It’s great to finally have college baseball back in our lives. Opening Day 2014 provided us with plenty of surprises and excitement on everybody’s first day back on the diamond, starting with the ACC.
A league considered to be one of the best in college baseball annually, the ACC stumbled out of the gate in route to a 3-5 overall record on Friday. There were surprising results throughout the league but none bigger than highly touted Virginia being knocked around by SEC foe Kentucky.
The Cavaliers, ranked as high as #1 in some polls, took an early 1-0 in the 2nd inning before Kentucky took control in the middle innings and held on for an 8-3 victory. Two-way star AJ Reed was big on the mound giving up just 1 ER over 5 innings and also picked up an RBI and scored a run. It certainly was an impressive start for a Wildcats team looking to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out in 2013.
16th ranked Clemson also was involved in a stunner as they dropped their contest 6-5 in extra innings to Eastern Michigan. The Citadel defeated Virginia Tech 6-2, Nevada defeated Boston College 4-1 and Florida shut down Maryland 4-0 to round out a tough day in the conference. Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech all took care of business with wins, however.
Mississippi State enters 2014 with high expectations and excitement after falling just short of the program’s first national title in 2013. Western Carolina, quickly dispatched to Starkville after cancellations changed the plans for both teams, had ideas to ruin the Bulldogs home opener Friday night. Catamounts ace and SoCon pre-season pitcher of the year Jeremy Null was as-advertised and completely shut down the MSU offense with 8 scoreless innings while fanning 12 in route to a 3-2 impressive victory for WCU.
In action on the West Coast, #1 ranked Cal State Fullerton put together an inspiring performance to beat Washington State 12-0. Defending national champion UCLA was shutout by the Portland Pilots to start their new campaign. Cal-Poly got a big time quality win over Big 12 favorites Kansas State 3-0 behind the arm of junior lefty Matt Imhof, who struck out a staggering 14 Wildcats over 7 shutout innings. He allowed just 2 hits.
Most impressive team of the day: Rice
The Owls began 2014 on a dominant note as they crushed a quality Stanford ballclub 10-3 on the road.
Most disappointing team of the day: Texas
Looking to return to NCAA tournament action for the first time since 2011, Texas got off to a miserable start to the new season. The Longhorns made an unacceptable 5 errors in a 7-0 loss at Cal and must rebound quickly with a doubleheader on Saturday.