Saturday Staff Coverage:
Game Of The Day: Mississippi State 8, Ole Miss 7
This is how an in-state rivalry between the last two College World Series champions is supposed to go, right? After Ole Miss took game one on Friday in Starkville, a 3-2 win for the Rebels, Mississippi State returned the favor with a one-run win of their own, this one in walkoff fashion. The two teams exchanged two-run innings for most of the game with the Bulldogs getting the final blow, a two-run single off the bat of Dakota Jordan to claim the 8-7 victory.
Ole Miss scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the second, but Mississippi State quickly tied it back up with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Ole Miss went ahead again in the fifth on a solo home run by Anthony Calarco, and added two more runs in the sixth. Mississippi State re-took the lead with back-to-back two-run innings in the sixth and seventh, doing so loudly on solo home runs by Colton Ledbetter and Hunter Hines and a second blast by Ledbetter, a two-run shot. Run-scoring hits by Jacob Gonzalez and Calarco allowed Ole Miss to reclaim the lead in the top of the ninth before Jordan’s game winner.
Read Mark Etheridge’s first-hand account of the game here: Bulldogs Win A Game For The Ages.
Upset Of The Day: Baylor 10, No. 19 Texas 9
Texas and Baylor exchanged blows in the first inning, with the Longhorns scoring four runs to open the game and the Bears answering with five of their own. Texas tied the game in the third, took the lead with a two-run sixth and added to that lead with a two-run eighth. Baylor enjoyed a wild bottom of the ninth that included three walks, two batters hit by pitches with the bases loaded (a common theme on Saturday), a wild pitch and the game winning two-run single off the bat of Hunter Teplanszky, his third hit of the day. However, the home plate umpire originally called the second runner out at the plate, with the play being overturned – and the game being decided – after review. The series will be decided on Sunday.
Player Of The Day: Jake Skrine, Valparaiso
Valparaiso capped off a 4-0 week with a pair of wins over Bradley on Saturday and catcher Jake Skrine was in the middle of the action. In the first game on Saturday, a 12-8 victory, Skrine went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and five RBIs, hitting three RBI singles, a solo home run and a sac fly. In the second game, a 10-0 win, Skrine went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs, drawing a pair of walks with a two-run homer. Skrine also hit a two-run homer in Valpo’s 4-3 series-opening win on Friday as he went 7-for-11 with three dingers and nine RBIs on the weekend.
Pitcher Of The Day: Rhett Lowder, Wake Forest
Wake Forest ace Rhett Lowder moved to 7-0 on the season by tossing the first seven innings of a 3-0 win over 10th-ranked Louisville. Lowder allowed only five hits without issuing a walk and fanning nine batters. Michael Massey and Camden Minacci each chipped in with a scoreless frame to secure the shutout, with Minacci recording his ninth save of the year. Justin Johnson and Bennett Lee each hit solo home runs in the game, with Johnson adding a second RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Wake Forest is now 31-4 on the season.
LSU Survives Scare To Remain Nation’s Best
LSU used numerous late comebacks to win their rubber match against No. 12 Kentucky, re-taking leads in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, tying the game in the seventh and scoring the deciding, winning run in the eighth. Tommy White had a pair of RBIs, including what turned out to be the game winner on a bases loaded hit by pitch, without recording a base hit. Freshman slugger Jared Jones had a pair of solo home runs, his 10th and 11th of the year.
Canes Topsy-Turvy Season Continues
Miami has had quite the up and down season. In ACC play alone they beat NC State and swept Virginia Tech. They were humbled by Wake Forest by being swept but answered triumphantly with a sweep against Florida State. Last weekend they were swept at Virginia and followed accordingly this weekend, taking two of three against No. 13 North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Hurricanes lost the first of two games on Saturday, the first being the completion of Friday’s suspended contest, before winning game three 4-3. All three games in the series were decided by one run.
Oregon Responds Loudly With Win Over Stanford
One week after Oregon State snapped Oregon’s 11-game winning streak, which led to a series win by the visiting Beavers, the Ducks bounced right back this week, starting a new winning streak which most recently includes a pair of wins over No. 8 Stanford. Earlier in the week Oregon beat San Francisco twice as part of a nine-game homestand. Logan Mercado was brilliant on the mound on Saturday as part of the 8-1 win, going the distance by allowing just one run on five hits and a walk with seven punchouts. Jacob Walsh hit a pair of home runs and Sabin Ceballos hit a home run of his own as part of a 3-for-4, three-RBI performance. With the win Oregon improved to 24-9 overall and 9-5 in the turbulent Pac-12.
Arkansas Confidently Takes Care Of Business
It’s hard to identify a more consistent team in the nation than Dave Van Horn’s fifth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. After Tennessee’s Jared Dickey led off the game with a solo home run, the Hogs answered in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run homer off the bat of Jace Bohrofen. They held the lead the rest of the way, adding a single run in the fifth and some cushion as part of a three-run seventh to win 6-3 while making a loser of the Vols sensational Saturday starter Chase Dollander. Will McEntire moved to 5-1 on the year with six solid innings while Gage Wood made his team-leading 14th appearance and went the rest of the way to pick up his third save of the season.
Top 25 Rubber Matches On Deck
Fourteen of the 24 ranked teams that played on Friday (UNC’s game against Miami was suspended due to rain) lost. Seven of those teams rebounded with wins on Saturday (LSU won their series, which started on Thursday) and six of those teams are still playing for a chance for a series win come Sunday.
• The biggest rubber match on Sunday will feature No. 6 South Carolina at No. 4 Vanderbilt. The Commodores evened the series on Saturday with an 8-5 come-from-behind effort after the Gamecocks took an early lead with a four-run first. Vanderbilt slowly but surely chipped away, taking the lead in the fifth and adding some insurance with a three-run seventh. RJ Schreck and Jack Bulger each hit home runs for Vanderbilt while Patrick Reilly was the star out of the ‘pen, providing four scoreless innings.
• After entering the Top 25 for the first time this season Arizona State is doing their best not to make that a one-week wonder. They lost the first game of their weekend series at Washington on Friday but bounced back on Saturday by winning 8-6. Luke Keaschall, Jacob Tobias, and Isaiah Jackson all enjoyed multi-RBI days at the plate, with the latter of those two each hitting a two-run home run and Keaschall hitting a pair of doubles.
• UNC Wilmington stunned TCU on Friday with a 14-6 win on Friday, but the Horned Frogs returned the favor on Saturday with a 17-5 victory. It was a well-rounded offensive effort for No. 25 TCU, who scored those 17 runs on 14 hits and seven walks, as Brayden Taylor, Cole Fontenelle and Kurtis Byrne all hit home runs. Kole Klecker moved to 7-2 on the mound by allowing just one base hit over the game’s first six innings.
• No. 3 Florida and Georgia combined for only nine base hits in Saturday’s 2-1 win for the Gators, quite the change from Friday’s 13-11 slug-fest victory for Georgia which included a seven-run outburst in the top of the ninth. Michael Robertson provided the game-winning, walkoff hit in this one after the first two batters – Cade Kurland and Colby Halter – reached for the Gators to open the frame.
• Coastal Carolina’s bats came alive on Saturday and freshman Jacob Morrison moved to 5-0 on the season with another impressive performance in their 15-2 win over Old Dominion. Morrison allowed just one unearned run in his seven innings of work, scattering four hits and a walk with eight punchouts. Five different Chanticleers hit home runs – Graham Brown, Caden Bodine, Derek Bender, Zack Beach, and Orlando Pena – as No. 17 Coastal evened the series.
• Down 6-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Boston College bats erupted for seven runs and added a single tally in the seventh to claim a series-tying 9-6 win over visiting Duke. The biggest blows in BC’s seven-run six were two-run doubles off the bats of third baseman Nick Wang and right fielder Travis Honeyman. Andrew Roman picked up his eighth save of the year by not allowing a run over the game’s final three innings.
No. 14 Campbell, No. 19 Texas and No. 20 UConn followed wins on Friday with losses on Saturday and will play rubber matches on Sunday.
No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Louisville, No. 12 Kentucky, No. 13 North Carolina, No. 15 FGCU, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 23 USC already have lost their weekend series, so expect some significant shakeup in the D1Baseball Top 25 come Monday.