TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State head coach Mike Martin said as the Seminoles went through fall workouts a few months ago, even his best hitters had trouble getting good swings off veteran righthanded pitcher Mike Compton.
Chances are good Saturday's performance by Compton against Virginia in a 7-0 win looked like one of those cool fall days at Dick Howser Stadium.
“When Mike Compton is cooking, it isn't any fun,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “He throws a heavy ball and it's really hard to get anything in the air. Your timing against him just has to be perfect. He goes in and out, and he goes up and down. He's a guy who can cause a lot of problems because of that. Tonight, he gave his club just what it needed for 6 1/3 innings.”
Though the night turned out well for Compton and the Seminoles, it didn't begin so hot in the first inning. Virginia put runners on second and third with two outs, as the righty didn't have the best command of his pitches. But like a veteran does so often in those situations, he buckled down and got a ground ball to get out of the jam.
That was the play and inning that got the Seminoles and Compton rolling the rest of the way. There were times when the Cavaliers threatened the rest of the night, but again, Compton would find a way to work out of it. Unlike Virginia righthanded pitcher Josh Sborz, who sat anywhere from 91-94, touching 95 once, while also showcasing a sometimes good, but inconsistent 77-79 mph curveball, Compton showcased a sinking and effective mid-80s fastball, along with a good slider and changeup. Compton chopped up the Virginia offensive lineup with approximately 80-percent of his pitches being fastballs.
“I think there were times in this game when we hit the ball hard, but he really did a nice job of getting his pitches on the outside part of the plate, sinking that fastball away from lefthanded hitters,” Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. “We just couldn't put enough together tonight, and he wasn't going to give us a lot of pitches to hit. You have to take advantages of opportunities when you can get them against these guys.”
Compton finished the night with just one strikeout, but was very effective with just one walk allowed and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, while Virginia got a nice lift from lefthanded pitcher Nathan Kirby in the series opener, Sborz was inconsistent and lifted after the fourth inning, allowing four runs on five hits.
“Josh Sborz has really good stuff, but he's just inconsistent right now,” O'Connor said. “He has really good stuff, but he's going to pitch himself into some jams. When you pitch into jams against really good clubs [like FSU], this is the kind of thing that happens.”
While Compton was the man of the night for the Seminoles, they also continued to get good production from several hitters, including Josh Delph and Jose Brizuela. I pointed this out on Twitter, but through the first two games in this series, it seems like every time I look up, Delph is doing something good. Delph went 3-for-4 in the game with a double, while veteran third baseman Jose Brizuela collected a pair of doubles with two RBIs.
A stellar start from Mike Compton couldn't have come at a better time for FSU.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Auston Bousfield, of, Ole Miss
What a wild day in Lexington, Ky., it was for the Rebels, who clinched a road series win over Kentucky with a dominant 18-5 triumph Saturday afternoon. Bousfield led the charge at the plate, going 5-for-6 with a double, home run, three runs scored and six RBIs. The Rebels finished the contest with four homers as a team.
UPSET OF THE DAY
Long Beach State over Cal Poly
Veteran righthanded pitcher Josh Frye has provided a significant boost for the Dirtbags the past few weeks, and once again was terrific in a 7-2 upset win over Cal Poly. Frye struck out six, walked one and allowed just two runs on six hits in eight innings of work. Meanwhile, the offense was productive with first baseman Ino Patron going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and shortstop Garrett Hampson going 2-for-3 with a double. Cam Pongs also had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Illinois 2, Indiana 1 (P John Kravetz: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 99/64)
Cincinnati 3, Houston 0 (P Connor Walsh: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 108/63)
Texas State 10, Louisiana 3 (SS Garrett Mattladge: 3-for-4, HR, double, 2 R, 2 RBIs)
DID YOU KNOW
Oregon State head coach Pat Casey earned win No. 700 of his career Saturday night in a wild come-from-behind 4-2 win over Oregon.
Will Dennis, lhp, Seattle: SU hit the road and captured a dominant 7-0 win over North Dakota with Dennis leading the charge. He struck out eight, didn't allow a walk and allowed just seven hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Danny Mooney, rhp, Davidson: The Wildcats picked up a nice 12-0 road win over Appalachian State Saturday afternoon. Mooney had a strong night on the mound, and also got plenty of help from his offense. He struck out six, walked two and allowed just three hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Carson Fulmer, rhp, Vanderbilt: Looking for a spark this weekend against Georgia, the Commodores moved the hard-throwing righthanded pitcher to the weekend rotation. That move paid off on Saturday, as Fulmer struck out eight, walked three and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings in an 11-0, series-clinching win.
Aaron Rhodes, rhp, Florida: The Gators are rolling in Southeastern Conference play, clinching yet another series win with a 5-0 triumph over Missouri at home. Rhodes shined against the Tigers, touching 94 with his fastball, while also struck out six, walking two and allowing just one hit in a complete game shutout.
Alabama's pitching staff: After a tough showing in the series opener against South Carolina, the Crimson Tide pitching staff bounced back in impressive fashion Saturday in a 2-1 victory to even the series at 1-1. UA lefthanded pitcher Justin Kamplain struck out four, walked two and allowed just a run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, while freshman reliever Thomas Burrows touched 92, struck out three and allowed just one hit in 2 2/3 shutout innings.
Texas A&M: Hoping to keep their postseason hopes alive, the Aggies hit the road to Mississippi State in almost a must-win situation with only few series remaining, including against stalwarts LSU and Ole Miss. Well, the Aggies captured a 6-4 victory and the road series from the Bulldogs. Freshman outfielder Nick Banks went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the offensive cause, while on the mound, the bullpen trio of A.J. Minter, Corey Ray and Ty Schlottmann got the job done.
Southern California: How about the Trojans? Dan Hubbs' club is roaring up the bubble list after sweeping rival UCLA 7-4, scoring all seven of their runs in the top of the ninth inning against Nick Kern and Grant Dyer. Blake Lacey led the offensive charge with three hits and tow RBIs, while Jake Hernandez continued his hot hitting with a pair of hits. UCLA starting pitcher Cody Poteet had a wonderful start wasted, as he allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings.
Travis Hayes, rhp, Southeast Missouri State: Hayes put together an absolute gem in a 1-0 road win over Jacksonville State. The righty struck out six, walked one and allowed three hits in a complete game shutout performance.
UNLV: The Rebels are leaving little doubt who should be atop the Mountain West standings right now, beating New Mexico 14-6 Saturday afternoon to clinch a huge series victory. UNLV designated hitter Patrick Armstrong smacked two homers and knocked in three runs, while leadoff hitter Joey Armstrong went 2-for-6 with three RBIs, and Matt McCallister went 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs.
Preston Morrison, rhp, TCU: The Horned Frogs have a true Saturday ace in righthanded pitcher Preston Morrison. Morrison put together yet another dominant performance in a 1-0 win over Cal State Northridge to clinch a series victory. Morrison struck out five, walked one and allowed three hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Austin Kerr, lhp, Coastal Carolina: The Chants captured another win, this time with the talented lefthanded pitcher shining in a 3-0 win over Gardner-Webb. Kerr struck out 11, walked one and allowed just four hits in a complete game shutout performance.
Texas Tech: Tim Tadlock and his coaching staff already have done a terrific job of turning things around, but things could get even better down the stretch, as the Red Raiders captured a series win over Oklahoma with a 14-4 triumph Saturday afternoon. Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs, while outfielder Tyler Neslony had an impressive night with two hits, one a home run, and two RBIs.
Oklahoma State: To no surprise, the series between the Pokes and Longhorns has been filled with a lot of great pitching so far this weekend. OSU freshman righthanded pitcher Tyler Buffett struck out five and allowed a run and just a hit in 4 2/3 innings, but it was the OSU bullpen that rose to the occasion in a 2-1 victory. Blake Battenfield led the way with two shutout frames, while Brendan McCurry threw 1 1/3 scoreless.
Grant Papelian, lhp, Mercer: The Bears notched a nice 4-0 road win over Florida Gulf Coast with Papelian leading the charge. Papelian struck out just two, but also walked just two and allowed five hits in a complete game shutout performance. With the win, the Bears are 33-11, 15-5 overall.
Duke: Chris Pollard's club is moving closer and closer to the NCAA postseason, clinching another solid ACC series win, this time on the road against Wake Forest, by taking the second game of the series 6-5. Duke lefthanded pitcher Trent Swart struck out nine, walked one and allowed just six hits in seven innings, while offensively, third baseman Jordan Betts hit a pair of solo homers. With the win, the Blue Devils are 27-17, 14-9 in the ACC.
Miami (Fla.): One of the big stories of the past few months for the Hurricanes is the emergence of junior lefthanded pitcher Andrew Suarez. Suarez put together an excellent start against Clemson, and his offense made sure it wasn't wasted in a series-clinching 3-2 road win over the Tigers. Suarez struck out seven, walked just one and allowed a run on eight hits in a complete game performance, while Tyler Palmer led the offense with a pair of hits and an RBI.
Auburn: The Tigers dropped the first game of the day to Arkansas, but responded in impressive fashion in the series finale, beating the Hogs 7-2 to take the important SEC road series. AU lefthanded pitcher Michael O'Neal struck out four, walked two and allowed just two runs on seven hits in eight innings, while at the plate, third baseman Damek Tomscha went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs entered the weekend in our latest field of 64, but that's likely to change next week after dropping the first two games this weekend to Middle Tennessee State, including an 11-8 setback on Saturday. MTSU's Trent Miller had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs, while for ODU, starting pitcher Ryan Yarbrough allowed nine runs in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Southern Miss: With a rising RPI the past couple of weeks, the Golden Eagles earned a spot on the postseason bubble in our latest projections. However, that might not be the case next week after losing the first two games this weekend to Rice, 3-2 on Saturday. USM starting pitcher Christian Talley allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings, but the offense couldn't do much against Owls lefthanded pitcher Blake Fox, who allowed just two runs in 6 2/3 innings, while Trevor Teykl tossed 2 1/3 shutout out of the bullpen.