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D1 Digest: Opening Day, 2024

Analysis

Opening Day Coverage


Rogers on Tennessee’s AJs, Oregon’s Bullpen in Arlington
Fitt on Duke’s Santucci, Coastal Carolina’s offensive onslaught
Villa on Miami cooking up a memorable opener for JD Arteaga
Healy on Kentucky’s impressive defense
Etheridge on Alabama’s TJ McCants, Ben Hess
Ebert on UCSB’s offensive explosion against Campbell
Sorenson on Oregon State and California’s big wins
Spratling on Boston College’s opening win
Friday’s Top Performers
Friday Scoreboard


Story of the Day

Less than two years after having his leg amputated following a gruesome boating accident, East Carolina’s Parker Byrd became the first Division I college baseball player with a prosthetic leg to appear in a game on Friday. After the accident, Byrd endured 22 surgeries in a span of 45 days. Last April, our Walter Villa wrote about Byrd’s determination to play again, and Friday night against Rider, Byrd got the call to pinch-hit in the eighth inning, with ECU ahead 11-2. After doffing his helmet in appreciation of the standing ovation he received from the ECU fateful, Byrd drew a walk.

The Pirates, meanwhile, cruised to a 16-2 win, rapping out 15 hits in support of ace Trey Yesavage (4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K).

Top 25 Showdown

• There was just one game on the Opening Day calendar that featured two ranked teams going at it: No. 9 Tennessee taking on No. 21 Texas Tech at Globe Life Field in Arlington. The Volunteers rode their two AJs — Russell (4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K) and Causey (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) to a 6-2 win. Clemson transfer Billy Amick, a first-team preseason All-American, hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning for Tennessee. Our Kendall Rogers was on hand at Globe Life and filed this report.

Top 25 Upsets

St. John’s — which went 8-12 in the Big East last year — jumped Cade Fisher (2 IP, 6 R) en route to a 9-5 win against No. 2 Florida in Gainesville. Seven Johnnies recorded at least one hit as part of a balanced 11-hit attack in support of Xavier Kolhosser (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), and lefty Ben Adams posted three scoreless innings in relief. Anthony Brienza’s two-run triple in the third gave St. John’s some important breathing room.

Jackson Kent (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) and Raul Garayzar (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) turned in stellar mound work to lead Arizona to a 6-1 win against No. 23 Northeastern.

California rode a balanced 11-hit attack to a 6-3 win against No. 24 Kansas State. Freshman Trey Newmann drew the Opening Day start for the Golden Bears and delivered four innings of one-hit, shutout ball, striking out six.

Top 25 Roundup

D1 Baseball Reports:
No. 12 Duke beats Indiana, No. 18 Coastal Carolina throttles George Mason
No. 17 UC Santa Barbara clobbers Campbell
No. 19 Alabama wins in Rob Vaughn’s debut

• Top-ranked Wake Forest rode a strong start from first-team preseason All-American Josh Hartle (5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) to a 9-3 win against Fordham. The Wake offense mustered just five hits (two from Ball State transfer Adam Tellier, batting in the leadoff spot) but also worked nine walks.

• No. 3 Arkansas got a little scare early, as first-team preseason All-America ace Hagen Smith went just one inning and allowed three runs, but the Hogs got a heroic relief effort from Will McEntire (5.2 IP, 1 R) and Gage Wood (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R) in a 6-4 win against James Madison.

Thatcher Hurd (2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) struggled for No. 4 LSU, but the Tigers outslugged VMI 11-8, led by Hayden Travinski (3-for-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, HR) and Jared Jones (2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI).

• No. 5 TCU trailed Florida Gulf Coast 9-3 after six innings but stormed back to win 10-9, in a game with a wild finish. With Peyton Chatagnier on second base and two outs in the ninth, Jack Arthur struck out for what looked like the final out of the ninth — but the pitch got away from the catcher, who made an errant throw to first base, allowing Chatagnier to race home from second with the winning run. Take a look:

Anthony Silva had four hits, a homer and three RBIs to lead the TCU offense.

• No. 6 Vanderbilt overcame a poor start from Greysen Carter (who walked seven in three innings) and a rough relief outing from Carter Holton (3 IP, 4 H, 5 ER) to outslug Florida Atlantic 12-11. RJ Austin went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs, a homer and a double to lead Vandy’s 15-hit attack, and Jonathan Vastine delivered a walk-off two-run double in the ninth to win it. Carter and Holton are two vital arms for Vandy, and they will need to better moving forward for the Commodores to contend for a national title, but the offense’s strong start was certainly encouraging.

• No. 7 Oregon State got a strong start from new ace Aiden May (5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) and three hits apiece from Micah McDowell, Tyce Peterson and blue-chip freshman Trent Caraway in a 15-6 win against New Mexico in Arizona.

• Preseason All-American Jace LaViolette homered twice and drove in four to spearhead No. 8 Texas A&M’s 17-hit barrage in support of Ryan Prager (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K), as the Aggies walloped McNeese 15-0.

Cam Cannarella (3-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI) and Richmond transfer Alden Mathes (who hit a first-inning grand slam) led a 14-hit barrage in support of Billy Barlow (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER), as No. 10 Clemson cruised past Xavier 14-3.

• No. 13 NC State rode strong pitching from Sam Highfill (5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER) and Shane Van Dam (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R) to a 6-1 win against VCU. First-team preseason All-American Jacob Cozart (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI) led a balanced 13-hit attack for the Wolfpack.

• No. 14 Virginia overcame a rocky start from Jack O’Connor (4 IP, 8 H, 4 R), overcoming a three-run deficit with a six-run sixth inning en route to a 10-8 win against Hofstra. Griff O’Ferrall and Harrison Didawick went deep for the Cavaliers.

• No. 15 North Carolina started a true freshman on the mound on opening day for the first time since 1998, and Folger Boaz delivered five innings of one-run ball to earn the victory, as the Tar Heels beat Wagner 10-3. Georgia transfer Parks Harber had three hits to lead the UNC offense.

• No. 16 Texas rode a five-run sixth inning to a 7-3 win against San Diego. Jalin Flores (2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI) led the UT offense in support of Lebarron Johnson (5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER), who threw well in a no-decision.

• No. 17 UC Santa Barbara traveled cross-country and clobbered Campbell 20-8, as Aaron Parker and Nick Oakley had five RBIs apiece in support of first-team All-American Matt Ager (4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER). Our Patrick Ebert was on hand for this one and filed this report.

• First-team preseason All-American Brody Brecht struck out 11 over 4.1 innings of one-hit, one-run ball, leading No. 20 Iowa to a 5-2 win against Seton Hall in Charleston.

• No. 22 UCLA came from behind with three runs in the eighth to beat Gonzaga 8-7. Cody Schrier and Roch Cholowsky had two hits apiece to lead the UCLA offense, and starter Luke Jewett (5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) was solid in a no-decision.

• No. 25 South Carolina got a dominant start from Eli Jones (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) in a 5-1 win against Miami (OH).

Other Notable Results

Brett Renfrow (5 IP, 1 H, 0 R) and three relievers combined on a two-hit shutout to lead Virginia Tech to a 10-0 win at Charlotte. Christian Martin, Carson DeMartini and Henry Cooke all went deep for the Hokies.

Louisville’s bullpen coughed up two late leads Friday, as Indiana State knocked off the Cardinals 8-7 and UConn beat the Cards 4-3. The Huskies also topped South Florida 2-1.

Louisiana came from behind with two in the ninth to walk off Wright State 3-2.

Sam Houston rode strong pitching from Coltin Atkinson (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Logan Hewitt (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K) to a 7-2 win against Oklahoma State.

Christian Rodriguez (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and Peyton Jones (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R) combined on a four-hit shutout, as Cal State Fullerton won on the road at Stanford, 4-0.

• Arizona State beat preseason WCC favorite Santa Clara 11-6. Kevin Karstetter, Isaiah Jackson and Brandon Compton had three hits apiece to lead the ASU offense in support of Thomas Burns (5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K).

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