Duke outfielder Kennie Taylor (Aaron Fitt)


D1 Digest: Saturday, April 14


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Team of the day


The Blue Devils aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As a matter of fact, the Devils might just be in the driver’s seat for a regional host after taking a road series from Florida State with a 6-5 triumph in 11 innings. The game-winner for the Devils came off the bat of Kennie Taylor, who smacked a solo home run in the 11th to put Duke ahead. Taylor finished the afternoon with two hits, while Max Miller also hit a home run, had two hits and three RBIs and leadoff hitter Jimmy Herron hit a home run. With the win, the Devils won their first series over FSU in Tallahassee since 1994, while also improving to 30-7 overall, 12-5 in the ACC. Duke’s RPI is up to 20. What a season it has been for Chris Pollard and Co., so far.

Player of the day

Luken Baker, TCU

The Frogs are starting to figure things out. TCU secured a road series win over Kansas on Saturday, and Baker was outstanding in a dominant 13-3 win. He hit a two-run home run early in the game before smashing a grand slam later in the contest to put an exclamation point on a victory. Baker knocked in six runs for the Horned Frogs.

The Good

Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers dropped the series opener to Troy on Friday, but bounced back in impressive fashion on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep, winning the first game 3-2 before closing out a series win with a 5-4 triumph. In the first game, Zack Hopeck put together a solid start, striking out four and allowing just two runs on four hits in 7.1 innings, while in game two, Coastal reliever Matt Eardensohn was outstanding, striking out five, not walking anyone and allowing just two hits in four innings. With the series win, the Chants are an impressive 13-3 in the Sun Belt, while also having a Top 20 RPI.

Arkansas: The Hogs dropped the series opener to South Carolina on Thursday, but fought back in solid fashion on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of the Gamecocks — 2-0 and 3-0. In the first game, Hogs lefthander Kacey Murphy flirted with a seven-inning no-hitter. And though he didn’t record it, he still had a strong start, striking out six and allowing just one hit in six shutout frames. In game two, Hogs righthander Isaiah Campbell returned to his usual self, allowing just two hits in five shutout innings.

College of Charleston: There are a couple of intriguing series in CAA action this weekend, and Charleston secured a series win over surprising Northeastern with a 5-4 triumph. C of C starting pitcher Griffin McLarty allowed four runs in five innings, while reliever Nathan Ocker was outstanding, allowing just three hits in four shutout frames. With the win, Charleston is now 27-9 overall, 9-2 in the CAA and has an RPI of 35, which is up substantially from last week.

Minnesota: John Anderson’s club has earned rave reviews from scouts so far this season, and the Gophers secured a road series win over a solid Purdue club with an 18-8 win on Saturday. The Golden Gophers have scored 40 runs in two games against the Boilermakers. Today, Micah Coffey, Terrin Vavra and Cole McDevitt each hit homers, with Vavra knocking in four runs, Coffey five and McDevitt two. With the win, the Gophers are inching closer to the Top 25. They also have an RPI of 39 with a 7-1 Big Ten record.

Texas: The Longhorns dropped a tough midweek bout to rival Texas A&M earlier this week, but have bounced back in impressive fashion against another heated rival, Oklahoma, this weekend. Texas stormed back to take the series opener before getting a late two-run home run from Zach Zubia to beat OU and take the series with a 5-3 win on Saturday. Kody Clemens had four hits, one of them a home run, while Nolan Kingham was outstanding out of the bullpen with four shutout frames. With the win, the ‘Horns are in sole possession of first place in the Big 12.

Texas Tech: Whew, how about that Red Raiders offense? Tim Tadlock’s club secured a series win over Kansas State with a 26-6 victory Saturday afternoon. With the victory, Tech has outscored K-State 47-10 in the series. On Saturday, Zach Rheams, Michael Davis and Cameron Warren hit homers. Rheams knocked in three runs, Davis had five hits and five RBIs and Warren knocked in five runs. Gabe Holt also had a big day for Tech, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Josh Jung had four hits, including a triple and two RBIs.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are starting to figure things out, or so it seems. A&M has won six-straight games after beating Alabama, 3-2, to sweep another important SEC weekend series. A&M righthander Stephen Kolek, who was moved out of the Friday role this week, put together an absolute gem in the win, allowing a run on three hits in 7.2 innings, while righthander Nolan Hoffman allowed a run in 3.1 innings to close out the contest. Logan Foster had three hits for the Aggies, while Braden Shewmake had the game-winning hit. With the win, the Aggies are up to 12 in the RPI and are now above .500 in the SEC.

Miami: Let’s face it, the Hurricanes still have a lot of work to do to make the NCAA tournament, but are taking steps in the right direction. Miami secured a road series win over Clemson with a 6-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday before dropping the finale. In the win, ‘Canes sophomore righthander Evan McKendry had a big-time performance, striking out five, walking two and allowing just a run on six hits in a complete game performance.

South Florida: USF starting pitcher Peter Strzelecki put together an absolute gem in a 13-1 road win over East Carolina. Strzelecki struck out four, walked one and allowed a run on five hits in a complete game performance. Offensively, Coco Montes hit a pair of homers and knocked in five runs. Joe Genord also hit a home run, tallied two hits and knocked in three runs, while Kyle Phillips recorded four hits.

Florida: The Gators had a week to remember. They began it by finishing off a season series sweep of Florida State. They ended by sweeping Missouri at home. UF won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 10-2, with Jackson Kowar striking out nine and allowing two runs in seven innings, while Nelson Maldonado and JJ Schwarz each hit a home run. In the nightcap, a 7-2 win, Keenan Bell launched a two-run home run and Tyler Dyson struck out six and allowed a run on four hits in five innings.

Kentucky: The Wildcats and Bulldogs split the first two games of the series, with the ‘Cats winning on Friday night and the ‘Dogs fighting back to win the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The two teams played an outstanding series finale, a game in which UK prevailed, 1-0. UK righthander Justin Lewis put together a strong start, striking out eight, walking two and allowing seven hits in six shutout innings, while Chris Machamer closed out the contest. That’s back-to-back series wins for the Wildcats.

St. John’s: The Johnnies have been up and down at times this season, but Ed Blankmeyer’s club made a bold statement by sweeping Creighton at home this weekend. The Johnnies swept a Saturday doubleheader, taking the first game 5-1 before winning the nightcap, 4-3. In the first game, Johnnies starting pitcher Kevin Magee struck out seven, walked one and allowed a run on six hits in seven innings, while in the second, Michael LoPresti allowed a run on two hits in seven innings, while Josh Shaw had a pair of hits and two RBIs.

The Bad

St. Peter’s: Say it isn’t true, Peacocks. So, our Eric Sorenson actually headed to the Northeast this weekend — in part to see Creighton and St. John’s, and also to see the Peacocks against Rider. Rider entered the weekend with an RPI of 286, so surely the Peacocks ended their ridiculous losing streak, right? Wrong. The Broncs won the series opener before sweeping St. Peter’s with wins by scores of 9-2 and 17-7 on Saturday. The Peacocks’ losing streak has increased to 65 games.

Virginia: The Cavaliers haven’t missed the postseason in the Brian O’Connor era, but that’s looking more likely by the day. The ‘Hogs took a step forward in the series opener against North Carolina, but took steps back on Saturday, allowing 20 runs in two games to the Tar Heels. With the setbacks, UVa. is now 116 in the RPI with a 7-11 mark in the ACC. So, while the Cavaliers are far from “done” in the postseason picture, they’d have to finish the second half of the season on a hellacious run.

Arizona State: It’s been a season to forget so far for the Sun Devils. The Devils actually had a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning against Stanford, but blew the lead as the Cardinal erupted for nine runs on the way to a series-clinching 11-6 victory. With the loss, ASU is now 14-21 overall with a 143 RPI. In other words, the Devils need somewhat of a miracle to make the postseason. At least there’s Spencer Torkelson to provide some fireworks.

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs are having a weekend to forget. They dropped a tough midweek bout on the road to LSU earlier this week before taking a big step back on Saturday with a pair of losses to Charlotte — 9-1 and 6-4. Tech is known this season for its starting pitching, and the first game was a surprise with Matt Miller allowing five runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. The setbacks aren’t good for Tech’s postseason resume, as its already iffy RPI dropped to 85, which is a -25 change from last week. Ouch.

National Notables

• Bucknell recorded a doubleheader sweep of Holy Cross, and starting pitcher Connor Van Hoose had an afternoon to remember, striking out 12, walking just one and allowing two hits in seven shutout innings in a 6-0 victory.

• Kent State crushed Northern Illinois 14-0 this afternoon, and was led by stud starting pitcher Eli Kraus, who struck out six, walked one and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout. Also, let’s give some love to Pavin Parks, who hit a grand slam in the victory.

• Just 24 hours after getting no-hit by Harvard, Yale’s Eric Brodkowitz rose to the occasion in a 4-1 win over the Crimson. Brodkowitz struck out seven, walked one and allowed a run on four this in a complete game performance.

• It was a fun afternoon in the Ivy League, especially if you like good pitching. Princeton and Pennsylvania split a doubleheader, and the headliner of the day was Tigers starting pitcher Ben Gross, who struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone and allowed nine hits in a complete game shutout.

• Longwood swept a doubleheader from UNC Asheville with the two games going rather differently. For instance, the Lancers won the first game 15-12 before sweeping the series with a 5-0 win in the nightcap. How about Longwood starting pitcher Tyler Morgan? He struck out 13, walked just two and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout.

• Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, with Demons starting pitcher Ridge Heisler putting together the headliner performance. Heisler struck out five and allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout in the first game.

• Central Arkansas swept a doubleheader from UT Martin at home, scoring 13 runs in the two games. Righthander Tyler Gray was the headliner in the DH, striking out 12, walking just one and allowing three hits in a complete game shutout.

• Oregon State had a loud weekend, finishing off game two Saturday afternoon with a 10-2 win over Missouri State. The Beavers were outstanding across the board against the Bears and saw their RPI take a sizable leap.

• UMass-Lowell swept a doubleheader from UMBC, outscoring the Terriers 17-2 in the two games. In a seven-inning finale, Lowell starting pitcher Andrew Ryan struck out 10, didn’t walk anyone and allowed five hits in seven shutout innings.

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