Saturday’s roundup takes us to the PAC 12/Big 10 Challenge in Surprise, AZ where Michigan State pulled off a comeback win late against #1 Oregon State. Down 7-6 entering the top of the 9th, the Spartans pushed across two runs to take the 8-7 lead and held on for the win. Michigan State has been very impressive thus far in 2014, taking the first two games against the PAC 12 this weekend to improve to 4-1 overall and a chance to go 3-0 in the challenge if they can beat Washington on Sunday. Next weekend they will have another opportunity to pick up some quality wins as they face Mississippi State twice in the Diamond Classic in Starkville.
Cal Poly bounced back from their first loss of the season to dominate UCLA 8-0 in the second game of the series. Slater Lee was the storyline all day, as the righty tossed a complete game two-hit shutout against the defending champion Bruins. He allowed just four baserunners over the minimum and struck out seven to run his record to 2-0. The rubber game is set for Sunday.
A handful of SEC teams have gotten off to perfect starts in the early part of the season. South Carolina (6-0), Vanderbilt (6-0), LSU (6-0), Tennessee (6-0), Ole Miss (6-0) and Arkansas (5-0) all remain undefeated following Saturday’s games, and it’s impossible not to be impressed by the pitching staff dominance as a whole. Led by ace Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt has allowed six runs in as many games. South Carolina has thrown up a shutout in four consecutive games dating back to last weekend. Ole Miss has allowed a staggering four runs in six games and LSU eight in six games respectively. The win totals for some of these teams might not come as a huge surprise but regardless of the competition there are some scary numbers going around this league thus far.
Not everything is pretty, however. Kansas State, a pre-season favorite to win the Big 12, dropped a contest with UC Davis on Saturday 10-5. The loss brings the slumping Wildcats to 1-6 overall after getting swept at Cal Poly last weekend and struggling mid-week against San Francisco. K-State has several winnable series left prior to Big 12 play beginning in a few weeks but they must get it together very soon because the losses are starting to mount and unless they blow away the competition in conference play these early season losses could really hurt their chances come tournament time.
We’ll have more coverage on Sunday followed by a new set of regional projections out Tuesday. Stay tuned.