March 12 Baseball Notebook
March 12, 2007
Following its three-game sweep of No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, East Carolina is back in the national rankings for the first time since March 15, 2005. The Pirates appear in the Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA polls, becoming the fourth Conference USA school to be ranked this season.
HITTER OF THE WEEK
KIKO VAZQUEZ, UCF
Sophomore, IF, Sebring, Fla.
Vazquez recorded at least one hit in every game last week to help UCF to a 5-0 record, which marked the longest winning streak for the Golden Knights since the 2005 season. The first baseman posted a double in each of the first four games and added his fourth homer of the season in game one with UMass. Vazquez finished the week 7-for-14 (.500) with nine RBI, four runs scored, five walks, just one strikeout and his first career stolen base.
PITCHERS OF THE WEEK
T.J. HOSE, EAST CAROLINA
Junior, RHP, Hagerstown, Md.
Hose had his best pitching performance of his career Friday night against No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, setting the tone for the Pirates three-game sweep of the Titans. He picked up his third consecutive win in a 6-1 victory, scattering three hits over seven innings. Hose allowed one run while striking out six batters, four of them looking in seven innings of work. Hose faced 25 batters allowing two runners to reach second base, one coming on a solo home run in the fifth inning.
TODD McINNIS, SOUTHERN MISS
Freshman, RHP, Brandon, Miss.
McInnis, a true freshman, carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a 5-0 win against No. 13 Alabama on March 6, earning his third win in his third collegiate start. In eight innings pitched, he allowed just one single that came with two outs in the eighth. McInnis struck out six and walked four, never putting more than one base runner on during an inning, and was lifted after throwing 124 pitches.
The Pirates won all three games against No. 7 Cal State Fullerton this past weekend. ECU's sweep of Fullerton marked the first time in school history that the Pirates have taken all three games from a Top 10 opponent. It also marked the first time since the opening weekend of the 2004 season that the Titans lost all three games in a series. Senior OF Ryan Tousley picked up five hits on the week, including two in the eight-run second inning against Fullerton on Sunday. He led off the frame with a double and closed it out with a bases clearing two-out triple. In four games he batted .357 (5-for-14), with a double, triple and home run (Friday), 11 total bases and scored four times. Junior Corey Kemp notched four starts on the week at third and behind the plate. Kemp collected six hits on the week, trailing only Stephen Batts, who had seven. He smacked his first career home run on Friday coming off of All-America pitcher Wes Roemer. His four RBI were second on the team and he had back-to-back games where he had two hits. Junior LHP Dustin Sasser improved to 2-0 on the season after pitching a season-high 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball against No. 7 Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. He struck out three with no walks an allowed three hits. Junior reliever Shane Mathews picked up a pair of saves over the week moving into seventh place on the schools all-time saves list. He worked an inning in all four games, did not allow a hit or run, struck out five and walked just one.
The Cougars posted their first 4-0 week since April 18-23, 2006 with a single win over Lamar and a three-game sweep of Princeton. Houston's 20-1 win over Princeton in the middle game of that series was the team's biggest since a 27-5 win over Illinois State on March 8, 1993. Sophomore OF Felix Fanaselle batted .600 (6-for-10) with six runs, two doubles, a triple, four RBIs, 1.000 slugging percentage and .722 on-base percentage last week. He rapped out four hits with three RBI in the middle game of the Princeton series, setting personal single-game bests in both categories. Freshman OF Zak Presley blasted his first collegiate home run - a one-out, two-run, opposite-field shot - during the Cougars 20-1 win over Princeton. He batted .538 (7-for-13) last week with six runs, a double, a homer, six RBI, .846 slugging percentage and .588 on-base percentage. Presley raised his batting average 83 points last week alone to its current .294 mark. Senior 1B Josh Stirneman rapped out a double and a single in the fourth inning against Princeton during the middle game of that series. He is the first UH player to pound out two hits in an inning since Jake Stewart and Isa Garcia did it on March 26, 2006.
The Thundering Herd swept a three-game series from Campbell to improve to 9-3 on the season. The 9-3 start is the best for a Marshall team since the 1988 team also opened up at 9-3. The Herd has won seven of its last eight games and is a perfect 7-0 at home this season. Friday's doubleheader sweep of Campbell saw MU win both games by one run, raising its record in one run games this season to 6-0. The Marshall bats came alive over the weekend, as the Thundering Herd hit .363 with a .435 on-base percentage against the Camels. The Herd entered the weekend with a .237 batting average, but raised that mark to .269 following weekend play. The defense also shined over the weekend, as the Herd committed just one error (.991 fielding percentage) while making an array of acrobatic plays. Senior RHP Nick Wolle earned saves in both ends of the Friday doubleheader, giving him five already this season. He is already just one off the Marshall single-season record, set in 2003 by Chris Meadows. Senior OF Brit Vincent is riding an eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .414 with a .469 on-base percentage during that span.
Memphis had a challenging road trip last week, but posted a 6-4 extra-inning victory at No. 6 Clemson on March 9. That represents the highest-ranked opponent that the Tigers have defeated since Conference USA began play in 1996. Senior DH Joey Lieberman hit his first home run of the year in that 6-4 win over Clemson. Lieberman led Memphis with 13 round-trippers in 2006. Senior OF Will Petersen swung the bat well at Clemson. Petersen went 6-for-13 (.462) on the weekend, with three runs scores, three stolen bases and a pair of RBI. Petersen swiped bases in all three games of the weekend series. He posted posted multiple hits in the first two games, including going 3-for-4 in game two. After leading the inning off with a single, he scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the triumph at Clemson. Memphis pitchers continue to put up impressive numbers. After giving up 12 runs in the season-opener at Ole Miss, the Tiger pitching staff has posted a 2.12 ERA. Overall, Memphis sports a 2.84 ERA for the season. Sophomore Will Hudgens, the backup quarterback on the Tigers football team, was successful in his third career outing. The Tiger reliever took advantage of a timely outing to post the second win of his career over No. 6 Clemson in the series opener. Hudgens, who had not pitched in a competitive game since high school, is now 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a save in four appearances.
The Owls closed out the weekend with consecutive victories over TCU (20-6), Texas Tech (5-1) and host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2-1) to claim the tournament title of the Whataburger Classic. Rice set season-highs for runs and hits (18) against the Horned Frogs. Led by junior OF Jordan Dodson's selection as the Whataburger College Classic's MVP, seven Owls earned all-tourney accolades including Joe Savery (1B), Aaron Luna (2B), Brian Friday (SS), Diego Seastrunk (3B), Ryan Berry (SP) and Scott Lonergan (RP). Dodson hit .375 with seven RBI, a home run and a double for an .875 slugging percentage. He also drew two walks for a .500 on-base percentage and had a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. True freshman RHP Ryan Berry improved to 3-0 with a win over Texas Tech, posting a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowed only one run (which was unearned) in 7.0 innings of work. He scattered four hits and walked two, holding 22 opposing hitters to a composite .182 batting average. Junior SS Brian Friday had a sensational week at the plate, batting .500 (9-for-18) with four doubles for a .722 slugging percentage. He also drove in five runs and scored three times, as well as unselfishly recording two sacrifice bunts. Defensively, he had a total of 19 assists and he started or turned six of the team's eight double plays. Junior outfielder Tyler Henley extended his starting streak to 151-consecutive games dating back to his freshman season. Against TCU, Henley slugged a solo home run to record his 101st career RBI. Since a hitting spree that began on March 2, junior first baseman Joe Savery is 14-for-27 (.519) with four doubles.
The Golden Eagles were 2-2 against SEC opponents last week, shutting out No. 13 Alabama in Jackson, Miss. on Tuesday, before dropping two-of-three at LSU over the weekend. Sophomore SS Brian Dozier hit .400 last week with two doubles and three RBIs, while sophomore OF Luke Adkins hit .333, including a double, a walk and three RBIs Junior RHP David Clark earned the Sunday win at LSU, his second in a row, allowing three runs over 7 2/3 innings pitched. Senior RHP Ryan Belanger suffered his first loss of the season at LSU and is now 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 28.1 innings pitched. He has 25 strikeouts, four walks and opponents are hitting .183 against him. The pitching staff is 12-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 141 innings pitched. The unit has struck out 115, walked 42 and opponents are hitting .212 against them. Of the 109 hits against them, only 13 are for extra bases. The starters have thrown 99.2 innings, giving up 35 runs (32 earned) on 74 hits, walking 27, striking out 86 and holding opponents to a .211 batting average.
The Green Wave were 3-2 last week, winning mid-week games against McNeese State and UNC Asheville, but dropping two-of-three against Loyola Marymount. Right-handers Matt Goebel and Preston Claiborne combined for 11 strikeouts in Tulane's 8-3 win over McNeese State, on March 6. Goebel fanned eight in a five inning start to earn the victory, while Claiborne, a true freshman from Dallas, struck out three and did not allow an earned run over the final four frames to pick up the first save of his career. In Friday night's opener vs. Loyola Marymount, junior RHP Sean Morgan recorded his second double-digit strikeout game of the season, matching his career-high with 13 K's in a complete-game win. Senior 1B Tim Guidry hit .381 (8-for-21) last week, notching multiple hits in three games, while adding a home run and three RBI. Sophomore OF Anthony Scelfo hit safely in all five games, scoring five runs, stealing three bases.
The Blazers swept a three-game series from Furman over the weekend, thier first sweep since taking three in a row from Rider, March 10-12, 2006. UAB turned the first triple play on record all-time at Young Memorial Field on Friday. The play came in the fifth inning with Furman runners on first and second. Furman's Joey Rodgers popped up a bunt down the first base line where Blazer 1B Ryan Keedy made a diving catch, then turned and fired to 2B Tyler Rollin who was covering first who then threw to SS Jonathan Merritt who covered second to complete the triple play. After UAB had just two home runs through its first 10 games, the Blazers hit four homers in the sweep against the Paladins. Senior 3B Ryne Lovdahl, who led the club in homers in 2006, had been held homerless through 10 games before hitting his first two home runs of the year in back-to-back games. Lovdahl is batting a club-best .400, while also leading the club in RBI (9) and home runs (2) inside the friendly confines of Young Memorial Field, where UAB is 6-3 at home this season. UAB has used its speed to pick up free bases this season. The Blazers are 18-of-22 on stolen base attempts this season and have stolen third base four times. Senior OF Steven Turner leads the club in steals with five in as many attempts. The Blazers pitching staff has still given up just one home run in 15 games on the year.
The Golden Knights were 5-0 last week, including a three-game sweep of Massachusetts over the weekend, to improve to 11-9 on the season. Freshman southpaw Carmine Giardina sparked the UCF baseball team Tuesday aganst Michigan State, striking out 10 to help lift the Golden Knights to a 7-5 victory. Giardina gave up just one run on only three hits. With 10 strikeouts, Giardina recorded the most K's by a Golden Knight pitcher since April 30, 2006 (Tim Bascom - 10). Sophomore LHP Mitch Houck cruised through Massachusetts on March 10, going seven innings and limiting the Minutemen to one run on three hits to earn the win. He struck out 10 batters, one shy of his career-high. Junior OF Tyson Auer set a career-high with four stolen bases against Michigan State, racking them up in just the first four innings of the game. Freshman 3B Chris Duffy went .636 (7-for-11) in four games played last week. He extended his hitting streak to eight games and over that stretch, has improved his average from .125 to .389. Last week, Duffy recorded his first collegiate homer, a solo shot in the finale vs. UMass, while posting a slugging percentage of .909 and an on-base percentage of .714. He also had two RBI and three runs scored.
Five members of Conference USA are ranked in the Top 40 of the most recent Pseudo-RPI's (March 12), as published by Boyd Nation (www.boydsworld.com). As a league, C-USA is ranked fourth, trailing only the SEC, ACC and Big 12 Conferences. Here's a look at where each C-USA school ranked in the current ratings:
1. Southern Miss
39. East Carolina
EAST CAROLINA RANKED
East Carolina has broken into the national rankings for the first time this season. The Pirates appear at No. 25 in this week's Baseball America poll and No. 27 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings. ECU joins Rice, Southern Miss and Tulane in becoming the fourth C-USA team to be nationally-ranked in 2007.
One of the storylines developing early in the 2007 season is the strength of the pitching in Conference USA. Three staffs currently have team ERA's that are under 3.00 and six are 3.69 or less. Here's a look at each team's ERA:
1. Rice 2.40
2. Memphis 2.84
3. Southern Miss 2.87
4. Tulane 3.04
5. East Carolina 3.34
6. Marshall 3.69
7. UCF 4.78
8. UAB 4.81
9. Houston 5.11
LAST WEEK'S STARS
ECU - STEPHEN BATTS - posted a team-best .467 average (7-for-15) last week, collecting three multiple hit games. He had two doubles, two stolen bases and scored four runs. Was 3-for-4 with a double in Sunday's win over Cal State Fullerton.
HOU - BRYAN TULLY - was 9-for-18 (.500) in four Cougar wins last week, with three multiple hit games. Had a home run, three doubles, eight RBI, three stolen bases and five runs scored.
MAR - BRANDON CASAMASSIMA - hit .571 (8-for-14) last week with hits in all four games. Went 5-for-6 in a doubleheader sweep of Campbell. Had a pair of home runs, three RBI and two stolen bases.
MEM - BILL MOSS - batted .316 (6-for-19) last week with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Hit safely in four of five contests and was 5-for-12 in the Clemson series.
RICE - BRIAN FRIDAY - batted .500 last week (9-for-18) with four doubles for a .722 slugging percentage. He also drove in five runs and scored three times, as well as unselfishly recording two sacrifice bunts.
USM - TREY SUTTON - hit .556 (10-for-18) last week, including two doubles, a home run and five RBI. Had a .600 on-base percentage and collected 15 bases for an .833 slugging percentage.
UAB - RYNE LOVDAHL - was 8-for-16 (.500) last week with three multiple hit games. He scored a run in all four games and drove in eight runs, including three multiple-RBI outings. Homered in back-to-back games against Furman.
UCF - CHRIS DUFFY - went .636 (7-for-11) in four games played last week. Recorded his first collegiate homer, while posting a slugging percentage of .909 and an on-base percentage of .714. He also had two RBI and three runs scored.
ECU - DUSTIN SASSER - threw 6 1/3 shutout innings against No. 7 Cal State Fullerton, allowing just three hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
HOU - WES MUSICK - allowed only one hit with a career-best 10 strikeouts on Friday night vs. Princeton, becoming the first UH lefthander since 2003 to record double-digit K's. Did not allow a run and walked four batters over seven innings.
MAR - BRIAN CHRISMAN - threw a career-best eight innings in Saturday's win over Campbell. He struck out seven and walked just one. Retired 13 in a row from the third to seventh innings.
MEM - GARRETT HACHTEL - in his collegiate debut at Samford, he allowed just one earned run on three hits over six innings pitched. He struck out five and did not walk a batter, retiring 14 straight batters at one point.
RICE - RYAN BERRY - improved to 3-0 with a win over Texas Tech at the Whataburger Classic. Posted a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowed only one run (which was unearned) in 7.0 innings of work. He scattered four hits and walked two.
TLN - SEAN MORGAN - tied a career high with 13 strikeouts while not issuing a walk against Loyola-Marymount on Friday night. He struck out at least one batter in each inning. Allowed one run on five hits.
UAB - MITCH KLOWSKOWSKI - earned his second straight win with eight solid innings against Furman. Allowed two runs on eight hits with a pair of strikeouts and no walks.
UCF - BRETT BORDWINE -in his first start of the season, he struck out a career-high 14 batters in a 5-2 win over Northeastern. In 6.2 innings of work, he did not allow a run and gave up only four hits.
C-USA VS. RANKED FOES
Feb. 9.................. Houston 4, (20) Baylor 2
Feb. 10................ Rice 7, (20) Baylor 0
Feb. 11................ UCF 8, (15) TCU 6
Feb. 17................ Rice 11, (20) Long Beach State 2
Feb. 18................ Rice 2, (20) Long Beach State 1
Feb. 22................ Rice 4, (27) Florida Atlantic 2
Feb. 24................ Rice 9, (7) Nebraska 5
Mar. 2.................. East Carolina 5, (13) Pepperdine 4
Mar. 2.................. Southern Miss 7, (29) Louisiana-Lafayette 4
Mar. 3.................. Rice 9, (6) Cal State Fullerton 3
Mar. 4.................. Southern Miss 1, (29) Louisiana-Lafayette 0
Mar. 6.................. Southern Miss 5, (13) Alabama 0
Mar. 9.................. Memphis 6, (6) Clemson 4 (10 inn.)
Mar. 9.................. East Carolina 6, (7) Cal State Fullerton 1
Mar. 9.................. Rice 20, (23) TCU 6
Mar. 10................ East Carolina 2, (7) Cal State Fullerton 0
Mar. 11................ East Carolina 12, (7) Cal State Fullerton 5