Lots of upsets and a handful of notable performances dot the stitched-ball landscape for this Friday of college baseball action. There are also a bunch of bummer efforts that laid an egg. Here are the goods and bads in our sport today…
The best of the day in college baseball
1- Shoop reaches 1,000
UAB head coach Brian Shoop won his 1,000th game as skipper of the Blazers with a 14-8 win over Louisiana Tech. Shoop becomes the 80th head coach and 14th active head coach to reach the 1K plateau. In the post-game, an emotional Shoop grabbed a mic and thanked his wife. “My family is amazing and my wife is unbelievable. She raised five children and has brought them to every game, forever. I’ll take being married to her over another 1,000 wins. There is no comparison.”
2- Utah takes series from No. 2
The Utes scored two runs in the eighth and four runs in the ninth inning to down Arizona, the second-ranked RPI team in the country, 7-3. Coupled with Thursday night’s 12-5 win, the Utes lead the series – in Tucson no less – two games to none. Arizona’s offense, which is the third-best unit in the country, was held to seven hits and given just three walks. The defending Pac 12 champions are now 16-17 overall and 7-10 in conference play.
3- Andrew Vaughn, Cal
The freshman slugger had a night he’ll never forget, slapping a pair of yard calls including the jog-off grand slam 4-RBI dinger in the bottom of the ninth inning as Cal downed USC 13-9. The most impressive part is that his second homer was an oppo-taco that sliced through the chilly air over the right field wall, setting off a wild celebration. Vaughn’s other circuit clout came in the first inning and was a three-run shot to left. For the game, Vaughn finished 2-for-4 with seven RBI. For the season, Vaughn is hitting .364 with a Pac 12-leading 10 home runs and 40 RBI.
- Luke Heimlich, Oregon State
The Beaver ace didn’t get the decision in their 4-2, 10-inning win at UCLA, but he did toss 7.1 innings of scoreless ball while holding the Bruins to just two hits and three walks. He ended the game one strikeout shy of a career-high with 10 Ks. This effort also lowered his ERA to 0.74, which is now the lowest in the nation.
- Braden Shewmake, Texas A&M
A lot of my cohorts are calling The Shew this year’s Freshman of the Year, and with good reason. Today, the fab frosh scored both of the Aggie runs in a 2-1 win over Tennessee. He also went 3-for-4 with a solo home run. George Janca cracked an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Shewmake from in sprint-off fashion.
- Tony Butler, Indiana
It only took two pitches to decide the Indiana-Michigan game today. IU leadoff hitter Tony Butler cranked a solo home run on an 0-1 count to give the Hoosiers the only run it would need in beating the Wolverines 1-0 in Ann Arbor today. As you’d expect, great pitching ruled the day as Jonathan Stiever and Tim Herrin combined on a six-hit shutout for the Big Red. IU improves to 20-15-2 and UMich drops to 30-8.
- Darren McCaughan, Long Beach State
The Dirtbag ace threw a complete-game three-hitter in the Beach’s 4-0 win over UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark to improve to 5-2 on the campaign. McCaughan only struck out five batters but he also did not issue a single walk. The most impressive stat of the night? He held All American slugger Keston Hiura hitless in four at-bats.
The Greenies are heating up StitchHeads. Tonight they took down Houston on the road behind senior hurler Corey Merrill’s eight scoreless innings on the mound and Jake Willsey’s two home runs. Merrill allowed just three hits and three walks, while never having a Cougar runner reach third base. The Wave also moved their overall record above the Mendoza Line at 20-19 and improved to 8-2 in AAC play. Nice win. This is a team worth keeping an eye on.
- Eli Morgan, Gonzaga.
The Bulldog ace threw a complete-game, three-hitter as the Zags beat Portland 13-0. Morgan slapped the Pilots around for 15 strikeouts and just two walks as he improved to 7-1 on the season with a 2.34 ERA.
The worst of the day in college baseball
Lost at home to Duke, 5-3. How is this even possible? The Cardinals are way more talented than the Dukies, yet they lose even with Brendan McKay on the mound. McKay gave up six hits, three walks, two wild pitches and five earned runs to drop to 5-3. The Cards offense went a pedestrian 5-for-30 on the day.
2- Texas Tech
You out-hit your opponent, you strike out nine opposing batters, you have a sellout crowd behind you and your opponent commits five errors. Yet, the Red Raiders still lost, getting out-gunned 12-10 by visiting Oklahoma State. Starting pitcher Erikson Lanning went just one inning, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk. OSU won the game with a run in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth. Seven Tech pitchers gave up 10 hits, eight walks and two plunkings.
3- Wake Forest
Arrrrrrgh! Those ninth-inning meltdowns. Wake had a 7-5 lead on Clemson in the Tigers’ Den tonight, but allowed two singles, a hit-by-pitch and three walks (the last one with the bases loaded and score tied in the final inning of the game) to drop an 8-7 decision to the No. 3-ranked Tigers.
- LSU’s aces
It is a tough assignment going to Lexington to take on a team that is markedly better than anyone else would think they would be. But with Jared Poche on the mound and the hitting starting to come around, losing 12-5 to Kentucky in game one was pretty stunning. Especially with Poche giving up seven hits, five runs and three walks to drop to 6-3 on the season. In game two of the DH, Alex Lange was hit-and-miss again, giving up seven hits, three runs and eight walks – yes, eight – in his 5.2 innings of work. Despite that, LSU came from behind to pull off a 4-3 win. Lange did not factor into the decision.
- Alex Troop, Michigan State.
The Spartans Friday ace has been nails all season, going 5-2, 1.50, with an opponents batting average of just .217 in nine starts. But today at Maryland all that got blown to smithereens as Troop gave up 10 runs on 11 hits in 4.0 innings of work. The Spartans lost to the Terrapins 12-2 to drop to 20-14.
- Blaine Knight, Arkansas
I must’ve caught the Razorback ace as his best two weeks ago when he allowed just three hits in 6.0 innings of a 9-3 win vs. LSU. Unfortunately, today was a 180 from that. Knight lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up eight hits, four walks and eight earned runs in an awful 15-2 loss at Auburn.