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College : : Story
Saturday college roundup
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012

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TEAM OF THE DAY: LSU -- What a weekend it was for the Tigers. They took a step back last weekend by dropping a tough home series to Vanderbilt. However, they responded in a big way this weekend with a road series win over South Carolina to win their first SEC regular season title since 2009. LSU starting pitcher Ryan Eades tossed five solid innings, while reliever Chris Cotton was key with three scoreless frames in the 3-2 triumph. As icing on the cake, LSU likely nailed down a national seed as well.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Marshall over Tulane -- Well, it’s safe to say the Thundering Herd had a good regular season parting shot for the Green Wave. The Herd put together an outstanding performance in a dominant 10-0 win, a game that finished with a seven-inning run rule. Marshall starting pitcher Lance Elder tossed five shutout innings, while leadoff hitter Isaac Ballou went 4-for-4 with two RBIs.

PLAYER OF THE DAY: RHP Preston Morrison, Texas Christian -- After dropping a contest to San Diego State, the Horned Frogs looked to the freshman righty to provide a spark on Saturday. Boy, did he accomplish that goal and more. Morrison struck out five batters and allowed just one hit in a complete game shutout over the Aztecs. He threw 74 of his 107 pitches for strikes.

FIVE PLUSES 

Vanderbilt (29-25) -- What an incredible brand of baseball the Commodores have played the last three weeks to get squarely back in the NCAA postseason hunt. Vandy completed a three-game series sweep of Mississippi on Saturday by capturing a 6-3 decision. Kevin Ziomek and Brian Miller were solid on the mound, while leadoff hitter and second baseman Tony Kemp finished the contest with four hits.

Florida State (43-12) -- The Seminoles started the N.C. State series with a tough setback, but really showed some spunk by fighting back to win the final two games of the series. FSU starting pitcher Mike Compton put together a solid start in a 6-2 win over the Wolfpack, striking out seven and allowing two runs on six hits in six innings. Reliever Luke Weaver also put together a solid performance with three scoreless frames.

Rice (39-15) -- The Owls dropped the series opener to the Knights, but really stepped up in the final two games. They played especially well in the series finale against UCF, winning the Conference USA regular season title with a 5-2 triumph. Rice starting pitcher John Simms allowed just one run on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, reliever Tyler Duffey struck out five in just two innings of work.

Wake Forest (32-22) -- The Demon Deacons entered the weekend in huge trouble from an NCAA postseason bubble standpoint. However, they made a significant statement with a series sweep over Clemson, taking the series finale 7-0. Wake Forest starting pitcher Brian Holmes was tremendous, striking out six and allowing just two hits in six shutout innings.

Pepperdine (32-19) -- The Waves were already in good shape for an NCAA postseason spot, but they probably assured themselves an at-large bid Saturday with a series-clinching 9-3 win over Loyola Marymount. Waves starting pitcher Scott Frazier struck out six and allowed just two runs on six hits in seven innings, while second baseman Joe Sever went 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs and four RBIs.

FIVE MINUSES

Oklahoma State (32-23) -- The Cowboys likely will now miss the NCAA postseason after getting swept by the Aggies. And the amazing thing, they had a chance to win all three games of the series. OSU carried a 4-2 lead over A&M headed to the ninth inning in Saturday’s series finale. However, the Aggies scored three runs and won the contest 5-4 to sweep the series. A&M freshman Daniel Mengden hit the game-winning home run, and also earned his third save in the contest.

Virginia Tech (34-21) -- The Hokies likely saw their postseason hopes fade on Saturday with a 6-2 loss to North Carolina, going 0-3 for the weekend and falling to 11-19 in the ACC. VT starting pitcher Marc Zecchino allowed two runs on four hits in just 3 1/3 innings of work, while reliever Clark Labitan allowed two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

Kentucky (41-15) -- That sound you’re hearing is UK losing a national seed. The Wildcats entered the weekend in pretty good shape to earn one of the eight national seeds. However, they took a huge step back, getting swept by Mississippi State by losing the series finale, 11-3. UK starting pitcher Corey Littrell allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of work.

Purdue (41-12) -- The Boilermakers still are in terrific shape to earn one of the 16 NCAA Regional host sites, but they certainly left at least a little doubt by somehow finding a way to drop a series to Iowa. Purdue starting pitcher Connor Podkul had a tough day on the mound, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits in 1 2/3 innings of work, as the Boilermakers dropped a 7-6 decision to the Hawkeyes.

East Carolina (34-20) -- Speaking of teams leaving things for chance down the stretch, how about the Pirates? ECU starting pitcher Jharel Cotton allowed six runs on just one hit and didn’t escape the first inning in a surprising 11-2 loss to Virginia Commonwealth. The bullpen didn’t do a much better job, with both Tyler Joyner and Drew Reynolds failing to hold the Rams for a significant amount of time.


BUBBLE WATCH

* New Mexico State is keeping its postseason hopes alive this weekend with a solid showing against San Jose State. The Aggies won the series opener and captured a series win with a 4-2 win. NMSU starting pitcher Adam Mott was outstanding, striking out five and allowing just one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings.

* Oklahoma freshman catcher Hunter Lockwood smacked a pair of homers as the Sooners picked up a very important bubble series win over Samford with a 13-3 triumph in the series finale. While Lockwood led the way at the plate, Damien Magnifico put together a solid start, allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings.

* Auburn still is in tough shape after losing the first two games against Florida, but at least showed some fight in the series finale with a 5-4 victory. AU starting pitcher Derek Varnadore allowed four runs in seven innings, while Justin Bryant earned his sixth save of the season by tossing two shutout frames.

* Washington isn’t helping its case for an at-large berth this weekend against Arizona State. The Huskies dropped the second game of the series 8-4, as starting pitcher Jeff Brigham was lifted after just the third inning, allowing four runs on five hits. UW reliever Austin Voth also struggled in the game.

* Long Beach State won the series opener against Pacific, but took a step back with a loss in the second game, 5-3. LBSU starting pitcher Ryan Strufing allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, while reliever Jon Maciel was unable to hold the lead, allowing three runs on two hits in two innings of work.



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