What DID begin yesterday (well, 3 days ago) was in-conference play. As an unabashed and unapologetic SEC-homer, this weekend brought me particular excitement with the commencement of SEC showdowns. Here's the weekend highlights as designated by none other than myself:
- Best Team: #1 North Carolina - Still the #1 team in my book and should remain so in the polls too following their series win over Miami. Their margin isn't as obvious now as I could make a strong case for #2 Vanderbilt too following their sweep of Auburn, including another solid outing from Kevin Ziomek. I can also make a compelling case for the...
- West Coast Team of the Week: Oregon State - In one of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend, the #4 Beavers took on defending champion Arizona, in enemy territory no less, and left the desert with a sweep.
- "Down Goes Frazier" Awards: North Carolina and Florida State - UNC and #5 FSU entered the weekend both 16-0 before the Miami Hurricanes and Maryland Terrapins did the proud honor of slaying the undefeated beasts on Friday night. Both teams pulled themselves together and managed to win their series.
- Mid Major matchup of the Week: #23 Notre Dame vs #22 Cal Poly - Always fun to see a weekend smackdown of two ranked mid major teams, at least, for me it is. ND won the three game set. Irish 3B Eric Jagielo went 6-11 with a HR in the series.
- Best Pitcher's Duel: Sean Manaea - LHP (Indiana State) vs Tom Windle - LHP (Minnesota) - This was the place to be Friday night as both lefty aces went the distance. Manaea outshined Windle just a tad more as Indiana State won 2-1.
- Best Follow Up Act: #30 Central Arkansas - The
railsplitters (fantastic name) Bears continue to impress as they improved to 17-3 with a series win over Southern Miss following a series win over #10 Mississippi State last weekend.
- Head Scratcher Team of the Week: #25 Florida Gulf Coast - Why? They lost to Ave Maria, a D2 school on Sunday. Not an exhibition game either.
- Unsliced Bread Performance of the Week: Alabama A&M Pitching staff - Holy Canole. The Bama A&M staff submitted a stinker for the ages as they lost 30-3 to New Mexico State which begs the question: Did they just name Dave Trembley their manager?
- Pitcher of Week: Jonathan Gray - RHP - I'm a little late to the bandwagon here having overlooked glowing reports on Mr. Gray, now considered a potential top 15 pick, the past few weeks. Not anymore. With a blazing fastball that has reached the upper 90's this season, the Sooner ace shut down the over matched Northwestern State Demons, with a CG shutout, allowing just 5 hits, a BB, AND 12 k'S.
HM/ Sean Manaea - LHP - Indiana State, Nolan Belcher - LHP - South Carolina, Ryan Eades - LSU, Trey Masek - RHP - Texas Tech, Ben Lively - RHP - UCF
- Hitter of the Week: Kris Bryant - 3B - San Diego - The likely top ten pick continues to play like a man amongst boys, powering baseballs out of park on the reg. Bryant led the Torreros to a sweep of BYU thanks to TWO walkoff home runs. He leads the nation with 12 already putting him on pace for an unheard of 36. Current slash line: .386/.561/.986
HM/ Michael Conforto - OF - Oregon State, DJ Peterson - 3B - New Mexico, Zane Evans - C - Georgia Tech, Mason Katz - 1B - LSU
- Not Ready For Prime Time Award: Alex Gonzalez - RHP - Oral Roberts - The former Orioles 11th round pick in 2011 recently caught my attention when Keith Law listed him at #42 on his Top 50 draft prospects. Entering the weekend with a miniscule 1.20 ERA, the righty struggled vs premier competition in Cal State Fullerton.
- Implosion of the Week: Trevor Williams - RHP - Arizona State - Avoid the link if you ugly stat lines make you queasy. After making my 'high draft picks playing like high draft picks' list last Monday, Williams laid a stinkbomb in Arizona State's conference opening 15-4 loss to Washington State.
- Shameless Family Shoutout: Harry Slade - CF - Southeastern Louisiana - Exciting weekend of baseball down in Hammond, LA where the Lions swept Arkansas Pine Bluff (as they should, frankly) with older bro hitting a walk-off home run in Saturdays game.
- Rising Stock Award: Hunter Renfroe - Mississippi State - Renfroe has been on my radar for a couple years now as I've seen him play several times for the Bethesda Big Train in the Cal Ripken Summer League (right in my neck of the woods). His raw power stuck out to me in 2011 and even more so in 2012 when he set a new league home run record. That power breakthrough has translated to the 2013 season so far as he has already surpassed last season's HR total with 6 and counting. Current slash line: .418/.468/.836
- Scoreless Innings Watch:
Trey Masek - RHP - Texas Tech not anymore, Masek threw yet another gem in a 2-1 loss to Texas but the scoreless streak came to a halt with one measly run allowed in 8 innings. Which means we have a new...
- Streaker of the Week: Nolan Belcher - LHP - South Carolina - The unheralded and diminutive (5'8" 155) senior Lefty with impeccable control has been superb in his transition to the rotation for the Gamecocks, extending his scoreless inning streak to 26 1/3 innings with Saturdays outing. Current season line: 36 IP, 28 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 36 K
- "So I'm Not Just Recapping The Teams That Matter" Award: Shawn O'Neill - LHP - La Salle - The Redshirt Junior threw a one hitter with 10 K's vs Chicago State. Yea, it's Chicago State who probably play their home games on a high school field, but still a quality outing.
The latest rankings via Collegiate Baseball
College Baseball Daily's Mid Major Rankings
And for all you stat hounds out there, the D1 Individual Leaderboard
Note: South Carolina will be hosting Arkansas this weekend which means I will be getting a birds eye view of potential top 5 pick Ryne Stanek.
Enjoy the week everyone. As always, stay classy, not crassy