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College Baseball Weekend Roundup (Mar. 14 - 16)

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We have taken the full plunge into conference play now. Let the regular season title races begin.

LSU Ace Aaron Nola
LSU Ace Aaron Nola

What do you know? While I disagree with the ranking change (Gamecocks should still be number one; only one loss team in the country; no. 1 in RPI), the baseball writers poll named a new number one team for the fifth time already this season. That team is Florida State.

North Carolina held firmly to the top ranking for over two months last year. Oh, how we miss the dominance.

What else in new? Boyd's world now has their individual stat leaderboard up and running, a great resource to check out who leads the nation in all statistical categories. Right now, Corey Furman of Bucknell leads the nation with a .488 AVG.

Other Notables:

HR - 9, Michael Katz - 1B - WIlliam & Mary, A.J. Reed - 1B - Kentucky

BB- 26 - Michael Conforto - OF - Oregon

SB - 18 - Jake Noll - 2B - Florida Gulf Coast

ERA - 0.00 ERA - Sean Newcomb - LHP - Hartford

K - 55,  Brandon Finnegan - LHP - TCU, Matt Imhof - LHP Cal Poly

ACC Highlights:

No. 1 Florida State (17-2) has rolled off six straight including a noteworthy weekend sweep of Carlos Rodon and No. 11 NC State (14-5). Luke Weaver may have improved his draft stock with all the Rodon scouts in attendance as he won ACC Pitcher of the Week.

No. 3 Virginia (15-3) has the best record in the Coastal Division after their weekend sweep of Boston College.

Boston College (6-12) and Notre Dame (6-12) are both off to rough 0-6 starts in ACC play.

Virginia Tech (9-8) catcher Mark Zagunis, one of the better draft prospects at his position in the country, won ACC Player of the Week.

American Highlights:

No. 23 Houston (15-3) swept Towson and continues to look like a serious challenger to preseason favorite Louisville. The Cougars 1.52 Team ERA is 2nd in the nation. Cousin Bruce didn't fare too well in Game 2.

No. 7 Louisville (15-4) has won seven straight and shellacked Samford over the weekend, outscoring them 42-14.

Big 12 Highlights:

This is starting to look like a banner year for the Big 12 as all nine programs have above .500 records.

Conference play began for Kansas (14-5) and the JayHawks continue to surprise as they picked up a series win at No. 19 Texas.

Conference play also began for Baylor (10-9) and they picked up a home series win over No. 29 Texas Tech.

Entering the Rankings: Oklahoma - The Sooners (15-5) enter this weeks poll at No. 30 following a sweep of Belmont.

Big West Highlights:

Best Team: No. 10 Cal Poly - The Mustangs improved to 17-3 with a sweep of Wagner.

Draft prospect Matt Imhof continues to make a name for himself with his third 14 strikeout outing in just five starts on the year. He leads the nation with 55 strikeouts in 35 innings.

UC Santa Barbara (13-3) is on the cusp of cracking the writers poll and picked up a solid series win over Casey Gillaspie and Wichita State.

No. 12 Cal State Fullerton (10-7) continues to slide from their number one ranking despite a series win over St. Mary's.

Mid-Major Highlights:

VCU is starting to look like a potential tourney sleeper to follow. The Rams are 16-3 and ace Heath Dwyer made national headlines this week following a 15 strikeout performance.

Dallas Baptist improved to 15-4 and looks like a conference title contender in their first year in the MVC. They shutout Missouri State in all three games over the weekend.

Nebraska (11-7), head coached by Darin Erstad, picked up an RPI-enhancing series win over UC Irvine.

Conference play began for all Big South teams over the weekend and Presbyterian (10-9) is the only team left unscathed after sweeping UNC Asheville.

C-USA Showdown: No. 16 Rice (15-6) took on FIU (16-4) on the road and knocked the previously ranked Golden Panthers put of the poll with a sweep, proving Rice is still the alpha male of this conference.

Pitcher Spotlight: Zach Lemond - RHP - The Rice ace throws 90-95 MPH and has a 1.40 ERA through 25.2 IP with 27 K's and 9 BB's. PG just posted a draft profile on him (subscription required).

Run Scoring Machine: Tennessee Tech (17-4) looks like the team to beat in the OVC and leads the nation with an average of 9.47 runs per game.

Mid Major Mashers:

Michael Katz - 1B/OF - William & Mary - The Tribe (14-5) absolutely massacred Iona over the weekend, sweeping them by a combined score of 49-5! Katz, a national hitter of the week, led the charge with a .435 AVG, 2 doubles, 4 HR, and 17 RBI. He's tied with A.J. Reed for the nation lead with 9 HR.

Nic Wilson - 1B - Georgia State - The Senior made national headlines after hitting .579 with 5 HR and 15 RBI last week.

Best Offense In The Nation: No. 25 San Diego

The Torreros are on fire as they have won six straight, debuted at No. 25 in the rankings this week, and lead the nation with their .343 team average. Who needs Kris Bryant?

Mountain West Highlights:

UNLV (13-5) has the early 1st place lead with a 7-2 conference record. Their 1.92 ERA ranks 7th in the nation.

San Diego State (16-4), former home of Stephen Strasburg, picked up a nifty four-game sweep of Purdue over the weekend.

New Mexico (12-7) picked up a huge road sweep at Fresno State (13-7), knocking the Bulldogs out of the writers poll.

Pac-12 Highlights:

Best In The West: No. 4 Oregon State - The Beavers (18-3) have won 10 straight and kicked off Pac-12 play with a sweep of Utah.

Jace Fry and Ben Wetzler: Read about OSU's pair of dominant pitchability lefthanders in BA's Draft Prospects roundup.

One other team is off to a 3-0 start in Pac-12 play. If you guessed defending champs, No. 14 UCLA (12-7), you win a pat on the back.

Stanford had a bye over the weekend because only 11 teams compete in baseball in the Pac-12. Colorado is above the sport of baseball apparently. They like to be different (see legalization of weed).

SEC Highlights:

How competitive is the SEC? Not a single team swept a fellow SEC opponent this weekend. So, let me ask why does 18-1 South Carolina lose their No. 1 ranking to a 17-2 Florida State team? It's the Jameis Winston effect or something. I digress.

No. 2 South Carolina picked up a series win over No. 15 Ole Miss (17-4). The Gamecocks boast the nation's best bullpen and haven't allowed a single earned run in the last 15 games.

Player Spotlight: Joey Pankake - 3B - He's hitting .286/.403/.397 in 63 AB's and PG just posted a draft profile on him (subscription required)

In a hyped showdown with No. 6 LSU (17-4), Vanderbilt (18-3) picked up the series win (after losing Friday night) and jumped up to No.5 in the writers poll.

The Nola-Beede showdown on Friday was epic as Aaron Nola (6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K) tied a career high for strikeouts, en route to a 4-2 win. Tyler Beede (7.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) threw a great game himself but his defense didn't help him out.

Welcome To The Poll: No. 28 Alabama - Roll Tide Nation (12-6) picked up a series win over No. 27 Kentucky (14-6).

(Photo By: Nishant Singh)

Hitter Of The Week: Boo Vazquez - OF - Pittsburgh

Pitt may be off to a rough start as the panthers were swept by Virginia Tech over the weekend. But one particular draft prospect with a goofy first name had himself a real nice weekend at the plate. He didn't strike out at all, batted 6-13 (.462) with a pair of bombs, 7 RBI, two walks, and 4 runs scored. He stands at 6'4, 220 pounds and bats left-handed. Vazquez is batting .294/.355/.471 with 3 HR in 68 at bats on the season. He's a talented athlete who's draft stock will start to rise if his production continues to improve. Vazquez was previously drafted by the Rangers in the 38th round in 2011.

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Austin Robichaux throws against Alabama last Friday in Lafayette.

(Photo By: Bryan Tuck)

Pitcher Of The Week: Austin Robichaux - RHP - Louisiana-Lafayette

Since I've already profiled Matt Imhof and his 14 strikeouts...I going to roll with putting the spotlight on Austin Robichaux. Austin is like the Doug McDermott of college baseball as he's the son of head coach Tony Robichaux and anchors the pitching staff of one of the hottest mid-major teams in the nation. The Ragin Cajuns are now No. 8 in the nation following their weekend sweep of UL-Monroe, highlighted by Robichuax's masterful outing (9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K) on Friday. Standing at 6'6" and 170 pound, Robichaux can best be described as a beanpole. It's possible that he could have some projection left and his fastball already sits low 90's with movement. As of now, he's a likely 3rd-5th rounder, unless his secondaries take a step forward.

The latest rankings, via writers poll.

That's it for this week. Stay classy not crassy.