Trackin' the Top 25
Huston Street's in the big leagues. Sam LeCure's no longer in school due to academics, and left-handers J.P. Howell and Justin Simmons took their 225 innings pitched to pro ball.
Nevertheless, the Texas Longhorns again field one of the nation's best pitching staffs, as evidenced by a 2.66 ERA entering the weekend, seventh-best in the nation. Texas continued its hold on the top spot in Baseball America's Top 25 rankings by throwing shutouts in the first two games of its series against Oklahoma.
The Longhorns won the opener behind 10 scoreless innings from sophomore right-hander Kyle McCulloch (eight) and junior closer J. Brent Cox (two) a day before right-hander Adrian Alaniz became the first Texas freshman since Greg Swindell to throw a no-hitter. Alaniz, who redshirted last season due to the Longhorns' depth, walked one and struck out six.
North Carolina entered the weekend with the nation's best team ERA (2.02) but allowed Miami to score 42 runs (33 earned) to lose the first two games of the series before battling to a draw in the third. That showing allowed Long Beach State to usurp the nation's ERA crown after it held Cal State Northridge to five earned runs in a series sweep.
Oregon State has featured one of the nation's best staffs all year, but its relief corps cost it a series victory Sunday at Arizona by allowing two ninth-inning runs. Elsewhere in the Pac-10, Stanford's relievers blew two leads, giving up a seven-run seventh Saturday and a three-run ninth Sunday to permit comeback-minded Arizona State to leave with a sweep.
Pitching even played a huge role in the Southeastern Conference, where bashing bats usually do most of the talking. LSU stopped its three-series conference losing skid Sunday when junior left-hander Greg Smith threw a four-hit complete game to beat Mississippi.
Take a quick look back at last week's games and a first glance at the upcoming games for the Top 25:
Last week: 3-0. Overall: 32-6, 9-5 in Big 12. (10-5 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Oklahoma has not won at Texas since 1997. Fr. RHP Adrian Alaniz threw a no-hitter Saturday, with one walk and six strikeouts. That marked the second shutout of the weekend after Soph. RHP Kyle McCulloch (8 IP) and Jr. RHP J. Brent Cox (2 IP) combined for one Friday. Soph. CF Drew Stubbs cranked a two-run homer to end Friday's game, and added a homer and two RBI Sunday.
April 15-17: Oklahoma: W 2-0 (10 inn.), W 4-0, W 11-7
April 20: @ No. 15 Rice
April 22-24: @ Oklahoma State
2. Cal State Fullerton
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 26-9, 8-1 in Big West. (6-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: The Titans keeping rolling in conference play, where Jr. RF Sergio Pedroza is batting .552-3-14 with four doubles and a 1.000 slugging percentage. Sr. 3B Ronnie Prettyman tallied six hits on the week, including three two-hit games, and drove in five runs Sunday on a two-run double and three-run home run. Fr. RHP Wes Roemer keeps on dealing, allowing five hits and a run over eight innings Saturday to go along with seven strikeouts.
April 12: @ No. 25 USC: L 4-2
April 15-17: Pacific: W 8-5, W 11-1, W 9-4
April 19: Pepperdine
April 20: No. 25
April 22-24: @ UC Davis
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 32-6, 12-3 in C-USA. (8-2 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Tulane has won 12 of 13 games after Houston snapped its 10-game win streak Friday. Jr. OF/LHP Brian Bogusevic returned to the lineup for the first time in a month (hamstring), starting all four games on offense and collecting six hits in 15 at-bats. He doubled twice and drove in four runs and also threw 6.1 innings Sunday, allowing one run. Fr. 3B Brad Emaus hit a walk-off home run Saturday, his ninth ya-ya of the year. Jr. 1B Micah Owings cracked his team-leading 11th longball earlier in that game.
April 12: Nicholls State: W 11-1 (7 inn.)
April 15-17: Houston: L 6-4, W 5-4, W 7-2
April 19: No. 20 LSU @ Zephyr Field in Metairie
April 22-24: @ Southern Mississippi
4. Georgia Tech
Last week: 3-0. Overall: 29-7, 16-2 in ACC. (6-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Georgia Tech sweeps Florida State for the second straight season to improve to 19-1 in its last 20 ACC home games. The Yellow Jackets have won 13 straight ACC series. Soph. LHP Lee Hyde allowed three unearned runs over 6.2 innings Friday; he hasn't allowed an earned run in 20 innings. A two-out, two-run single by Fr. CF Danny Payne capped a three-run ninth-inning rally Saturday. Soph. 1B Whit Robbins drove in four runs Saturday, while Jr. LF Steven Blackwood did the same Sunday and Fr. C/1B Matt Wieters did so Friday.
April 15-17: No. 20 Florida State: W 6-4, W 9-8, W 9-4
April 20: Georgia
April 22-24: @ Virginia
Last week: 2-1. Overall: 27-9, 10-5 in SEC. (6-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Florida stood three outs from its first sweep of Alabama since 1994 before allowing six runs in the top of the ninth Sunday. Jr. SS Justin Tordi collected hits in his first six at-bats of the series, including four Friday. Fr. 3B Brandon McArthur extended his hit streak to 14 games. Jr. RHP Alan Horne allowed a run over 5.2 innings Saturday to earn his second SEC win. Sr. RHP Connor Falkenbach has appeared in 13 of the 15 SEC games, going 2-0, 2.00.
April 15-17: No. 18 Alabama: W 9-8, W 7-4, L 9-6
April 19: @ No. 23 Florida State
April 22-24: @ Auburn
Last week: 2-1. Overall: 26-11, 10-2 in Pac-10. (5-5 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Soph. SS Jason Donald delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to cap a two-run rally and clinch the series. He also set the school's single-season hit-by-pitch mark by taking his 16th dose Saturday. Jr. OF Trevor Crowe went 3-for-4 with two steals and four RBI Friday, including a straight steal of home. Jr. RHP John Meloan struck out 11 batters Friday in allowing three runs over six innings.
April 15-17: No. 11 Oregon State: W 7-5, L 17-1, W 7-6
April 19: @ New Mexico
April 22-23: UC Irvine, Sacramento State @ Sacramento
Last week: 2-0-1. Overall: 29-9-1, 13-4-1 in ACC. (4-4-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Miami scored 42 runs (33 earned) against a pitching staff that entered the series with the nation's best ERA. Fr. DH Alex Garabedian, in the lineup because Jr. Brendan Katin injured his knee Thursday and missed the series, drove in a career-high five runs and homered Friday. Jr. RHP Cesar Carrillo improved to 9-0, but not in his normally impressive fashion (6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, K). Jr. 3B Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday for an 11-9 lead before a seven-run ninth made it a laugher. He drove in eight in the series. Miami scored an unearned run in the ninth inning Sunday to force a tie that couldn't be broken because of its travel schedule.
April 15-17: @ North Carolina (7): W 17-7, W 18-9, T 7-7 (10 inn.)
April 22-24: No. 23 Florida State
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 25-13, 12-3 in Big 12. (10-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Baylor has won seven straight conference games and is off to its best Big 12 start since 2001. The Bears are 15-3 over their last six weekend series. They scored twice on one hit and two wild pitches in the ninth Sunday to clinch the sweep. Jr. OF Kevin Sevigny batted .500-1-4 in the Kansas series. Jr. RHP Ryan LaMotta struck out 11 batters over 6.1 innings, covering three appearances, to record two saves and extend his scoreless streak to 27.2 innings. Jr. RHP Mark McCormick is 5-1, 1.62 in his last 50 innings.
April 12: @ UT Arlington: L 2-0
April 15-17: @ Kansas: W 8-4, W 13-2, W 3-2
April 20 @ TCU April 22-24: @ No. 11 Nebraska
9. Oregon State
Last week: 1-2. Overall: 27-7, 6-3 in Pac-10. (4-3 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Oregon State lost its first series of the season, and Soph. RHP Dallas Buck became the first member of the weekend rotation to take an L (6.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB). Soph. LHP Kevin Gunderson allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to hand over a lead. Jr. 3B Shea McFeely totaled three doubles Friday to tie a single-game OSU record. He added three hits in each of the next two games to finish with five doubles and six RBI. Jr. CF Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 16 games. OSU scored in all but one inning Saturday, with 17 singles among its 18 hits.
April 15-17: @ No. 6 Arizona: L 7-5, W 17-1, L 7-6
April 22-24: Washington State
10. Long Beach State
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 27-12, 8-1 in Big West. (6-3 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Long Beach State allowed five earned runs in the series and leads the nation with a 1.94 ERA. Jr. LHP Cesar Ramos allowed two unearned runs on four hits over 7.2 IP Friday and has a 0.88 ERA over his last five starts. Soph. RHP Jared Hughes threw 6.2 scoreless innings Sunday, while Jr. SS Troy Tulowitzki went 4-for-5 with three RBI. Jr. OF Sean Boatright's 16-game hit streak has pumped up his average from .250 to .312. Fr. 1B Brandon Godfrey missed the series after violating a team rule.
April 12: @ Pepperdine: L 4-3
April 15-17: Cal State Northridge: W 7-2, W 5-3, W 6-2
April 19: @ Loyola Marymount
April 22-24: @ Pacific
Last week: 4-1. Overall: 31-7, 8-4 in Big 12. (3-2 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Sr. OF Daniel Bruce went 3-for-4 with two RBI Sunday, and Fr. RHP Johnny Dorn threw 4.1 scoreless innings as Nebraska clinched its first series win at Texas A&M in four tries. Sr. 1B Curtis Ledbetter went 3-for-4 with two home runs Friday while Soph. RHP Joba Chamberlain threw a complete-game four-hitter. Closer Brett Jensen blew his first save opportunity of the year in six tries Saturday, surrendering the tying run in the ninth and game-winner (or loser) in the 10th.
April 12-13: North Dakota State: W 12-1, W 10-0
April 15-17: @ Texas A&M: W 2-1, L 5-4 (10 inn.), W 6-4
April 20: @ Northern Iowa April 22-24: No. 8 Baylor
12. North Carolina
Last week: 1-2-1. Overall: 28-8-1, 11-4-1 in ACC. (1-2-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: No North Carolina starter made it past the fourth inning as Miami's patient approach drew walks that turned into big innings. Soph. LHP Andrew Miller (2.1 IP 3 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 8 BB, 0 K) and Soph. RHP Daniel Bard (1.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) struggled. Soph. RHP Matt Danford, the closer, threw 6.1 innings of relief Sunday, allowing three runs (two earned). The unearned one came on UNC's 13th error of the series, this one with two outs and a one-run lead in the ninth, allowing Miami to tie the game. The score never changed because of a curfew in effect for the Hurricanes' flight home. Jr. DH Matt Ellington totaled seven hits, five RBI and two home runs in the series.
April 12: Davidson: W 4-0
April 15-17: No. 9 Miami: L 17-7, L 18-9, T 7-7 (10 inn.)
April 19: @ East Carolina
April 20: Virginia Commonwealth
April 22-24: Duke
13. South Carolina
Last week: 1-3. Overall: 29-8, 9-6 in SEC. (5-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: A nine-game win streak turned into a three-game skid before the Gamecocks got one back Sunday. Jr. SS Steven Tolleson hit a two-run homer and Jr. LF Michael Campbell drove in two Sunday. Sr. RHP Zac McCamie tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings Saturday, but was out-dueled by Vandy Jr. LHP Ryan Mullins, who allowed five hits over 8.2 innings. Vandy Jr. RHP Jensen Lewis held South Carolina to six hits, none after the fourth inning, in a complete game Friday. Sr. RF Brendan Winn returned to the lineup Friday for the first time in two weeks (back injury) and homered.
April 13: @ Clemson: L 12-2
April 15-17: Vanderbilt: L 11-3, L 2-1, W 7-4
April 20: Clemson
April 22-24: @ No. 18 Alabama
Last week: 3-2. Overall: 30-8, 8-7 in SEC. (5-7 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Just as everyone expected, Arkansas beats Tennessee's All-American Luke Hochevar on Friday (8 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 BB), then drops the last two games of the series behind eight total errors. Um, riiiight. Fr. LHP Nick Schmidt didn't allow a run over 5.2 innings to earn the win. Jr. CF Craig Gentry tallied 10 consecutive hits over three games (including a 4-for-4 Friday) to set a school record. He recorded 12 hits, five RBI and four steals on the week. Arkansas hit a school-record eight home runs (three by Soph. 1B Danny Hamblin) against Oral Roberts.
April 12: @ Oral Roberts: W 15-8
April 13: Southwest Missouri State: W 14-5
April 15-17: @ No. 23 Tennessee: W 4-1, L 8-2, L 4-3
April 19: @ Southwest Missouri State
April 22-24: No. 20 LSU
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 26-13, 8-7 in WAC. (6-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Fr. LHP Joe Savery tied a career-best with eight innings of work, striking out seven Sunday to clinch the series. Jr. RHP Eddie Degermann threw a four-hit shutout the day before, working his first career complete game. Sr. DH Adam Rodgers homered and delivered a RBI double in that win. Jr. RHP Josh Geer allowed three hits and struck out 10 batters over 7.2 innings Friday, but took the loss.
April 12: Texas A&M: W 5-3
April 15-17: @ Hawaii: L 3-2, W 4-0, W 3-1
April 20: No. 1 Texas
April 22-24: Louisiana Tech
Last week: 2-1. Overall: 25-10, 9-5 in SEC. (7-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Jr. RHP Luke Hochevar (8 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, season-high 5 BB) lost for the first time in nine starts Friday, but Tennessee battled back to take the series. Saturday's win came in front of a season-best 2,726 fans who watched Fr. LHP James Adkins strike out seven batters over 7.2 innings. Jr. 3B Chase Headley homered in each game of the series to improve his season total to 11. He's batting .462 with seven homers in SEC play.
April 15-17: Arkansas (10): L 4-1, W 8-2, W 4-3
April 20: @ Tennessee Tech
April 22-24: @ Vanderbilt
Last week: 1-3. Overall: 27-9, 8-4 in Big 12. (4-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Missouri lost its first series of the year and dropped from first place in the Big 12. Soph. RHP Max Scherzer (7.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K) dominated Friday, but OSU 1B Adam Carr ended things with a 15th-inning grand slam. The usually strong pitching didn't hold up in the final two games, with Soph. LHP Nathan Culp (7 IP, 6 R, 4 ER) and Jr. RHP Doug Mathis (4 IP, 5 ER) all struggling. OF James Boone hit a three-run homer Sunday to improve his RBI total to 62, but OSU's Jeff Parrish homered twice as the Cowboys scored the game's final eight runs.
April 13: Southeast Missouri State: W 10-2
April 15-17: @ Oklahoma State: L 6-2 (15 inn.), L 6-4, L 8-5
April 20: @ St. Louis
April 22-24: @ Oklahoma
Last week: 2-2. Overall: 26-12, 9-6 in SEC. (6-6 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Alabama scored six times in the ninth inning Sunday to avoid a sweep. Soph. Emeel Salem's fourth hit of the day scored the go-ahead run. Jr. 1B Evan Bush delivered two hits during that rally. Fr. RHP David Robertson allowed a run on three hits over six innings of relief to earn the win. Sr. OF Gabe Scott extended his hit streak to 25 games and is batting .427-7-21 over that span. Soph. LHP Wade LeBlanc's first SEC start wasn't pretty (4.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, BB, 6 K).
April 12: Memphis: W 8-3
April 15-17: @ No. 5 Florida: L 9-8, L 7-4, W 9-6
April 20: Mississippi Valley State
April 22-24: No. 13 South Carolina
19. College of Charleston
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 29-6, 14-1 in SoCon. (0-1 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Charleston loses its first league game of the year, but wins its 16th straight SoCon series dating to 2003 and is 41-6 in that span. Soph. 2B Chris Campbell extended his hit streak to 13 games with a 7-for-15 week. Jr. OF Phillip Coker, who has a 3.95 GPA in Biochemistry, missed Saturday's game to take the MCAT.
April 12: Charleston Southern: W 9-3
April 15-17: @ The Citadel: L 6-4, W 9-3, W 9-7
April 19: Coastal Carolina
April 20: Mercer
April 22-24: Davidson
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 26-12, 7-8 in SEC. (6-5 vs. Top 25).
Notes: LSU earned its second SEC series win of the year, and first since sweeping Georgia to open the year. Sr. 2B Clay Harris went 10-for-16 with two homers and seven RBI on the week, including a walk-off job Saturday and grand slam Friday. Jr. LHP Greg Smith threw a four-hit complete game Sunday to clinch the series. He struck out seven and didn't allow a walk. Fr. 3B Chris Jackson, the football placekicker, went 9-for-20 on the week with a homer and five RBI.
April 12: Northwestern State: W 19-2
April 15-17: No. 21 Mississippi: L 14-8, W 7-6, W 5-1
April 19: No. 3 Tulane @ Zephyr Field in Metairie, La. April 22: @ No. 14 Arkansas
21. Arizona State
Last week: 3-0. Overall: 25-15, 6-3 in Big 12. (9-11 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Arizona State records the first Pac-10 sweep against Stanford since it broke out the cleaning supplies on the Cardinal in 1997. Jr. OF Travis Buck collected six hits and six RBI in the series, none bigger than his two-out game-tying homer Saturday in the bottom of the ninth as the Sun Devils scored three times to win. His three-run double Sunday highlighted a seven-run sixth inning rally. Jr. LHP Erik Averill allowed two runs on five hits over eight innings Friday to earn win No. 7. Sr. 1B Jeff Larish hit home run No. 14 Friday and stole home Sunday. Soph. 2B Seth Dhaenens collected five hits and is batting .516 on his nine-game hit streak.
April 15-17: No. 14 Stanford: W 9-2, W 6-5, W 10-9
April 22-24: UCLA
Last week: 3-1. Overall: 32-7, 7-2 in Sun Belt. (0-0 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Lafayette has won nine of 10 and swept its first road conference series since 2003. Fr. DH Jonathan Lucroy tallied nine hits in the sweep, including five Saturday. Sr. 1B Dallas Morris went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBI Friday to support Sr. RHP Kevin Ardoin, who struck out 12 batters in a six-hit shutout. LF Josh Landry went 4-for-5 with a three-run home run Sunday.
April 12: @ Lamar: L 3-1
April 15-17: @ New Orleans: W 6-0, W 13-5, W 7-3
April 20: @ Northwestern State
April 22-24: Florida International
23. Florida State
Last week: 1-3. Overall: 33-11, 9-5 in ACC. (0-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Florida State was swept by Georgia Tech for the second straight year marking the first time the Seminoles have lost six straight conference games to the same opponent since joining the ACC in 1992. FSU left 30 men on base for the series. "They deserved to win all three ball games," FSU coach Mike Martin said. It's wasn't anything but them going out and beating us." Sr. LF Gibbs Chapman went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI Sunday. So. RHP Tyler Chambliss allowed three walks and two singles in a three-run ninth inning Saturday to cough up an 8-6 lead. Soph. CF Shane Robinson went 1-for-11 over the last two games of the series after three hits in the opener.
April 12: @ Jacksonville: W 11-4
April 15-17: @ No. 4 Georgia Tech: L 6-4, L 9-8, L 9-4
April 19: No. 5 Florida
April 22-24: @ No. 6Miami
Last week: 1-3. Overall: 20-14, 4-5 in Pac-10. (4-8 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Stanford was swept in a Pac-10 series for the first time since 1997. Jr. OF Jim Rapoport went 4-for-5 with four RBI Sunday to extend his hit streak to 13 games, but a seven-run sixth inning helped Arizona State win it. Soph. LHP Blake Holler and Fr. RHP Nolan Gallagher couldn't keep ASU from scoring three in the top of the ninth Saturday, and Stanford lost a game in which it held a ninth-inning lead for the first time in 19 games. Arizona State blitzed Jr. LHP Mark Romanczuk for nine runs in the first four innings Friday.
April 12: San Francisco: W 7-1
April 15-17: @ Arizona State: L 9-2, L 6-5, L 10-9
April 19: San Jose State
April 22-24: Washington
Last week: 1-1. Overall: 22-10, 6-3 in Pac-10. (5-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: The Trojans took the weekend off. Jr. LHP Jack Spradlin allowed a run in seven innings to beat Fullerton, and has allowed one run in each of his last five starts. Soph. OF Cyle Hankerd's three-run double in the eighth inning Tuesday sunk Fullerton. Jr. C Jeff Clement homered in the ninth against UCSB, but the Trojans fell one short. He is batting .355-8-29 with a .514 OBP.
April 12: No. 2 Cal State Fullerton: W 4-3
April 13: @ UC Santa Barbara: L 9-8
April 20: @ No. 2 Cal State Fullerton
April 22-24: @ California
Last week: 2-2. Overall: 24-12, 7-8 in SEC. (4-4 vs. Top 25).
Notes: Jrs. Stephen Head, Brian Pettway and Mark Wright drove in three runs each Friday, and Head earned the save with 2.2 IP. LSU scored three runs over the final three innings to rebound from a 6-4 deficit Saturday. Wright drove in three more in that loss before accounting for Ole Miss' only run Sunday with a solo home run.
April 13: Southeastern Louisiana: W 10-8
April 15-17: @ No. 22 LSU: W 14-8, L 7-6, L 5-1
April 19: Southern Mississippi @ Jackson, Miss.
April 22-24: Georgia
24. Mississippi State
Last week: 3-2. Overall: 23-10, 7-7 in SEC. (7-6 vs. Top 25).
Notes: The pitching staff hasn't allowed more than five runs in 16 of the last 19 games, but the Bulldogs needed more offense this weekend. Sr. RHP Todd Doolittle, the only MSU weekend starter to lose last week, threw a two-hit shutout Saturday for MSU's only win against Georgia. He struck out eight. Jr. OF Joseph Hunter, the team's top hitter at .373, broke his right thumb Saturday. He will be evaluated this week. Brad Jones hit in all five games to extend his overall streak to 11 games.
April 12: Louisiana-Monroe: W 9-3
April 13: Samford: W 13-1
April 15-17: @ Georgia: L 5-1, W 6-0, L 6-1
April 19-20: @/vs. South Alabama
April 22-24: Kentucky
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