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Friday D1 Digest: They all matter from here

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FRIDAY COVERAGE:

• Kendall Rogers on Florida’s Brandon Sproat + nuggets
• Aaron Fitt on Northeastern’s Sirota and Cabral
• Eric Sorenson on USC and West Coast action
• Joe Healy on Tennessee’s Hunter Ensley
• STAT ROUNDUP: Top 40 Hitters/Top 40 Pitchers
COACHING BUZZ: Alabama Coaching Hot Board
• Friday Scoreboard
• Latest RPI


Party Like It’s 1955

Rhett Lowder dealt (9 Ks, 7 IP) and Wake Forest backed him up with four solo home runs in a fairly routine 6-0 win over a depleted Boston College team. The Eagles were without key hitters Travis Honeyman and Cam Leary but it might not have mattered in this one. Nick Kurtz accounted for two of the Deacs’ long balls and he has 16 on the year.

Clemson erased a 3-1 deficit to defeat Louisville in game one of a critical ACC series. Outfielders Cam Cannarella and Will Taylor combined for seven hits, and the Tigers ended the night with 15 knocks. The Cards, who were forced to play first baseman Ryan McCoy at catcher due to a rash of injuries behind the plate, slipped to 8-13 in league play. Clemson is now one win from a fifth straight ACC series win.

NC State evened a critical series with Notre Dame, defeating the Irish 5-1 in South Bend. Gino Groover and Jacob Cozart both homered in the game, and Matt Willadsen punched out nine over 6.2 innings. The Wolfpack remain a conundrum as they own both an attractive RPI of 22 and a perilous conference record of 9-13.

Serving Crow in the SEC

For those of us (namely, me) wondering if this newfound Tennessee offense would travel, Christian Moore would like a word. The Vols’ second baseman homered twice in a 12-3 win at Georgia. Camden Sewell picked up the win in relief of starter Andrew Lindsey. Tennessee has won seven consecutive SEC games. Look out.

Meanwhile in Lexington, host Kentucky began their nine-game SEC “death march” with a 7-3 victory over South Carolina. Pardon the sarcasm there, but the Wildcats keep finding a way in 2023. UK starter Travis Smith outdueled Will Sanders on the mound. Speaking of on-brand, Kentucky executed a perfect slash with the bases loaded and one out in their three-run seventh.

Pitching Wins Championships

LSU moved to 16-5 in the SEC with a breezy 3-0 win at Auburn. Tre’ Morgan carried the offense with three hits and three RBIs, but ace Paul Skenes was the story. The big righthander punched out 15 Auburn hitters over 7.1 dominant innings. The Tigers are yet to experience a losing weekend in 2023.

Hunter Owen dominated Alabama as Vandy evened the series in Tuscaloosa with a 4-1 victory. The big lefthander punched out nine hitters, yielding just two hits in seven shutout innings.

In College Station, Florida held off a ninth-inning rally to defeat Texas A&M 6-5. Brandon Sproat pitched into the sixth inning and Brandon Neely survived a treacherous final frame to pick up his SEC-leading 9th save. Cade Kurland and BT Riopelle homered for the Gators.

Make It Make Sense

Arkansas defeated Mississippi State 6-2 to move to 15-7 in the conference. The result by itself may seem quite ordinary but given the multitude of Razorback injuries, and the fact that they walked eight Bulldog hitters in this game, this is another example of the Dave Van Horn magic that continues to buoy this program. Hagen Smith surrendered just two runs in a five-inning start. The offense was lifted by home runs from Jace Bohrofen and Brady Slavens.

Battling for Hoover

Mizzou run-ruled Ole Miss 13-3 to clinch the series. Since overcoming a seven-run deficit in game one of this matchup, the Tigers have outscored the Rebels 22-3. Luke Mann hit his 44th career home run, and he has four round trippers in his last three games.

Seeking Clarity in the Big 12

Owen Boerema and Tyson Neighbors combined on a three-hitter as Kansas State beat OVC leader Southeast Missouri State in Manhattan. First sacker Roberto Pena had three of the Wildcats’ six hits, including a double and a home run.

West Virginia (35-11, 12-4) extended its lead in the Big 12 standings, taking down Oklahoma 9-3 in Morgantown. This one was on brand for the Mountaineers as veteran lefty Ben Hampton held the Sooners to one run over six innings, and the WVU offense added five extra-base hits and five stolen bases.

And just when you thought the Big 12 was getting normal, host Kansas scored eight runs from the fifth inning on to defeat Texas and Longhorn ace Lucas Gordon. Six Jayhawk hitters recorded a multi-hit game and Collin Baumgartner outdueled Gordon to move to 5-1 on the year.

In an encouraging note for the conference, Nolan McLean returned to the Oklahoma State lineup after a 17-game absence. McLean chipped in with an RBI double as the Cowboys beat East Tennessee State 7-4. Roc Riggio hit his 15th home run of the season, and he is 18-for-38 in his last eight games. #WeHaveLiftOff

West Coast Chaos

Stanford won a back-and-forth affair in Tempe, beating Arizona State 8-6 in game one of this important Pac-12 series. Breakout Cardinal star Alberto Rios remains on fire, and he powered the Stanford offense with two doubles and two home runs in this one. Quinn Matthews navigated a very competitive Sun Devil offense, striking out 11 over eight innings.

Cal upset UCLA in Los Angeles, defeating the Bruins 10-7. The Golden Bears’ 15 hits included two home runs from star sophomore Rodney Green Jr. Tyler Stasiowski logged 3.1 innings of one-run relief to clinch it for Cal.

Blake Sodersten turned in a brilliant start as USC terminated their five-game losing streak with a decisive 7-2 home victory over Oregon. Sodersten went seven innings, striking out 11 and yielding just one run.

Utah upset Oregon State 13-9 in Corvallis. The Utes scored in just three of their nine at-bats, but crooked numbers are your friend in a slugfest. Kai Roberts had four RBIs and two extra-base hits in this one. Davis Cop and Landon Frei had three hits apiece and relievers Micah Ashman and Zac McCleve threw three shutout innings to secure the win.

Washington State won game one of the Apple Cup series, beating Washington 2-1. Dakota Hawkins punched out 12 over 6.1 innings and Caden Kaelber did not surrender a hit over the final 2.1 frames.

The Fun Belt

Coastal Carolina entered the weekend ranked No. 6 nationally in scoring. They are particularly dangerous at home in Conway. So of course, Appalachian State shut out the Chanticleers 11-0 behind a brilliant performance by Xander Hamilton. The righthander held the Chants to one hit over eight innings, walking six and striking out 15. Hamilton moves to 8-2 on the season with 94 punchouts in 71.2 innings.

Tanner Hall logged eight strong innings and Danny Lynch added a sixth inning home run as Southern Miss beat South Alabama 6-4. Scott Berry’s program owns an eight-game winning streak, and the Golden Eagles reached the 30-win plateau for the 21st consecutive season.

Shane Lewis homered twice and Troy beat Georgia Southern 15-7. Lewis now has 25 big flies on the season. He is one behind national leader Jac Caglianone who has 26 home runs.

Around the Horn

In the CAA series of the year, Northeastern took the lid lifter with an emphatic 8-2 win at UNC Wilmington. Freshman righthander Aiven Cabral picked up his sixth win of the year, holding the Seahawks to two runs over seven innings. The Huskies top three hitters (center fielder Mike Sirota, first baseman Tyler MacGregor, third baseman Danny Crossen) did most of the damage, combining for seven hits, two home runs, six RBIs and six runs.

Maryland ran its winning streak to nine games, beating Nebraska 8-4 in game one of their series. The Terps were led by the usual suspects as Luke Shliger, Matt Shaw, and Nick Lorusso sparked the offense with four runs and three RBIs. Kenny Lippman allowed just one hit over three innings in relief of Nick Dean. Rob Vaughn’s club is averaging 14 runs per game during their current winning streak.

TCU skipper Kirk Saarloos is one of the all-time great Cal State Fullerton Titans. The current version of Saarloos’ alma mater defeated his Horned Frogs 2-1 in game one of a very important non-conference series. Fullerton lefthander Tyler Stultz gave up one run over six innings and Caden Connor had a three-hit game. The Titans could leave this weekend with series wins over both Texas and TCU.

Houston scored four in the eighth to defeat Wichita State 5-3. Two-way star Justin Murray led the way with two hits and an RBI. He also earned his seventh save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth. With the win, the Cougars now sit alone in first place in the AAC.

Rhett Lowder wasn’t the only righthander who moved to 10-0 on Friday night. Grant Rogers of McNeese State also garnered his tenth victory, logging eight innings in the Cowboys 6-4 win over Lamar.

UNCG walked-off Wofford compliments of Kennedy Jones’ solo shot in the tenth. Jones is also the proud owner of the Twitter handle @SaucyKen8. Yes and yes.

Speaking of potential at-large team upsets, Illinois walked-off Michigan State by way of Ryan Moerman’s 11th home run of the season.

In the battle for first place in the Horizon League, Wright State asserted itself with a 15-7 win over upstart Northern Kentucky. WSU center fielder Andrew Patrick had a double, home run, and three RBIs out of the leadoff spot. If you come for the king, you best not miss.

Last but not least …

Major kudos to Hofstra righthanded pitcher Brad Camarda, who threw the school’s third no-hitter in program history on Friday in a 7-1 win over Monmouth. Camarda threw just 97 pitches in the win, struck out eight and walked three.

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