Thursday night was a little light in the pants, with only four games on the docket, but among those few match-ups two College Baseball Top 25 squads from the SEC were in action and a pair of late-inning comebacks took place out west to kick off what promises to be another exciting weekend in college baseball.
The No. 1 Vanderbilt Commodores opened their home series with the scrappy Ole Miss Rebels with ace throwers Carson Fulmer and Christian Trent on the hill. Newly minted into the Top 25, the No. 25 Missouri Tigers faced the opener of a tough road trip against the highly-talented Tennessee Volunteers with SEC innings-leader Reggie McClain on the bump.
The Pac 12 opened its’ weekend slate with an in-state battle between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars that was decided late while the West Coast Conference was also in action with the BYU Cougars going to extra innings with the Loyola Marymount Lions.
SEC Baseball: No. 1 Vanderbilt Shuts Out Ole Miss, Fulmer Fans 14
Dialed in may not adequately describe just how impressive power pitcher Carson Fulmer looked as he struck out 14 on Thursday night to lead the No. 1 Vanderbilt Commodores to a 6-0 series-opening win over the Ole Miss Rebels at Hawkins Field. The 6’ 0”, 195-pound junior was electric on the bump for the Dores, allowing just two hits in a 126-pitch outing that improved his mark on the year to 6-1.
Fulmer two-hit the mighty Rebels’ offense and never really faced a jam as he retired streaks of 10 straight Rebels twice in the contest. He lowered his ERA on the year to 1.89 and increased his strikeout total to 81 in the outing.
“I watched this outing by Fulmer and he was dominant. His demeanor was like a bulldog. Nobody was taking this game from him tonight. It was a really special performance.” – Realist Ray, College Baseball RPI Analyst
The closest the Lakeland native came to getting the gate was when he went down 3-0 to pinch hitter Joe Wainhouse to open the ninth inning. He battled back to get the strikeout and closed the game the same way he opened it, by striking out the side.
“Had he walked that hitter in the ninth we may have pulled the plug right there,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, “for him to get to 3-0 and come all the way back is a win in itself.”
While Fulmer was tossing up goose eggs, the Commodores offense was getting to Ole Miss ace Christian Trent a little at a time. Coach Corbin described the effort as, “methodical, it was a run an inning a lot of times with two outs” as the Dores put six runs across the plate against Trent.
Rhett Wiseman hit his seventh homer on the season. Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds each had two-hit nights and scored twice while Reynolds had a double with two RBI and Swanson tripled and drove in a run. Ro Coleman and Will Toffey each drove in a run as well against the Rebels’ junior southpaw.
Consistent performances like this are why the Commodores are one of the top squads in our Midseason College Baseball Regionals Projections that were released earlier this week.
SEC Baseball: No. 25 Missouri Falls At Tennessee
The Tennessee Volunteers continue to get sizzling hot play out of Nick Senzel and Christin Stewart in a 5-2 win over the No. 25 Missouri Tigers on Thursday night to take the opener of their three-game set this weekend. Senzel had a 3-for-4 night at the dish and stole his sixth base while scoring a run and driving in two as Stewart launched his 10th long ball on a 2-for-4 effort.
In the bottom of the fifth, Senzel opened the scoring against Mizzou ace Reggie McClain to break open a scoreless tie with a two-run single to grab a 2-0 lead for the Vols. Stewart hit a two-run blast in the sixth to double the lead and make the score 4-0 and later tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth after the Tigers had cut the lead in half on a two-run jack by Jake Ivory in the seventh.
Ivory’s first homer on the year chased Vols starter Andy Cox from the game, but it was really the only mistake he made on the night as he struck out eight over 6.1 innings of work. He faced jams in the second and sixth innings but ended both threats with strikeouts and spread out the remainder of Missouri’s baserunners on the night.
His counterpart didn’t fare as well, as he scattered hits early and benefited from pair of double-play balls, but gave up four runs on four hits in the fifth and sixth. McClain then cruised through the seventh and opened the eighth with a strike out of AJ Simcox after surrendering a lead-off single to Senzel before Tigers’ head coach Tim Jamieson turned to the pen.
“Suddenly Tennessee has won 6-of-9, including the last three-straight and seem to be finally getting on the right set of tracks to keep their Regionals hopes alive.” – Literal Larry, College Baseball RPI Analyst
Pac 12 Baseball: Washington State Claims Opener Over Washington
Washington State Cougars closer Ian Hamilton is one save away from holding the all-time saves lead for the school after notching his ninth save on the year with a perfect ninth inning as the Cougars took a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Washington Huskies to open their series at Bailey-Brayton Field on Thursday. Hamilton has 24 career saves which leaves him tied with Reed Raney for the Cougars’ career saves mark.
The Huskies built a 2-0 lead as right fielder Jack Meggs led off the game with a solo homer, his first on the year, then added another run after Bishop Braden led off the fourth inning with a double and scored on a groundout by shortstop Chris Baker.
Washington State didn’t get to Huskies freshman hurler Noah Bremer until the fifth when JJ Hancock scored on a throwing error by Meggs after starting the inning off with a double. In the seventh, Hancock struck again, tying the game with an RBI triple down the line in right field. He scored on the next at bat as Jack Strunc singled to right and the Cougars took a 3-2 lead.
After dropping seven straight Pac 12 games, Washington State has turned things around winning three of their last four conference tilts.
West Coast Baseball: BYU Claims Win Over Loyola Marymount In Extras
Junior Eric Urry provided the drama with a two-run, game-winning blast in the top of the 12th inning as the BYU Cougars took the opening game against the Loyola Marymount Lions with a 5-3 win on Thursday night at Page Stadium. It was Urry’s second long ball of the season as he went 3-for-6 at the plate with three RBI in the Cougars’ come-from-behind effort. The Lions led 3-1 heading into the ninth with closer JD Busfield on the hill looking for his 12th save of the year. However, the Cougars had different plans and put together a two-out rally with a walk and three singles to tie the game. BYU’s Dillon Robinson hit the game-tying single in the ninth, and walked to score the game-winning run in the 12th while going 3-for-5 at the plate.