The Friday Fate Of The “Lucky Seven”At The Ballpark
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In this week’s edition of Off The Top Of My Head I centered my opening around the seven teams that sit just under the radar and going into this weekend have a real big chance to make a big splash as they’ll take on ranked opponents. We saw a ton of ebb and flow between these seven teams. Some are very happy. Some are a little on the bummed-out side.
Here is how they fared, starting with the team I saw in person tonight…
– USC at home vs. No. 8 TCU
Result: Lost 10-1.
In the words of the late legendary Keith Jackson, whoa Nellie!
Instead of making a splash, the Trojans make a sonic splat. You probably heard it over there in the Eastern time zone too. TCU just took control early and piled it on, never looking back. The Horned Frogs ended up winning tonight 10-1 after clicking on all cylinders. Starting pitcher Jared Janczak was back to his old form, going 7.0 innings and spreading out five hits and seven strikeouts amongst his 25 batters he faced. Most importantly he gave up nary a single free pass with no walks or hit batsmen.
Offensively the Frogs were on point, swinging at good pitches and avoiding pitches out of the zone. Oregon transfer A.J. Balta had a pair of doubles and also scored twice. Zach Humphreys went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. But the biggest grin-inducer for the Frogs tonight was seeing the return of the big lumberjack.
Luken Baker got back into the swing of things, literally, by clubbing a three-run no-doubter over the left field wall in the sixth inning to turn this one into a snoozer tonight. Baker got a fat pitch from Trojan reliever Isaac Esqueda and sent a screamer onto the tennis courts beyond left field. That turned a 7-0 lead into a 10-0 lead, and that was enough for me. I ended up taking off at that point and heading home to some roughhousing with the dog.
Freshman Augie Mihlbauer and sophomore Trey Morris came on to get the final six outs. The only run was scored when Morris unleashed a wild pitch in the ninth inning, but by that time the hay was in the barn, obviously.
After nearly winning the series vs. No. 5 Arkansas in Fayetteville last weekend I was stunned to see this performance by the Trojans. I know they are much better than this. In fact, after TCU had built its lead to 5-0 after the fourth inning, head coach Dan Hubbs gathered his team together in the first base dugout and started reading them the riot act for their lackluster play in the first few innings. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for the Men of Troy as they still wilted to a landslide loss.
But USC has a chance for instant redemption as No. 15 Vanderbilt and No. 11 UCLA await this weekend at the DodgerTown Classic. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of reaction coach Hubbs’ charges give us in the next 18 innings.
– Kent State at No. 5 Arkansas
Result: Split a doubleheader, losing 7-2 and winning 10-4.
This is pretty good stuff for the Golden Flashes. Expected rain on Saturday means that the two programs agreed to play a doubleheader today and a single game Sunday to conclude the series. The Flashes dropped game one (Who can blame them? It was against Blaine Knight, so that’s understandable), but came back to win game two by a landslide 10-4 score. It marked the first win over a Top 10 team since that infamous run to the College World Series, when the eliminated No. 1-ranked Florida.
– Duke at home vs. No. 17 Virginia
Result: Duke won 6-3
Are we sure this is to be labeled an “upset” here? Strong work Blue Devils. And yes, we know your basketball team lost tonight to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1998 so thoughts and prayers to you guys. Anyway, I digress… Jimmy Herron’s two-run home run in the fifth inning busted up a 3-3 tie, sending Coach K University to a big win over the Wahoos. Ethan DeCaster tossed 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to solidify the win and pick up his third save of the young season. He and starting pitcher Adam Laskey held UVa to just four hits on the night. Also, Griffin Conine, the All American outfielder, crushed a solo home run, his third of the year, as part of a 2-for-4 day at the dish.
– Georgia Tech at No. 12 Clemson
Result: Lost 3-2.
For some reason, somebody decided to pitch to Seth Beer and it cost them. Yes, Mr. Beer homered to start the scoring in this game and went 2-for-4 to lead the CU offense. Bryce Teodosid added a solo shot for the Tigers to build them a 2-0 lead. The Jackets came back and tied the game at 2-2 going into Clemson’s bottom of the eighth inning. That is when Seth Beer singled Logan Davidson over to third base with one out and then Patrick Cromwell’s RBI single accounted for the winning run. But Tech showed themselves well in this game, fighting tooth-and-nail with the Tigers. Granted, having Xzavion Curry on the mound was their best chance to pull a W this weekend so we’ll see what games two and three can provide us.
– Northeastern at No. 18 Auburn
Result: NU lost 6-0… but that’s not all.
I’m not trying to bury the lede here, not only did the Huskies lose 6-0 but they also suffered the ninth no-hitter in Auburn history by the Tiger ace Casey Mize. It was “man among boys” time on the Plains tonight as Mize collected 13 punchouts (a career-high) with no walks and no hits to pull out the epic win. A fourth inning error accounted for the only baserunner for the night for NU. And again, the Huskies came in hitting .302 as a team but saw all zeroes tonight. Well done Mr. Mize. I’m hoping to get to Auburn next Friday for their showdown with Texas A&M. Crossing my fingers that the flights and the weather cooperate.
– Oral Roberts at No. 25 Dallas Baptist
Result: Lost by a woodshed-like 10-1 score.
This was a pretty emphatic performance by an angry Patriot team tonight. People are still wondering if the Pats are for real after getting beaten so badly at Clemson two weeks ago, but this should give a small indication of how they feel. DBU scored six runs in the sixth inning to bust open the game and leave no doubts. Of course, the Eagles are heavy to blame as well, giving up eight walks to go with the 10 hits. Jameson Hannah, hitting from the leadoff spot, went 3-for-4, and two-hole hitter Devin Granberg had three hits as well but also chimed in with three RBI. Kody Funderburk went 2-for-4 with five RBI, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
– Hawaii at No. 22 LSU
Result: Rainbows win 4-2 in Baton Rouge.
Wow, what a huge win for the island boys, who improve to 8-4.
I’ve got to admit something to you… I’m not totally surprised by this. I’ve seen Hawaii play each of the last few years and I knew this was going to be the year coach Mike Trappasso was really pointing toward. Also, with the inconsistency of the Tigers so far this season, I was wondering if the Rainbows were going to catch them on an “off night.” Well here you go. To pay homage to their hosts, the ‘Bows did like the Tigers do and slammed three home runs in the game. Maaki Yamasaki, Ethan Lopez and Logan Pouelsen all went yard and all of them came off of College World Series hero Zack Hess. By the way, I’ll go ahead and wager that this is the first time in Alex Box Stadium history that a player named Maaki hit a home run there.