D1 Digest: Tuesday, March 7Roundup
Team of the Day: Texas Tech
The lone showdown between ranked teams on Tuesday featured an intriguing matchup between No. 9 Arizona and No. 6 Texas Tech in Lubbock. It turned out to be anti-climactic, as the Red Raiders scored in every inning from the second through the sixth en route to a 13-1 blowout victory. Hunter Hargrove, Tanner Gardner, Michael Berglund and Cameron Warren each posted multi-hit games for the Red Raiders, who really broke the game open with six runs in the sixth inning.
Texas Tech (12-2) has played four straight games against ranked opponents from power conferences, winning three of them. The Raiders are also 5-0 against the Pac-12 now after sweeping a four-game series from Cal and taking down Arizona. They are building a very nice body of work heading into conference play, which begins March 17 at Texas.
Upset of the Day: FGCU over Florida
This was an “upset” because Florida is really good, but it’s time to take notice of Florida Gulf Coast, a good, experienced club that is on a roll. The Eagles knocked off the second-ranked Gators on Tuesday, 7-3, to run their winning streak to seven games. That stretch includes a sweep of CAA favorite UNC Wilmington this past weekend (highlighted by coach Dave Tollett’s 500th career victory Sunday), a quality midweek win against Florida Atlantic last Tuesday, and the final two games of a series against a solid Bethune-Cookman club. At 11-2, FGCU is putting itself on the Top 25 radar with another game against Florida looming Wednesday in Gainesville.
Veteran righthander Mario Leon (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) picked up his first win of the season on Tuesday, and FGCU took control of the game with four runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Julio Gonzalez’s three-run triple. An error by Florida third baseman Jonathan India opened the door to that rally; all four runs were unearned.
On The Struggle Bus: Miami & Rice
Miami has been to 44 consecutive regionals, and Rice has been to 22 in a row, so it’s jarring to see the Hurricanes stumbling along at 4-7 and the Owls at 4-9. Both were preseason Top 25 teams, but right now they’ve both got big problems.
In the first game of the long-awaited renewal of its series against Florida International, Miami was clobbered 12-1 on Tuesday. JC Escarra homered and drove in four to lead the FIU offense in support of righty Robert Garcia — who carried a no-hitter into the seventh and struck out a career-high nine against Miami’s anemic offense. Through 11 games, Miami is hitting .178 as a team and averaging 2.5 runs per game.
Rice’s biggest problem, meanwhile, is on the mound — the Owls were thumped 10-4 on Tuesday at Lamar, and they now sport a 5.12 staff ERA. Rice actually led the game 4-1 after four innings, but Lamar surged ahead on Mike Leal’s pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth, then tacked on four insurance runs in the eighth. Robin Adames had three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who improved to 8-5.
It won’t be easy for Rice to reverse its fortunes this weekend, when it takes on No. 12 Stanford in a four-game series. Miami also has a challenging week ahead: a rematch with FIU on Wednesday (this time on the road) followed by a three-game set against powerful Georgia Tech in its ACC-opening series this weekend. We’ll find out just what these two teams are made of very soon.
Around The Nation
• No. 3 Florida State won the first game of a two-day midweek set against UCF with a 5-2 victory Tuesday. The Knights had entered the game with an 11-1 record, so this was a good test for both teams. Rhett Aplin was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and Quincy Nieporte drove in three runs for FSU, which got a combined five innings of hitless, scoreless relief from Alec Byrd, Chase Haney and Drew Carlton.
• No. 22 Baylor stayed hot with a 6-5 win at Southland favorite Sam Houston State. The Bears broke a 5-5 tie with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, and that proved decisive. Veterans Steven McLean and Matt Menard had two hits apiece to lead Baylor’s balanced 10-hit attack. Those upstart Bears are now 12-1, with a big series looming against No. 23 Houston.
• No. 11 Cal State Fullerton took the first game of a two-game midweek set at Arizona State, 10-4. John Gavin, whose Sunday start was rained out, started for the Titans and was not sharp, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings, but Blake Workman followed with four innings of shutout relief, and eight Titans recorded hits as part of a balanced attack.
• Top-ranked TCU continues to rack up quality wins against legitimate contenders. The Frogs followed up three straight wins against ranked opponents in Houston this weekend with a 3-2 win against Missouri Valley favorite Dallas Baptist in 10 innings. The Patriots took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh, but the Frogs answered right back with a run in the bottom of the frame on Luken Baker’s RBI single, then won it on Cam Warner’s walk-off single up the middle in the 10th, scoring baker. Lefty Dalton Horton started for TCU and racked up eight strikeouts over four innings of one-run, two-hit ball.
• No. 18 East Carolina ran its winning streak to nine games with a 12-7 win at College of Charleston. Travis Watkins, Eric Tyler and T.J. Riles had three hits apiece to lead ECU’s 15-hit barrage.
• No. 16 Ole Miss and No. 25 Vanderbilt both needed to lick their wounds after rough weekends, and both got back on track with victories Tuesday. The Rebels — who suspended captains Colby Bortles and Tate Blackman before the game for a violation of team rules — got superb pitching from Ryan Rolison (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R), Greer Holston (2 IP, 0 R) and Will Stokes (2 IP, 0 R) in a 1-0 shutout of Georgia State.
The Commodores overcame an early 3-1 defidict with five runs in the fifth inning and never looked back, beating Central Arkansas 10-5. Jason Delay hit a three-run homer and Reed Hayes went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to lead Vandy’s 10-hit attack.
• Louisiana Tech improved to 12-1 on the season with a 3-2 win at Mississippi State. The bullpen troubles continue for MSU, which led 2-0 after seven innings but couldn’t hold the lead. Sean Ullrich’s two-run double in the eighth tied it, and Louisiana Tech won it on a throwing error by the catcher after a strikeout. Oof.
• Kentucky ran its winning streak to six games with a 15-1 shellacking of dangerous Wright State. The Wildcats have some real momentum after sweeping UC Santa Barbara and winning Sunday’s game 12-1; they have now scored 12 or more runs in four of the six games during this winning streak. Leadoff man Marcus Carson (4-for-6, 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B) and slugger Zach Reks (2-for-4, 2B, 5 RBI) led UK’s 13-hit attack behind Brad Schaenzer (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K).
• Oklahoma State followed up a 2-1 showing at the Frisco College Baseball Classic with a nice 7-3 win against Missouri State, which had carried a 10-1 record into the meeting. Colin Simpson and Michael Neustifter had three hits apiece to lead the OSU offense, and Carson Teel (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) earned the win with brilliant relief work.
• In the other intriguing Big 12/Missouri Valley showdown Tuesday, Wichita State bounced back from getting swept by Louisiana Tech with a Tuesday win against Oklahoma (which had been 13-1 heading into Tuesday). Greyson Jenista went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead the Shockers.
• South Alabama has scuffled the last two weeks, but it busted out Tuesday with a 14-3 blowout win at Auburn. The game was actually scoreless through four, but the Jags exploded for six runs in the fifth, five in the sixth and three more in the seventh before the game was called due to inclement weather. Travis Swaggerty and Eddie Paparella combined for seven hits and nine RBIs for USA.
• Jack Zoellner homered, had three hits and two RBIs to lead New Mexico to an 8-2 win at in-state rival New Mexico State. Both teams have gotten off to solid starts; the Logos improved to 8-3.