The third no-hitter of the season, a near no-hitter, wild finishes and crazy plays highlight the second week of the college baseball season. Here is a look at this edition of Bats and Blogs.
DILLION SPINS NO HITTER: Sacramento State senior right-handed pitcher Justin Dillon fired the third no-hitter of the college baseball season in the Hornets 2-0 win over Northern Kentucky on Thursday, Feb. 23 at John Smith Field. It was the first no-hitter in the school’s Division I history. Dillon (9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 13 K) faced just two batters over the minimum on his historic night. He walked his lone batter in the fifth inning and the Hornets committed an error in the ninth inning. It was the first no-hitter by a WAC pitcher since Fresno State’s Greg Gonzalez no-hit Hawaii on April 10, 2010. Dillion, who missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, had flirted with a no-hitter before. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Dillion took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at CSU Bakersfield and allowed just one hit in the Hornets 7-3 win.
POCHE’ MISSED SECOND NO-HITTER: LSU senior left hander Jared Poche’ missed his second straight no-hitter when Maryland’s leadoff hitter and centerfielder Zach Jancarski ended the no-hit bid with an infield single to open the ninth inning. Poche’ (8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K) left the game to a standing ovation following the base hit. Poche’ opened the 2017 season with a seven-inning no-hitter against Army on Feb. 18. He earned National Pitcher of the Week honors following both of his gems. In two starts, Poche is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He has worked 15 innings and allowed no runs and one hit with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .021 against the left-hander this season.
TCU IS CONSENSUS NUMBER ONE: The TCU Horned Frogs are the consensus No. 1 team in this week’s six college baseball polls. TCU is ranked No. 1 by Baseball America, D1Baseball.com, Perfect Game, USA Today, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA. TCU is coming off a home series win over Arizona State this past weekend in Fort Worth. TCU will face LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss this weekend at the Shriner’s Hospital Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
REBEL YELL: Ole Miss is 7-0 for the eighth time in program history and fourth time under head coach Mike Bianco. Ole Miss has six wins over Top 25 teams, including weekend sweeps of No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNC Wilmington. Freshmen Thomas Dillard and Cole Zabowski are the Rebels top two hitters through seven games. Dillard is 9-for-18 (.500) to lead the team in hitting. He has added seven runs, three doubles, one home run and three RBIs. Zabowski is 9-for-20 (.450) with six runs scored, one home runs and six RBIs. As a team, the Rebels are hitting .327 with 44 runs scored, 14 doubles, seven home runs and 49 RBIs.
HOG WILD: Arkansas (6-0) has opened the season with six straight wins for the third time in the last four years. Arkansas won its first eight games last season but finished with a 26-29 overall record (7-23 SEC). Arkansas is much improved in the mound which has led to the team’s early success. The pitching staff has had compiled a 3.50 ERA and had more strikeouts (66) and less hits (44) than innings pitched through six games. Arkansas held Miami Ohio to two total runs on the opening weekend, including a 7-0 shutout in the season opener. Seven of the 14 pitchers used this season have a sub 2.00 ERA. Junior RHP Trevor Stephan (2-0, 0.93 ERA) has made two starts this season. He has 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings. Senior RHP Dominic Taccolini has a 1.59 ERA in three appearances. Sophomore catcher Garret Koch leads the team with a .407 (11-for-27) average with two home runs and nine RBIs. Senior OF Jake Arledge is the team’s second-leading hitter with a .375 (6-for-16) average with two home runs and five RBIs in five games.
LSU PITCHER TO MISS REMAINDER OF SEASON: LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Monday that the elbow injury suffered by junior pitcher Doug Norman in Sunday’s game versus Maryland will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2017 season. Norman, a right-hander from Fort Mill, S.C., will undergo surgery to repair the elbow and begin a rehabilitation process. Norman suffered the injury while throwing a pitch in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 9-5 LSU win over Maryland. He has made 47 career appearances on the mound for the Tigers, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.82 ERA in 70.1 innings.
SHOCKERS STREAKING: Wichita State (6-0) is off to its best start since the 2011 season when the Shockers began the season with a 7-0 record. Coach Todd Butler’s team has opened the 2017 season with back-to-back sweeps against Utah Valley and Grand Canyon. WSU posted back-to-back shutouts in a double header sweep of Grand Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 25. WSU left-hander Cody Tyler was named the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Tyler, a junior left-handed pitcher from Terrell, Texas, earned the win in game two (4-0) of the Shockers three-game sweep of Grand Canyon. He pitched six shutout innings and allowed just three singles with two walks and a career-high nine strikeouts. None of the five base runners he allowed moved past first base in the game. He had at least one strikeout in each of his six innings and had multiple strikeouts in three of the innings. He improved to 2-0 on the season with a 0.82 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched.
FRESNO STATE AVOIDS SWEEP WITH BIZARRE ENDING: Fresno State dropped the first two games of its home series with UC Riverside and appeared to be headed to extra innings in the series finale on Sunday. UC Riverside’s Yeager Taylor appeared to hit a game-tying, three-run homer off Fresno State reliever Dominic Topoozian in the top of the ninth. But as he rounded second base, Taylor passed up a Riverside base runner who was initially on first base – resulting in an out and wiping off one run. With Taylor’s homer reduced to two runs, Fresno State escaped with a 5-4 victory Sunday at Beiden Field at Bennett Stadium. Here is the story and video from The Fresno Bee.
UNDEFEATED TEAMS: Two weeks into the college baseball season, only 13 teams remain undefeated this season. The list includes Arizona (8-0), Baylor (8-0), UT-Rio Grande Valley (8-0), Louisiana Tech (7-0), Louisville (7-0), Mercer (7-0), North Carolina (7-0), Ole Miss (7-0), St. John’s (7-0), UCF (7-0), Virginia (7-0), Arkansas (6-0) and Wichita State (6-0).
WINLESS TEAMS: A total of 19 teams are still seeking their first win of the 2017 season. The list of winless teams includes Siena (0-8), LaSalle (0-7), Miami-Ohio (0-7), Texas Southern (0-7), Villanova (0-7), Western Illinois (0-7), Arkansas Pine Bluff (0-6), Bowling Green (0-6), Farleigh Dickinson (0-6), Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-6), Northwestern (0-6), St. Joseph’s (0-6), Coppin State (0-4), Holy Cross (0-4), Mount St. Mary’s (0-4), Rider (0-4), Hartford (0-3), Manhattan (0-3) and Maryland-Baltimore County (0-3).
COLLEGE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK:
Florida swept Miami in a three-game series in Gainesville this weekend. The Gators posted back-to-back shutouts to open the series and held the Hurricanes to two total runs over the three-game set. Alex Faedo (8.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) and Brady Singer (7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K) combine for 16.1 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts. Faedo was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week.
New Mexico State (6-3) leads the nation with a .379 average and 12 runs per game through the first nine games of the season. The Aggies have 109 runs and 129 hits this season. The Aggies scored 77 runs in its four-game sweep of Mount St. Mary’s this past weekend. NMSU defeated Mount St. Mary’s 29-1 in the series finale on Sunday. Austin Botello had six hits and five RBIs in the win. New Mexico State has scored 20 or more runs three times this season, including back-to-back win over Mount St. Mary’s this weekend.
Baylor is 8-0 for the first time since 1984. The Bears are coming off a three-game sweep against South Alabama at Baylor Ballpark this past weekend. The Bears will be in action this weekend against Ole Miss, LSU and Texas A&M at the Shriner’s Hospital Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
Illinois turned a school-record five double plays in its 15-14 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday.
Sam Houston State had its streak of 16 straight home series wins snapped by UL Lafayette this weekend at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas. UL Lafayette posted a 2-0 win in the opener and then clinched the series with a 6-1 win on Saturday. SHSU avoided the sweep with an 8-3 win in Sunday’s finale.
Memphis rallied from an 11-0 deficit to defeat Illinois State 12-11 in 11 innings on Saturday. The Tigers trailed 11-0 in the bottom of third inning. Memphis scored two runs in the third inning and got back in the game with seven runs in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 11-9. Memphis scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game. Left fielder Colton Neel gave the Tigers the win with the exciting walk-off, bases-loaded walk in the 11th inning.
Mercer defeated Hartford 20-14 on Saturday in Macon. Hartford led 10-5 after four innings before Mercer scored 10 runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. Mercer RF Trey Truitt went 3-for-3 with five runs scored and three RBIs in the win. Third baseman Danny Edgewood collected four hits and DH Charlie Madden added four RBIs in the win.
USC Upstate outslugged Dayton 21-20 in 12 innings on Saturday. The teams combined for 19 runs in the fifth inning. Dayton scored 11 runs in the frame, while USC Upstate added eight runs in the bottom of the fifth. Dayton catcher Matt Poland, USC catcher Charlie Carpenter and first baseman Jordan Miller all had six RBIs in the game. The two catchers were a combined 6-for-9 with six runs scored, two home runs and 12 RBIs in game that lasted more than five hours.