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Saturday D1 Digest: Dynamic Duke, Arkansas + Nebraska headline

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I’ve made mention of this before, but it came into account once again today as I was given the D1 Digest duties for Saturday. One of the best things about living out here in Pacific time zone is waking up in the morning and there are already college baseball games being played. I hit the rack late last night (still depressed over my Bluejays loss to Tennessee in hoops) and didn’t wake up until right about 9:30am. 

Immediately I hit the D1 scoreboard and I already saw these among the handful of scores flash across the screen… 

And that’s what I love, It sorta feels like I’ve got ‘round the clock college baseball in my corner of the world. Call it an occupational luxury. And check out that Seton HallMercer game, already in the eighth inning by the time I woke up. Checking the Bears website, turns out the game started at 10am local time and it wasn’t part of a doubleheader so it must’ve been one of those “travel consideration” type of games. 

So let’s get you caught up on the goings-ons of college baseball on this Saturday. The good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll harken back to my College Baseball Today days and present this review to you in old-school Three-up, Three-down style. 

Here’s the best and worst of our day in college baseball. 


THREE UP

The best of the day in college baseball

1- Duke out-dukes Virginia again.

For the second time this season the Duke Blue Devils locked down a series win over a Top 10 team, this time taking down Virginia in Durham with the help of today’s 7-4 win. If you recall, a few weeks ago the Fighting Coach Ks took down then-No. 1 ranked Wake Forest in two of three games on the road. Today saw the Devils come back from a 3-2 deficit to plate five runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull ahead for good. Pinch hitter Chad Knight provided the key hit as he came in cold out of the dugout to slap a two-run single which made it 4-3 Blue Devils. 

Coach Chris Pollard would say of Knight after the game, “He has provided unbelievable leadership for us all year. He has been locked in on every pitch and it was really cool and really special for me to see him step into that moment and have that big at-bat.”

2- No place like home for the Razorbacks

Who here thinks Baum Stadium is an easy W for any road team?… Crickets… That’s what I thought. Well LSU certainly found out this weekend as today’s 7-5 loss to Arkansas made them 0-for-3 in Fayetteville for the second time in a row (they went 0-3 at Baum in 2022 as well). With the win, the Hogs have made it 17 straight home wins which is the longest home win streak in Baum Stadium history. Leadoff hitter Peyton Stovall notched a big-time two-run homer in the sixth inning as part of a three-RBI day. Oh, and UofA’s 8-1 start to SEC play ties the best start in conference play in the Dave Van Horn era. 

3- A nice weekend rebound for Clemson

Traveling to South Miami to play the Hurricanes at Mark Light Stadium ain’t an easy assignment, even in this not-quite-the-usual-Miami type of season. Then, in Thursday’s first game, the Tigers suffered 15 strikeouts and allowed two Cane runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 3-2. But these Tigers didn’t trip over their lip, coming back with a 3-2 win of their own on Friday night. Then today, the Fighting IPTAY’s dominated the Hurricanes in a 7-0 win. For the second game in a row CU came out and put up a crooked number in the first inning to set the tone. Leadoff man Cam Cannarella started the game with a double down the line, eventually scoring, and also smashed a three-run double down the left field line in the sixth to cement the win. Aidan Knaak struck out 10 Hurricanes in the shutout.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

– Can somebody please put the Cornhuskers in the rankings?

With today’s 9-5 win at Northwestern, the Big Red has quietly won nine straight games and are still ranked at No. 11 in the RPI. Okay, okay, I know, they only beat Northwestern, it’s not that impressive. Tap the brakes Bald-E. And it’s true. But the Huskers are now 19-5 and have played the 26th-toughest non-conference schedule in the country, according to the RPI (No. 83 schedule in the ISR). And plus, check out this towering grand slam by Josh Caron, who went yard with the bases stacked…

NC State walks off Notre Dame for the second day in a row

The Wolfpack were not very kind to their visitors from the North, beating the Fighting Irish for the second day in a row by the same 7-6 score. And as you see above it was also the second straight day where they won it in the bottom of the ninth inning. In today’s 7-6 win, the Irish looked to be in charge by plating two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 6-4 lead on a David Glancy two-run homer. But the Pack wouldn’t sit idly by as Garrett Pennington answered back with a three-run ding-dong in the bottom of the frame to win it in one fell swoop. Check out this slo-mo clip of the colossal shot by Pennington… 

– Extra inning explosions

Stanford and Oklahoma State haven’t had the types of seasons they have wanted, but today they both had impressive 11th innings in road games at Utah and West Virginia. Stanford turned a 6-6 tie with the Utes into a 13-6 rout. The Cardinal scored seven runs on seven hits, led by Trevor Haskins’ two-run double. Meanwhile, across the country, the Cowboys turned a 1-1 tie in Morgantown into a 10-1 blowout with nine runs in the 11th. The Pokes got some help as two runs scored due to wild pitches but Colin Brueggemann crushed a solo shot home run and also came up later to score a two-run single as well.

– Parks lives up to his name

North Carolina slugger Parks Harber has been on a tear, including today’s three homer day vs. Wake Forest. He hit solo shots in the second and fourth innings. Then, in the sixth inning, he clubbed a two-run shot to put the Tar Heels up 5-3. His final two at-bats saw him get walked and pop up to center. But the Heels ended up beating the Deacons 10-4.

– Speaking of homers… 

Tennessee’s Dylan Dreiling only had two hits in today’s 16-11 win over Georgia, but he accounted for seven RBIs in the game due to the fact that Dreiling (which auto-corrects to “Drilling” on my laptop… which might be appropriate) crushed a three-run tater in the first inning and then a grand slam in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs never recovered from that.

– How ‘bout some glove work here…

Okay, enough gorilla ball, check out this sweet double play from Illinois. The Illini posted an impressive DH sweep of Penn State,17-6 and 12-8, but everything pales in comparison to this web gem that will certainly make the SportsCenter Top 10… 


THREE DOWN

The worst of the day in college baseball

1- Oklahoma, oh my.

This is a big headscratcher for me. Today, the Sooners lost their third straight game at home to Lamar, by a score of 6-3. Granted, the Cardinals are nothing to sneeze at as they came into the weekend with a 19-5 mark and an RPI in the mid-80s. Yeah but still… I did not expect a three-game sweep on Sooner grounds. After giving up 12 runs on Thursday and 13 runs on Friday, at least the Sooners arms were a little bit more locked in. And this in spite of the fact that the Sooners offense supplied nine hits and seven walks and could still only score three runs. 

2- Georgia Tech gets swept at home by Boston College

Let me get this right, this is the same Yellow Jackets team that swept No. 13 NC State two weeks ago and were taking on one of the bottom feeders of the ACC at Russ Chandler Stadium. Three straight, easy… right? Well for the Eagles it was, yes. I don’t know how this happened but BC came into this weekend with a 2-7 mark in ACC play and today completed the three-game sweep with a 16-7 rout. The Eagles scored five runs in the first inning, the fourth inning and the eighth inning. BC leadoff man Patrick Roche completed the trifecta of homering in each game of the series and for the second time he did it by homering in the first at-bat of the game. The shocking thing is that combined with Thursday’s 10-3 win and Friday’s 5-3 extra innings win, the Eagles outscored the Jackets 31-13.

3- The ruined no-hitter/shutout/story-for-the-grandkids

Arrrrrgh. East Carolina came THISCLOSE to pulling off a complete game shutout and a no-hitter. It was up 7-0 going into the ninth inning and the third pitcher of the day had taken the mound for the Pirates, in the form of Erik Ritchie. Before that, Ethan Norby (4.0 innings, 0H, 0R, 6K, 4BB) and Danny Beal (3,0 innings, 0H, 0R, 4K, 0BB) dominated the first seven innings. Then, Ritchie added to it by holding the Blazers hitless in the eighth inning and got the first two batters into the ninth out as well. But then he hit Gavin Lewis and walked Nick Hollifield. With one out to go, Jake Smallwood took a 2-1 offering from Ritchie and sliced it through to left-center. That not only broke up the combined no-hitter but also the shutout. The 7-1 win completed the sweep for the Pirates, but Ritchie definitely earned buying the beer round for his teammates.


DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

– The Brunchtime ball game

Let’s get back to that mid-morning game between Seton Hall and Mercer down in Georgia. The two teams split the first two games of the weekend, making this Sunday game the rubber match. And the Bears had things going great, taking a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning, needing just six outs to pull off the series win. But the Pirates ended up plating six runs in the eighth inning to go up 9-6. The Bears loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but could only tally one marker to pull within 9-7 before notching the final out with the bases loaded. Oh, Mercer also lost the Thursday night game 11-10 despite having the tying run stranded at third base. 

South CarolinaAlabama with a bizarre ending.

First, we might need to chastise the Gamecocks for very nearly getting swept at home by Alabama, losing Thursday 4-3 and Friday 13-6. We can also give some scourge to the Tide for their baserunning. Here is what I mean. Today, the ‘Cocks had a commanding 9-4 lead going into the ninth inning but then proceeded to give up four runs and had men at first and second with two out. Then, THIS happened…

So yes, Evan Sleight hit a little nubber down the third base line that was an infield hit which would’ve loaded the bases again. Instead, TJ McCants overruns third base and gets nabbed off the base to end the game. Lots of shame to go around for this game.

San Francisco not so clutch at the dish.

Tough day for the Dons. In two games against Santa Clara, the Dons scored just one run in those 18 innings, losing 2-1 and 2-0. But the curious side is that they out-hit the Broncos in both games. In all the Dons produced 17 hits (compared to SCU’s mere 11) but they also ended up stranding 22 baserunners in the two games. Gah. It’s almost as if ONE clutch single in each game could’ve made USF a doubleheader winner today.

Ole Miss shows a lack of fundamentals. 

In two games so far vs. Kentucky the homestanding Rebels have committed nine errors. Three of them came in Friday’s 5-3 loss and today the Rebs committed six Es in their 17-9 loss. It also didn’t help that six Rebel pitchers combined to issue 10 walks and dole out three plunkings. UK’s Nolan McCarthy hit two home runs to help account for six RBI for the Wildcats. 

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