Baseball America takes a look back at the good and the bad from this past weekend in Three Strikes.
A packed house and a great finish in Houston
The Houston Astros College Classic drew a record 27,134 fans Saturday, the fourth-largest crowd ever to watch a college baseball game. Most came for the marquee matchup between Texas and Rice that night, and the fans were treated to the best game of the young season.
Texas pinch-hitter Kyle Russell gave his team a 5-4 win with a two-out, two-run home run into the left-field Crawford boxes off Rice closer Bryce Cox. The blast came in the freshman's second college at-bat, and coach Augie Garrido called it both miraculous and reminiscent of "The Natural."
Texas junior right-hander Kyle McCulloch, who left his first start of the year after getting hit by a batted ball, held Rice to a run on five hits over seven innings while recording nine strikeouts. He left with a 3-1 lead, but Rice scored twice in the eighth inning and once in the ninth to take a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the ninth.
Rice, Texas, TCU and Tulane each went 2-1 at the Classic, but Rice played like the most complete team -- even if it has lost its last seven games against Texas following Saturday's thriller.
Owls senior right-hander Eddie Degerman dominated Texas Tech on Friday, allowing two hits and recording seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings, and the offense unloaded on TCU in the event's finale Sunday night, scoring seven runs in the seventh inning to win 12-6 after trailing 6-2. Sophomore Brian Friday, who lost starting-shortstop duties a year ago after batting .256, hit .385 in the tournament and is batting .435 this season. He played third base in the first four and started at short instead of Josh Rodriguez on Sunday.
Arkansas holds Oklahoma State hitless
Three Arkansas pitchers combined on the 12th no-hitter in school history Saturday in a 3-0 win against Oklahoma State at the Jaguar Invitational in Mobile, Ala.
Sophomore left-hander Nick Schmidt threw the first six innings, junior right-hander Brian McLelland worked one inning and senior left-hander Devin Collis finished the first-ever no-no thrown against Oklahoma State, which had scored 17 runs on 22 hits in its previous game. "The pitchers did a tremendous job," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said in an understatement.
Rain, snow and bitter cold disrupt play
Rain, snow and generally miserable weather from the Southeast through Texas forced double-digit cancellations and even more postponements, delays and doubleheaders over one of the first full weekends of play. Snow caused Tennessee and Eastern Michigan to halt their series after two games and made Air Force and York College move their series to Pueblo, Colo., following postponements and unplayable conditions at Air Force's home field.
Florida State and Auburn canceled the final game of their series, with coaches Mike Martin and Tom Slater making a mutual agreement based on low temperatures. There was no snow or rain, but it was simply too cold. Weather.com reported it was 36 degrees in Auburn, Ala. at 2:30 ET Sunday with a wind chill of 29.
Maybe that late-February uniform start date doesn't sound too bad now.
" It could be the cold weather, or the parity, or maybe the rankings are really, really off, but life hasn't been easy yet for Top 25 teams. The group went 28-15 a week ago before posting a 42-21 mark this week. And the records of some of the traditional powers sure look odd right now: Texas sits at 3-4, Cal State Fullerton is 3-3 and Arizona State is 5-4.
" Texas A&M tied a 60-year-old school record with 10 stolen bases Friday in coach Rob Childress' debut, a 10-4 win. The Aggies were 10-for-12 against Northwestern State catchers Bobby Barbier (seven steals in five innings) and Knox McCorquodale (three steals in three innings). Michael Flower caught the last two games for the Demons and held A&M to three steals in seven tries.
" Another group of Aggies, those from New Mexico State, enjoyed an equally fun Friday. New Mexico State trailed Washington 11-3 Friday night before scoring eight times (without making an out) in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score. NMSU won the game 12-11 with a run in the 11th inning.
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