College Baseball 360 Weekend Notebook-April 18

April 18, 2011
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Every weekend provides every team the opportunity to make a statement in the college baseball world, and this past weekend was no different. However, for the most part it was favorites and not underdogs that made statements from April 15-17.

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Friday’s games saw higher ranked teams in the College Baseball 360 Composite National Rankings go 30-8, for a .790 winning percentage. That percentage dipped to .580 (25-18) on Saturday, but the higher ranked teams bounced-back on Sunday by winning at a .700 (26-11) clip.

Two underdogs that broke that trend were #4 South Carolina and #21 Oklahoma State, which each took two of three games in their high profile series against #3 Vanderbilt and #15 Oklahoma, respectively.

Gamecock Statement…

Considering South Carolina is the defending national champion, it’s kind of hard to consider its series win over #3 Vanderbilt an upset. However, the Commodores are the second SEC team that South Carolina has beaten this year (Florida is the other) that was ranked #1 in one of the national polls at the time the Gamecocks beat them in a best two-of-three series. Vandy’s (32-5, 11-4 SEC) series loss is its first since dropping last year’s Super Regional at Florida State, while South Carolina (28-7, 12-3 SEC) has won every series it has played in 2011.

Matt Price

This series was everything it was supposed to be, with great pitching, timely hitting and great defense. There were just two errors committed all weekend. Michael Roth (8-1) out-dueled Sonny Gray (7-2) to give South Carolina a 3-1 game one win. Each ace fired 7 2/3 innings, with Matt Price closing the door with 1 1/3 perfect innings and four strikeouts for his 11th save. The teams combined to use 11 pitchers in Saturday’s 6-4 Vanderbilt victory. Aaron Westlake and Mike Yastrzemski each had two RBIs to help Grayson Garvin improve to 7-1. South Carolina used a 4-run 7th inning to win Sunday’s finale 5-3. Roth was again spectacular out of the bullpen, notching 7 Ks in 3.0 shutout innings to improve to 4-2.

By the way, how would you like to be in the SEC East, where South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Florida all reside? The defending national champs now sit atop the division at 28-7 overall and 12-3 in conference play, followed by Florida (28-9) and Vandy (32-5), which are both 11-4 in the SEC. The Commodores and Gators go head-to-head in Nashville May 13-15.

Beavers Surging, Cardinal Slumping…

Sam Gaviglio

Oregon State swept Stanford in Palo Alto in a match-up of teams who are now heading in completely opposite directions. The Beavers (27-7, 8-1 Pac-10) have won nine straight, with eight of those wins coming against conference foes Arizona, Arizona State and now Stanford. Meanwhile, Stanford (16-12, 3-6 Pac-10) has dropped five of its last six games, including five straight in conference action.

OSU’s Sam Gaviglio (7-1) was masterful in Friday’s 1-0 series-opening win. He mixed enough fastballs in between his devastating curveballs to limit the Cardinal to four hits over 8.0 innings. Gaviglio and his staff mates combined to hold Stanford to five runs on the weekend. It doesn’t get any easier for the Cardinal next week, with UCLA coming to Sunken Diamond.

CLICK HERE for even more in-depth analysis of this series from CB360 contributor Jack Blanchat.

Bedlam Breakthrough…

Oklahoma State took two of three from Oklahoma in the Bedlam Series for its first series win over the arch-rival Sooners since 2008. Both Cowboys wins came in walk-off fashion. Davis Duren gave OSU the win on Sunday with a 10th inning walk-off RBI single for an 11-10 victory in Oklahoma City. Dane Phillips ended Friday’s 8-7 win in Tulsa with a 9th inning lead-off home run.

Break-up The Bruins…

Beau Amaral

The adage that good pitching beats good hitting held-up as UCLA picked-up its biggest series win of the season by taking two of three games from hot hitting Arizona. The Wildcats were averaging 7.5 runs-a-game with a .342 team batting average heading into the series, but the vaunted Bruins pitching staff limited Arizona to 3.3 runs-a-game and a .202 average over the weekend. Trevor Bauer (7-1) fanned 13 and gave-up just four hits in Saturday’s complete game win. Bauer has hit double digit Ks in eight of his nine starts this year. His 110 strikeouts leads the nation. Beau Amaral led the Bruins by hitting 7-for-12 (.583) for the weekend, including six RBIs in Sunday’s 8-5 series clincher.

Wolfpack Attack…

North Carolina was red hot entering its series with arch rival North Carolina State, but the Wolfpack red gave UNC the blues by sweeping the Tar Heels in Raleigh. North Carolina had won 16 of its previous 18 games, including a sweep of Clemson and 2-of-3 vs. Florida State, entering the weekend. Pratt Maynard led NC State by going 6-for-12 with five runs scored in the sweep.

Red Storm Rising…

Joe Panik

Louisville is finding out just how hard it is to maintain dominance over an extended period of time. St. John’s swept the Cardinals (20-15, 6-6 Big East) to hand Louisville its fifth straight loss. Louisville’s 15 losses are one more than it suffered all of last year. St. John’s shortstop Joe Panik was 6-for-14 (.428) with 5 RBIs and a home run in the sweep. Louisville committed 12 errors in the series and has just a .963 fielding percentage this season.

 

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