KJ Harrison, Oregon State

KJ Harrison, Oregon State (Shotgun Spratling)


D1 Digest: Saturday, April 1


Team of the day: Oregon State

The Beavers are absolutely on fire. After not losing a game in the month of March, the nation’s top-ranked team didn’t skip a beat in a 15-7 win over No. 11 Stanford. We aren’t surprised by the Beavs winning and taking the series from the Cardinal, but the how is another story. OSU starting pitcher Bryce Fehmel was lifted after allowing five runs on six hits in three innings. However, fear no more, the Beavers offense rose to the occasion with a whopping 25 hits against a very solid Stanford pitching staff. It was also the most runs scored in a game by OSU since putting 16 on the board against UCLA back in 2005. Who was the key offensively? OSU’s Michael Gretler had a pair of doubles, three hits and two RBIs, while Nick Madrigal had three this and three RBIs and the duo of Steven Kwan and K.J. Harrison combined for eight hits and four RBIs.

Player of the day: South Carolina’s Clarke Schmidt

After dropping the series opener to Auburn on Friday, South Carolina desperately needed a strong start from the junior righthander. Well, he gave Chad Holbrook exactly what was needed, striking out 10, walking three and allowing just three hits in eight shutout innings in a 7-0 win over No. 17 Auburn.

South Carolina’s Clarke Schmidt silenced Auburn.

Honorable Mention

Michigan third baseman Drug Lugbauer had an afternoon to remember at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of homers, four runs scored and four RBIs in a dominant 15-2 win over Penn State.

Old Dominion starting pitcher Adam Bainbridge had an afternoon to remember in a 2-0 win over Charlotte. He struck out seven, walked just one and allowed four hits in a complete game performance.

Louisiana Tech senior righthander Nate Harris put his team on his back after dropping the first two games this weekend to gritty UTSA. Harris struck out eight, didn’t walk anyone and allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout performance.

Illinois freshman righthander Ty Weber put together a strong start in a narrow win over Indiana State at home. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed just a run on four hits in a complete game performance.

Campbell righthander Alex Yarem had a strong start in a dominant 6-0 win over Charleston Southern. He struck out five, walked just one and allowed five hits in a complete game performance.

Winthrop righthander Nate Pawelczyk had a terrific start in a 4-1 road win over Creighton. The righty struck out nine, walked one and allowed just three hits in eight shutout innings.

Vanderbilt might not have taken care Kentucky on Saturday, but All-American outfielder Jeren Kendall had an afternoon to remember with a pair of homers, three hits and four RBIs.

Upset of the day: Alabama over Arkansas

The Hogs headed to Alabama as one of the hottest teams in college baseball, but were finally cooled down a bit Saturday night in a 7-1 setback to the Crimson Tide. Righthander Trevor Stephan had a night to forget, allowing four runs on four hits in 1.1 innings, while Dylan Duarte put together a strong start for the Tide, striking out six, not walking anyone and allowing just a run on six hits in 8.1 innings. Hunter Alexander, Cody Henry and Tanner DeVinny each led the way offensively with a pair of hits.

And in Florida … Florida Gulf Coast was finally cooled off on Saturday in a 10-5 setback to Jacksonville State. JU’s Mike Cassala had a big day at the plate with a double, three hits and four RBIs. Meanwhile, FGCU’s Josh Dye was touched up for three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings.

National Takeaways

Mississippi State caps off outstanding weekend

Could life be much better for MSU fans right now? The Bulldogs have a chance to win a Final Four in one major sport, while in baseball, Andy Cannizaro’s club won their sixth-straight SEC contest in a 2-1 road win over Ole Miss to sweep the three-game set. MSU righthander Jake Mangum put together a gritty start, striking out three, walking two and allowing a run on two hits in five innings, while Brent Rooker had yet another strong offensive day with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Just a couple of weeks ago, MSU looked like a team trying to find some sort of identity, and it might’ve found that in Oxford this weekend. In addition to the series win over the Rebels, the Bulldogs have climbed all the way to the top 20 in the latest RPI.

Minnesota on the move in the Big Ten

The Golden Gophers were a team with several question marks not too long ago, but they’re once again getting the job done in conference play. Minnesota did a clean sweep of Ohio State last weekend and clinched a series win over Michigan State with a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. In a 3-2 win , Lucas Gilbreath had a quality start, striking out eight, walking three and allowing two runs on three hits in six innings, while in a 4-3 victory to take the series, leadoff hitter Terrin Vavra set the tone for the contest with three hits to lead the way.

When in doubt, always lean on Texas Tech’s Steven Gingery

He’s considered the premier starting pitcher in the Big 12 Conference for a reason. After dropping the series opener to the Sooners on Friday, the talented lefthander wasn’t going to let his team fall again, as the Red Raiders beat OU 9-4 with Gingery striking out 10, walking one and allowing four hits in six shutout innings. Tech also got its offense going even without injured Tanner Gardner, as Cody Farhat, his replacement, went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.

Pure craziness occurs in Tallahassee

Florida State’s pitching staff was terrific for much of the night against North Carolina. The Seminoles got a strong start from Tyler Holton, who struck out eight and walked one in seven hitless innings. The Seminoles carried a 2-0 lead and a no-hitter into the ninth inning. They found a way to lose to the Tar Heels 5-2 in 11 innings. How, exactly? Walks and errors hurt FSU in the ninth before Michael Busch tied the game with an RBI single. Then, in the 11th, Cody Roberts had an RBI single and Brian Miller hit an RBI to help lead the offense in the frame. It was a truly gut-wrenching way for FSU to drop the series.

East Carolina begins American play with series loss

The Pirates have been a little up and down so far this season and you saw that again this weekend. While ECU experienced success against Towson last weekend, it has failed to take care of business this weekend, dropping an AAC series at home to Connecticut with a 3-2 setback. ECU banged out 13 hits against UConn pitching, but couldn’t get runs across. ECU starting pitcher Trey Benton struck out five, walked two and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in seven innings, while Huskies starter Wills Montgomerie struck out six, walked one and allowed a run in seven innings. Speaking of this series, keep a close eye on Rob Penders’ Huskies the rest of the season with lefty Tim Cate now healthy.

Florida’s Singer dominant in series-clincher over Mizzou

There’s zero doubt Steve Bieser’s Tigers are much better this season, but they’ve dropped some crucial SEC contests as of late. For instance, Mizzou dropped a home series to Arkansas last weekend and have now lost the series to Florida after suffering a 4-3 setback on Saturday. TJ Sikkema threw five shutout innings out of the bullpen for Missouri, but it didn’t matter with Florida righthander Brady Singer on the mound. Singer struck out four, walked three and allowed a run on three hits in a complete game performance.

Virginia bounces back against Louisville

The Cavaliers dropped the series opener to the Cardinals, but boy did they respond in impressive fashion on Saturday with an easy 11-2 triumph. Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith had a huge afternoon at the plate, hitting a homer and a double, while also knocking in five runs. Meanwhile, catcher Caleb Knight knocked in a pair of runs and Nate Eikhoff had two hits, as the Cavaliers touched up UL starting pitcher Kade McClure for five runs (three earned) on four hits in 4.1 innings. As for the Hoos, starting pitcher Evan Sperling was lifted after allowing two runs in three innings, while Alec Bettinger was outstanding out of the bullpen, striking out three in six shutout innings to provide a boost.

Virginia’s Pavin Smith had a big day at the plate. (Aaron Fitt)

— Kentucky clinches another SEC series win

What a story the Wildcats continue to be this season. UK improved its overall record to 21-7 and league record to an outstanding 7-1 in a series-clinching 7-4 win over Vanderbilt. Rising UK lefthander Zach Logue put together a strong start, striking out seven, walking one and allowing a run on six hits in eight innings, while Evan White, Tyler Marshall and Kole Cottam each had two hits in the contest. As a unit, the Wildcats touched up All-American righthander Kyle Wright for seven runs in five innings. Wright, by the way, now has a 5.59 ERA in 37 innings, while teams are hitting him at a high .296 clip.

— Washington captures important non-conference series win

The Huskies have shown us something this weekend. They hit the road last weekend and lost a tough Pac-12 series to Oregon. However, they rallied in the series opener against Baylor to win Friday night and captured a series win with a more impressive showing on Saturday in a dominant 6-0 triumph. UW scored three runs in the first inning to set the tone, as catcher Joey Morgan had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Meanwhile, UW starting pitcher Chris Micheles left the game after two innings and Jordan Jones was masterful out of the bullpen. While this weekend was a step forward for UW, Baylor has now dropped three-straight series.

— Texas A&M might’ve saved its season in Baton Rouge

The Aggies have been one of those ultimate see-saw types this season. A&M got off to a hot start, but scuffled the first two weekends of SEC play, getting swept by Kentucky at home and dropping two of three to Vanderbilt on the road. However, the Aggies played much better against LSU this weekend and used heroics to get the job done in the series finale, a 4-3 win for the Aggies. LSU entered the ninth inning leading A&M 3-0 and the lead was trimmed to 3-1 after Hunter Coleman laced a two-out RBI single. Then, Walker Pennington, with two on and two out, hit a towering three-run homer over the left-field wall to give A&M a 4-3 lead and a much-needed series victory. The other big development? A&M junior righthander Corbin Martin put together a strong start, striking out five, walking two and allowing just three runs on four hits in eight innings.

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