball.
Jake Lemoine, rhp, Houston: The Cougars had yet another good performance in a 4-0 win over Nicholls State on Saturday. Lemoine, who has a power arm with a fastball up to 93 or so, struck out four, walked one and allowed just four hits in seven shutout frames.
John Gorman, rhp, Boston College: The Eagles went on the road and captured a nice 4-1 win over Santa Clara with Gorman leading the way. The right-handed pitcher struck out five, walked two and allowed just five hits in six shutout frames.
Travis Bergen, lhp, Kennesaw State: Bergen is a high quality arm, and shined in a 5-1 home win over Middle Tennessee State. Bergen struck out nine, walked no one and allowed just three hits in five shutout innings.
Ryan Nagle, dh, Illinois: The Fighting Illini bounced back from an opening day loss with a 19-13 win over Georgia State in a wild one. Nagle went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and four RBIs in the winning cause.
Robert Kahana, rhp, Kansas: The Jayhawks took care of business in impressive fashion in a doubleheader sweep of BYU. KU right-handed pitcher Robert Kahana struck out four, walked two and allowed just five hits in seven innings of work.
Tory Schroff, lhp, Charleston Southern: The veteran left-handed pitcher shined in a 2-0 home win over Villanova. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed just four hits in six shutout frames.
David Stagg, lhp, Indiana State: The Sycamores talented left-handed pitcher struck out six, walked three and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings of work in a 3-0 win over Connecticut.
Carson Baranik, rhp, Louisiana-Lafayette: In his debut of coming back to his home state of Louisiana, Baranik had to be pleased with his performance. He struck out eight, walked two and allowed just one hit in 7 1/3 scoreless frames.
Ryan Riga, lhp, Ohio State: The Buckeyes recorded a really nice 1-0 win over Ohio State with Riga leading the way on the mound. Riga struck out three, walked one and allowed just four hits in six shutout innings. He threw 91 pitches, 61 for strikes.
Sam Howard, lhp, Georgia Southern: This could be one of the fast rising arms in the Southeastern part of the country. Howard, sources say, touched 93 several times in a 9-3 win over Georgia in a doubleheader the two teams split. Howard struck out seven, walked one and allowed just three hits in five shutout frames.
Tanner Banks, lhp, Utah: Banks was magnificent in Utah’s 2-1 win over a solid Sacramento State club. Banks struck out nine, walked one and allowed just a run on two hits in seven innings of work.
HOW THE PG TOP 25 FARED
No. 1 Virginia 12, VMI 0
Washington State 9, No. 2 Cal State Fullerton 7
No. 3 Oregon State 15, Nebraska 7
No. 4 Florida State 4, Niagara 1
Texas Tech 10,6 — No. 5 Indiana 5,2
No. 6 Mississippi State 6, Western Carolina 1
No. 7 South Carolina 17, 12 — Bucknell 4,2
No. 8 UCLA 12, Portland 1
No. 9 Oregon 10, Hawaii 5
No. 11 Vanderbilt 6, Long Beach State 0
No. 12 LSU 7, New Orleans 4
College of Charleston 7, No. 13 North Carolina 4
No. 14 Clemson 5, Eastern Michigan 3
Maryland 9, No. 15 Florida
The Citadel 5, No. 16 Louisville 3
No. 17 Rice 5, Stanford 1
No. 18 Arizona State 7, Baylor 4
No. 19 Texas A&M 11, Northeastern 2
Maine 3, No. 20 Miami 1
No. 21 Alabama 4, Saint Louis 3
Cal Poly 5, No. 22 Kansas State 2
No. 23 Oklahoma State 3, Stephen F. Austin 1
No. 24 Florida Atlantic 2,16 — Notre Dame 9,6
No. 25 Texas 1,6 — California 0,2