Conference USA roundup – Tuesday, April 17

HOUSTON — Junior starting pitcher Chris Kelley scattered four hits and struck out a career-high seven batters and reliever Cole St.Clair closed it out with three hitless innings to lead the sixth-ranked Rice baseball team to a 7-4 victory over the visiting fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns Tuesday evening at Reckling Park in Houston. Longhorn outfielder Kyle Russell hit his 21st home run of the season to set a new single-season record at Texas in the sixth inning.

The Owls jumped on the scoreboard for a run in the bottom of the first inning and chipped away for scores in five of their eight offensive frames. Junior Tyler Henley led off the first by blasting a triple to the wall in center field and he scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Chad Lembeck.

Rice won its third game in a row to improve to 31-10 on the season. Texas fell to 31-11 on the year.

The current five-game homestand continues for Rice with a C-USA weekend series against Central Florida starting on Friday. Texas will continue its road trip, heading to Nebraska for a Big 12 series, also starting on Friday.

Texas recap
Rice recap

No. 24 Tulane 4, Northwestern State 3

METAIRIE, La. – Senior right-hander Matt Goebel gave the Green Wave a solid 6.0 innings of work and the defense made several highlight-reel plays behind him as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Northwestern State, 4-3, Tuesday afternoon at Zephyr Field.

Tulane’s defense was flawless on the day, and made big plays with the leather late in the ballgame to thwart some Demon rallies. Northwestern State erased a 3-0 deficit with a three-run third, but Goebel came back to keep the Demons off the board the rest of his outing, and senior closer Daniel Latham went the final two frames to pick up his 10th save of the season.

With the win, Tulane improves to 28-11 on the year and 8-3 against teams from the state of Louisiana. Northwestern State, meanwhile, falls to 16-22 overall.

Northwestern State recap
Tulane recap

No. 16 Texas A&M 8, Houston 3

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M jumped out to a 6-2 lead after three innings and never looked back in taking an 8-3 win over the University of Houston baseball team Tuesday in a non-conference game at Olsen Field.

The Cougars scored single runs in the second and third innings, but the Aggies had an answer in the next half inning. The Aggies scored a pair of runs in the first inning, one in the second and broke the game open with three more in the third inning before a rain and lightning delay halted the game for more than an hour.

With the win, the Cougars fell to 19-17 overall, while Texas A&M improved to 31-8. Houston returns to action this weekend, traveling to New Orleans for a C-USA series against No. 24 Tulane. The Friday game will be televised by CSTV. Texas A&M will host No. 15 Oklahoma State in a Big 12 series. The Saturday game will be televised by Cox Sports Television.

Houston recap
Texas A&M recap

Memphis 4, Austin Peay 3
Senior Michael Murray shot a single through the right side to score Kyle Norrid for the go-ahead run and Matt Yokley (4-2) sat Austin Peay down in order in the ninth to seal a 4-3 win for Memphis, Tuesday night at Nat Buring Stadium. Memphis snaps a five-game losing streak to the Governors and improves to 23-14 with its fourth straight win.

The two squads will square off again Wednesday in Clarksville, Tenn. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.

Austin Peay recap
Memphis recap

South Florida 10, Central Florida 5

Tampa, Fla. – A three-run first inning was not enough to enable the UCF baseball team to knock off USF Tuesday in a 10-5 loss in Tampa. Both teams combined for 15 walks as the loss dropped the Knights to 18-20 on the season.

Tyson Auer wasted little time in stretching his hitting streak to 13 games by picking up a single in the first inning. Meanwhile, Eric Kallstrom finished his evening by tying a career-high with three hits and drove in two. The loss for the Knights was the second this season against the Bulls (April 3, 11-4 in Tampa).

USF (27-12) starter James Rowe faced just four batters before hitting the dugout in the top of the first. Matt Horwath and Shane Brown both were issued walks to get the game started and Auer followed with a single to center to load them up. Rowe then walked Kiko Vazquez to give the Knights a 1-0 lead, and left in favor of Yuri Higgins even though Rowe had gotten to two strikes on all four hitters he went up against. Higgins did pick up the first out, but gave up a two-run single to Kallstrom as the shortstop banged a 2-2 pitch through the left side.

The Knights will travel to No. 6 Rice in a C-USA series this weekend. The Bulls will host Rutgers in a Big East series.

UCF recap
USF recap

Eastern Kentucky 14, Marshall 3
RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky jumped out to a 7-1 lead after two innings and never looked back en route to a 14-3 win over the Marshall University baseball team on Tuesday at Turkey Hughes Field.

The Colonels (15-16-1) recorded 19 hits in the game, a Marshall opponent-high this season, sending the Thundering Herd (14-20) to its 15th straight loss while snapping its own four-game skid. The win also stopped a three-game Herd win streak in the all-time series with EKU.

Marshall will travel to Memphis for a C-USA series this weekend. Eastern Kentucky will host Xavier on Wednesday.

Marshall recap
EKU recap

Jacksonville State 14, UAB 5
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - UAB gave up at least one run in the final six Jacksonville State innings to give the Gamecocks a 14-5 victory over the Blazers at Rudy Abbott Field Tuesday night. Blazer catcher Danny Sawyer had two runs scored on a 1-for-3 night at the plate.

Jacksonville State improves to 21-16 with the triumph, while UAB is now 16-22 having lost its sixth straight. The teams complete the two-game series on Wednesday.

UAB recap
Jacksonville State recap

Maryland takes out UMBC

The Maryland Terrapins picked up a 11-6 victory over UMBC on Tuesday evening. Maryland used a six run third inning to cruise to the victory. Casey Baron got the win by working two innings and striking out five out of the six outs he recorded. Sean Rae got the loss for UMBC by giving up six runs in his two innings of work. Maryland will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Maryland Eastern-Shore while UMBC will host America East rival Binghamton on Friday for the start of a four game set.

Maryland Recap
UMBC Recap

Penn edges Lehigh

The Penn Quakers slipped by Lehigh on Tuesday by a score of 6-5 in ten innings. Freshman Matt Toffaletti hit a line drive through the infield with the bases loaded to drive home Kyle Armeny with the winning run. Armeny also led the offense by going 4-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the victory. Penn relief pitcher William Gordon gets the victory to up his record up to 2-0 while Rob Russell gets the loss to even his record at 1-1. Penn will be back in action on Wednesday when they head to Rider while Lehigh is off until this weekend when they head to Lafayette.

Penn Recap
Lehigh Recap

Charleston Southern-The Citadel preview

Charleston Southern will welcome The Citadel to Buccaneer Field on Wednesday for a non-conference match up between cross town rivals. Charleston Southern enters with a 15-27 record while The Citadel enter with a 22-13 record. The Citadel are expected to start Nick Sprowls will make his first collegiate start. He has pitched 7.0 innings this season with a 2.57 ERA. The Bucs will counter with T.J. Green who is 0-2 with a 3.62 ERA.

The Citadel Game Notes

Kulbacki and Bach earn National Player of the Week honor

FROM NCBWA RELEASE
DALLAS - The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA)­ released the Pro-Line Athletic National Player of the Week awards for the period ending April 17, today. James Madison senior outfielder Kellen Kulbacki was named National Hitter of the Week, while Monmouth junior right-handed pitcher Brad Brach was named National Co-Pitchers of the Week. The NCBWA Board reviews candidates from each Division I conferences each week and names winners each Tuesday throughout the season.

Kulbacki went 11-for-16 (.688) last week with five walks to reach base in 16 of 21 plate appearances (.762 on-base percentage). He hit four home runs in four games, including his third multiple-home run game of the season, and added three doubles for 26 total bases and a 1.625 slugging percentage. He also scored 10 runs, drove in 11, and stole a base. Kulbacki's week included a span of six consecutive at bats with base hits and eight consecutive plate appearances reaching base. He had multiple hits in each of the four games and nine total bases on Wednesday and Friday.

Brach hurled the NEC's first no-hitter in nearly three years on Friday in a 2-0 win over visiting Long Island. The Freehold, N.J., native was perfect through eight and a third innings, allowed a walk with one out in the ninth on a 3-2 pitch for his only blemish. Brach, who led the conference in ERA a year ago, struck out six and improved to 4-1 on the season with a 3.21 ERA following his second straight nine-inning, complete game effort. It marked the first no-hitter in the NEC since Long Island's John Dooley and freshman Ryan Ekberg combined to no-hit Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-0, on April 29, 2004. The last no-hitter by an NEC pitcher in a solo effort came on April 27, 2002 when Sacred Heart's Dan Scott stymied Long Island, 2-0. The gem was also the first for a Monmouth pitcher since Glenn Spencer turned the trick against Mount St. Mary's in 1990.

With this week's honor, Brach automatically are named to the watch list for Roger Clemens Award, given to the national collegiate pitcher of the year, sponsored by the Greater Houston Baseball Organization.

C-USA baseball notebook

A pair of nationally-televised games on CSTV highlight this week’s action in Conference USA baseball. On Tuesday, longtime rivals Rice and Texas meet at Reckling Park (7 p.m. CT) in a matchup of top six teams. On Friday, Houston and Tulane, the teams that own the most C-USA baseball championships, meet at Zephyr Field in suburban New Orleans (live at Noon CT and again at 7 p.m. CT).

HITTER OF THE WEEK

JESS BUENGER, RICE

Sophomore, 2B/DH, Bellville, Texas

Buenger had one of the best weeks of any Owl all year, leading the team with a composite .556 batting average as the team went 3-1. He went 10-for-18 with a home run, four doubles, seven runs scored and four RBI. Buenger had a .944 slugging percentage and he was walked once and hit by a pitch for a .600 on-base percentage. On defense at second base, he had 14 put outs and 10 assists while turning or starting three of the Owls four double plays last week. Buenger was selected to the All-Silver Glove Series Team for the annual showdown with crosstown rival Houston.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

KYLE SWEAT, UCF

Sophomore, RHP, Apopka, Fla.

Taking on No. 17 Florida during a rainy evening in Gainesville April 10, Sweat had the best performance by a Golden Knight pitcher this season. The sophomore shut down the Gators by giving up just two hits and walking only two, keeping them scoreless over 8.0 innings of work. He struck out three and located his pitches extremely well to keep the Florida bats off-balance the entire game. Sweat is the only UCF starter in 2007 to last at least 8.0 innings as he has accomplished the feat in back-to-back starts (also went 8.0 in a win over Harvard March 26).

For entire C-USA notebook, click here.

SoCon Players of the Week for April 16th

The Citadel’s Matt Crim picked up the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week award by giving The Citadel a complete game shutout over Applachin State on April 14th. He struck out nine batters while only giving up nine hits and a walk in the 17-0 shutout. Elon’s Chase Austin was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week by hitting .692 (9-13) in the weekend series with the Furman Paladins.

The Citadel Release
Elon Release
SoCon Pitcher of the Week Release
SoCon Player of the Week Release

ACC Players of the Week

The ACC has announced their players of the week for the period ending on April 16th in Buster Posey and Enrique Garcia. Posey led FSU to a 4-0 record by hitting .416 (5 for 12) in the weekend sweep over Virginia Tech. Posey also had a perfect week on defense as he didn’t commit an error in his 29 fielding attempts. Garcia pitched a complete game against NC State on Saturday as the Hurricanes went on to win the game 5-1. Garcia pitched eight shutout innings before tiring in the ninth as he allowed a run on two hits in the final inning.

ACC Release

FSU Release
Miami Release

NCBWA Apr. 16 Division I Poll

FROM NCBWA RELEASE
DALLAS - The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association continues its
tradition of NCAA Division I polls for the 10th year with its 2007 weekly
surveys. Weekly polls will be circulated from Feb. 12-June 26 following the
NCAA World Series in Omaha, Neb.

The poll voters come from 32 college baseball writers and related media persons from throughout the nation. This week's poll has representation by 12 different conferences among the 293 baseball-playing schools in the '07 NCAA Division I ranks, and 17 leagues have had teams in the polls in '07. For more information or to join the NCBWA, please go to www.ncbwa.com.

Rank-School-Conference-Overall Record-Previous Rank
1 Vanderbilt Southeastern 32-6 1
2 North Carolina Atlantic Coast 32-6 2
3 Florida State ACC 35-4 4
4 South Carolina SEC 28-8 3
5 Texas Big 12 31-10 6
6 Rice Conference USA 29-11 5
7 Arkansas SEC 29-10 9
8 Virginia ACC 31-8 8
9 Oregon State Pacific-10 28-8 10
10 Arizona Pac-10 30-7 11
11 Arizona State Pac-10 29-10 12
12 Pepperdine West Coast 28-11 7
13 Clemson ACC 25-10 13
14 Wichita State Missouri Valley 30-8 16
15 Oklahoma State Big 12 26-9 14
16 Texas A&M Big 12 30-8 17
17 Cal State Fullerton Big West 23-12 18
18 Mississippi State SEC 23-8 19
19 Mississippi SEC 25-13 15
20 NC State ACC 26-11 21
21 Coastal Carolina Big South 30-7 20
22 San Diego West Coast 29-13 t25
23 Charlotte Atlantic 10 29-6 t25
24 Tulane Conference USA 27-11 28
25 Louisiana-Lafayette Sun Belt 28-9 23
26 Oklahoma Big 12 25-13 24
t27 Kentucky SEC 26-9-1 22
t27 UC Irvine Big West 25-10-1 26
29 Long Beach State Big West 21-12 NR
30 Stetson Atlantic Sun 30-9 30

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Alabama (22-15), College of Charleston (27-9), East Carolina (24-12), Miami (Fla.) (22-16), Michigan (22-6), Missouri (25-11), Nebraska (22-14), New Orleans (24-12).

Dropped Out: Ohio State (29)
By conference: Southeastern 6, Atlantic Coast 5, Big 12 4, Big West 3, Pacific-10 3, Conference USA 2, West Coast 2, Atlantic 10 1, Atlantic Sun 1, Big South 1, Missouri Valley 1, Sun Belt 1

Texas completes sweep of Texas Tech!

The Texas Longhorns won on Sunday.

They swept a series.

They did it in a come-from-behind fashion.

All those things haven’t happened very often this season.

With so many positives in Sunday’s 4-2 Big 12 win over Texas Tech, the biggest one for Texas (31-10, 12-3) might have been overlooked: Joseph Krebs.

Texas’ Sunday starter put his best outing of the season together with a two-run, five-hit performance over six innings. It was the first time Krebs pitched more than five innings this season. And he did it with a smile.

In the fifth inning, Texas Tech (22-15, 5-8) had taken a 2-1 lead on Krebs, and a runner on first was jumping around, bothering the left-handed starter.

“(Pitching coach Skip) Johnson just came out there and slowed me down,” Krebs said. “I would throw over to first, and Chance (Wheeless) would throw it back. Right as Chance would throw it back, the guy would jump off first. Coach Johnson told Chance to fake the throw and tag the guy.

“It calmed me down a lot. I started thinking about that. I had a little smile on my face the rest of the outing.”

Krebs struck out the next two guys and breezed through the sixth inning.

“Joe turned it around for two more innings,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “He broke through and took it to another level.”

Then the Horns broke through.

Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Travis Tucker walked and stole second and third base. After shortstop Michael Demperio grounded out, leadoff hitter Jordan Danks, who went 3 for 4, came up with his second RBI of the game, shortening up his swing with two strikes and hitting a single to center field.

“Tucker gets on base, steals second and steals third, and that pumps the rest of us up,” Danks said. “You get the adrenaline flowing. You get the crowd behind you, and you just get going.”

Kyle Russell, who did not hit a home run this series and remains tied for the Longhorns’ single-season home run total with Jeff Ontiveros at 20, followed up with an RBI double, giving Texas a 3-2 lead. Russell advanced to third on a wild pitch and was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Wheeless, whose 17-game hitting streak came to an end.

That was plenty of runs as Randy Boone earned the win with three perfect innings.

He did get a little help from Russell, who made a great catch on what appeared to be a double down the right-field line.

“They swung at a lot of pitches early in the count. It was kind of surprising,” Boone said. “I got a lot of ground balls and Kyle made a great play in right.”

The sweep helped Texas keep a firm hold on first place in the Big 12, and it comes at the perfect time. The Longhorns now enter the toughest part of their schedule, traveling to Rice on Tuesday before heading to Nebraska and Oklahoma State the next two weekends.

Texas Recap

Texas Tech Recap

Texas.Scout.com