Teams of the Week, March 19-25
To say that a few of this week's honorees are anything but household names in the college baseball landscape is the understatement of the century... well, okay, of the year.
Institutions like St. Peter's, Maryland and Washington don't exactly roll off the tongue when mentioning Division I stalwart stitched ball programs. But this week, they are the few, the proud, the brave of the baseball world as they were the most impressive of all the 290+ teams out there. They are joined by bounce-back teams like Florida, College of Charleston and Oklahoma.
Here is the complete whirl around the country as we give props to those in each region. Going right to left across your radio dial once again, East, South, Midwest and West.
... and the green flag drops.
Team of the Week: St. Peter's (4-0)
W9-8 at Monmouth
W4-3 (14inns), W4-3, W7-5 vs. Marist
No, you don't understand. This is HUGE! This Peacock team was 10-41 overall, 3-23 in MAAC play and had a 287 RPI last season. 287. But they are now 12-10 on the season and 3-0 at the top of the MAAC after this weekend's sweep. What's the mark of a confident team? How 'bout this... SPC came from behind to win all four games. The Peacocks scored four runs in the top of the 9th against Monmouth and then scored four runs in the 8th inning to finish the sweep of the Foxes. Kevin Kallert was named the MAAC player of the week with a 6-for-12 and getting the winning hit in two of the games.
Honorable Mention: Maryland (3-1)
W17-2 vs. Virginia Commonwealth
W4-3, W4-1, L5-0 vs. Clemson
Like the Peacocks above, Maryland has been a perennial bottom-feeder in conference play over the years. But the Terps are the twerps no longer. These turtles are the nasty, snapping kind and Clemson found that out first hand. Casey Baron went 8.0 innings in Friday's win, giving up just four hits and striking out seven. But it took a bottom-of-the-9th RBI double by Catcher Chad Durakis to pull out the win. Ryan Moorer provided another quality start on Saturday, holding Clemson to two hits in 7.0 innings. He got the win to improve to 3-0. After an 8-22 ACC slate last year, UMd is now 5-4 and 16-8 overall including series wins over the Tigers, and last week, over North Carolina State. Niiiiiiice.
Team of the Week: Florida (3-1)
L4-3 at Stetson
W8-7 (10inns), W12-9, W10-3 at Auburn
Alright, everyone can quit writing Florida off now. With a senior-led attack, I'm not certain everyone had anyway, but aren't you thinking like me that this was possibly another potential swoon situation like last year? Perhaps inspired by their basketball brethren's sweet 16-to-Final Four run in the Big Dance, Florida ripped through Auburn like nobody's business for 30 runs this weekend. Credit SEC Player of the Week Matt LaPorta as the main culprit, going 7-for-13 with three dingers. This was the first SEC road sweep for the Gators since 2005.
Honorable Mention: College of Charleston (4-0)
W9-1 vs. Charleston Southern
W7-6, W18-8, W8-7 vs. Western Carolina
After horrible weekends at Texas-San Antonio (1-2) and Charlotte (1-2), this was a bang-up weekend for the Cougars to let people in the Southern Conference know that Reggie Hammond is still the sheriff in town (Sorry, that's kind of an obscure "48 Hours" referrence. My bad.). WCU came to Patriots Point at 14-7, but left winless. The Cougars showed some brass too, pulling out both one-run wins with 9th inning heroics. Jedd Cordisco (points off for having "disco" in his name) scored the winning run on Friday from a wild pitch. Then in Sunday's finale, 8-hole hitter Gabe Marchant got the game-winning RBI single with two out in the 9th. Big tests approach this week, with a game vs. Coastal Carolina and the roadie at improved Wofford.
Team of the Week: Oklahoma (3-1)
W9-7 at Dallas Baptist
L7-3, W9-3, W8-7 (11inns) vs. Texas A&M
A revamped lineup can't stop OU from becoming a factor on the national scene. And this weekend's series win over No. 14 Texas A&M was just further proof of this. Two of the biggest heroes were Aaron Baker, who knocked in the game-winning run in the rubber match in jog-off fashion and reliever Garrett Richards, who got the save at DBU and threw the final 4.2 innings on Sunday to secure his first win of the season. The two Frosh phenoms are doing incredibly well at the D-1 level so far, Baker is hitting .377 and Richards has seven saves on the season.
Honorable Mention: Missouri (2-1)
W5-1 (11inns), W4-3, L16-1 at Nebraska
The Tigers are still on the young side. Sophomore Trevor Crow kept NU at bay on Friday, going 8.0 innings and giving up just four hits. Freshman Trevor Coleman knocked in the two go-ahead runs with an 11th inning single. Then, Sophomore lefty Rick Zagone threw a complete-game on Saturday to give Mizzou the series win. Despite this youth, Missouri was on a 14-game winning streak until Sunday's debacle. None-the-less, the Tigers finally break back into the rankings at No. 28 in the NCBWA poll with a 20-6 record.
Team of the Week: TCU (3-1)
W10-6 at Texas-Arlington
W6-5, L12-11, W12-3 at BYU
Winners of this week's Road Warriors Award. TCU didn't get standout pitching, per se, this week. But they did get the bats going. Andrew Walker kicked things into gear on Tuesday night with two doubles and a home run as part of a 3-for-5, five RBI night. In the BYU series, the Frogs cranked out 45 hits and 29 runs. Unfortunately, the pitching and defense wasn't as stout, giving up six runs in the last two innings of Friday night's loss. The Frogs are now 18-7 and off to a good start in Mountain West play at 5-1.
Honorable Mention: Washington (4-1)
W14-5 vs. Portland
L12-0 at Gonzaga
W5-3 (11inns), W15-4, W6-5 at Washington State
The Dawgs showed some plucky play by getting a surprising sweep out on the Palouse against rival Wazzu. Lead off hitter Bradley Boyer got the game-winning two-run homer in the 12th inning to set the weekend tone on Friday night. For the week, Boyer went 12-for-24. After a 2-8 start, the Dogs have very quietly gone 12-1 and are 3-0 at the top of the Pac 10 for the time being. Okay, so I didn't mention that Udub only managed four hits against a Freshman pitcher making his first-ever start in the ugly loss to Gonzaga. Arizona State comes knocking this week.