College Baseball 360 Week Four Notebook

March 12, 2012

A Rundown Of The Top 30 Teams…

After the first four weeks of the 2012 college baseball season, we are starting to find out a lot about the top teams in the country. SEC powers Florida and South Carolina continue to churn-out wins, while Stanford took another series against a highly ranked team (this time Rice).

A UCLA team that some wrote off after an early home series loss to Maryland picked-up a huge road series sweep at Georgia this weekend, while that same Maryland team that was on a roll took a big step back by being swept in its ACC-opening series at Wake Forest.

Several other ranked teams opened Atlantic Coast Conference play over the weekend as well. Here is a look at how they and the other top 30 teams in the nation faired in the fourth weekend of the season.

(Overall Record, Record Last Week)

1. Florida (15-1, 5-0)
Mike Zunino
was 3-for-3 with two home runs and 5 RBIs in Tuesday’s 16-1 pounding of Florida Atlantic. Justin Shafer had 6 RBIs in Wednesday’s 15-2 win over Florida A&M. The Gators are 17-0 all-time vs. the Rattlers. Zuninio’s two-run home runs in the 6th and 8th innings led the Gators to Friday’s 4-2 series-opening win over Florida Gulf Coast. The Gators used a four-run first inning to beat the Eagles 8-3 on Saturday. Taylor Gushue’s seventh inning home run gave Florida a 3-2 Sunday win and series sweep. Florida’s 13 straight wins are one away from tying a school record.

2. Stanford (13-2, 3-1)
Kenny Diekroeger
had 3 RBIs in Tuesday’s 5-0 win over St. Mary’s. Justin Ringo’s 10th inning home run ended Stanford’s 4-2 series-opening win over No. 4 Rice on Friday at Sunken Diamond. Starter Mark Appel struckout a career-high 14 in 9.0 innings. Austin Wilson homered and drove-in four as the Cardinal clinched the series with Saturday’s 11-6 victory. Stanford dropped Sunday’s series finale 1-0. Stanford Heisman trophy runner-up Andrew Luck threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Stanford went a combined 8-1 in their marquee series against Vanderbilt, Texas and Rice over the season’s first four weeks.

3. South Carolina (13-1, 4-0)
The Gamecocks beat UNC-Asheville 8-1 on Monday. Freshman Joel Seddon (1-0) pitched 5.0 scoreless innings in his first career start. Michael Roth (2-0) fanned 10 in 8.2 IP in South Carolina’s 2-1 squeaker over Princeton on Friday. Christian Walker had three hits and 2 RBIs in Saturday’s 6-1 win. Six Gamecock pitchers combined to strikeout 15 in Sunday’s 3-1 win to cap the weekend sweep. Colby Holmes (3-0) earned the win with 5.0 shutout innings. Carolina is batting just .278 through 14 games, but the pitching staff has a 1.55 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 34 walks in 127 1/3 innings. Three of the nine South Carolina pitchers who have earned a win are yet to allow an earned run this season.

4. Rice (13-4, 2-3)
Lost 3-2 at Texas State on Tuesday. The Owls scored a run in the top of the 8th to end the TSU pitching staff’s run of 57 2/3 scoreless innings pitched. The NCAA record in 64 set by Arizona State in 1972. Beat Texas A&M Corpus Christi 7-2 on Wednesday. J.T. Chargois drove-in both Owl runs in Friday’s 4-2 10-inning loss at Stanford. Austin Kubitza (1-1) gave-up seven runs in 3.0 IP in Saturday’s 11-6 loss. Jeremy Rathjen drove-in the game’s lone run and Jordan Stephens (2-0) tossed 6.0 three-hit innings in Sunday’s 1-0 win to salvage a game in the series.

5. Texas A&M (13-3, 2-2)
Seven Aggies plated a run in Tuesday’s 10-1 win over Prairie View A&M. A&M downed No. 13 Cal State Fullerton 6-1 in Friday’s series-opener in College Station for their first win over a ranked team this season. The Aggies dropped game two 6-5. It started on Saturday, but was continued prior to Sunday’s series finale after it was halted by rain. A&M jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the finale, but couldn’t hold it, losing 4-3. It’s the first time Texas A&M has lost two of three games in a home non-conference series since 1995.

6. Arkansas (14-2, 3-0)
Derrick Bleeker
homered twice as the Razorbacks used four solo HR to beat Binghamton 4-0 Friday night. Ryne Stanek improved to 4-0 with 7.0 two-hit IP. D.J. Baxendale earned his fifth win of the young season in a 5-3 win of Saturday’s doubleheader. Randall Fant earned his first win in his first start of the season after tossing 6.0 shutout frames in the 6-0 game two win to cap the sweep. The Arkansas pitching staff has three shutouts this season.

7. North Carolina (13-2, 5-0)
Opened up the week with a mid-week win vs Davidson in which they received a sacrifice fly from Tom Zengel in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be the eventual game winner as the Tar Heels pulled out the 5-4 win.   On Wednesday, the Tar Heels got 8 1/3 scoreless innings from starter Benton Moss.   Moss allowed three hits, struckout 8 and walked 2.   In their weekend series, the Tar Heels swept the Clemson Tigers.  On Friday night, Tommy Coyle led the way going 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI as UNC won 4-3.  On Saturday, Parks Jordan led the way going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.  The series finale took 11 innings to be decided and an RBI single from Mike Zolk gave the Tar Heels the sweep and a 6-5 win.

8. Georgia Tech (11-5, 1-3)
The Yellow Jackets dropped a mid-week contest 5-4 to Georgia State. They then traveled to NC State for a weekend series.  On Friday, the Yellow Jackets Kyle Wren went 3-for-3 with 2 RBI, 4 runs scored and two walks in a 14-6 victory.  On Saturday, Georgia Tech starter Josh Heddinger didn’t record an out before being replaced.  The Yellow Jackets lost the contest 8-5.  On Sunday, the Jackets dropped the series with an 8-3 loss.

9. Florida State (14-1, 5-0)
Swept mid-week mini-series vs UCF in which they won on Tuesday 7-6 and Wednesday 1-0.  Tuesday’s contest saw a 4-for-5 performance from James Ramsey in which he had two RBI and a run scored.  Wednesday, the ‘Noles received 5 IP from Scott Sitz allowing only three hits and no runs.   Over the weekend they traveled to Duke and pulled out a three game sweep.  Friday they won a 5-3 contest behind two triples and two RBI from James Ramsey.  Saturday, starting pitcher Mike Compton threw 7 IP of scoreless ball for a 5-0 win.   In the finale, Justin Gonzalez spearheaded a 10-2 victory going 2-for-2 with an RBI, two walks and three runs scored.

10.  Arizona (13-2, 5-0)
Downed UC-Davis 6-0 on Tuesday. Lucas Long (2-0) tossed 6.2 scoreless IP with seven strike outs and no walks in his first career start. Used a three-run 8th inning to beat the Aggies again 6-4 on Wednesday. Kurt Heyer upped his record to 4-0 with 8.0 solid IP in Friday’s 9-2 win over Eastern Michigan. The Wildcats had 19 hits and scored all 16 runs in a six inning stretch to win 16-7 on Saturday. Johnny field led the way with 4 RBIs. Robert Refsnyder’s 9th inning RBI single extended his hitting streak to 17 games and also gave his team a 9-8 walk-off victory to cap the weekend sweep. The Wildcats’ 13-2 start to the season is their best in head coach Andy Lopez’s 11 seasons in Tucson. The Wildcats are on the road for the first time this season when they play two midweek games at No. 4 Rice.

11. Georgia (11-5, 1-3)
Used a game-ending single by Kyle Farmer to edge Kennesaw State 3-2 on Tuesday for the Bulldogs’ third walk-off win of the young season. Alex Wood (3-1) suffered the tough luck loss in Friday’s 2-0 loss to No. 20 UCLA. Built an early 3-0 lead, but lost 7-6 on Saturday to drop its first series of the season. The Bulldogs stranded 12 base runners in Sunday’s 7-3 loss, as UCLA capped the weekend sweep in Athens. They stranded a total of 29 runners in the three losses. The three-game series marked Georgia’s first games against a ranked opponent this season.

12. Oregon (12-3, 2-2)
Helped host the Nike College Showcase over the weekend, falling 2-1 to Illinois Friday night. The loss, their first since the season-opener at Hawaii, ended the Ducks’ 10-game winning streak. The Ducks struck out 14 times and left runners stranded at third base in four different innings in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to No. 20 Oklahoma. An Aaron Jones grand slam highlighted a 12-0 win over West Virginia that same day. Brando Tessar (3-0) tossed a complete game four-hitter in Sunday’s 4-0 win over UConn. He allowed three hits in the first inning and then faced just one batter over the minimum the rest of the way. The Ducks open Pac-12 play next weekend at Washington.

13. Cal State Fullerton (10-5, 2-2)
Saw its seven-game winning streak snapped with Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to USC. The Titans lost 6-1 in Friday’s series-opener at No. 5 Texas A&M. Richy Pedroza had 3 RBIs to help Fullerton take game two 6-5. The game started on Saturday, was halted by rain with the score tied 5-5 and then resumed on Sunday prior to the series finale. Pinch-hitter Anthony Hutting plated the winning run with a bases loaded ground out in the top of the 9th to give the Titans a 4-3 Sunday win to clinch the series. The series win is Fullerton’s second straight over a ranked team.

14. Miami (12-3, 4-0)
The Hurricanes won a midweek matchup against Miami (OH).  Esteban Tresgallo hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Michael Broad for the game-winning run as the Canes won 4-3.  On Friday they opened conference play against Boston College and won 7-3 behind a three-run homer from Stephen Perez.   On Saturday, the ‘Canes received 6 IP from starter Eric Whaley, allowing only two runs and striking out five in a 5-3 victory.   Miami earned the sweep on Sunday behind 7.0 IP from starter Bryan Radziewski allowing only one hit and striking out six.

15. LSU (13-3, 3-1)
Freshman Aaron Nola fired 8.0 three-hit innings with six strike outs in Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Tulane. Nola threw 79 percent of his 78 pitches for strikes. Kevin Gausman (4-0) struck out 11 in 8.0 two-hit innings in Friday’s 6-0 win over visiting Michigan. The Tigers beat the Wolverines again on Saturday 6-4, as Tiger pitchers did not issue a walk for a third straight game. That streak ended in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to Notre Dame-the school where Paul Mainieri coached prior to taking over at LSU. Kurt McCune (1-2) surrendered five runs in 3.0 IP to take the loss. LSU plays Notre Dame again Monday night.

16. Ole Miss (13-2, 4-0)
Zach Kirksey
tallied 7 RBIs in Tuesday’s 20-4 drubbing of Tennessee-Martin. Both of Kirksey’s hits were home runs. Bobby Wahl (3-0) struckout 10 in just 6.0 IP and the Rebels tagged Houston starter Jared Ray (1-1) for six runs on 10 hits in just 1.0 IP to cruise to an 8-0 Friday win over the Cougars. Matt Snyder had four hits and 2 RBIs, while R.J. Hively (3-0) fanned nine in 6.0 innings in Saturday’s 9-0 win. Kirksey, Alex Yarbrough and Andrew Mistone each had 3 RBIs in Sunday’s 11-3 series-sweeping win. The Rebels scored in the first inning of all three wins over the Cougars.

17. Arizona State (10-4, 2-2)
Lost 8-4 to Texas Tech on Tuesday. Andrew Aplin’s RBI single in the top of the 12th plated the deciding run in Friday’s 3-2 win at Long Beach State. The Sun Devils couldn’t overcome an early 6-0 deficit in Saturday’s 7-3 loss. Trevor Williams (4-0) went 8.0 strong innings in Sunday’s 6-1 victory to give the Sun Devils the series road win. After hitting just seven triples in his first two seasons, Joey DeMichele has four triples through 14 games this season.

18. Clemson (6-7, 1-3)
The Tigers opened the week with a midweek stomping of Holy Cross, winning 16-4.  Phil Pohl led the onslaught going 3-for-3 with two doubles, 5 RBI, and four runs scored.   The Tigers were then swept by UNC over the weekend.  On Friday they dropped a 4-3 contest despite getting three hits from Richie Shaffer.  On Saturday, the Tigers dropped a 6-3 contest in which they gave up three 9th inning runs.  On Sunday, the Tigers battled for 11 innings before falling on the short end of a 6-5 loss.

19. Louisville (10-5, 2-2)
The Cardinals set season-highs with 15 hits and 13 runs in Tuesday’s 13-4 win over Indiana. Nick Ratajczak led the Cardinals with four hits and 3 RBIs in Friday’s 7-3 win over Oral Roberts at the DRASH Alabama Classic. Stewart Ijames hit his fifth home run of the season in Saturday’s 7-6 loss to the host Crimson Tide-an unearned run was the difference in the game. The Cardinals fell 9-4 to East Carolina on Sunday. Five of ECU’s runs were unearned thanks to two Louisville errors.

20. Oklahoma (11-5, 4-2)
Overcame an early 2-run deficit to beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 9-4 on Tuesday and then defeated them 5-4 on Wednesday. The Sooners played in the Nike College Showcase over the weekend in Oregon. They scored four runs in the bottom of the 8th, but lost 8-7 to Connecticut Friday night. Jonathon Gray (2-2) struckout 10 with no walks in 7.0 IP in Saturday’s 3-2 win over No. 12 Oregon. Dillon Overton (3-0) gave the Sooners more great pitching with his complete game six-hitter in a 5-2 win over West Virginia.  OU jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings, but saw Oregon State plate 11 unanswered runs in Sunday’s 11-7 loss.
21. UCLA (12-3, 4-0)
The Bruins upped their winning streak to seven games with Tuesday’s 4-0 win over UC Riverside. Adam Plutko (2-1) fanned 11 in his second career complete game in Friday’s 2-0 win at No. 11 Georgia. The Bruins overcame an early 3-0 deficit to win 7-6 on Saturday. The Bruin pitching staff saw its scoreless streak end at 25.1 innings in the win. Cody Keefer had three hits and 2 RBIs as the Bruins pushed their winning streak to 10 games with Sunday’s 7-3 win for the series sweep of the Bulldogs. UCLA’s last non-conference road sweep was at North Carolina State in 2006. Jeff Gelalich is batting .571 (20-for-35) during the Bruins’ current winning streak. He leads his team with a .491 average and three home runs through 15 games.

22. Central Florida (13-4, 3-2)
Hosted a pair of midweek games with Florida State and saw the Seminoles score all seven of their runs in the sixth inning in Tuesday’s 7-6 loss. They fell 1-0 to the ‘Noles the next night. Alex Friedrich  had 6 RBIs thanks to a two-run home run and a pair of two-run doubles in Friday’s 16-4 win over UMass. Three UCF relievers combined for 6.0 one-hit innings in Saturday’s 5-4 win. Garrett Nuss (1-0) led the way, notching his first career win with 4.0 no-hit IP. A D.J. Hicks RBI single plated the deciding run in Sunday’s 2-1 win for the series sweep of the Minutemen.

23. Maryland (11-4, 2-3)
The Terps won a mid-week contest between Delaware 2-0.  Starting pitcher Michael Boyden went 5 IP striking out nine to improve to 2-0.  On Wednesday, the Terps topped Navy 4-2 with closer Jimmy Reed picking up his fifth save of the season.   Over the weekend, the Terps ran into a buzz saw with Wake Forest.  A seven run fifth inning doomed the Terps in a 10-5 loss to the Demon Deacons.  The Terps gave up three runs in the sixth and dropped a 9-6 contest.   Despite a 3-for-4 day from Alfredo Rodriguez, the Terps fell 4-3 on Sunday.
24. Texas Tech (10-4, 1-1)
Beat Arizona State 8-4 on Tuesday for its fourth win over a ranked opponent this season. The Red Raiders lost 2-1 on Sunday in the opener of a series that was affected by rain all weekend. Sophomore Duke von Schamann (2-2) suffered the tough luck loss in the eight inning complete game. He struckout six with no walks. In eight games vs. ranked teams this season, Texas Tech has a 2.48 ERA in 69.0 IP. The team’s overall 2.56 ERA is its best over the first 14 games of a season since 2001. Tech and TCU will conclude their series with a single game on Monday.

25. California (11-3, 3-1)
Chad Bunting’s
home run helped Cal beat Creighton 7-5 on Tuesday. Chris Paul’s two-run single helped the Golden Bears win 11-8 on Friday in the first of a four-game series at Nebraska. The Bears jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but lost 12-5 on Saturday. Chadd Krist had three hits and 2 RBIs to help Cal to a 4-0 Sunday win. Kyle Porter (2-0) pitched 4.0 hitless innings to earn the win in the planned rotation. Five other Cal relievers pitched an inning apiece. Cal and Nebraska conclude their four-game series Monday afternoon in Lincoln.

26. Mississippi State (14-3, 5-1)
The Bulldogs overcame late inning deficits to beat Penn State 7-3 on Tuesday and 10-6 on Wednesday. MSU is off to the program’s best start since beginning the 2006 season 18-0. Downed Mercer 5-3 on Friday, but fell 6-1 on Saturday after giving-up three runs over the first four innings. Saturday’s loss snapped a seven-game winning streak. Kendall Graveman (1-0) worked a career-best 8.1 innings to help the Bulldogs to a 3-1 Sunday victory and series win. Graveman struckout eight and scattered three hits in the best starting effort by an MSU pitcher this season. After 17 straight home games, the Bulldogs hit the road for the first time with two midweek games at Southeastern Louisiana this week.

27. Stetson (12-3, 3-1)
Edged Maine 3-2 on Tuesday. Harvard committed four errors, leading to five unearned runs in Friday’s 5-0 win over the Crimson. Kurt Schluter improved to 3-0 with 5.0 shutout innings. Lindsey Caughel (3-0) fanned 10 in 7.0 IP in Sunday’s 3-0 win to clinch the series. Harvard avoided the series sweep by winning the second game of Sunday’s twin bill 5-1.

28. Gonzaga (10-3, 0-3)
The Bulldogs entered their weekend series at New Mexico as one of a handful of unbeaten Division One teams remaining in the nation, but suffered a series sweep at the hands of the Lobos. Gonzaga lost 11-6 on Friday, 2-1 in 10 innings on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday. Gonzaga entered the weekend with the 18th best batting average nationally, but they hit just .221 (23-for-104) in the three losses. New Mexico pitchers Rudy Jaramillo, Austin House, Gera Sanchez, and Josh Walker combined to limit the Bulldogs to five walks and one earned run with 22 strikeouts over the last 22 innings of the series.

29. Oregon State (11-5, 2-2)
Helped host the Nike College Showcase over the weekend. The Beavers blasted West Virginia 11-0 on Friday in a game that was stopped after 7.0 innings due to the run rule. Ben Wetzler (3-0) struckout eight and gave-up just a hit in the complete game effort. Dan Child fanned nine in 8.1 IP in an 8-2 Saturday win over Illinois. The Beavers also dropped a 6-3 decision to UConn that same day. OSU scored eight runs in its last two at-bats to beat No. 20 Oklahoma 11-7 on Sunday. Dylan Davis lasted just 1/3 of an inning at the Beavers’ starting pitcher, giving-up two runs and walking three as OU jumped-out to a 7-0 lead.  However, Davis stayed in the game at the DH and would homer and total 5 RBIs in the co

30. Purdue (11-1, 3-0)
Purdue started a series at Murray State with Friday’s 5-2 win. The Boilermakers dominated both on the mound and at the plate in Saturday’s 22-1 victory. Eric Charles, Cameron Perkins and Stephen Talbott each had four of Purdue’s school record 30 hits in the win, while starting pitcher Lance Breedlove (2-1) retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced in his 6.0 innings on the hill. The Boilermakers capped the series sweep by winning 13-2 on Sunday. Purdue scored six runs off Racers’ reliever Will Handlin, who had not allowed an earned run in 15.2 IP entering the day. Talbott homered and drove-in four runs in the win. Purdue’s 11-1 start is its best since the 1959 team started 12-1.


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