D1 Digest: Black Wednesday For Ranked TeamsRoundup
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Some highlights from an uncommonly compelling slate of Wednesday games…
Top 25 Upsets
• Top-ranked Vanderbilt squandered an early 5-0 lead at home against Austin Peay, which rallied from behind to win 7-6 in 10 innings. Matt Joslin came off the bench to deliver a game-tying two-run single through the right side in the ninth to force extra innings, and the Govs took the lead on Parker Phillips’ RBI fielder’s choice in the 10th. Brett Newberg earned the win with three strong innings of relief, striking out five and allowing just one run on two hits. The big victory marked Austin Peay’s second win against a top-five team in the last two years, as it also took down No. 5 Clemson last May.
We’ve repeatedly voiced concerns about the strike-throwing ability of Vanderbilt’s fleet of power arms over the last two years. On Wednesday, Vandy pitchers issued 12 walks, including five in the final two innings. The Commodores might have more high-end velocity than any staff in the country, but it will be interesting to see if they can figure out the strike-throwing piece as the season unfolds.
• VCU handed No. 5 North Carolina its first loss of the season, 11-8 in Chapel Hill. In a back-and-forth affair, the Tar Heels led 7-5 after five innings, but the Rams surged ahead with five runs in the sixth, highlighted by Liam Hibbits’ two-run single. Catcher Hunter Vay aded a three-run homer in the fourth, helping to spearhead VCU’s 12-hit attack. Freshman righty Evan Chenier earned the victory with four innings of one-run relief. The Rams improved to 4-4 on the season, while dropping UNC to 8-1.
• UCF bounced back from a series loss to Auburn by taking down No. 7 Florida 12-9 in Gainesville on Wednesday night. Tyler Osik and Brandon Hernandez had three hits apiece and combined to score five runs and drive in three more for the Knights, who added three crucial insurance runs to their 9-8 lead in the ninth inning. The Gators dropped to 1-3 in midweek action, and 6-4 overall.
• College of Charleston knocked off No. 20 Coastal Carolina 8-5, improving the Cougars to 7-2 overall (with a quality series win over UConn on the resume as well). Charleston built a 7-0 lead through three innings, highlighted by Danny Wondrack’s two-run homer in the first, then held off Coastal’s comeback attempt. Nathan Ocker continued to dominate at the back end of the Charleston bullpen, working 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts to log his second save.
• UTSA knocked off No. 22 Texas 10-7 in Austin. The Roadrunners erased a 6-0 deficit with eight runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Griffin Paxton and a two-run single by Joshua Lamb, who led the offense with three hits and three RBIs. UTSA has won four straight to improve to 6-3 on the young season.
Other Top 25 Results
• No. 2 LSU clobbered Southern 17-4 to remain unbeaten at 8-0. Antoine Duplantis (4-for-5, 5 RBI) had a big game to lead LSU’s 18-hit barrage, and Eric Walker worked two hitless innings with three strikeouts to earn the win.
• Lefthander C.J. Smith (5 IP, 3H, 0 R) turned in a strong start for No. 9 Georgia in an 11-1 win over Kennesaw State. Aaron Schunk went 3-for-5 to lead the Bulldogs’ offense.
• No. 12 Mississippi State utterly dominated Southeastern Louisiana in a 12-0 win. The Bulldogs out-hit the Lions 12-2, as Jake Mangum went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, and Justin Foscue set the tone early with a first-inning grand slam in support of an outstanding Peyton Plumlee (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K).
• Kyle Stowers went 3-for-4, and Brandon Wulff launched a three-run homer to lead No. 11 Stanford to an 8-3 win over San Francisco. Austin Weiermiller, Carson Rudd and Zach Grech combined to work five innings of scoreless, two-hit relief for the Cardinal.
• No. 14 East Carolina rebounded from back-to-back losses to Monmouth and Air Force with a quality midweek win over Elon, 5-3. Flame-throwing sophomore Gavin Williams (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K) worked around some free passes to earn his first win, and two-way star Alec Burleson stayed hot, going 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Burleson is now hitting .588/.573/.882 with two homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs in 34 at-bats.
• Trevor Ezell went 3-for-5 to lead No. 16 Arkansas past Memphis, 10-3. Jack Kenley and Christian Franklin added key two-run singles for the Hogs, who got six combined innings of one-run ball from five relievers. Arkansas improved to 6-1.
• Tennessee continued to shut down every offense in its path, blanking Middle Tennessee 2-0. Camden Sewell (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K) and four relievers combined on a two-hit shutout for the 9-0 Vols, who posted their sixth shutout of the season. They have surrendered just five runs total in nine games. It’s official: pitching coach Frank Anderson is some kind of wizard.
• Amos Willingham (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) was stellar in Georgia Tech’s 1-0 win at Georgia State.
• NC State improved to 8-0 with a 10-1 win at Campbell. Terrell Tatum cranked a three-run homer in the second inning to put the Wolfpack ahead for good, and Reid Johnston earned the victory with three hitless innings of relief.
• Bobby Seymour had four hits including a game-tying RBI single in the sixth, and Patrick Frick delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 10th to lift Wake Forest past UNC Greensboro 2-1. Tyler Witt (5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER), Bobby Hearn (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R) and Antonio Menendez (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R) turned in strong mound work for the Deacs in a three-hitter. Wake has recovered from a rough 1-3 showing last week to climb back above .500 at 5-4.
• Miami improved to 6-2 with a 10-8 win at crosstown rival FIU. Alex Toral continued his torrid start to the season by going 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and two RBIs to lead the Miami offense, and Freedy Zamora added two hits and two RBIs.
• Rice snapped a five-game losing skid with a 25-5 shellacking of Prairie View. Bradley Gneiting and Andrew Dunlap had five hits apiece and combined for 10 RBIs to lead the Owls’ offense.
• New Mexico knocked off Arizona 5-4 in Tucson. The Lobos came from behind with three runs in the ninth, highlighted by Jared Mang’s go-ahead two-run single. UNM improved to 6-3.