Welcome to the second installment of my weekly college baseball recap for Minor League Ball. This weekend featured several intriguing top 25 showdowns, a few surprise upsets from the mid major ranks, and for the third weekend in a row a no hitter (UPDATE: 3 No Hitters!!!). Here's my awards and highlights from the weekend:
Team Awards and Highlights
- Best Team: North Carolina - All doubt should be removed by now who the consensus number 1 team in college baseball is at the moment. UNC remained undefeated with their offensive obliteration of Wake Forest this weekend. They can pitch too as Kent Emmanuel set the tone Friday night with a shutout. After looking at Satuday's box score, you'll understand why I give an HM to the entire UNC lineup for hitter of the week.
- Best Series: Vanderbilt vs Oregon - This was the can't miss matchup of the weekend, pitting one of the SEC's best on the road at one of the Pac-12's best. Vandy walked away with the series win, ensuring they'll remain in their current position as one of the top 5 teams in the country. Tony Kemp leads the team with a .426 AVG.
- Best Tournament: Dodgertown Classic - No. 26 Notre Dame, USC, No. 7 UCLA, and No. 14 Oklahoma gathered for an epic LA showdown. Notre Dame continued its impressive early season run by defeating Oklahoma and USC but losing a nail biter to UCLA. Behind Adam Plutko's 7 innings of work with 1 ER, UCLA defeated Notre Dame in Friday night, lost to Oklahoma saturday, and beat USC on Sunday. ND's walkoff win over Oklahoma, which was made possible by draft prospect Dan Slania's 3 1/3 scoreless innings, highlighted the weekend action.
- Best West Coast Team: Oregon State - Last week I said Cal State Fullerton, this week I've changed my mind to Oregon State who swept Texas State, improving to 15-0. The Beavers dominant pitching staff, headlined by pro prospects Dan Child and Matt Boyd, has a big reason to do with that as their sterling 1.06 Team ERA leads the nation.
- Northern Team of the Week: Indiana - The preseason Big Ten favorite Hoosiers traveled to Florida and left with a series win, giving them an 8-3 record on the season and leaving us even more questions about the legitimacy of the Florida club which nows sits at 8-9 out of conference.
- Best Offensive Juggernaut: Georgia Tech - If you crave offense, GT is your team. Before losing 6-2 to Virginia Tech on Sunday, the jackets had scored double digit runs in nine consecutive games. Their .345 team batting average leads the nation. Senior OF Brandon Thomas, who went in the 4th Round by the Pirates in 2012, is the ringleader with a .458 AVG on the season. Other pro prospects from this lineup include potential top 50 pick Daniel Palka (#45 on Matt Garrioch's Top 100) as well as Juniors: Zane Evans - C, Kyle Wren - OF, and Mott Hoyd - SS. I don't know about Wren and Hoyd, but Evans in particular is having a breakout season and in a relatively weak class for catchers could be a riser. Read more about GT here
- Most Unlikely Brick Wall Award: Central Arkansas - This is the team responsible for halting Mississippi State's blistering hot 17-0 start on Saturday night. Obviously, the Bulldogs had to lose eventually but to Central Arkansas, typically a bottom of the barrell team in the Southland? And the UCA ball squad turned around and beat Miss State again on Sunday - winning the series - behind Bryce Biggerstaff, who threw a no-no two weeks ago, and his CG gem. Central Ark improved to 14-2 and could be a darkhorse in the Southland Conference this year.
- "Not just a basketball school anymore?" Team of the Week: UNLV - They went into Palo Alto as heavy underdogs and came away with a shocking three game sweep of Stanford featuring a lineup that has yet to connect for a home run on the season. you read that corectly. Their sweep included an unlikely defeat of the almighty Mark Appel (7 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 15 K's!) with a 3-2 win Friday night. The Rebels (13-3) now carry a 9 game winning streak and may enter some of this week's polls.
- Most Dissapointing News Story: Towson baseball getting the axe. As someone who went to high school in Towson, MD - right down the street from the university - and knows several players on the team, I'm saddened but not surprised by this news. We Marylanders know where baseball stands on the totem pole (well below Lacrosse).
Individual Awards and Highlights
Another batter gone with the Windle (Picture by Eric Miller/ University of Minnesota)
- Pitcher of them Week: Tom Windle - LHP - Minnesota - Seriously? Another no-no? Yes-yes. For the third week in a row a no hitter was thrown. Windle was masterful against Western Illinois as he struck out 8 Leathernecks (great team name) and issued just a single walk, dancing with perfection. Congratulations to the Windle, a top 100 draft prospect, and the Golden Gopher's (another great team name) on the first no hitter in team history. Here's video of the no hit performance. Special thanks to Minnesota S.I.D. Michelle Traen for the video and pic.
HM/ Chris Anderson - RHP - Jacksonville, Kent Emmanuel - RHP - UNC, Ben Lively - RHP - UCF, Kevin Ziomek - LHP - Vandy, Frankie Vandurka - RHP - Stony Brook
- Hitter of the Week: DJ Peterson - 3B - New Mexico - This is what DJ Peterson has accomplished in the last seven days: 6 G, 18-26 (.692 AVG), 5 HR's, 4 2B's, 1 3B, 6 BB's, 3 K's, and a SB. End of Discussion.
HM/ Kris Bryant - San Diego - 3B, The UNC and Georgia Tech lineups
- Speed Demons of the Week: Charlie White - Maryland - CF, Adam Engel - CF Louisville, and Ben McQuown - OF - Campbell - This Three headed monster of has already set themselves far ahead of the rest of the pack as the top 3 stolen base leaders in the nation. White has 17, Engel has 18, and McQuown leads the pack with 19 SB's in just 15 games. The next highest SB leader "only" has 13. What's gotten into these kids? Billy Hamilton?
High Draft Picks Playing Like High Draft Picks
- DJ Peterson - 3B - New Mexico - just straight dominated the baseball this weekend. Now 2nd in the nation with an even .500 batting AVG and tied with Bryant with 8 HR's. Questions about his Third Base defense remain but the dude can flat out rake.
- Austin Kubitza - RHP - Rice - His mechanics and control issues give some a scare but not as much as opposing batters this season. The numbers: 1.04 ERA, 26 IP, 19 H, 13 BB's, and 45 K's.
- Mark Appel - RHP - Stanford - Just another day at the office for Appel, striking out 15 (as mentioned before) in a loss to UNLV. Season Stats: 1.20 ERA, 30 IP, 17 H, 6 BB, and 43 K's. He continues to make an appeling case (see what I did there) to be selected with one of the top 5 picks in the 2013 draft. He's a senior now. He'll sign this time. Right?
- Ryne Stanek - RHP - Arkansas
Was told @razorbackbsb RHP Ryne Stanek wasn't impressive last week in Surprise. Already allowed 2R, 4BB in 2IP vs. #SDSU today. #mlbdraft — Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) March 8, 2013
- Credit where credit is due award: Kevin Ziomek - LHP - Vanderbilt - I called out Ziomek in last week's column for dominating a mediocre UIC lineup and this week he shut me up, taking his show on the the road to #15 Oregon. The SEC pitcher of the week has been lethal as the Friday night guy for the 'Dores pitching to a 0.87 ERA in 32 IP, with 12 hits allowed, 5 walks, and a nation leading 46 strikeouts! Not too shabby at all for someone who held an ERA over 5 and 'only' struck out 79 batters in 79 innings in 2012.
- Best Riser: Chris Anderson - RHP - Jacksonville - More helium? When you shut down quality competition two weeks in a row, you end up in my recap two weeks in a row. That simple folks. This time, the JU ace shut down Central Florida Friday night going toe to toe with UCF ace Ben Lively, giving the Dolphins a quality win. He now carries 0.87 ERA with 45 strikeouts and five walks in 31 innings pitched on the season.
- No-No alert part deux: Myles Taylor - Coppin State - "This is gettin to be goddamn ridiculous", Luke Wilson once said and I think that applies to how many no hitters we've seen in college baseball this year already as well as the how Taylor must have felt throughout his no hit performance vs Lehigh considering his team lost 1-0 becadue to an unearned run. Coppin State baseball, everyone.
Stop it. Another one? Uh-huh. That's right. I just learned that Stony Brook righthander and 2012 NCAA Tourney hero Frankie Vandurka also tossed a no hitter over the weekend in a series split with Fordham.
- Streaker of the Week: Trey Masek - RHP - Texas Tech - The Red Raiders's Junior ace extended his impressive scoreless innings to 32 with 8 shutout innings of 2 hit ball versus UT-Arlington on Saturday.
- Sleeper of the Week: Danny Collins - OF - Troy - I remember him from his days at Northwest State CC in Florida when my brother played against him. The junior is now in his second season at Troy and is having a fantastic breakthrough, batting .511 (best in the nation) with 5 HR's on the season. His stock appears to be rising with both baseball america and perfect game having spotlighted him during the week.
The latest rankings via National Sportswriters
College Baseball Daily's mid major rankings
Remaining Undefeateds: North Carolina, Oregon State, Florida State...and Dartmouth (only played three games)
That's all I got. Have a great week. Stay classy, not crassy