Friday nights in college baseball are usually owned by the pitchers, the aces of the staff. On a few occasions this Friday great pitching performances broke out amidst some abnormal outings by some of the nation’s best arms. The College Baseball Central Top 25 had one match-up with the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes on the road, facing the struggling No. 20 Virginia Cavaliers who would enter the series with Joe McCarthy back in the lineup for his first ACC action on the season.
Mid-major conferences had a few battles for top spots and early season leads in the standings led by the No. 22 Nevada Wolf Pack’s trip to play the sparky San Diego State Aztecs as the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference squared-off.
Mike Shawaryn Wins Duel Of Aces With Thomas Eshelman, Maryland Beats Cal State Fullerton 2-1
In a battle of not just staff, but national aces on Friday night, Maryland Terrapins’ sophomore righty Mike Shawaryn out-duels Cal State Fullerton Titans’ right-hander Thomas Eshelman for a 2-1 win at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. The 6’ 3”, 211-pound hurler struck out 13 against four hits over eight innings to improve to 9-0 on the season. Eshelman didn’t allow an earned run, striking out five and allowing four hits and a walk over eight. The Terps plated two runs in the second inning due to an error by Titans’ second baseman Brandon Lowe.
Kevin Mooney came on in relief in the ninth and walked the only two batters he faced before giving way to Alex Robinson who notched his third save getting a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to close out the game.
“In duels of aces all you need is one play to go hay-wire and you wind up with a loss. Every play is vitally important in these type of match-ups.” – Minimalist Mark, College Baseball RPI Analayst
Shawaryn tied the all-time mark for wins at Maryland with 20 set by John Rayne from 1989 to 1992. He cruised through the outing and seems to keep getting stronger with each outing as his ERA sits at a miniscule 1.67 with a ridiculous 0.83 WHIP while averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
No. 20 Virginia Holds Off No. 9 Miami In Opener 5-4
The No. 20 Virginia Cavaliers have their proverbial backs to the wall and need wins now if they are going to remain in Regional contention and they got a big one on Friday by taking down the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes 5-4 at Davenport Field. However, Cavs’ ace Nathan Kirby lasted only three innings before giving way to the pen due to a strained lat but the teams would respond with five runs on 11 hits helped by the return of right fielder Joe McCarthy who made an immediate impact with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and two runs scored. Meanwhile the pen struggled, allowing four runs over five innings of work yet had a 5-3 lead heading into the ninth with closer Josh Sborz finishing off the final 2.1 innings for his 10th save on the season. With the opening game win, the Cavs look to take the series win on Saturday and keep themselves in the postseason conversation.
ACC Baseball: No. 4 Louisville Wins In Walk-Off Fashion Over Wake Forest, 6-5
On Friday night the No. 4 Louisville Cardinals showed the ability to pull out a win when the plans fall apart in a 6-5 win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Jim Patterson Stadium. Senior Mike White asserted his leadership qualities with a walk-off single to the gap to seal the hard-fought victory. Cardinals’ fans are accustomed to seeing zeros for the opposing team on the scoreboard on Friday nights but Kyle Funkhouser battled himself on the mound. The power-arm allowed six hits and four walks that turned into five earned runs over 7.2 innings of work, yet on this night the bats weren’t going to let him down.
“The Louisville Cardinals have rebounded admirably from their early season woes and are showing the stuff that it takes to make a deep run to Omaha.” – Realist Ray, College Baseball RPI Analayst
Five-eleven, 185-pound sophomore Corey Ray continues to sizzle at the plate with a pair of homers in support of Funkhouser with a three-RBI day. The right fielder leads the Cards with eight dingers on the year and continues to be the spark in the middle of their lineup.
If we were putting together another College Baseball Regionals Projection, Louisville would find itself in the two-spot as of today.
Missouri Valley Baseball: Missouri State, Bradley Drop Home Openers
One of the worst things that can happen is to not only break into the College Baseball Central Top 25 and then lose, but to also have one of those nasty home losses that turns the RPI against you. The Missouri State Bears suffered just such a fate, dropping a 6-3 game at home to the Tennessee-Martin Skyhaws (281 RPI). Initially, the Bears have performed well enough that the loss only cost them a couple of spots as they fell from five to seven in RPI.
“The Missouri Valley teams are going to have to dominate to stay up in the College Baseball RPI race with very low RPIs held by the remainder of the conference.” – Realist Ray, College Baseball RPI Analyst
Elsewhere in the MVC the Bradley Braves also suffered a disappointing 5-3 home loss to the Wichita State Shockers (183 RPI) that Donkey Kong slapped them down seven spots, from nine to 16 in RPI. The Dallas Baptist Patriots remain as the top-ranked RPI team in the nation after weather post-poned their series opener with the Indiana State Sycamores (181 RPI).
Coming into the series with the No. 33 ranked RPI, the Radford Highlanders were on top of the Big South with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers who were at 39 and both tied at 10-2 at the top of the conference standings. The Highlanders would defend their turf as the top squad with a 4-3 win as Hunter Higgerson scored on a ninth inning wild pitch after opening the frame with a walk on a full count. Radford starter Michael Boyle allowed three runs (two earned) over six but the pen shut down the Chants over the final three innings to stay in position to win the game with Ryan Meisinger tossing a perfect ninth for his ninth save. Highlander Patrick Marshall hit his seventh homer, a two-run shot in the first, to set the tone for the game. The Highlanders now lead the Big South by a game and have a cushion of 16 (25-to-41) in the RPI race over Coastal.
No. 22 Nevada Pounds San Diego State 14-3, Claims Top Spot In Mountain West
After a road series loss caused the No. 22 Nevada Wolf Pack to fall out of first in the Mountain West last week, another series on the road at the first-place San Diego State Aztecs didn’t look very promising for the Pack’s postseason hopes. Yet, Nevada capitalized on three bases loaded situations on Friday, scoring on all three opportunities to grab a 14-3 win and move back into a tie atop the MWC standings. Senior Kewby Meyer was vital to the assault going 4-for-5 at the dish and missing the cycle by a homer. Trenton Brooks got the first bases-loaded hit with a two-run single in the first. Lead-off man Cal Stevenson and second baseman Ryan Howell went back-to-back with two-run hits after Nevada loaded the bases in the sixth. Austin Byler drew a walk with the bags juiced in the eighth that Brooks followed up with his second bases-loaded hit with a double that scored three, even though an error allowed him to get credit for only one ribbie.
No. 3 UCLA Turns Four-Run Rally Into Series Evening Win In Pac 12 Baseball
The No. 3 UCLA Bruins were shutout on Thursday night and decided that enough was enough and put together a four-run rally in the opening frame in a 7-1 win to even the series with the California Bears at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Ty Moore and Kort Peterson each drove in runs before Darrell Miller Jr.’s two-run single made the score 4-0 in favor of the Bruins. Grant Watson had another solid out as he allowed an earned run over 6.1 innings of work to improve to 6-3 on the year.
DC Arendas Homers To Lead South Carolina To 5-2 Win Over No. 2 Vanderbilt, Evens Series
DC Arendas hit his second homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third, to give the South Carolina Gamecocks their first score in the series in a 5-2 win over the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday night. Jack Wynkoop made it stand with 12 strike outs in a complete game effort as he allowed two earned runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks as he ended the Gamecocks’ woes in which they had allowed 10 or more runs in each of their last five SEC contests. The win gives them a shot at taking the series on Saturday and getting back into Regionals consideration. Vandy thrower Walker Buehler allowed three earned runs over 6.1 innings of work in the loss.
Freshman right-hander Rollie Lacy tossed his first collegiate complete game shutout as the Creighton Blue Jays downed the St. John’s Red Storm 6-0 in a battle for first place in the Big East on Friday. The six-foot-three, 185-pounder improved to 4-0 on the year with eight strike outs while surrendering only a walk and four hits. Lacy gave up a walk and a hit to open the ninth but responded to a mound visit from head coach Ed Servais with a strike out and a double-play ball to end the game.
Mike King Hurls One-Hitter, Boston College Beats Georgia Tech 1-0 In ACC Baseball
Boston College is on the wrong side of the bubble, but don’t tell that to sophomore starter Mike King as he hurled a one-hit, shutout win on Friday night as the Boston College Eagles beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 1-0 at Pellagrini Diamond. The 6’ 3”, 204-pound right-hander set a career high with eight strike outs while issuing no walks in his first complete game. The Eagles jumped nine spots to the No. 63 ranked RPI with the win while GT dropped from 12 to 13.