We are starting to enter the thick of the college baseball division races and the contenders will begin to separate themselves from the pack in the coming weeks. No changes to the no. 1 spot in the polls this week as Virginia still has a stronghold on their top ranking. Interestingly, no new teams have debuted in the writers poll this week. And get ready because we had a return of the no-no alert this weekend and boy was it a dandy.
On with the highlights...
No. 2 Florida State (26-5, 13-2 ACC) has rattled off seven straight wins after sweeping hapless and hopeless Notre Dame. Jameis Winston and the boys are primed and ready for a hickup from No. 1 Virginia (27-5, 12-3 ACC).
No-No Alert: Nathan Kirby - RHP - Virginia - The draft eligible sophomore wreaked havoc on the Pittsburgh bats en route to a no-hitter. Spoiler alert: He's pitcher of the week
Wake Forest (22-12, 10-5 ACC) came up with a big series win over Maryland (19-10, 6-8 ACC) as those two teams may find themselves fighting each other for an at-large bid at the end of May.
No. 23 Miami (21-12, 11-4 ACC) has an eight-game win streak after sweeping Virginia Tech and is in 2nd place behind UVA in the Coastal division.
Boston College still
sucks is not a very good baseball team
UCF (20-13, 8-1 AAC) leads conference play and won a series over in-state rival South Florida over the weekend. Fun Fact: UCF is actually farther south than USF.
Player Spotlights: If that isn't enough to impress you, UCF pitcher Eric Skoglund (8 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K) and shortstop Tommy Williams (.333 AVG, 3 HR) took home the weekly conference awards.
No. 10 Louisville (23-8, 4-2 AAC) and No. 11 Houston (25-6, 4-2 AAC) remain the top two ranked teams in the American. Both had series wins over Rutgers and Memphis respectively.
(Big 12 Highlights)
Everything's Bigger In: No. 9 Texas - The Longhorns (26-7, 6-3 Big 12) are the top dog in the Big 12 and have won nine 0f ten.
The battle for Kansas: Kansas (21-11, 5-4 Big 12) traveled to Manhattan and left with a crucial road series win over Kansas State.
TCU picked up a sweep of West Virginia to improve to 5-4 in Big 12 play.
(Big West Highlights)
Top Dogs: No. 6 Cal Poly (26-5, 5-1 Big West) took a crucial series from No. 26 UC Santa Barbara (20-7, 2-4 Big West). The Gauchos were able to rock Matt Imhof in a 8-6 win in Game 1 but dropped the next two.
UC Irvine (21-10, 5-1 Big West) is off to a great start in Big West play as they are tied with Cal Poly for 1st after the Anteaters road sweep of Hawaii.
RPI Injection of the Week: Long Beach State and their big out-of-conference series win over No. 22 UCLA. Junior OF Richard Prigatano won Big West player of the week.
No More Streakin: Sean Newcomb - LHP - Hartford - The Maine Black Bears snapped his scoreless inning streak at 39.2 IP. Orel "B" Hersheiser can rest easy.
Stock Up: UAB - The Blazers (22-10, 9-3 C-USA) have blazed up to 1st place in the C-USA after sweeping LaTech and could be knocking on the poll doors awfully soon if they keep this up.
Not often we see Rhode Island talked about in this column so let's give a shoutout to Lou Distacio who threw a one-hit shutout versus Fordham to win A-10 pitcher of the week.
Mercer (26-7, 10-2 A-Sun) is showing A-Sun opponents no mercy as they swept USC-Upstate over the weekend and are now 33rd in the RPI.
Lipscomb (21-12, 10-2 A-Sun) is doing their best to keep up with the Bears after sweeping ETSU over the weekend and the Bison took home both A-Sun weekly hitter and pitcher awards. Hunter Brothers threw a two-hit shutout for the Bison and don't be surprised if the Rockies take him this June as he and Rockies closer Rex Brothers are 'brothers'.
Indiana (18-10, 8-1 Big Ten) and the Hoosiers are in 1st place in the Big Ten after sweeping Iowa. Kyle Schwarber stat update: .333/.437/.553, 5 HR, 19 BB, 12 K
Sweeper of the Week: Liberty (25-8, 11-1 Big South) - The Flames unequivocally obliterated VMI over the weekend winning by a combined score of 26-0. Liberty is now 18th in the RPI and look like a tourney sleeper.
Pitcher Spotlight: Parker Bean - RHP - Bean nearly went the distance for the Flames on Sunday but finished with 8.1 IP, 2 hits allowed, and a walloping 16 strikeouts.
The Lion Tamer: Mat Batts - LHP - UNC-Wilmington - The Senior lefty shut down William & Mary's nation leading offense to one run over 8 innings with 12 strikeouts on Friday. CAA pitcher of the week.
UPenn, a team I was not that impressed with when I saw them play Towson, is impressing me now as they lead the Ivy League with an 8-0 conference record.
Dallas Baptist (23-8, 5-1 MVC) has jumped out to an early 1st place lead in the MVC after a series win over Illinois State. The Patriots are 27th in the RPI and have an impressive 2.87 Team ERA.
UNLV (22-9, 11-4 Mountain West) continues to carry one of the nation's best pitching staffs and the Rebels (No. 12 RPI) picked up two shutouts in a huge road series win at Fresno State.
Pitcher Spotlight: Erick Fedde - RHP - Dominated (7 IP, 5 H, 0R, 1 BB, 11 K) in a Friday night battle with another highly touted draft prospect, Jordan Brink (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K).
Southeastern Louisiana gained some ground in the Southland division race with a series win at Central Arkansas. Draft sleeper Andro Cutura tossed a CG-Shutout on Friday.
Hot Streakin: Sacramento State - The Hornets (20-11, 9-0 WAC) are rolling as they've won 12 in a row and are in a class of their own in the depleted WAC.
Nation's Best Mid-Major: No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette - This isn't changing anytime soon as the Rajin' Cajuns (30-3, 11-1 Sun Belt) are off to a historic start and look like a serious CWS contender.
Yes, they're for real: No. 20 Washington - The Huskies (22-6, 10-2 Pac-12) are in 1st place of Pac-12 play, something not even the Huskie player's mothers saw coming.
Stock Down: No. 12 Oregon - The Ducks (22-10, 7-5 Pac-12) dropped a series to the Huskies, who aren't messing around this year.
Stock Up: No. 5 Oregon State - The Beavers (25-6, 9-3 Pac-12) bump up to the Top 5 in the nation following a sweep of Stanford.
No. 4 South Carolina (26-5, 7-5 SEC) and No. 24 Florida (20-12, 7-5 SEC) are now tied for 1st in the SEC East.
Arkansas (20-12, 6-6 SEC) won a big home series over the Gamecocks, still the SEC's top ranked team. Top prospect Chris Oliver and Jalen Beeks both tossed gems.
No. 16 Alabama (22-9, 8-4 SEC) now carries the best record in the ultra-competitive SEC after the Tide's sereis win at Texas A&M.
(Photo By: Charles Bertram)
Hitter Of The Week: A.J. Reed - 1B - Kentucky
Reed bashed three home runs over the weekend, and is hitting .377/.507/.781 with a nation-leading 12 bombs on the season. We've discussed him before as he is perhaps the best two-way player in the nation. He's a top draft prospect on both the mound (6-1, 1.93 ERA, 52 IP, 32 K) and at the plate and it should be intriguing to see who drafts him as what this upcoming draft in June. He was named a national player of the week.
(Photo courtesy of: Virginia Athletics)
Pitcher Of The Week: Nathan Kirby - LHP - Virginia
Some weekends my choices are made incredibly easy for me on who to pick for this prestigious and world-renowned honor. That's exactly what Kirby did as he pitched a 9-inning no-hitter with...18 strikeouts! Kirby is a sophomore (and Top 2015 draft prospect) who has really burst onto the scene this year with the Cavaliers after a forgettable freshman campaign. He carries a miniscule 1.03 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched. He has allowed just 26 hits and opponents are batting just .146 against him. He stands at 6'2 and 185 pounds and was named the Virginia HS player of the year his Senior year of high school in 2012.
The latest rankings via College Baseball Writers
D1 Stat Leaderboard via Boyd's World
College Baseball RPI via Boyd's World
Draft Prospect Stat Roundup via Baseball America
That's it for this week. Florida is coming to town for a big showdown with South Carolina this weekend so I'll have a game report on notable players in next week's column.
Stay classy, not crassy. I'm out.