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TEAM OF THE DAY
Absolutely nothing gets the Gamecocks' juices flowing like the annual Palmetto State battle between they and the Clemson Tigers. Well, sophomore left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery kept the recent winning tradition against their heated rivals going Friday night with a masterful performance in a 6-0 triumph on the road. Montgomery struck out a career-high nine batters, walked just two and allowed three hits in eight innings of work. He also threw 110 pitches, 71 for strikes. Montgomery's performance overshadowed Clemson's Daniel Gossett, who allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings of work.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
RHP Mark Appel, Stanford
Appel is under the microscope every time he takes the mound, and Friday night's matchup against Texas was no exception. Good thing the elite right-handed pitcher was tremendous against the Longhorns in a 2-0 triumph. Appel struck out 14 batters and allowed just three hits in a complete-game performance. Appel also threw 110 pitches, 74 for strikes.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Travis Radke, LHP, So., Portland
It's certainly not everyday that UC Irvine ace pitcher Andrew Thurman gets outpitched, but that happened Friday night as the Pilots shocked the Anteaters 2-0 on the road. Portland lefty Travis Radke couldn't have been more impressive in the winning cause. Radke struck out 11 batters and allowed just three hits and no runs in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Teams feeling good
Miami: The Hurricanes finally can breathe a sigh of relief, as they snapped an 11-game losing streak to in-state power Florida in a 3-2 triumph. Canes starting pitcher Chris Diaz only had one strikeout in the win, but allowed just eight hits in seven scoreless frames. Meanwhile, catcher Alex San Juan had two hits (one a home run and two RBIs.
Washington: The Huskies have gotten off to an incredibly slow start this season, but have plenty of reasons to smile on Friday after a 2-1 win over red-hot Cal Poly. Washington right-handed pitcher Austin Voth was terrific against the Mustangs, striking out nine batters and allowing just one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of work.
Oklahoma: You find out just how good your team is when your best guys aren't performing completely up to par. OU left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton wasn't his sharpest despite striking out 10 batters over six innings. Yet, the Sooners still defeated Pepperdine 10-7, scoring eight runs on eight hits in six innings off Pepperdine stalwart Scott Frazier. OU was led at the plate by outfielder Max White, who finished the afternoon with a pair of hits.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers dropped a tough bout to San Diego on Thursday, but bounced back in solid fashion on Friday with a 4-1 win over Florida Atlantic. CCU starting pitcher Tyler Poole struck out four batters and allowed just a run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, while Ryan Connolly tossed three shutout frames out of the bullpen.
Tulane: Even with a plethora of injuries they're dealing with, the Green Wave began the weekend with a huge 4-0 win over red-hot Alabama. Hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Tony Rizzotti was up to 95 with a knockout slider against the Crimson Tide. He also struck out 10 batters and allowed just five hits in seven shutout frames.
Southern Mississippi: The Golden Eagles are on the road this weekend for a huge series against Troy, and started things on the right foot with a dominant 12-4 triumph. USM starting pitcher Andrew Pierce continues to tally fantastic numbers, striking out 11 batters in 7 1/3 innings of work, while designated hitter Tim Lynch led the offensive charge with three hits and two RBIs.
Cal State Fullerton: Titans freshman right-handed pitcher Thomas Eshelman allowed his first runs of the season, but he settled in and had yet another dominant performance in an 8-2 win over George Horton's Oregon Ducks. Eshelman struck out six batters and allowed just two runs on four hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, outfielder Anthony Hutting led the charge at the plate with a home run and two RBIs.
North Carolina: Tar Heels junior left-handed pitcher Kent Emanuel didn't quite have his best stuff, but still performed at a high level in a 2-1 win over Rice. Emanuel struck out five batters and allowed just a run in seven innings of work. Meanwhile, designated hitter Brian Holberton finished the contest with three hits.
Teams wanting a do-over
St. John's: There might not be a team that would like more than to restart the season. The Johnnies dropped to a nasty 1-8 overall after a 6-3 setback to East Carolina. Johnnies starting pitcher James Lomangino struggled in the setback, allowing six runs on eight hits in just 4 2/3 innings of work.
TCU: The Horned Frogs finally got off the mat a bit earlier this week with a midweek triumph over Dallas Baptist, but dropped a tough 5-3 decision to fireballer Chris Anderson and Jacksonville. TCU starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan had a rather interesting day on the mound, striking out 11, but also allowing five runs and five hits in six innings of work.
Texas Tech: Sure, the game was lost in extra innings, but the Red Raiders dropped a brutal contest at home to LaSalle, 6-5. Tech starting pitcher Dominic Moreno really struggled in his start, striking out five batters, but also allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings. And most disappointing, throwing 95 pitches in just those five frames. Reliever Jerad McCrummen, who tossed four shutout frames out of the bullpen, was the lone bright spot.
Texas State: What a tale of two games it was for the Bobcats. Bobcats elite right-handed pitcher Kyle Finnegan struck out six batters in six shutout frames against Northern Kentucky, but the bullpen lost the contest with Jack Finnegan and Austen Williams allowing six runs in the final two frames.
St. Mary's: It's safe to say Gaels starting pitcher Jordan Mills didn't have much of a day to smile, as his club dropped a 19-5 decision to UC Riverside. Mills only allowed two earned runs against the Gaels, but allowed 10 total runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work. Jacob Valdez and Thomas Cortese out of the bullpen were the lone bright spots for Jed Soto's club.
Texas A&M: The Aggies are showing some real weaknesses early in the season, as they dropped a tough 7-6 decision to in-state foe Houston at the Astros Foundation Classic. A&M senior right-handed pitcher Kyle Martin allowed seven runs on nine hits in just four innings of work, while the bullpen with Matt Kent, Andrew Vinson and A.J. Minter leading the charge was the lone bright spot.
Long Beach State: The Dirtbags dealt with some injuries before the spring, and could be in real trouble as it pertains to their postseason chances. LBSU starting pitcher Shane Carle put together a good start against Seattle, while David Hill allowed three runs the final three frames in a tough 5-4 loss to Seattle.
Auburn: The Tigers have played well much of the season until now, but took a step back on Friday with a tough 11-10 lost to Eastern Illinois. AU was in cruise control until the ninth inning, when its bullpen allowed six runs. AU starting pitcher Daniel Koger was just OK in his third start of the season, allowing four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Top individual performers
Marco Gonzales, LHP, Jr., Gonzaga: The Bulldogs knew they'd need a strong start from Gonzales against Arkansas. They got just that, as the left-hander struck out nine batters and allowed just eight hits in a complete game performance. Gonzales showed good stuff against the Hogs, getting up to 90-91 with his fastball.
C.K. Irby, RHP, Jr., Samford: The Bulldogs started the weekend on a positive note with Irby tossing a gem in an 8-0 win over Purdue. Irby, who flashes a big-time 90-plus fastball, struck out eight batters, walked two, and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout. He threw 99 pitches, 60 for strikes. Honorable mention in this game goes to outfielder Phillip Ervin, who smacked a pair of homers, one a grand slam.
Ben Lively, RHP, Jr., UCF: It's no surprise that Lively put together yet another solid performance this weekend. Lively tossed a gem in a 3-0 win over Winthrop. The righty struck out nine batters, walked two and allowed just six hits in eight innings of work. He also threw 116 pitches, 81 for strikes.
Chris Anderson, RHP, Jr., Jacksonville: Anderson is one of the fastest rising prospects on the national stage for a reason. The hard-throwing right-hander tossed a complete-game gem in a win over TCU. He struck out 13 batters, walked just one, and allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits.
Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Jr., Vanderbilt: The outstanding pitcher and prospect was terrific again against Illinois-Chicago in a dominant 9-0 victory. Ziomek struck out 15 batters, walked just three and allowed just one hit in a complete-game shutout performance. He also threw 114 pitches, 74 for strikes.
Trevor Williams, RHP, Jr., Arizona State: Williams was fantastic last weekend against Tennessee, consistently throwing the low-to-mid 90s. Well, he was much the same way Friday in an 8-1 win over Pacific. Williams was up to 95 the last pitch of the game in the ninth inning. He struck out nine batters and allowed just a run on five hits in the complete game.
Jacob Lindgren, LHP, So., Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are an unblemished 12-0 this season after making easy work of St. Joseph's in the series opener. Lindgren, who has a premier arm, was fantastic against the Hawks, striking out 13 and allowing just one hit in seven shutout frames. Lindgren threw 89 pitches, 62 for strikes.
Jose Brizuela, 3B, So., Florida State: The Seminoles had several players perform at a high level in the 23-5 win over Villanova, including hard-hitting outfielder Marcus Davis. But Brizuela led the charge with three hits and two RBIs. He also induced three walks in the victory.
AJ Reed, UTI, So., Kentucky: The Wildcats love what Reed has done so far this season, and who can really blame them? The UK sophomore struck out four and allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings of work, while he helped himself at the plate with four hits (one a home run) and five RBIs.
Brandon Lee, RHP, Sr., USC-Upstate: The Spartans loved the performance Lee put together in the series opener against Marshall. The talented veteran righty struck out seven batters and allowed just eight hits in a complete game shutout.
Ty Nichols, LHP, So., Sacramento State: The Hornets started the weekend on a positive note with a 1-0 win over Utah Valley, who defeated Arizona earlier this week. The talented left-handed pitcher struck out five, walked two and allowed just four hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings. He also threw 100 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Kyle McGowin, RHP, Savannah State: The talented right-hander might not get a lot of press because of where he's at, but he's an elite arm. McGowin struck out 10 batters, walked two and allowed just five hits in seven shutout innings in a win over Fairleigh Dickinson.
Phil Maton, RHP, So., Louisiana Tech: It seems like we're talking a lot about Maton this spring. The talented hurler struck out nine batters, walked four and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings of work in a win over McNeese State. Maton threw 110 pitches, 72 for strikes.