I submitted this entry a touch later than usual due to prior engagements. Delayed but never denied, I bring forth with me my college baseball weekend highlights:
- Best Team: #1 North Carolina - They're back! LSU actually lost a game this weekend while UNC whooped up on Virginia Tech in a three game sweep. The Heels are now 34-2 (15-2 ACC).
- Best SEC Showdown: #2 LSU at #8 Arkansas - Fayatteville was the place of interest this weekend as LSU won a tough road series improving to 34-3 (13-2 SEC). Saturday's matchup between Ryne Stanek (6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) and Ryan Eades (4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) was a can't miss showdown with Stanek outshining Eades en route to Arkansas's lone victory of the weekend.
- Steamroller of the Week: #3 Vanderbilt - The 'Dores extend their win streak to 14 with a sweep of Missouri, outscoring the Tigers 29-10. Now 33-4 (14-1 SEC). I think its safe to say LSU and Vandy will finish atop their respective SEC divisions. 2014 draft prospect Tyler Beede had a strong outing (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) in Game 2.
- Best ACC Smackdown: #5 Virginia at #19 Georgia Tech - While UVA was able to keep GT's bat relatively cool, the Yellow Jacket pitching staff did their part as Tech won a pair of one run game to win the series. Buck Farmer, who will make a great Senior sign, threw a CG with 10 K in Georgia Tech's Friday night win.
- Sweeper of the Week: Michigan State - Let's hear it for the Spartans who nailbited their way to three one run victories, all in walkoff fashion, over the previously red hot #13 Indiana Hoosiers.
- Best 1-2 State school punch: #7 Oregon State and #9 Oregon - The state of Oregon is feeling great as both schools completed three game sweeps this weekend and will remain in the Top 10. Behind Senior lefty Matt Boyd, who threw a shutout on Friday, Oregon State improved to 28-6 (10-2 PAC 12) after sweeping Utah. Behind Sophomore Outfielder Scott Heineman's big weekend (6-13, .462 AVG, 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI) Oregon improved to 27-8 (12-3 PAC 12) after sweeping Cal.
- Surprise Team of the Week: Seton Hall - The unheralded Pirates only went into #28 Houston and won the series blasting the Cougars 11-1 and 15-1 on Friday and Sunday, but dropping Game 2, 4-0. Talk about all or nothing.
- Mid Major Riser Award: Mercer - Look for the Bears (29-10) to be ranked following an impressive sweep of #30 Florida Gulf Coast. Junior outfielder Derrick Workman leads the impressive Mercer offense (.400/.487/.715 with 8 HR, 20 BB, 32 S0).
- Mid Major Riser Award Part Deux: Pittsburgh - Pitt may also find their way into the rankings following a big time sweep of #22 Notre Dame improving to 24-9 (6-3 Big East).
- Disappointing Team of the Week: #10 South Carolina - Any faint hope I had of the Gamecocks catching Vandy in the SEC East has been shattered after getting swept by Florida. I know, way to make this about South Carolina and not give credit to the rebounding Gators. SC and Florida now tied at 8-7 in SEC East.
- Disappointing Team of the Year: Texas - It has to be the Longhorns (19-15, 4-8 Big 12) who now sit tied for last with Texas Tech in the Big 12.
(Special thanks to Tami Cutler for the photo)
- Pitcher of the Week: Cale Elam - RHP - Wichita State - He had an outstanding complete game shutout performance versus Bradley with only 5 hits allowed, 0 walks, and 13 strikeouts. In my honest humble opinion, I think he deserves more recognition as a draft prospect as he's a junior who has put up great numbers on the season and throws in the 88-92 MPH range with great movement according to baseball draft report.
HM/ Austin Pruitt - RHP - Houston, Matt Boyd - LHP - Oregon State, Ethan Mildren - RHP - Pittsburgh, Jonathan Gray - RHP - Oklahoma, Heath Bowers - RHP - Campbell, Jimmy Reed - LHP - Maryland, Chase Greening - Stephen F. Austin
- Hitter of the Week: Colin Moran - 3B - North Carolina - Moran put up a huge weekend for the Tar Heels (7-13, 1 double, 1 home run, 9 RBI, 5 BB) as the potential Top 20 pick further accentuates his stellar season line: .401/.519/.648 with 9 HR, 35 BB, 8 SO.
HM/ Jose Brizuela - 3B - Florida State, Hunter Renfroe - OF - Mississippi State, Derek Fisher - OF - Virginia, Zane Evans - C - Georgia Tech, Kasey Coffman - OF - Arizona State, Mitch Garver - C - New Mexico, Rhys Hoskins - 1B - Sacramento State
- "Potential 1st Rounder I Have Yet To Mention Until Now" Award - Andrew Thurman - RHP - UC Irvine - I have overlooked the UC Irvine Anteaters, always a solid program, in general while I'm at it. Thurman brings it 90-93 MPH and received late first round grade from Kieth Law who scouted him last weekend. Season line: (2.21 ERA, 56.1 IP, 44 H, 11 BB, 54 K)
- "For He's a Jolly Good Hero" Award: Jimmy Pickens - OF - Michigan State - Pickens had not one, but two walkoff hits in the Spartans big weekend upset of Indiana.
- Crucial Loss of the Week: Skye Bolt - OF - North Carolina - The uber-talented freshman outfield for the Heels is out indefinitely with a broken foot.
- Implosion of the Week: Cody Dickson - LHP - Sam Houston State - Dickson, one of the top Southland prospects, had a nightmare-ish outing on Friday, getting torched by Lamar for 11 ER on 8 hits in just 3.2 innings of work. Lamar won the series.
- Stock Rising Award - Ben Lively - RHP - Central Florida - As a former teammate of my brother's on the Youse's Orioles in the Cal Ripken League, it's great to see Lively dominating (1.09 ERA in 65 IP) for Knights this year. Perfect Game highlighted the talented junior, now considered a 2nd round prospect, in their weekend preview.
- Best Catcher in College Baseball: Zane Evans - C - Georgia Tech - Evans was considered the best defensive catcher in the ACC by Baseball America in their conference preview. Not only that but he has had a monster breakout season at the plate (.348/.434/.636 with 10 HR, 23 BB, 17 SO).
- Two Way Draft Prospect of the Week: C.K. Irby - RHP/DH - Samford - The talented Junior is batting .360/.429/.640 with 8 HR. On the mound he carries a 4.25 ERA (55 IP, 47 H, 21 BB, 61 K, .236 OBA).
- 'Don't Forget About Me' Award - Dillon Overton - LHP - Oklahoma - Jonathan Gray gets all the attention in Norman, OK these days and deservedly so, making it easy to forget that the Sooners feature another Top 100 draft prospect in Overton. His dominant outing (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) versus Baylor improved his season ERA to 2.20 in 65.1 IP, with 58 H, 15 BB, 59 K.
Note: I don't believe it. Thomas Eshelman of Cal State Fullerton actually walked a batter this week, his first walk allowed in 60+ innings on the season. I couldn't find any new and interesting individual streaks so the streaker of the week has been retired for now.
The latest rankings via College Baseball Writers
College Baseball Daily's Mid Major Rankings
(Insert standard stay classy, not crassy sign off here)