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2024 Frisco Classic: Everything you need to know

Weekend Preview

Always a highlight of the pre-conference schedule, the Frisco Classic is back with another strong group of teams this weekend at Riders Field. This year’s Frisco Classic features three Top 25 teams — No. 16 Alabama, No. 20 Indiana, and No. 25 Dallas Baptist — along with Arizona, a tradition-rich program off to a 4-3 start.

Let’s take a closer look at the Frisco Classic field: 

Alabama

Alabama

Head coach: Rob Vaughn

The Skinny On The Crimson Tide

Alabama has lived up to its preseason Top 25 billing so far, racing out to a 9-0 start by largely dominating a favorable schedule. The Crimson Tide has outscored opponents by an aggregate score of 95-22, out-hit opponents .363 to .192, and out-homered opponents 19-2. Of course, it must be noted that Bama’s two weekend series have come against Manhattan and Valparaiso, and the competition will take a dramatic jump-starting this weekend. But nonetheless, first-year head coach Rob Vaughn has led his club to a flawless start, notwithstanding the disappointing loss of fireballer Riley Quick to a season-ending injury.

Star Power: Ben Hess

A highly regarded recruit out of Illinois, Hess has always performed well when he’s been healthy, but a freak injury limited him to 33.2 innings as a freshman, and elbow soreness caused him to miss the second half of his sophomore campaign, which ended after 36.1 innings. But he’s healthy again and off to a great start as a junior, going 2-0, 2.25 with 14 strikeouts against three walks in eight innings. Hess has always possessed legit Friday night stuff, with a true four-pitch arsenal that includes a fastball that has averaged 94.4 mph and touched 97 this spring, along with a mid-80s slider that has generated a 55% whiff rate and a mid-70s curve that has resulted in a 50% whiff rate through two stats, per Synergy. He has seldom used his changeup so far, but he’s got that pitch in his back pocket. And of course, he has always smothered the strike zone. He checks all the boxes of a bona fide star, and he entered the year as a third-team preseason All-American.

Alabama ace Ben Hess (Alabama Athletics)

Who’s Hot Right Now?

Vaughn couldn’t stop raving about freshman shortstop Justin Lebron in the fall, and he has backed up the hype by hitting .500/.647/.818 with two homers and six RBIs in his first six career collegiate games. “Everybody sees the actions and the arm, and it’s like, ‘This is awesome.’ But his IQ for the game is just at a really high level,” Vaughn said in the fall. “He’s made some plays this fall that you’re just looking at it like, ‘Man, why is he there? What happened there?’ His IQ is just different, and that’s when you take the skill set away. I mean the guy is 170 pounds soaking wet right now and got some power in his bat. And just the maturity. As smooth and pretty as it is, he is competitive as it gets. That guy, I think, has a chance to make a lot of money playing baseball.”

Fellow newcomers Gage Miller (.457/.525/.943, 5 HR, 16 RBI) and TJ McCants (.400/.476/1.057, 6 HR, 19 HR) have also gotten off to torrid starts, helping to fill the power vacuum created by a slew of departures from last year’s super regional team. The Crimson Tide knew heading into the year that it needed juco transfer Miller plus Ole Miss transfer McCants, Rutgers transfer Evan Sleight (.364/.462/.545) and Maryland transfer Ian Petrutz (.324/.410/.500) to step right in and serve as pillars of the overhauled lineup, and the early returns have been smashing.

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes. 

2024

RHP Ben Hess (22)
1B/LHP Kade Snell (153)
RHP Aidan Moza (175)
LHP Greg Farone (192)

2025

LHP Alton Davis (26)
RHP Riley Quick (30)
LHP Zane Adams (67)

Arizona

Arizona

Head coach: Chip Hale

The Skinny On The Wildcats

Arizona made a splash in Week One by taking two of three at home against preseason No. 23 Northeastern. The Wildcats suffered a setback in Week Two, dropping two of three on the road at Arizona, leaving them with a 4-3 record heading into a road trip to the MetroPlex, which kicks off with a Wednesday game at TCU prior to the Frisco Classic. Arizona has hit for good power in the first two weeks, smacking nine homers and slugging .522 as a team, to go along with a .324 batting average. But the pitching staff has gotten off to an uneven start, posting an aggregate 5.16 ERA — respectable but not great. Overall, Arizona looks like a better club than most expected, likely to outperform its preseason forecast as the No. 9 team in the Pac-12 (according to both the league coaches and D1Baseball).

Star Power: Mason White

Our Mike Rooney recently called White “one of the toughest outs on the West Coast, and he also can drive the ball with authority. After hitting .313/.379/.611 with 10 homers and 18 doubles during his standout freshman campaign last spring, White is off to a solid start in 2024, hitting .310/.382/.655 with three homers and 12 RBIs. But his transition from second base to shortstop has been a bit rocky, as he already has committed three errors, leading to an .893 fielding percentage in this small sample size. Still, he has the athleticism and actions to handle the position ably, and we expect him to settle in there.

Arizona’s Mason White (Shotgun Spratling)

Who’s Hot Right Now?

Arizona was hoping for a bounceback year from fifth-year senior second baseman Garen Caulfield, and his torrid start is very encouraging. He leads the team with a .500 average (13-for-26) and has 10 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Brendan Summerhill was one of the top breakout candidates on this roster thanks to his combination of physicality and athleticism, and he has been a fearsome run producer thus far, hitting .438 while leading the team with five doubles and 15 RBIs. On the mound, Arizona has also gotten promising starts in the rotation from righthanders Jackson Kent (1-0, 3.00, 13-3 K-BB in 12 IP) and Clark Candiotti (0-0, 3.60, 11-2 K-BB in 10 IP).

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes. 

2024:

None.

2025:

SS Mason White (12)
OF Brendan Summerhill (45)

Dallas Baptist

Dallas Baptist

Head coach: Dan Heefner

The Skinny On The Patriots

A perennial mid-major superpower that has made nine straight regionals and 11 in the last 12 completed seasons, DBU is off to an 8-0 start for the first time in program history. The Patriots swept Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan during their first two weekends, and in between they also racked up high-end midweek wins against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Patriots have outscored their opponents 88-37 so far, out-hit opponents .345 to .255, and out-homered opponents 18-9.

Star Power: Grant Jay

A freshman All-American after hitting .317/.445/.751 with 21 homers, 17 doubles and 62 RBIs last year, Jay has picked up right where he left off as a sophomore, racing out to a .419/.500/.935 start, along with four homers, four doubles and 13 RBIs. He has also started every game behind the plate, after splitting time between left field and catcher as a freshman — and he is playing strong defense, fielding 1.000 while throwing out 5 of 11 basestealers. He’s establishing himself as one of the very best all-around players in college baseball.

Dallas Baptist catcher Grant Jay (Eddie Kelly/ProLook Photos)

Who’s Hot Right Now?

In addition to Jay, two other Patriots are hitting better than .400 to start the season. Northwestern State transfer Michael Dattalo has built upon last year’s .372/.447/.561 campaign with the Demons, jumping out to a .417/.500/.500 start at DBU, with two doubles and six RBIs in 24 at-bats. And second baseman Miguel Santos has been a menace, hitting .414/.500/.931 while leading the team with five homers and 14 RBIs. The pitching staff is led by a blue-chip ace in righthander Ryan Johnson, who has 20 strikeouts and just one walk through 12.1 innings, while posting a 3.65 ERA. And the Patriots have an emerging superstar in freshman fireballer James Ellwanger (1-0, 2.00).

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes.

2024

RHP Ryan Johnson (47)
RHP Nathan Humphreys (100)
Luke Heefner (160)

2025

RHP James Ellwanger (10)
C Grant Jay (50)

Indiana

Indiana

Head coach: Jeff Mercer

The Skinny On The Hoosiers

Coming off a regional finals appearance last spring, expectations were high for Indiana, which entered the season on the cusp of the Top 25. The Hoosiers broke into the rankings after a nice 2-1 showing at Baseball at the Beach during opening weekend, highlighted by a quality win against host Coastal Carolina. Then the Hoosiers swept a road series at Baylor before getting tripped up in a midweek loss to Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday, leaving them at 6-2 heading into Frisco.

A powerful offense was expected to be Indiana’s greatest strength this year, and the Hoosiers are indeed off to a good start with the bats, with 16 homers and a .546 collective slugging percentage. But so far the pitching has been a major strength as well, as Indiana has a 4.06 staff ERA and a 78-28 K-BB mark in 71 innings pitched.

Star Power: Devin Taylor

Our preseason Big Ten Player of the Year pick, Taylor has certainly lived up to that billing in the first two weeks, hitting a robust .500/.575/.794 with three homers and eight RBIs. He already established himself as a fearsome run producer during his freshman year, when he batted .315/.430/.650 with 16 homers and 13 doubles along with 59 RBIs, but he has continued to get better as a sophomore, showing a better approach in tough left-on-left matchups, making him a more complete hitter. A physical left fielder with the ability to hit for both average and power, Taylor is a true star.

Indiana’s Devin Taylor

Who’s Hot Right Now?

Sophomore righty Connor Foley has made a seamless transition from the bullpen into the weekend rotation, going 1-0 0.00 with 14 strikeouts through 10 innings of work. A physical beast at 6-5, 235 pounds, Foley’s calling card is a 92-96 fastball that bumped 97 in our Week One look, with elite riding action. But he’s also improved his slider/cutter and his changeup as a sophomore, giving him more of a starter’s arsenal and helping his draft stock soar as an eligible sophomore. Offensively, Taylor has gotten plenty of offensive help from infielders Tyler Cerny (.378/.410/.541) and Josh Pyne (.351/.415/.568), along with power production from Carter Mathison (3 HR, 7 RBI) and Morgan Colopy (4 HR, 11 RBI).

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes.

2024

OF Carter Mathison (89)
C/1B Brock Tibbitts (114)
RHP Luke Sinnard (194)

2025

OF Devin Taylor (11)

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