The ACC had three of their top programs head on the road for non-conference games on Friday night highlighting the national slate. The 2011 National Champion South Carolina hosted Clemson while Miami made the trip north to Gainesville, and Florida State headed to Athens, GA.
- Headinginto the 2011 campaign, I questioned the caliber of the South Carolina pitching staff with the losses of Sam Dyson and Blake Cooper. My fears have not been realized though as the Gamecocks got a strong start from Michael Roth. He gave up three runs (zero earned) in seven innings of work to up his record to 3-0 after a 6-3 South Carolina win. Thesave by the Gamecocks was picked up by closer Matt Price who got the final five outs while striking out three as he got his third save of the season. South Carolina led the 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth innings but number nine hitter Scott Wingo would hit a two run homer with one out in the inning to expand the scoreline to 6-3. It would be huge if the Gamecocks can continue their dominance over the Tigers by winning one of the next two games.
- The Florida Gators jump all over Miami (FL) freshman pitcher Bryan Radziewski for eight runs (five earned) in only 3.1 innings of work to cut short his third career start. Leading the Florida offensive attack was Austin Maddox who went 2-5with a homer and two RBI. Gator starting pitcher Brian Johnson was solid for the third straight game as he pitched five shutout innings while allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out nine batters. He has really stepped into his spot as the number 1 starter well this season. If Johnson continues to dominate in the number one starter roe once the conference season starts up, then the entire country will be scared of the potent Gators pitching staff.
- Ok, I will finally say it. Cal-State Bakersfield is a real contender for an NCAA bid this season as they followed their upset victory on Thursday over Arizona State with a 12-0 dismantling of the Kansas Jayhawks to extend their winning streak toeight and overall record to 9-2. They got s great starting pitching performance from Mike McCarthy who went eight innings, giving up three hits, and striking out six.
- I was speaking recently to one of my close friends about the St. Mary’s baseball program who immediately brought up junior RHP Mark Anderson’s name as a person to watch. Anderson was able to shut down the UC-Irvine offense (among the top in the nation) on Friday by carving through them in a complete game shutout giving up four hits, one walk, while striking out six batters. He was a workhorse in the game pounding the strikezone. He got the first batter of the inning out in seven out of nine innings while not allowing a baserunner to reach second base all afternoon. If the Gaels continue to get this type of good pitching, they will be a force in the West Coast Conference during the conference season and possibly knock off Gonzaga and San Diego from the favorites post.
- UCLA struggled in cold conditions in Lincoln, Nebraska on Friday but were able to come away with a 1-0 eleven inning decision to up their record to 7-2 while the Cornhuskers drop to 6-4. The UCLA bats need to come alive soon as they have a team batting average of .257 with only one homer on the year.
Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Media Relations/Todd Fierner