The top of the Fighting Irish offensive lineup continues to take care of business in impressive fashion, helping solidify a road series sweep over Tulane with an 8-3 win Sunday afternoon. Two-hole hitter Ryan Bull led the way with four hits, one a home run, and two RBIs, while third baseman Eric Jagielo had another big day with two hits and an RBI and hard-hitting first baseman Trey Mancini went 3-for-5. The Irish are playing an outstanding brand of baseball.
Player of the day
Bryce Biggerstaff, RHP, Jr., Central Arkansas
Biggerstaff and the Bears couldn’t have had a much memorable day on the diamond. Biggerstaff recorded a no-hitter in an easy 13-0 win over Jackson State. The talented junior right-hander struck out nine batters and didn’t allow any walks in the complete game performance.
Upset of the day
Florida Gulf Coast 7, Florida 4
After winning the first two games of the series, it wasn’t a huge surprise the Eagles defeated the Gators again, but finishing off a road series sweep over Kevin O’Sullivan’s club is mighty impressive. FGCU and Florida went into extra innings with the score tied 4-4 before Eagles outfielder Sean Dwyer smashed a three-run home run to break the tie and essentially secure a victory. While Dwyer led the way at the plate, FGCU reliever Harrison Cooney was terrific with a 90-plus fastball and good overall stuff, allowing just two hits in five shutout frames to finish the contest.
Teams feeling good
Missouri State: The Bears were and still remain the favorite to win the Missouri Valley regular season title. The Bears finished off a fantastic 3-0 weekend with a 5-4 win over Eastern Illinois. MSU starting pitcher Tyler Thompson struck out six and allowed just two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, while third baseman Eric Cheray finished off an outstanding weekend at the plate with three hits and two RBIs.
UCLA: The Bruins hit the road to the Lone Star State this past weekend and didn't disappoint. UCLA finished off a series win over Baylor on Sunday. Bruins left-handed pitcher Grant Watson used a mid 80s fastball and a good curveball to keep BU off balance in the victory, allowing three runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, freshman right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian was fantastic out of the pen with a fastball up to 93. He struck all three Bears he faced in the final frame.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets put together a solid weekend against St. John’s. Veteran right-handed pitcher Cole Pitt was impressive in a 10-1 win over the Johnnies. Pitts struck out four batters, walked two and allowed just a run on four hits in six innings of work. Meanwhile, outfielder Daniel Palka had yet another solid day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Cal State Fullerton: The Titans have an outstanding collection of young arms, and sophomore right-handed hurler Grahamm Wiest finished off the weekend series against TCU in impressive fashion. He struck out five batters, walked one and allowed just four hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, speedy outfielder Michael Lorenzen collected two hits, one of them a triple, while talented third baseman Matt Chapman went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Houston: The Cougars weren’t overly impressive last weekend against Northeastern, but rose to the occasion on the road against Texas State over the weekend. UH right-handed starting pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon, who has a fastball that can get up to 92, struck out seven Bobcats and allowed just two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, while Jake Lemoine was terrific out of the bullpen. Lemoine allowed just two hits in three shutout frames to earn his second win in the 4-2 victory over the Bobcats.
Pepperdine: With talented left-handed pitcher Aaron Brown on the shelf because of a broken hamate bone, the Waves looked to the freshman right-hander to provide a boost in the series finale against Texas A&M. He did just that, twirling a gem in the series-clinching 2-1 over the Aggies. McClelland, who primarily was in the upper 80s with his fastball, touching 91-92 at times, only struck out one batter, but allowed just one run on six hits in six innings of work.
Oregon State: The Beavers’ pitching depth showed in a big way in Sunday’s 7-1 win over San Diego State to sweep the series. OSU starting pitcher Clay Bauer only lasted 1 2/3 innings, but the bullpen rose to the occasion. Brandon Jackson allowed just four hits in 4 1/3 shutout innings, while Scott Schultz was fantastic to close out the contest, allowing just two hits in three scoreless frames.
Florida State: The Seminoles put together an impressive day of baseball. FSU won the first game of the doubleheader against South Florida 8-0 behind a stellar performance by starting pitcher Scott Sitz, while it captured a series sweep over the Bulls with a 5-2 triumph in the nightcap. Sitz was the star of the day, though, as he struck out six batters, walked two, and allowed just four hits in eight shutout frames. He also threw 99 pitches, 66 of them for strikes.
Cal Poly: There's been much discussion about UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton atop the Big West for obvious reasons, but also keep an eye on the Mustangs. CP finished off a home series sweep of Seattle with a 4-1 triumph. Mustangs right-handed pitcher Bryan Granger was fantastic in the series finale, striking out five and allowing just a run on eight hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, freshman catcher Brian Mundell finished the afternoon with three hits to pace the offense.
UC Irvine: Along with Fullerton and Cal Poly out of the Big West, the Anteaters are playing a terrific brand of baseball. Irvine starting pitcher Andrew Morales struck out three and allowed just one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of work, as the 'Eaters defeated California 9-1 to take three of four in the series. Meanwhile, third baseman Taylor Sparks led the charge at the plate by going 4-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and three RBIs.
Teams wanting a do-over
New Mexico: It's still early in the season, so it's certainly not time to push the panic button. However, there's no doubt the Lobos have been rather disappointing through the first two weekends. They dropped a home series to Oklahoma State last weekend before going 1-2 this past weekend with losses to Iowa and Oklahoma. UNM hard-throwing starting pitcher Sam Wolff struggled against the Sooners, allowing two runs on eight hits in four innings of work in a tough 10-8 setback.
Nebraska: Huskers head coach Darin Erstad put together an incredibly difficult schedule, and that's kind of coming back to bite the Big Red, as they sit in rough shape with an 0-7 record after dropping a 2-0 decision to Texas Sunday afternoon. NU starting pitcher Ryan Hander put together a solid performance, allowing just two runs in six innings of work, but the offense was unable to get anything going off UT starting pitcher Nathan Thornhill.
Florida: The past couple of weeks have just been a nightmare for the Gators. First it was the news that junior right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson would miss the season with an injury. Then it was a rather unimpressive series against Duke. Now, the Gators are in some trouble after getting swept at home by Florida Gulf Coast. UF freshman starting pitcher Eric Hanhold was lifted after allowing two runs on six hits in just three innings of work. UF's bullpen, which was a strength last season, also struggled with Justin Shafer allowing three runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Washington: The Huskies entered the season expected to compete for an NCAA postseason appearance, but now have some serious work to do. UW dropped yet another contest to Lamar on Sunday, as starting pitcher Will Ballowe was lifted after allowing two runs on six hits in just 2 1/3 innings of work in a disappointing 6-1 setback. UW now has a 2-6 overall record.
Missouri: The Tigers will have nightmares about Conference USA for a few weeks. They dropped all three games to Southern Mississippi opening weekend. And in an even bigger surprise, they dropped all three games at Memphis this weekend, including an 8-2 setback Sunday afternoon. MU starting pitcher Eric Anderson was lifted early in the game after allowing a run on two hits in two innings of work.
Fresno State: It's safe to say the Bulldogs are off to a slow start. They dropped a home series to UC Santa Barbara last weekend, and were swept by Stanford this weekend to fall to 1-5 overall. Bulldogs starting pitcher Tim Borst allowed three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of work in the 7-4 setback, while the bullpen struggled the final few frames.
Kent State: Flashes head coach Scott Stricklin probably didn't see this type of rebuilding campaign coming the first few weeks of the season. Kent starting pitcher Michael Clark had a tough start in a 14-2 loss to San Diego. Clark, who's expected to have a solid campaign on the mound, recorded no strikeouts and allowed seven runs on five hits in just 1 2/3 innings of work. The Flashes bullpen didn't perform much better.
Georgia: The Bulldogs have some work to do moving forward. They dropped a road series to Georgia Southern to begin the season before losing two of three at home to Belmont this weekend, dropping the finale 5-4 in extra frames. The Bulldogs were unable to do much against BU starting pitcher James Buckelew, who allowed just two runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Top individual performances
Scott Sitz, RHP, Sr., Florida State: The Seminoles continue to play at a high level with Sitz and others leading the charge. Sitz was fantastic on Sunday, striking out six batters, walking two and allowing just four hits in eight shutout innings of work. Sitz threw 99 pitches in the contest, 66 for strikes.
Benton Moss, RHP, So., North Carolina: The Tar Heels haven't skipped a beat without Hobbs Johnson in the starting rotation. Moss was outstanding in Sunday's 7-1 win over Stony Brook. The talented righty struck out seven batters and allowed just one run (none earned) on five hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. He also threw 95 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Nick Backlund, 1B, Jr., Mercer: The hard-hitting first baseman didn't have a hit in the first game of the day, but finished the weekend off in style with a stellar performance in the series finale against Bethune-Cookman. Backlund went 3-for-3 with two homers, four runs scored and four RBIs against the Wildcats.
Scott Firth, RHP, Sr., Clemson: The Tigers pitched well against Wright State this past weekend, and Firth had a terrific start in the series finale, a 7-0 CU victory. Firth struck out four batters, walked two and allowed just five hits in eight innings of work.
David Carver, LHP, Jr., Lamar: LU put together an impressive crop of performances against Washington over the weekend, but nothing was more impressive than what junior left-hander David Carver did in the series finale. The lefty struck out six batters and allowed just one run on four hits in a complete game performance.
Trey Masek, RHP, Jr., Texas Tech: The Red Raiders dropped a tough 1-0 decision to Connecticut in extra frames, but it certainly wasn't Masek's fault. The talented right-handed pitcher was terrific against the Huskies, striking out seven batters, walking one, and allowing just five hits in nine shutout frames. Masek threw 99 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Marcus Davis, OF, Jr., Florida State: Davis only recorded one hit in the first game of the doubleheader against South Florida, but was fantastic in the second game, going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run, a run scored and an RBI. Davis continues to make a strong impression early in the season.
Mason Katz, 1B, Sr., LSU: The talented senior had an afternoon to remember at the plate against in-state foe Southeastern Louisiana. He went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, a run scored and six RBIs to lead the Tigers offense. Honorable mention here goes to outfielder Raph Rhymes, who went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and five RBIs.
Cole Irvin, LHP, Fr., Oregon: The Ducks were ecstatic when Irvin decided to attend college for a very good reason. Irvin was terrific in the series finale against Loyola Marymount, striking out three and allowing just one run on six hits in eight innings of work. He also threw 100 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Sean Dwyer, OF, Jr., Florida Gulf Coast: What a weekend it was for Dwyer and the Eagles. Dwyer finished the weekend off in style Sunday afternoon with a mammoth performance, including hitting the game-winning three-run home run in the 11th inning. The talented veteran finished the afternoon 4-for-6 with two runs scored and three RBIs.
Nathan Thornhill, RHP, Jr., Texas: The Longhorns put together an impressive weekend, and the talented veteran right-hander couldn’t have finished off the Nebraska series in more impressive fashion. He struck out three, walked one and allowed just two hits in seven shutout frames. He threw 80 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Aaron Judge, OF, Jr., Fresno State: The Bulldogs are disappointed to lose the Stanford series, but were encouraged by Judge’s performance against the Cardinal in the series finale. Judge went a perfect 5-for-5 with a home run, a run scored and three RBIs.
How the PG Top 25 fared this week …
No. 1 North Carolina beat Coastal Carolina in the midweek, swept Stony Brook over the weekend
No. 2 Arkansas went 2-0 vs. New Orleans, swept Evansville over the weekend.
No. 3 Vanderbilt defeated Belmont and Central Arkansas midweek, swept Monmouth over the weekend
No. 4 LSU beat Lamar in midweek action, went 2-1 over the weekend vs. BYU, Southeastern Louisiana
No. 5 UCLA took two of three from Baylor on the road
No. 6 Stanford beat California in midweek, swept Fresno State over the weekend
No. 7 Florida split midweeks with UCF and Georgia Southern, got swept at home by Florida Gulf Coast
No. 8 Oregon State beat UC Riverside in midweek, swept San Diego State in four-game series.
No. 9 Oregon beat Hawaii early in the week, took two of three from LMU over the weekend.
No. 10 North Carolina State beat Charlotte and Villanova in midweek, took all three games against Wagner and La Salle over the weekend.
No. 11 South Carolina swept Albany at home
No. 12 Georgia Tech went 3-1 with a midweek win over Georgia State and a home series win over St. John’s
No. 13 Kentucky went 3-1 with wins over South Carolina-Upstate, Elon and Coastal Carolina, while losing once to Kansas State.
No. 14 Mississippi went 4-0 with a midweek win over Tennessee-Martin and a home series sweep over Rhode Island.
No. 15 Rice went 3-1 with a midweek loss to Dallas Baptist and three wins over Hawaii t his past weekend. The series finale will be played Monday.
No. 16 Louisville went 4-0 with a midweek win over Eastern Kentucky and home series sweep over Akron, allowing just one run in three games.
No. 17 Mississippi State went 5-0 with a midweek win over Grambling State, along with two wins each over Purdue and Samford this past weekend.
No. 18 Florida State went 4-0 with a midweek win over Jacksonville, along with a home series sweep over South Florida.
No. 19 Cal State Fullerton went 4-0 with a midweek win over Pepperdine and a road series sweep over TCU.
No. 20 TCU was swept at home by Cal State Fullerton over the weekend.
No. 21 Oklahoma went 5-0 with a pair of midweek wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and weekend wins over Iowa, New Mexico and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
No. 22 Arizona went 4-1 with a midweek split against Long Beach State and a home series sweep over San Jose State.
No. 23 Southern Miss went 2-2 with a midweek loss to Alabama and a 2-1 record over the weekend with wins over Eastern Illinois and Alcorn State, a loss to Missouri State.
No. 24 Texas went 4-0 with a midweek win over Texas-Arlington and home series sweep over Nebraska.
No. 25 Arizona State went 2-1 with a road series win over Tennessee.