Tourneys Highlight College Baseball Weekend

The calendar has turned from February to March and all eyes in the sports world on focused on “March Madness”.  While the 2017 college baseball season is just two weeks old, the focus this weekend is on some of the major baseball tournaments around the nation, creating a little diamond madness the first weekend of March.

The premier college baseball tournament is the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Houston College Classic played at Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros.

The star-studded field takes on a new look this season as three teams from the Southeastern Conference take on three teams from the Big 12 Conference in the three-day, nine-game event, which begins Friday at Noon. No. 4 LSU, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 15 Texas A&M represent the SEC. No. 1 TCU, No. 19 Texas Tech and undefeated Baylor represents the Big 12.

Shriner’s Hospital for Children Houston College Classic
Baylor (9-0) is one of six undefeated teams in the country. The Bears are 9-0 for the time since the 1984 season (13-0, best start in school history. Baylor is the lone unraked team in the field. Baylor will send RHP Nick Lewis (2 GS, 2-0, 2.55 ERA), RHP Montana Parsons (2 GS, 1-0, 3.38 ERA) and LHP Cody Bradford (2 GS, 2-0, 3.38 ERA) to the mound this weekend. In nine games, Baylor’s starting pitchers have combined to give up just 12 runs (11 earned) on 41 hits and 16 walks with 33 strikeouts in 45.2 innings for a 2.17 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. In nine games, Baylor’s newcomers have picked up 6 wins on the mound (Parsons, Bradford (2), Boyd, Phillips (2)) while going 33-for-93 (.355) at the plate with 26 runs, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers and 33 RBI. BU as a team is 103-for-304 (.339) at the plate with 83 runs, 30 doubles, 5 triples, 6 homers and 76 RBI.

LSU (8-1) is ranked in the Top 5 in the six major baseball polls. LSU has won five straight games, including a 3-2 victory over Nicholls on Tuesday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The streak also includes a three-game sweep of Maryland last weekend, which was ranked in the Top 25 preseason polls. The Tigers will send RHP Alex Lange (2 GS, 2-0, 0.82 ERA), LHP Jared Poche’ (2 GS, 2-0, 0.00 ERA) and RHP Eric Walker (2 GS, 1-0, 4.00 ERA).Poche’ nearly fired a no-hitter for the second straight weekend, as he tossed eight hitless innings against Maryland last Saturday. The Terrapins broke up the no-hit bid with an infield single to lead off the ninth inning and Poche’ exited the game after throwing 98 pitches. Poche’, who threw a complete-game, seven-inning no-hitter against Army on February 18, improved to 2-0 with the win over Maryland, limiting the Terps to no runs on one hit in eight innings with two walks and six strikeouts.

Ole Miss (7-1) will play multiple games against ranked teams for the third straight weekend. The Rebels already have a nation-best six wins over ranked foes after sweeping both No. 6 East Carolina and No. 23 UNCW in three-game series at Swayze Field. Ole Miss will send LHP David Parkinson (2 GS, 2-0, 2.77 ERA), RHP James McArthur (2 GS, 0-0, 2.61 ERA) and RHP Brady Feigl (2 GS, 1-0, 4.50 ERA) to the mound this weekend. All three pitchers took no-hitters into the fifth inning or later last weekend against UNC Wilmington.

Texas A&M (8-1) is the defending Houston College Classic champions after posting wins over Nebraska, Houston and Baylor last season. Texas A&M and TCU will square off on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Horned Frogs eliminated the Aggies from the NCAA Super Regionals each of the last two years. Texas A&M will send RHP Brigham Hill (2 GS, 2-0, 0.00 ERA), RHP Stephen Kolek (2 GS, 1-0, 1.64 ERA) and RHP Mitchell Kilkenny (2 GS, 1-0, 4.82 ERA) to the mound this weekend. Texas A&M catchers are hitting a combined .455 (15-for-33) on the season. In games he’s catching, Cole Bedford is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with three doubles and two RBI. Hunter Coleman is batting .375 (6-for-16) as a catcher with six runs, one double, one triple and two RBI. In his lone game as a catcher, Jorge Gutierrez batted 2-for-2 with two dingers.

TCU (7-1) is the consensus No. 1 ranked team in the nation. The Horned Frogs will face LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss this weekend. The Horned Frogs will send RHP Brian Howard (2 GS, 1-1, 3.27 ERA), LHP Nick Lodolo (2 GS, 2-0, 2.70 ERA) and RHP Jared Janczak (2 GS, 2-0, 2.77 ERA) to the mound. Nolan Brown ranks sixth in the Big 12 with a .400 batting average and fourth in on-base percentage (.516). Luken Baker hit two home runs in the series against Arizona State and is tied for the Big 12 lead with three. Cam Warner has reached base in all eight games this season. Austen Wade is riding a seven-game hitting streak and leads the Big 12 with six stolen bases. TCU has made three straight trips (2004-16) to the College World Series. TCU eliminated Texas A&M for the NCAA Super Regionals the last two years.

Texas Tech (9-1) brings a six-game winning streak to Houston. The Red Raiders will send RHP Davis Martin (2 GS, 1-0, 1.38 ERA), LHP Steven Gingery (2 GS, 2-0, 1.29 ERA) and RHP Ryan Shetter (2 GS, 1-0, 2.13 ERA) the mound for the three games in Houston. On offense, Tech is averaging 8.4 runs and 10.4 hits per game. Hunter Hargrove (.395, 3 HR, 17 RBIs), Michael Davis (.308, 2 HR, 7 RBIs) and Orlando Garcia (.303, 3 HR, 14 RBIs) have accounted for eight of the team’s 10 home runs. Tech leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally with a .987 fielding mark through 10 games.

Another tournament to keep an eye on this weekend is the Frisco College Classic played at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. No. 14 Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma State make up the four-team field.

The annual Dodgertown Classic takes place this weekend in Los Angeles. Michigan and San Diego join USC and UCLA in the three-day event. The tournament, which began in 2010, concludes on Sunday with all four teams playing at Dodger Stadium.

Minute Maid Park (Houston)

Friday, March 3
Noon                      Baylor vs. Ole Miss
3:30 PM                 Texas A&M vs. Tech
7 PM                       LSU vs. TCU

Saturday, March 4
Noon                      Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech
3:30 PM                 Baylor vs. LSU
7 PM                      TCU vs. Texas A&M

Sunday, March 5
10 AM                    LSU vs. Texas Tech
1:30 PM                 Ole Miss vs. TCU
5 PM                      Baylor vs. Texas A&M

FRISCO COLLEGE CLASSIC – Dr. Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, Texas)
Friday, March 3
4 PM                      Arizona vs. Arkansas
7:30 PM                Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State

Saturday, March 4
4 PM                      Arizona vs. Oklahoma State
7:30 PM                Arkansas vs. Nebraska

Sunday, March 5
Noon                      Arizona vs. Nebraska
3:30 PM                  Arkansas vs. Oklahoma State

Friday, March 3
6 PM (PT)              San Diego at USC
6 PM (PT)              Michigan at UCLA

Saturday, March 4
4 PM (PT)              San Diego at UCLA
6 PM (PT)              Michigan at USC

Sunday, March 5
11 AM (PT)           Michigan vs. San Diego (Dodger Stadium)
3 PM (PT)              USC vs. UCLA (Dodger Stadium)


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