It was an interesting day in college baseball, this time full of excitement in the Top 25 of the rankings. There were upsets, no-hitters and conference champions crowned. We’ll take a full spin around the country and see all the highs, lows and edge-of-your-seat moments, worthy of a Hitchcock thriller.
Okay, okay, I admit it, after most of the games of the day were over, I had to decompress by taking in a Hitchcock film at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. That’s where they show ye old-tyme movies projected on the wall of a giant mausoleum every Saturday night from May to September and people are invited to bring lawn chairs and sit on the grounds to take it in. Tonight’s selection was “Strangers on a Train”, a 1951 mystery chock-full of plot twists and eerie turns. Very cool. I’d never seen the flick before, so it was definitely an experience for me. Here’s how the scene looked from where I sat, under the stars, the swaying palm trees and the occasional police helicopter with the bright search light seeking out fugitives in the nearby neighborhoods:
Now let’s take our criss-cross around the nation to see who did good and who did bad, starting with the positive side of things.
The best of the day in college baseball.
1- ROSS STRIPLING, TEXAS A&M
The Aggie big gun threw a complete-game no-hitter in today’s 1-0 win over San Diego State. Ross only surrendered a single walk and also K’d seven in the effort. Behind him, the Aggie defense didn’t commit a single error as Stripling induced 11 ground out and nine flyouts.
2- NO, I WASN’T THERE LAST TIME PURDUE WON THE BIG 10.
Big time props to the Boilermakers for winning their first Big 10 title since 1909â€¦ long before most of us were born.
Here’s a good write-up, photos and video of the day from Hammer & Rails guru Travis Miller (and no, I didn’t pay him to make mention of my name early on in the video):
Holy freakin’ cow! How big of stones do the Sooners have? Today, they gave their post-season hopes a giant shot of adrenaline by taking down No. 2 Baylor in a pair of one-run games, 1-0 and 2-1. OU came into the weekend with an RPI of No. 67, so you know how big this must’ve been. We’ll see where Boyd Nation has them on Sunday morning. In game one the hero was Erik Ross with an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning. In game two, a pair of runs in the 1st and 2nd inning held up for the win.
But the real hero in the DH sweep was the starting pitchers. Jordon John went 8.2 innings, giving up five hits, two walks and no runs. Seventy-five of his 117 pitches went for strikes. Steven Okert got credit for the win with 1.1 innings of one-hit relief. In game two Jonathan Gray opened the game going 7.1 innings, giving up five hits as well, along with two walks and one unearned run. Unlike JJ, Gray was able to get the win to improve to 6-4 on the year.
For the season, the Big Red is now 32-19 and 12-10 in Big 12 play.
- Army and Holy Cross.
Looks like both teams were able to sweep doubleheaders from Lafayette and Navy respectfully to set the Patriot League best-of-three championship playoffs for next weekend at Army’s Doubleday Field.
- Utah Valley’s Preston Olson
In today’s second game of a doubleheader sweep of New York Tech, the Wolverine righty threw a two-hit, 16K shutout in the 10-0 nightcap. The 16Ks establishes a new school record for whiffs in a game and also helped increase the nation’s best winnings streak to 31 games. UVU is now 38-11 and 23-0 in Great West play, despite a slightly close call in game one where the Wolverines came from behind to win 4-3 in the late innings.
- The bunts and blasts of St. John’s
Jeremy Baltz went yard to give the Johnnies an early lead and the rest of the day SJU picked and pecked at Louisville, leading to a crucial 6-2 win in Patterson Stadium. In the 6th inning the Red Storm laid down five straight bunts, which induced a pair of Louisville defensive errors as they scored three clinching runs in the frame. Baltz ended the day going 4-for-5 on the day.
- Ole Miss slugger Matt Snyder.
The Rebel big stick came up huge today as they avoid a big upset in beating Tennessee 7-4 in 11 innings. In the final frame, Snyder slammed a three-run bomb to put the exclamation point on the come-from-behind win. Ole Miss had scored two bottom-of-the-9th runs to send the game into extra frames.
- Stanford “pitcher” Stephen Piscotty.
The Cardinal All American infielder got his first-ever start on the mound today and responded with 6.1 innings of six-hit, three-run ball as Stanford beat Washington State 8-3. Piscotty even retired the first eight batters in a row to start the game. As if that wasn’t enough, at the dish he reached base all five times, including three singles and two walks.
- Sacred Heart.
By beating NEC champion Monmouth today 11-9, the Pioneers were able to pull from out of the pack and secure the fourth and final spot in the NEC tournament for next week, extending their season at least another week.
- Kent State.
Since a surprising weekend loss at Bowling Green in mid-April, the tormentors of the Mid American Conference have been back to their old ways, winning 12 of their last 14. Today, the Golden Flashes put the wraps on yet another MAC regular season title with a 7-6 win over Toledo. In the pivotal 4-run 6th inning, Evan Campbell and Robert Lyon each smashed a two-run yard call to put the Flashes up for good. Though this is their third regular season MAC title in the last five years, it’s the first sole possession championship since 2006.
- New Mexico’s Mitch Garver.
First off, here is what UNM baseball SID Frank Mercogliano wrote about Garver’s day…
“With teammates out of position, and starter Josh Walker struggling on the mound, Mitch Garver put UNM on his back and led the Lobos to a much needed victory. Garver went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and five runs scored as the Lobos picked up a 10-7 win over UNLV.” Nicely done Frank.
With the win, the Lobos tie the weekend series in Vegas and stay within a game of MWC-leading TCU, with tomorrow’s rubber match to help decide things.
The worst of the day in college baseball.
1- FOX SPORTS.
There were technical glitches the entire telecast of the Baylor-Oklahoma game today. Worst of all was the fact that the network suddenly cut to a commercial out of the blue, only to come back to live action in the middle of showing the replay of the game-winning RBI single by Oklahoma’s Erik Ross.
Oh and when Fox DID decide to rejoin the game just in time to see the Sooner celebration, the sound was malfunctioning and a steady, low-level buzz was coming out of my idiot box.
The Bears not only lost that first game by a single run, they also dropped the second game of the double-header by a 2-1 count. It was their first and second loss in Big 12 play as they drop to 18-2 in conference play. Not to worry though, they’ve already clinched the Big 12 title. But two losses here could put a serious dent on their national seed hopes.
2- SAN DIEGO.
Gah! The Toreros didn’t need this. Today they dropped their second straight game to LMU by an 8-6 score this time. The Lions raced out to a 6-zip lead and held on to get their second win in Cunningham Stadium.
With Pepperdine coming from behind to beat BYU 8-7, the Waves have pulled into a 1st place tie with USD in the West Coast Conference standings. LMU helped its cause as well, pulling within a half-game of the Waves and Toreros.
3- SOUTHERN UTAH.
In what appears to be their final home game for perpetuity, the Thunderbirds lost an 11-9 decision to visiting South Dakota State. A mournful capacity crowd of 115 were in attendance at Thunderbird Park as the soon-to-be-defunct SUU baseball team fell for the final time at home. Baeu Hanowski, Eric Cain and Aaron Machbitz each had three ribbies in the game for the victorious Jackrabbits.
- New Mexico State.
Man! We seem to be ganging up on the Aggies, don’t we? Can’t help it though. Today the Aggies lost to Fresno State 14-7, giving up 18 hits, five walks and ended up dropping two of three for the weekend. With this loss and Nevada’s second straight win over San Jose State today, the Aggies have dipped down to 4th place in the WAC. Aye! Wonder how that’ll reflect in the RPI.
- Tony Bryant, Oregon State.
It just hasn’t been quite the All American season that the Beaver bullpen stud was expected to have. He came into today’s game at Utah with a relatively-high 4.03 ERA, nine saves and opponents were hitting .288 off him. Today, after the Beavers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th inning, the 6’8 strapper came on and gave up a pair of runs on a single by Jo Jo Sharrar, giving him his second loss of the year.
- LSU’s Raph Rhymes.
Yep, the dude has finally proved he’s not from someplace like the planet Lovetron or something. He played quite human-like, going 0-for-4 without a walk or hit batsman or anything. In fact, shockingly, the Tiger cleanup man came into the game hitting an astronomical .623 with runners in scoring position, but went 0-for-3 in those situations tonight including two double-plays. Oh, and LSU did lose to Vanderbilt 6-3 to even the series.
- The Power Teams of the Sunshine State.
No. 1 Florida State lost 7-2 at Clemson, No. 5 Florida lost at home to Mississippi State 2-0 and No. 20 Miami lost at home to Wake Forest 7-2.
11′s TOP 10.
Here’s what Florida State head coach Mike Martin has for a Top 10 list, according to his weekly baseball show I saw this morning. So all you dip sticks who give me a bunch of crap for my Power Rankings, feel free to say how stupid you might think coach Martin is. Don’t be kind:
Okay, it’s three bells in the A.M., time to put my medulla oblongata to rest… or what’s left of it.