Where were you this weekend?
I made the trek with family down to Annapolis, the lovely state capitol of Maryland, to watch the Navy baseball tournament. I was there primarily to watch Towson, where my cousin Bruce Zimmermann pitches currently as the Saturday starter. The Tigers beat Pennsylvania 4-2 on Saturday as Cousin Bruce (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) picked up the win.
We have a new number one team in college baseball. Yes, the mighty, mighty, Gamecocks. This has a chance to be a special year for Chad Holbrook and the boys and as a season ticket holder, I’ll be sure to catch most of the home action.
On with the highlights…
Conference play began this weekend…
No. 7 NC State (13-2) swept Notre Dame. Carlos Rodon threw a CG on Friday. Here’s Frankie Pilliere’s draft profile on the potential 1st overall pick.
No. 17 Clemson (9-5) also got the brooms out with a sweep of Virginia Tech.
No. 2 Florida State (12-2) dropped Game 2 of a series win over Maryland which was enough damage for the Seminoles to lose their No. 1 ranking. That makes me really happy both as a Maryland and South Carolina fan.
No. 22 Miami (FL) (10-5) is the other weekend sweeper as they took care of business at home with Boston College.
National Pitcher of the Week: Javi Salas only threw a perfect game for the Hurricanes last Tuesday which also earned him ACC pitcher of the week honors. The Senior righty opted to return to school after the Twins made him a 38th round draft choice in 2013.
Entering The Rankings: Houston (11-3) debuts at No. 30 after winning two of three games at the Dodgertown Classic, including an impressive win over No. 9 UCLA. The Cougars also leads the nation with their absurd 0.85 Team ERA.
Memphis (12-3) lost two out of three to Central Arkansas but still retains the top conference record.
Seton Hall (9-3) looks like the team to beat in the Big East. They made the tourney last year and their .319 Team AVG is good for 8th in the nation at the moment. Closer Connor Krauss (1.42 ERA, 6.2 IP, 10 K) is the top draft prospect in the Big East.
The Liberty Flames have won five straight to improve to 11-6, including a notable sweep of Kent State.
(Big 12 Highlights)
Kansas (12-3) was finally put to the test this weekend at Stanford. They won Friday night as top draft prospect Wes Benjamin tossed 7 shutout innings, but dropped the next two.
Texas Tech is on a 6-game win streak, bumping up to No. 25 in the polls.
West Virginia (8-4) is also on a 6-game win streaking, sweeping the UCR tournament.
Oklahoma won a home series with Rutgers but the big story was Mac James…
National Hitter Of The Week: Mac James – 1B/C – The junior obliterated the baseball batting .684 (13-19) with 3 doubles, a HR, and 6 RBI.
(Big West Highlights)
Stock Up: UC Santa Barbara (10-2) – The Gauchos are rolling with two wins over Mississippi State and one against Arizona over the weekend. Senior third baseman Joey Epperson leads the Big West with an absurd .490 batting average.
Also Rolling: UC Irvine (12-3) – The Anteaters have rattled off ten wins in a row after sweeping Gonzaga.
Stock Down: Cal State Fullerton (8-5) – The national powerhouse Titans slipped to No. 8 in the polls after dropping a home series to unranked Baylor.
Matt Imhof of No. 12 Cal Poly had a phenomenal outing versus Seattle which we’ll talk about later…
Entering The Rankings: No. 29 Florida International – The Panthers are off to a sizzling 15-1 start after sweeping Charlotte over the weekend. Potential Top-3 Round pick Aramis Garcia won C-USA Hitter of the week after bashing three HR’s in the series.
No. 18 Rice (10-6) took the series against Old Dominion. Zach Lemond (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K) dominated on Friday.
Jeff Hoffman Update: The ECU Ace and uber-draft prospect had a brutal outing vs Marshall. 7 walks in 2.1 innings. Ouch.
St. Louis (8-6), the pre-season A-10 favorite, is on a 5-game win streak.
Player Spotlight: Mike Vigliarolo – 1B – The reigning A-10 Player of the Year hit .588 with 3 doubles, a HR, and 8 RBI’s during the Billikens 4-game sweep of North Dakota.
Mercer (12-5), the A-Sun favorites, squandered an opportunity to make some noise, dropping all three games at Auburn.
Ohio State (8-5) picked up an RBI boosting 5-0 win at Oregon on Saturday thanks to Ryan Riga’s (9 IP, 5 H, BB, 10 K’s) sensational performance.
Cornell (5-2) leads the Ivy League through the first two weeks. Top Ivy League prospect Brent Jones has pitched to a 0.75 ERA over his first two starts, striking out 12. He touches mid 90's with his fastball.
Canisius (10-3) is on an 8-game win streak. Junior righty Rohn Pierce, who outdueled Carlos Rodon in Week 1, carries a 0.95 ERA and a 26-2 K/BB ratio over 29 innings.
Central Michigan (6-9) picked up an impressive series win at UCF. Senior Pat Kaminska won his 2nd consecutive MAC pitcher of the week award
Streakers: Indiana State (12-1) – The Sycamores have now rolled off 12 consecutive wins.
Fresno State (11-4) leads the Mountain West after a series win over Air Force. Here’s a draft profile on outfielder Jordan Luplow (.328 AVG), a potential 2nd-4th rounder.
Bombsquad: Georgia Southern – The Eagles (14-2) boast the best record in the SoCon and currently lead the country with 23 home runs and co-lead with Kentucky with their .345 Team AVG.
No. 23 Sam Houston State swept Cal State Northridge to improve to 13-3. Tyler Eppler threw a 3-hit shutout on Friday.
Jake Thompson earned Sun Belt pitcher of the week for his Sunday outing that helped Western Kentucky (10-5) complete the sweep of Illinois.
Pepperdine (12-3) won the Dodgertown Classic and could be ranked soon. Brad Anderson won WCC hitter of the week.
No-No Alert: Jace Frye – LHP – Oregon State – Frye made national headlines in Game 2 of the No. 4 Beavers’s sweep of Northern Illinois.
Tourney Sweepers: Washington – The Huskies (10-4) won all four games at the Jack Gifford tournament, whoever that is.
USC (8-6) had a rough weekend going 0-fer at the Dodgertown Classic.
No. 15 UCLA (8-7) also lost two of three games at the Dodgertown classic, dropping six spots in the poll.
No. 1 South Carolina (15-0) is the fourth different number one team already this season. Let’s keep it at four.
Entering The Rankings: Tennessee – The Volunteers (14-1) picked up a legit road series win at Arizona State and debut at No. 26 in the writers poll.
No. 5 Vanderbilt (15-2) has won eight straight and feature what could be one of the best rotations in the country looking at their early season numbers.
Best Offense In The Nation: N0. 21 Kentucky – The Wildcats (13-3) lead the nation in AVG, OBP, and SLG. After dropping Game 1 to Ball State, Armageddon broke out on offense as they outscored Ball State 50-4 the next two games. Two-way stud A.J. Reed is batting .436 with a nation leading 8 home runs.
No. 6 LSU (14-2) swept Purdue. Aaron Nola pitched like a first rounder (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 12 K) in Game 1.
Pitcher Of The Week: Matt Imhof – LHP, Cal Poly
Imhof shut down Seattle as he set a school record 15 strikeouts in the process. Final line: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 15 K’s. Imhof is a haus at 6’5, 220 pounds. He has a fastball that sits low-90's, an outpitch breaking ball, and an average changeup. Improving the consistency of his changeup and overall command could make him a potential second round pick in the draft this year. He has mid-rotation workhorse potential.
HM/ Brandon Finnegan – LHP, TCU, Ben Wetzler – LHP, Oregon State, Jace Fry – LHP, Oregon State, Tyler Eppler – RHP, Sam Houston State, Aaron Nola – LHP, LSU
Hitter Of The Week: Michael Conforto – OF, Oregon State
Conforto is considered one of the more polished college bats in this year’s draft class. He had a huge weekend, batting 7-for-11 (.636 AVG), with two doubles, a triple, six RBI’s, a 6-1 BB/K ratio, and a stolen base versus Northern Illinois. He’s the top ranked prospect in the Pac-12 according to Baseball America. The 6’1, 215 pound outfielder is batting .396 on the year with no home runs yet but is considered an above average power hitter. He also has an absurd 21-5 BB/K ratio through 55 at bats, showing the kind of improved plate discipline that could cement his status as a potential late first rounder.
HM/Austin Cousino – OF, Kentucky, Taylor Sparks – 3B, UC Irvine, Aramis Garcia – C, FIU, Brett Austin – C, NC State, Mac James – 1B, Oklahoma,
The latest rankings via college baseball writers.
D1 Team Leaderboard via Boyd’s World.
Have a great week, everyone. Stay classy, not crassy.