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Foley’s Friday Thoughts

MarioHollandsUCSB Here are my thoughts about the day of College Baseball action around the nation on Friday.

The Virginia Cavaliers showed some grit tonight by going into Dick Howser Stadium and shutting out the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 5-0. The Seminoles before tonight’s game were averaging over 11 runs per game but they couldn’t get anything going tonight against Virginia’s Danny Hultzen. He went six innings allowing only two hits as he improved his record to 3-1 on the year.

I was questioned by some LSU fans last Sunday for being suspicious about the Tigers start to the 2010 season which saw them win their first 12 games against less then stellar competition. On Friday night, the Kansas Jayhawks went into Alex Box Stadium and picked up a 11-9 victory. This was equally impressive as Kansas won this game without Tony Thompson who is the heart and soul of the Jayhawks offense after winning the Triple Crown in the Big 12 last season. Robby Price and Casey Lytle each led the offense by picking up three hits and 2 RBI in the win. Coach Ritch Price spoke about the victory by saying “This was huge for our program. (When we scheduled this game) we wanted to play the best team in the country. Our guys really relished this opportunity, and this was the best baseball we’ve played probably since we beat Texas last year. I was really pleased with the of our batting order. (Casey) Lytle and Robby (Price) both got on track and (Brian) Heere and (Jimmy) Waters swung the bat well.”

If you have been following this site for a long time, then you are aware that I find the Texas Longhorns as one of the most interesting teams in the country to watch. The Longhorns are playing a gritty Iowa program in a series this weekend which kicked off on Friday with a great pitcher’s duel between Jarred Hippen and Taylor Jungmann. Iowa would pick up a first inning run on a Dallas Burke two out double to break open the scoring. Texas would end up tying up the game in the eighth inning on a Jordan Etier opposite field homer. The game would remained tied until the bottom of the tenth inning when Tant Shephard hit another opposite field home run to give the Longhorns the walkoff victory. Jarred Hippen from Iowa was impressive as he only allowed that eighth inning homer to Jordan Etier to come across while pitching a total of 8.1 innings while TantShepherdHeadshot striking out eight batters. Taylor Jungmann was even more impressive because after that first inning run by Iowa he proceeded to get 17 out of the next 20 outs by strikeouts. He finished the game with a line of 7.1 innings pitched, five hits allowed, and 17 strikeouts while allowing only one walk. Texas head coach Augie Garrido talked about Jungmann’s performance by saying “Taylor Jungmann was brilliant. He dominated the game and he was brilliant. He is an extremely mature pitcher. He pitches around guys when he should. He goes right at guys when he should. He pitches inside the strike zone when he should.  If he strikes two guys out and they end up on first base, he still continues to complete. That’s pretty hard to do. His team doesn’t get him a run and that never rattles him one bit. He keeps on competing.”

There was also two more great pitching lines on Friday evening with Gerrit Cole dominating Texas AM Corpus-Christi and Mario Hollands beating Northern Illinois. Cole pitched 7.2 innings while allowing only five hits and giving up two runs (one earned) while striking out 15 batters as the UCLA Bruins picked up a 11-3 victory. Hollands pitched a complete game against Northern Illinois allowing a ninth inning run to break up the shutout. He ended up striking out 16 Huskies to tie Barry Zito’s school record for strikeouts.

We all thought Rice might have figured out their early season issues but that doesn’t look like that is coming true as they lost for the second straight day in Houston to a Cal team that was picked to finish seventh in the ten team Pac-10. Rice is now 8-7 on the season with five of those losses coming to Bay Area Pac-10 teams in Stanford (3 games) and Cal (2 games).

East Carolina has not been better either as they have gone out to the West Coast and lost the opener to Cal-State Northridge before following that up with back to back losses to Pepperdine. The Pirates record is now 7-6 and they are likely going to plummet down the polls on Monday.

The Illinois Fighting Illini came back from a third inning deficit of 7-2 to defeat the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers by a score of 11-10. Matt Dittman, Casey McMurray, Willie Argo and Brandon Hohl combined to go 11-for-18 with 10 RBIs and five runs scored to lead the offensive comeback. Mike Sterk pitched the final two innings allowing only one hit to pick up the victory. In case you missed it, I spoke with Coach Hartleb before the season which can be read by clicking here. SteveKittrellUSA

South Alabama head coach Steve Kittrell picked up his 1,000 career victory in a 3-0 win over Arkansas Little Rock. Kittrell is in his 27th season in charge of the Jaguars program. I spoke with Kittrell before last season and the full interview can be read by clicking here.

Concordia (TX) senior second baseman Micah Runnels went a perfect 6-6 with 6 RBI as his team defeated Howard Payne 26-6. Micah is the grandson of two-time American League batting champion Pete Runnels. (Special thanks to Tony Baldwin of Concordia Media Relations for this note.)

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