With marquee matchups with big-time postseason implications littering the college baseball landscape this weekend, let’s take a look at the upsets that occurred among top 25 teams during a big day of action on Saturday.
#1 Oregon State 5
For the third weekend in a row, top-ranked Oregon State will have to pull out a win on Sunday to clinch a series victory, this time thanks to a 7-5 USC win.
Neither starter in this game was outstanding. OSU’s Bryce Fehmel threw five innings, giving up six hits and four runs (two earned) with one walk and two strikeouts. Meanwhile, USC’s Chris Clarke went 4.1 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. The Trojans, though, won the battle of the bullpens, as the duo of Connor Lunn (3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and Austin Manning (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) combined to largely silence the Oregon State bats over the last 5.2 innings of this ten-inning affair.
OSU led this one 5-4 heading into the top of the ninth inning, but USC refused to go quietly. In the eighth, Brandon Perez was able to slide under a tag at home plate on a Dillon Paulson fielder’s choice to tie the game. Then, in the top of the tenth, Cris Perez (no relation), drove home two runs to give his team a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. On the day, Brandon went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Cris went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Paulson, for his part, added three RBI.
#22 South Carolina 5
#6 Kentucky 1
After getting drubbed 19-1 on Friday night, the Gamecocks battled back to even the series with the Wildcats with a 5-1 win on Saturday.
South Carolina starting pitcher Adam Hill and relievers Josh Reagan and Tyler Johnson combined to give their team the pitching performance they badly needed after the way the series opener went. Hill threw five innings, giving up one hit and one run with three walks and five strikeouts. Reagan threw 2.1 innings, giving up one hit and no runs with two walks and two strikeouts. Finally, Johnson threw 1.2 perfect innings to finish things off.
On offense, freshman Carlos Cortes had a huge game, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and three RBI. T.J. Hopkins and Riley Hogan also added two-hit days.
The Gamecocks badly need to stop the bleeding in SEC play, and clinching a series win over Kentucky on Sunday would do the trick.
#14 Stanford 3
#13 Arizona 1
This one is an upset by the slimmest of margins, but it’s such a big series sweep for Stanford that it’s worth highlighting for that reason alone anyway.
Cardinal starting pitcher Chris Castellanos was outstanding, just as he has been all season long. He threw eight innings, giving up three hits and no runs with two walks and 12 strikeouts. On the season, Castellanos is now 7-1 with a 2.62 ERA. In 68.2 innings, he’s struck out 45, walked just nine, and limited opponents to a .227 batting average. In a season without assumed ace Tristan Beck due to injury, Castellanos’ success has been huge.
Offensively for Stanford, it was a big day for Daniel Bakst, who went 2-for-3, driving in two of his team’s three runs along the way. Nico Hoerner was 3-for-4 with two runs scored out of the two-spot in the order as well.
With this result, and an RPI now inside the top 15, Stanford is very much in the discussion to host a regional.
Seton Hall 7
#18 St. John’s 0
The story of the day in this one was clearly Seton Hall starter Cullen Dana, who was as steady as he’s been all throughout the 2017 season.
He threw seven shutout innings, giving up four hits to go along with two walks and eight strikeouts. For the season, he’s 4-3 with a 3.60 ERA. In 60 innings, he’s struck out 63, walked 25, and allowed opponents to hit just .248 against him.
Offensively, the 2-3-4 hitters did much of the damage for the Pirates. Joe Poduslenko went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, and three runs scored, Al Molina went 2-for-5 with a run scored, and Matt Fortin went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI.
As much as the Johnnies looked like they were clearly the class of the Big East early in the season, that hasn’t been borne out in league play. With a 5-3 league record, they are two games behind league-leading Creighton, one game behind second place Xavier, and are now just a half-game ahead of Seton Hall. And with an RPI that currently sits at 41, an at-large bid isn’t a slam dunk anymore, either.
#20 Maryland 2
In the resumption of a game that began on Friday night, the Hoosiers continued their winning ways by collecting a 9-2 victory over the Terrapins.
Indiana’s Cal Krueger was outstanding after taking over on Saturday for Jonathan Stiever, who started the game on Friday. He threw six innings, giving up five hits and two runs with no walks and five strikeouts.
Meanwhile, the IU offense got to work immediately as the game was resumed. They plated three runs in the third, three more in the fourth, and then three in the sixth, providing them with plenty of cushion, given the way Krueger was dealing. Tony Butler went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and three runs scored. Not to be outdone, Luke Miller went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, three RBI, and two runs.
In the second game of the day, the Terps took home a 9-2 win of their own, meaning there’s a very important rubber game between these two set for Sunday. Each team is currently solidly in the field of 64, but Maryland has their eyes on moving their way into the hosting discussion, and a series win over the Hoosiers would be a huge step in that direction.