Arizona State's Alec Marsh picked up his nation-leading seventh win of the season vs. Arizona. (Eric Sorenson)

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D1 Digest: SEC, Pac 12 Aces Post Impressive Outings

Roundup

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Friday Staff Coverage:

Kendall Rogers on Arkansas’ Isaiah Campbell
Aaron Fitt on Virginia’s surge, Friday win over NC State
Shotgun Spratling on UCSB’s Friday win over Cal State Fullerton
Friday’s Top Performers


Power Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP


Oh man, talk about a good night to be at home in front of the TV. There were a couple of college baseball games on, including LSU’s win over Mississippi State, the Texas rally over Xavier and the Ole Miss-Arkansas game Kendall was at tonight. 

But it was also a big confluence of sports on my flat screen tonight. The NCAA Hockey Tournament version of March Madness started up today and the second day of the Sweet 16 basketball tournament was also underway tonight as well. Hell, Duke nearly got beat again on the hardwood. Those Blue Devils must have some wicked rabbit’s foot in their collective pockets for the second game in a row. 

So because of this I was completely fine with Aaron and Kendall tapping me to write up tonight’s D1 Digest. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect night for me to be parked on my couch and my thumb working the remote. And yes, I promise NOT to talk about the stunning upsets on the ice in D1 hockey tonight including American International University beating No. 1 overall ranked St. Cloud State.

Let’s get to the best and worst of the day on the glorious diamond…


THREE UP
The best of the day in college baseball

1- The #SCTop10 that was NOT an #SCTop10.
Virginia Tech centerfielder Nick Biddison might not have been able to help his team overcome Clemson in today’s 6-4 loss, nor did he get this play on ESPN’s Sports Center Top 10 (really? C’mon!). But he did give us one of its shining moments of the day in college baseball by robbing this home run by Logan Davidson. Check out the centerfield camera look at this play – White men CAN jump… 

 

2- The Big Aces in the SEC East
Did anybody see THIS coming? Kentucky’s Zach Thompson threw a complete game two-hitter against a really dangerous Georgia offense, striking out 13 Dawgs along the way in a 5-0 blanking. Because of Thompson’s gem, the Cats earned their first conference win of the season, improving to 1-7.  The Bulldogs came into this weekend with an SEC East-best 6-1 mark.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Tommy Mace has been a little hither-and-yon this season, but not tonight. The Gator ace threw his first career complete game holding Alabama to three hits in a 3-1 win in Gainesville. He forced the Tide to go three-up, three-down in six of the nine innings on the mound. Wow. Three-hole hitter Nelson Maldonado provided Mr. Mace with all the offense he would need with a groundout RBI in the first and an RBI single up the middle in the fifth inning. Considering Bama’s solid start to the season, the Tide dropped to 2-5 in SEC play this early season. 

3- Pac 12 Aces Leading the country in Ws.
Arizona State’s Alec Marsh and Oregon State’s Brandon Eisert kept pace with the biggest winners in D1 baseball tonight as the Sun Devils took down rival Arizona 8-2 and the Beavers edged Washington 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel. 

Marsh went 6.1 innings, giving up just three hits and two runs to improve to 7-0, which now leads the nation in wins. Those two runs allowed actually raised his ERA to 0.94 on the season. Worry not, that’s still pretty ridiculous. 

Meanwhile, Eisert was making just the second start in his Beaver career and out-dueled Washington starter David Rhodes. Eisert held the Huskies to zero runs on four hits in 6.1 innings to improve to 6-0. Eisert threw a career-high 98 pitches and struck out nine Husky batters. Christian Chamberlain and Mitchell Verberg threw the final 2.2 innings to save the day.

 

Honorable Mentions
– Nice bounce-back win for the Tigers
LSU had lost four straight games coming into this second game of the series at Mississippi State but got a 13-hit outburst to account for a 10-5 win in Stark Vegas tonight. The offense was led by five-hole hitter Chris Reid, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI, nabbing singles in each of his first three at-bats. I was hoping to see more contributions from the bottom of the order but Giovanni DiGiacomo, CJ Willis, Brock Mathis and Brandt Broussard combined to go just 3-for-16, though Willis did collect three RBI himself. Tiger frosh Cole Henry looked good early, going 5.0 innings and giving up four runs on five hits, but he had seven Ks in his first four innings. 

– BYU’s Easton Walker continues a perfect season
The nation’s last remaining pitcher with a 0.00 ERA is still a perfect 0.00 after tonight’s 11-0 win over St. Mary’s. In this one Walker went 6.0 innings, giving up just three hits, three walks and of course zero runs. By the way, this was also the second night in a row that the Cougars scored five runs in the first inning as they have improved to 20-5 on the season.

– Call the school nurse because Reid Detmers continues to be sick
The Louisville ace has been nearly impenetrable this season and it continued today in the Cardinals’ 6-1 win over Wake Forest. Coming into today’s start, Detmers had given up just 18 hits, 13 of those singles and five doubles. His opponents batting average was .129. Well today only added to his legend as he struck out 10 Deacons and gave up just one run in 7.1 innings. Detmers is now 5-1 on the year. Oh and the Cards also won the second game of this DH, 10-7.

– Zach Minnick, Campbell.
The senior backstop for the Camels had quite the defensive night for CU, throwing out three attempted base stealers in their 5-3 win over Presbyterian. Minnick also led the Camels by going 2-for-3 on the night with a double. Minnick now has thrown out 10 base stealers on the season.  

– The Mighty Quinn.
Northwestern starting pitcher Quinn Lavelle tossed his second career complete game shutout in the Wildcats’ 1-0 win over San Jose State. The big lefty struck out seven, walked one and gave up just two hits, while also surrendering less than three runs for the eighth time in his last nine starts.

– Grant Schuermann, UCF
The Golden Knights got a huge full-game performance from their big lefty, who out-dueled Team USA pitcher Mason Feole in the 2-1 win over UConn tonight. Schuermann gave up just four hits and one walk to pick up his second win on the season. His only glitch was giving up a fifth-inning solo shot to Christian Fedko. UCF got the game-winning hit from Matthew Mika, whose RBI single in the eighth was the deciding factor.

– Parsons, the Hunter.
It hasn’t been a great early season for Maryland yet, but it got much better tonight as starting pitcher Hunter Parsons out-dueled Indiana’s Pauly Milto, holding opposing hitters to two hits and no runs with five Ks in a 2-0 win over Indiana. Parsons went 8.0 innings and threw 114 pitches, issuing three walks along with way. John Murphy came on to pick up his fifth save of the season with a four-up, three-down ninth inning.

– Sac State goes WAC-ky at the plate
The Sacramento State Hornets scored the most runs in the history of their being in the Western Athletic Conference play by beating Cal Baptist 21-10. It also marks the fifth most runs in the history of Sac State’s Division I history. Dawsen Bacho was moved into the leadoff spot in the order and responded by going 4-for-6 with a career-high five RBI. In all, the Hornets collected 19 hits and 11 walks while also taking advantage of the Lancers’ committing five errors.

– The Runnin’ Bulldogs dynamic duo
Gardner-Webb won a track meet-style 19-11 game over USC-Upstate by collecting season highs in runs (19) and hits 18) due to headliners Justin Kunz and Chandler Redmond. The fellow seniors both hit a pair of home runs and a double in the rout of the Spartans. Kunz ended the game going a perfect 5-for-5 with four RBI and Redmond ended up going 4-for-5 with seven RBI.

– Chase Smartt, Troy.
The senior catcher provided the winning run in Troy’s 5-4 win tonight over Louisiana in jog-off fashion. Smartt went just 1-for-3 but did supply two RBI and the only real reason he is on this Honorable Mention list is because this picture is so great. It really shows the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Enjoy… 

The Chase is on! Troy’s Chase Smartt gets a game-winning shower from his teammates after beating Louisiana tonight.


THREE DOWN
The worst of the day in college baseball

1- The blown upset. Twice.
Xavier could’ve pulled off the biggest upset of the night tonight, but instead allowed No. 13 Texas to come from behind twice in extra innings to drop a 6-5 decision in 12 innings. The X got a gift in the top of the 10th inning by scoring the go-ahead run with the help of a pair of wild pitches to take a 3-2 lead. But with just one out to get, Duke Ellis come through with an RBI single up the middle to tie it at threes. Then, in the top of the 12th inning Jake Shepski drove in a pair of runs on a single to the left side, giving the Musketeers a somewhat safe two-run lead. But… nah-ah. The Burnt Orange wasn’t fazed. With the bases loaded and a run already in, that man Ellis came through again, stroking a two-run ground rule double over the fence, allowing the Longhorns to pull out an unlikely 6-5 win in 12 innings. 

2- Illinois gets Nile Kinnick’d
The Illini dropped an 8-4 decision at Iowa by first giving up a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning and then giving up four runs on two hits and four walks in the eighth inning. To the Hawkeyes credit, they displayed some clutch-hitting, earning all eight runs with two out in the inning. Austin Martin went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI while Chris Whelan scored the game-tying run in the seventh and accounted in the game-winning run in the eighth with a bases-loaded walk. This was the Hawkeyes’ third win over a Top 25 ranked team this season. 

3- Chris Wright, Bryant
No, Chris Wright is not on this list because he had a bad game today. No, Chris Wright is not on this list because he hit two home runs in the Bulldogs 10-2 win over LIU. No, Chris Wright is not on this list because he knocked in four runs. And no, Chris Wright is not on this list because I have a secret hatred for players that do really well from small programs in the Northeast. Chris Wright is on this list because of this dance… 

 

Dishonorable Mentions
– Bad way to end the game
The old staying goes that you should never make the first out or the last out at third base. Michigan State’s Dan Chmielewski did not heed that advice. Or maybe I should say his third base coach, Jake Boss, did not heed that advice. While making a last inning rally against their rival at Michigan, Chmielewski slashed a ball down the left field line to score a run, but then he tried to get a little greedy… 

– Zach Pettway looking very unlike Zach Pettway
The No. 1-ranked Bruins of UCLA took it on the chin to their arch-rival in tonight’s 7-2 loss at USC. The biggest problem was the Bruin starting pitcher not quite on top of his game as he has been most of the season. Of course, before I write about that, let’s be sure to give the Trojan bats a large amount of credit for mistreating pitches all night long from the batter’s box. But Bruin starter Zach Pettway went 7.0 innings, giving up 10 hits and three walks to lead to the demise of the Boys of Westwood. Although he threw 71 strikes in his 109 pitches, he gave up a fifth inning two-run homer by Trojan leadoff man Matt Acosta, accounting for the game-winning runs for SC.

– Call it Island Fever
Holy cow, UC Irvine had one baaaaaad outing at Hawaii tonight. For those of you on the mainland who hit the rack early, the Anteaters, with All American ace Andre Pallante on the mound and everything, got blown out of the tropical waters 10-2 by the Rainbows. Pallante went 5.0 innings, giving up five runs on five hits to take his second loss of the season. Five Anteater pitchers combined to give up 10 hits and eight walks. Cleanup hitter Ethan Lopez paced the Rainbows with four RBI on two hits including a bases-loaded triple to turn this game into a woodshed job… or a tiki hut job.

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