ALSO SEE: PG College Top 25 | Weekly chat transcript | Weekly national column
TEAM OF THE DAY
Sam Houston State
The Bearkats have a chance to make a sizable statement this weekend in the Houston College Classic, but got off to a hot start this week on Tuesday with an impressive 3-1 win over Rice. SHSU right-handed pitcher Ryan Brinley struck out two, walked one and allowed just a run on two hits in seven innings, while at the plate, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn had three hits at an RBI. Sitting at 8-1 overall, it’s safe to say the Bearkats could be playing to be ranked this weekend at Minute Maid Park.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Daniel Concepcion, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth
Concepcion is another very talented veteran pitcher to watch in college baseball. Looking to take advantage of a battered and bruised East Carolina team that was swept by Virginia over the weekend, Concepcion and VCU put together an impressive performance in a 3-0 home victory. Concepcion struck out seven, walked three and allowed just three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He threw 88 pitches, 54 for strikes.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Virginia Military over Virginia
The Cavaliers strung together some impressive performances against East Carolina over the weekend, but struggled Tuesday in a 3-2 home loss to VMI, which by the way, improved to 5-2 with the victory. VMI starting pitcher Campbell Henkel allowed just a run on four hits in four innings of work, while reliever Taylor Edens was particularly impressive, striking out one and allowing just a run on two hits in five innings … For the Cavaliers, starting pitcher Whit Mayberry only lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits in the process.
OTHER NOTABLE UPSETS: No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette 4, No. 9 LSU 1 --- Western Kentucky 3, No. 5 Vanderbilt 2 --- Sam Houston State 3, No. 12 Rice --- UC Santa Barbara 6, No. 14 UCLA 4 --- Texas-Arlington 10, TCU 2.
John Curtiss returning to mound for Texas: Curtiss has one of the premier arms on the UT pitching staff, but his team missed him dearly last season because of Tommy John surgery. Curtiss, though, returned to the mound Tuesday against Texas Pan-American working two innings, striking out two and walking one. He adds yet another high quality arm to an already loaded UT pitching staff.
Stanford welcomes back RHP AJ Vanegas: Stanford pitching coach Rusty Filter said last week Vanegas was progressing very well. And though the general consensus with folks close to the program was the righty returning sometime in early March, he made his debut Tuesday afternoon against San Francisco in a 6-4 victory. He worked an inning and tallied a strikeout of highly touted San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer on three pitches. We’re told Vanegas definitely had his velocity back, sitting 92-95 in the frame.
Oregon’s consistency: After losing ace left-handed pitcher Cole Irvin because of an injury, there were questions abound about the Ducks’ ability to quickly rebound. Well, those questions were answered the past couple of weeks, as the Ducks improved to 8-0 on Tuesday with an 8-2 win over Portland. UO starting pitcher Jeff Gold struck out seven in five innings, while Shaun Case led the offense with a home run and three RBIs.
Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin’ Cajuns were expected to have a solid club this spring after reaching the Baton Rouge Regional title game last season. They added some star power to their resume on Tuesday with a solid 4-1 road win over LSU in a contest that was rain-shortened, the two teams only getting to the sixth inning. ULL right-handed pitcher Greg Milhorn was good, allowing just a run on four hits in five innings.
Tulane: Staying in the Pelican State, coach Rick Jones couldn’t be more pleased with his club after a 1-0 road win over Nicholls State. The Green Wave, now 7-1 on the season, got an outstanding performance from starting pitcher Tyler Mapes, who struck out seven, walked no one and allowed just a hit in seven shutout frames. Tulane now gets Sacred Heart at home this weekend.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels haven’t had a terrific first couple of weeks, but perhaps Tuesday’s 12-1 win over Appalachian State was a big step in the right direction. UNC talented freshman Joe Dudek, whom the coaches spoke about a lot during the fall, had a solid afternoon at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.
San Diego State: It’s not everyday the Aztecs are a pleasant surprise, but that is the case through the first two weeks of the season. SDSU is sitting at 6-2 following a very solid series win over West Virginia, plus Tuesday’s 8-7 road win over UC Riverside. SDSU’s Tim Zier and C.J. Saylor had big days at the plate, totaling five hits.
College of Charleston: Though plenty of eyes in the Palmetto State have been on South Carolina and Clemson, and rightfully so, this year, keep an eye on the Cougars as the season progresses. Charleston captured a lot of attention two weekends ago by taking a series over North Carolina. Now it’s sitting at 7-1 following a 5-2 win over Charlotte. C of C starting pitcher Hayden McCutcheon had a solid performance, striking out five and allowing just a run on four hits in four innings.
TCU’s Houston College Classic tune-up: The Horned Frogs have an important weekend ahead with a chance to make a big statement. Well, the week didn’t begin the way they’d hoped with a 10-2 home loss to Texas-Arlington. Frogs starting pitcher Jordan Kipper allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings, while offensively, only first baseman Kevin Cron finished the contest with a multi-hit performance.
Furman: The Paladins might still make a statement come Southern Conference play, but they’re off to a slow start this season, falling to 3-5 after a Tuesday setback to Georgia, this following getting swept at home by VCU. Furman’s pitching staff is an issue right now, as the staff enters the rest of the week with a 5.62 ERA.
Missouri: After having a not so good first season in the Southeastern Conference, it’s imperative the Tigers get off to a fast start this spring. Missouri isn’t doing that, thouh, as it dropped to 3-4 overall following a 2-1 loss to Liberty. Missouri starting pitcher Griffin Goodrich allowed just a run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, but Liberty starting pitcher Blake Fulghum was too much, he striking out five, walking two and allowing a run on four hits in seven innings. Mizzou hopes to turn things around at home against Illinois-Chicago this weekend.
UCLA: I have a strong feeling the Bruins will pitch well the duration of the spring, but the offense remains a valid concern moving forward. UCLA dropped a 6-4 decision to UC Santa Barbara. And though Grant Dyer and Max Schuh didn’t pitch particularly well, Dyer, the starting pitcher, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings of work, the offense was even more concerning, as just one hit (Christoph Bono) was recorded outside of Shane Zeile’s three-hit performance and Luke Persico’s two hits.
Georgia Tech: We’re not real sure why folks expected the Yellow Jackets to crush everyone early in the season. After all, even coach Danny Hall thought his club was a work in progress before the season. With that said, the Jackets are 4-4 without playing a tough schedule, losing Tuesday 5-3 to Kennesaw State. The Jackets couldn’t get much going offensively against the Owls, as KSU starting pitcher Gabe Friese allowed just three hits in five shutout frames.
How the PG Top 25 fared
VMI 3, No. 1 Virginia 2
Western Kentucky 3, No. 5 Vanderbilt 2
No. 7 Oregon 8, Portland 2
No. 8 N.C. State 7, Davidson 5
No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette 4, No. 9 LSU 1 (5 innings)
No. 10 Mississippi State 13, Mount St. Mary's 1
No. 11 Clemson 4, Presbyterian 2
Sam Houston State 3, No. 12 Rice 1
No. 13 Cal Poly 5, San Jose State 3
UC Santa Barbara 6, No. 14 UCLA 4
No. 16 Louisville 6, Eastern Illinois 0
No. 17 North Carolina 12, Appalachian State 1
No. 18 Texas A&M 5, Houston Baptist 1
No. 20 Florida Atlantic 2, North Florida 1
No. 25 Kentucky 7, Wright State 1