Friday D1 Digest: LSU’s Marquee Series Win, Texas’ Streak IncreasingRoundup
- Mark Etheridge on LSU showing off its depth
- Kendall Rogers on ECU’s Trey Yesavage, Houston’s Josh Ekness
- Eric Sorenson on LMU’s Big Friday night win
- Shotgun Spratling on red-hot Northeastern
- Friday Scoreboard
- Friday’s Top Statistical Performers
Series of the Weekend
LSU clinched the series with a 6-4 win over Tennessee. The atmosphere in Baton Rouge was spectacular once again and this matchup has been good for the enterprise of college baseball. Both clubs feature elite starting pitching, and the radar gun has rarely recorded a number under 95 in this series. Brady Neal and Gavin Dugas hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth, and Tommy White added two RBIs for the Tigers. Tre’ Morgan had three hits in this game and the volume of star power on the LSU roster is overwhelming.
The pitching matchup of Chase Burns and Ty Floyd did not disappoint from an arm talent perspective but neither had their best night. The relievers for both teams stole the show. The Vols’ Andrew Lindsey was outstanding, holding LSU to one run over the final 4.1 innings. Meanwhile, Tiger freshmen Chase Shores and Griffin Herring combined for four shutout innings to seal the deal. Things have not come easily for Tennessee this year but this series has been more about LSU’s incredible talent level.
Big Ten Barnburner
Maryland scored seven runs in the final four frames to take down Iowa on the road, 10-9. Hawkeye ace Brody Brecht was dominant in this one, even reaching back for 104 mph at one point. He punched out 13 of the 24 batters he faced. Terrapin star Matt Shaw also put on a show, going 4-for-4 with two home runs and 6 RBIs. Don’t look now, but Maryland has won 12 of its last 14 games.
The state of Michigan is off to a fast start in Big Ten play in 2023. Upstart Michigan State beat Rutgers 3-2 in Piscataway to move to 3-1 in league play. Michigan’s 12-9 victory at Illinois leaves the Wolverines at 4-0 in the conference.
Georgia Tech true freshman righthander Luke Schmolke turned in a gem at Boston College, helping the Yellow Jackets to defeat the red-hot Eagles 5-4. Schmolke held BC to one run over five innings, and Georgia Tech sits at 6-4 in league play. Third baseman Drew Compton drove in four of Georgia Tech’s five runs. Boston College moves to 6-4 in the ACC.
North Carolina scored six runs in their final at-bat to earn a huge comeback victory at Notre Dame. Down 8-4 entering the final frame, the Tar Heels first six hitters in the ninth inning all scored. Johnny Castagnozzi’s grand slam was the capper and Scott Forbes’ club rescued victory from the jaws of defeat in this one.
Wake Forest continues to prove it can win any kind of game. Tonight’s 4-3 win at a very game Clemson club required a precise late-game offense and reliable defense. Second sacker Justin Johnson ended the game with a beautiful play on a very tricky ground ball that could have tied the game.
Miami ran rival Florida State out of the gym, winning 11-0 in a game that never seemed in question. The Hurricanes out-hit their rival 14-4, and Karson Ligon threw eight shutout innings.
NC State won a wild 6-5 game over Louisville in Raleigh. The Wolfpack surrendered four runs in the eighth, only to come back with a four-spot of their own in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off win. A two-run single from LuJames Groover III ended it but three walks in the ninth set up the victory. Logan Whitaker was brilliant, holding the explosive Cardinal lineup to just one run over seven innings. Louisville now sits at 3-4 in ACC play and this very talented roster appears to be playing uphill right now.
Respect the Streak
Texas held on for a 5-3 win at Oklahoma State, and the Longhorns’ winning streak moved to 16 games. Lucas Gordon out-dueled Ben Abram, and Zane Morehouse earned his fourth save for Texas. Dylan Campbell stayed hot with three more hits, and Garret Guillemette hit a two-run homer for David Pierce’s crew.
Texas Tech won a wild one in Lubbock, beating TCU 20-16. The Horned Frogs held a 16-10 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, but the Red Raiders cooked up a virtually endless half-inning in which they scored nine times. Gavin Kash had two home runs and a double, and Brandon Beckel was brilliant in relief, recording five of his six outs by strikeout.
West Virginia kicked off conference play with an 8-3 win at Kansas State. Ben Hampton provided a quality start, punching out 10 hitters over 6.2 innings. JJ Wetherholt had three hits in the game, including a double and a home run. Right fielder Jacob McNeely made history in this one, hitting for the cycle and adding three RBIs.
In a game that was good for the league’s street cred, Oklahoma beat Stanford ace Quinn Matthews in Norman. The Sooners’ 2-0 win snapped a six-game losing streak for OU.
Not All Streaks Are Fun
Mississippi State ended an 18-game losing streak in the SEC games, beating South Carolina 13-3 in Starkville. The win was loaded with positive side bars for the Bulldogs, and veteran righthander Cade Smith’s first appearance since February 24th was chief among those. Left fielder Dakota Jordan was outstanding in this one, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, a home run, and two walks. Third baseman Slate Alford, who has endured a challenging season, was 4-for-4 with two round trippers.
Kentucky moved to 23-3 (6-1 in SEC play) with a 12-2 dismantling of Missouri. The Wildcats’ unique combination of pitching depth and offensive execution was on display once again, and uber-veteran Darren Williams provided a quality start. The blowouts continued with Auburn’s 10-1 defeat of Florida. Freshman phenom Ike Irish homered in this one, and Florida had won 12 straight Brandon Sproat starts coming into the game. Sproat did not get out of the second inning, and Auburn appears to finally be at full strength offensively.
Alabama handed Arkansas ace Hunter Hollan his first loss, beating the Hogs 12-1 in Fayetteville. In the “this has to be a misprint” of the day, the Tide out-hit the home team 22-3. Vandy handled Georgia in Nashville, beating the Bulldogs 9-2 behind a 10-strikeout performance from Carter Holton. RJ Austin and Parker Noland homered in this one, and Enrique Bradfield Jr. swiped two bases. Texas A&M outlasted Ole Miss 8-6, in a much needed game one win. The return of veteran Brett Minnich continues to bolster the Aggies, and he homered twice in the game.
West Coast, Best Coast
USC and Arizona State won road series openers, at Utah and Cal respectively, to remain atop the Pac-12 standings. Tyler Stromsborg threw a five-hit complete game shutout for Southern Cal, and the Trojans moved to 8-2 in league play. The red hot Sun Devils beat the Golden Bears 4-1, and freshman Nu’u Contrades raised his average to .381 with three more knocks.
Washington State beat UCLA 9-5 in Pullman, and the Cougars’ stellar bullpen posted four straight zeroes to close out the ballgame. Three-hole hitter Jacob McKeon added two hits and two RBIs in the victory. Oregon scored eight runs in the top of the first, and the Ducks routed Arizona in Tucson, 15-3. Wildcat ace TJ Nichols was not able to get out of the second inning, and Oregon lefthanded slugger Jacob Walsh was 4-for-5 with two home runs. Jace Stoffel was excellent for the Ducks, holding Arizona to three runs over seven innings.
Around the Horn
Campbell beat Charleston Southern 7-2, and I am beginning to wonder if the Camels can run the table in Big South play. Justin Haire’s club is 7-0 in the league and 20-4 overall.
Houston hosted East Carolina to kick off AAC play, and the Cougars defeated the Pirates 5-4 in 10 innings. ECU’s Trey Yesavage struck out 13 in six innings of work, but Josh Ekness of UH was able to keep the Cougs close over his 6.1 innings. This is a huge win for Houston, and Todd Whitting’s club is 8-2 over its last ten ballgames.
Coastal Carolina continues to punish the baseball, and the Chanticleers put up 19 hits in a 16-7 win over Georgia State. Caden Bodine, who is a switch-hitting catcher from New Jersey, was 5-for-6 in this one. Bodine is hitting third for Coastal as a true freshman.
Jacksonville State moved to 7-0 in the Atlantic Sun with a 11-4 win over Kennesaw State. The Gamecocks are 10-2 in their last twelve games.
Speaking of teams on a heater, UC San Diego beat UC Irvine 10-3 to move to 8-0 in the Big West. DH Brandon Larson homered twice, adding six RBIs.
Louisiana Tech ace Jonathan Fincher stood tall against DBU’s Ryan Johnson, holding the Patriots to two runs over six innings in the Bulldogs’ 5-2 victory. The lefthanded Fincher now has 24 career wins at La Tech, and this was an important game for jumpstarting this club in C-USA play.
Southern Miss beat Troy 4-1 in a game that lasted just two hours and nine minutes. Tanner Hall went the distance, yielding just six hits and two walks. Slade Wilks’ three-run homer was the difference for the Golden Eagles.