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February 16, 2015Baseball

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NCAA Baseball: Road to Omaha

Edition #1

By: Trent A. Brinkley                                    Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports). February 16, 2015.

It is an exciting moment that NCAA Baseball is back, and we are only 117 days away from Omaha. Last year, in 2014, Vanderbilt walked away with the CWS Championship, and Virginia were the CWS Runner-Ups. I will be doing a NCAA Baseball: Road to Omaha Series, where I will break down all things NCAA Baseball, from the Top 25 Rankings, to my Top 10 Takeaways, to the Top 5 Questions from the Weekend, and a look at Players of the Weekend from each conference in the nation. Who will come out on top this year and walk away with the CWS Championship? Will Vanderbilt repeat as champions?, or will it be a team like LSU, Houston, Virginia, or Texas Tech? I will be doing the NCAA Baseball: Road to Omaha series bi-monthly, so with that being said, here is edition #1.

Top 25 Rankings:

1. Vanderbilt

2. LSU   

3. Houston 

4. Virginia 

5. Texas Tech 

6. Florida  

7. TCU

8. Miami 

9. Oklahoma State 

10. Texas

11. UCLA    

12. Louisville   

13. South Carolina 

14. Mississippi State    

15. Rice          

16. Maryland 

17. UNC-Chapel Hill 

18. Arizona State 

19. Kennesaw State 

20. Oregon 

21. Florida State 

22. Central Florida

23. Florida International 

24. UC Santa Barbara 

25. Liberty 

Teams that dropped out: Cal State Fullerton, Clemson 

Weekend’s Top 10 Takeaways

1. College Baseball is back, and Omaha is only 117 days away.                                                 – Vanderbilt was the 2014 NCAA CWS Champions, and University of Virginia were the runner-ups. Can Vanderbilt repeat as NCAA CWS Champions in 2015?

2. The SEC is really strong this year, having nine teams go undefeated in the first weekend.    – Missouri (4-0), Florida (3-0), Georgia (3-0), Kentucky (2-0), Mississippi State (4-0),Alabama (3-0), Arkansas (3-0), LSU (3-0), and Texas A&M (3-0).

3. UVA looks like the team to beat this year after an impressive weekend.                                – UVA went (3-0) in their season opener series against East Carolina. The Cavaliers were impressive in three ways: 1) outscored the Pirates by a margin of 16-5 in runs, 2) their pitching was fantastic only allowing the Pirates offense to have a team batting average of .181, while their offense hit .276, and 3) Senior Kenny Towns looks like he will lead the Cavaliers once again on both offense and defense.

4. UGA Baseball seems to be back on the right track for a great season after a solid weekend. – The Bulldogs swept the Panthers of Eastern Illinois in all three games; outscoring the Panthers 39-6 in those games. The Bulldogs are looking to have a bounce back season after they finished last season with a record of (26-29).

5. Carson Fulmer is continuing to be the dominant pitcher in all of college baseball.                – In his first start of the season, Fulmer’s stats were: 5 IP, 2 Hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, 0 runs allowed, and his opponents only hit .125 off of him. Fulmer should easily be a Top 10 draft pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.

6. San Diego State retires Tony Gwynn’s #19 jersey on Friday night.                                          – Tony Gwynn was great player for San Diego State, and all his years in the MLB with the San Diego Padres, and was the coach at San Diego State for many years before his passing from cancer. Gwynn who played for San Diego State from 1979 to 1981, had his #3 playing jersey retired a few years ago, had another number retired on Friday, when is head coaching jersey #19 was retired, and the crowd was chanting “Tony!, Tony!, Tony!”.  Tony Gwynn was the head coach at San Diego State for 12 seasons, went 363-363 in his years with the Aztecs, it also included 3 Mountain West Championships, and 3 NCAA Tournament Appearances.

7. Louisville has a strong pitching rotation this year and will give ACC opponents trouble.     – All Pitching this weekend:  3.67 ERA (2-1) 17  Hits  40 K’s  1 HR given up   .177 opposing BA

8. Junior LF Harrison Bader is making an impact for Florida, leading them to a (3-0) record.   – Stats:  .583 BA   7 Hits   3 HR  11 RBIs  1.500 Slugging%   .643 On-Base%   2 Doubles

9. Alabama pitchers shutout Maryland-Eastern Shore in all three games.                                  – Pitchers’ Stats: 0 ER  10 Hits  8 BB  28 Strikeouts

10. Houston looks like the team to beat in the American Athletic Conference.                              – Batting: .260 BA  4 Doubles  4 HR  19 RBIs  .448 Slugging%  .387 On-Base%                                    – Pitching: (3-0) 1.33 ERA  21 Hits allowed  4 ER  5 BB  17 K’s  .219 opposing BA

 

Weekend’s Top 5 Questions:

1. Will Carson Fulmer’s pitching lead Vanderbilt back to Omaha for a chance to repeat as CWS Champions?

2. How will the impact of losing Starting Pitcher/CF Reid Love and 1B Bryce Harman to injuries affect the East Carolina Pirates moving forward?

3. Will the SEC be the conference to beat this year, and be the top conference in college baseball again?

4. Will Rider Senior 3B Nick Richter once again lead the nation in stolen bases?

5. Can UVA’s pitching lead them back to Omaha after allowing the ECU Pirates to score 5 runs in 3 games?

Teams of the Weekend:

 

– NC State Wolfpack (2-0)

The Wolfpack played Villanova in their season opener on Friday night, and won by the score of 14-5. The Wolfpack on Friday were led defensively by sophomore Cory Wilder, who pitched by 5 shut-out innings, allowing only 2 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Offensively, they were led by Senior infielder Jake Armstrong, who went .500 with 3 RBIs. On Saturday, the Wolfpack hosted Davidson College, and won by the score of 8-3, improving their out-scoring opponents to 22-8 this weekend. The Wolfpack were led by sophomore Preston Palmeiro, who went 5 for 5 with a RBI, and improved his hot hitting on the weekend to .875 BA  1 HR  5 RBIs  .889 On-Base%. The Wolfpack had another solid outing from their pitchers, this time led by freshman RHP Evan Mendoza, who pitched 5 solid innings. In those 5 innings, he only allowed 4 hits  1 walk, 1 earned run, and 4 strikeouts. The Wolfpack were supposed to play Appalachian State today but it was cancelled, so the Wolfpack finished the weekend with a (2-0) record, which was very impressive.  

 

 

– University of Georgia (3-0)

The Bulldogs played Eastern Illinois in their season opener Friday, and they didn’t disappoint, beating the Panthers by the score of 18-3. The Bulldogs pitching was led by right-handed sophomore Robert Tyler, who pitched 5 innings, allowed 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and had 5 strikeouts. The Bulldogs offense was led by series of players: Sophomore C/OF- Skyler Weber (2 RBIs), Freshman OF- Keegan McGovern (4 RBIs), Sophomore 2B/SS- Mike Bell (5 RBIs). The Bulldogs went on two win the next two games by a   scoring margin. I have a feeling the UGA Baseball program is back the way it was when they had of the likes of Gordon Beckham,

 

– UNC-Chapel Hill (3-0)

The Tarheels took on Seton Hill over the weekend, and outscored the Pirates by a margin of 26-10 in those three games. Head Coach Mike Fox has done a great job with the Tarheels since becoming their Head Coach in 1999, returning to his alma matter where he played from 1976-1978 as a Second Baseman. In the past five years, he has taken them to the NCAA Baseball Tournament every year, and trips to the College World Series in 2011 and 2013.

 

Players of the Weekend:

 

American East Conference: Maine INF Brett Chappell 

Stat Line: .482 BA  4 RBIs   .462 Slugging %  .438 On-Base %

All rights to Maine Athletics

All rights to Maine Athletics

American Athletic Conference: Cincinnati Starting Pitcher Andrew Zellner  

Stat Line:   (1-0)   5 IP    4 Hits    5 BB   4 K’s     .222 Opposing BA

All rights to University of Cincinnati Athletics

All rights to University of Cincinnati Athletics

Atlantic Coast Conference: UVA Starting Pitcher Nathan Kirby 

Stat Line:  (1-0)  7 IP   3 Hits   2 BB   5 K’s   66.7% Strikes Thrown 

Photo rights to University of Virginia Athletics

Photo rights to University of Virginia Athletics

Atlantic 10 Conference: George Mason OF Luke Willis 

Stat Line:  .417 BA  2 Doubles  2 RBIs  .385 On-Base%  .750 Slugging% 

All rights to George Mason Athletics

All rights to George Mason Athletics

Atlantic Sun Conference: Lipscomb OF Jonathan Allison 

Stat Line: .700 BA  5 RBIs  2 Doubles  1 Triple   1.100 Slugging%  .786 On-Base%

All rights to Lipscomb Athletics

All rights to Lipscomb Athletics

Big 10 Conference: Nebraska Starting Pitcher Chance Sinclair 

Stat Line: (1-0)  5 2/3 IP   0 BB  7 K’s  .333 opposing BA

All rights to Nebraska Athletics

All rights to Nebraska Athletics

Big 12 Conference: Texas Tech LF Tyler Neslony 

Stat Line:  .294 BA   4 RBIs   .412 Slugging%   .381 On-Base%

All rights to Texas Tech Athletics

All rights to Texas Tech Athletics

Big East Conference: Xavier INF Andre Jernigan 

Stat Line:  .500 BA  5 RBIs   3 Doubles   .813 Slugging%   .556 On-Base% 

All rights to Xavier Athletics

All rights to Xavier Athletics

Big South Conference: Campbell C/INF Seth LaRue 

Stat Line: .700 BA  4 RBIs  1 Stolen-Base 

All rights to Campbell Athletics

All rights to Campbell Athletics

Big West Conference: Cal State Fullerton Catcher Chris Hudgins 

Stat Line: .375 BA  2 RBIs  .500 Slugging%  .500 On-Base%

All rights to Cal State Fullerton Athletics

All rights to Cal State Fullerton Athletics

Colonial Conference: UNCW  OF Casey Golden 

Stat Line: .286 BA  1 HR  3 RBIs  .714 Slugging%  .375 On-Base%

All rights to UNCW Athletics

All rights to UNCW Athletics

Conference USA: Florida Atlantic 2B Stephen Kerr

Stat Line:  .333 BA  3 RBIs   .333 Slugging%  .429 On-Base%

All rights to FAU Athletics

All rights to FAU Athletics

Horizon League: Wright State   Ryan Fucci 

Stat Line: .500 BA  2 HRs  7 RBIs  1.250 Slugging%  .500 On-Base% 

All rights to Wright State Athletics

All rights to Wright State Athletics

Metro Atlantic: Canisius 3B/1B Connor Panas 

Stat Line: .375 BA  1 HR   3 RBIs  .875 Slugging%  .500 On-Base%

All rights to Canisius Athletics

All rights to Canisius Athletics

Mid-American: Central Michigan OF Logan Regnier 

Stat Line: .294 BA  3 Triples  6 RBIs  .706 Slugging%   .278 On-Base%

All rights to Central Michigan Athletics

All rights to Central Michigan Athletics

Mid-Eastern: NC Central Catcher James Dey 

Stat Line: .500 BA  2 Doubles  1 RBI  .833 Slugging%   .625 On-Base%

All rights to NCCU Athletics

All rights to NCCU Athletics

Missouri Valley: Bradley IF Spencer Gaa

Stat Line: .625 BA  1 HR  5 RBIs  .714 Slugging%  .400 On-Base%

All rights to Bradley Athletics

All rights to Bradley Athletics

Mountain West: BYU OF Brennon Lund  

Stat Line: .417 BA  5 Hits  No Strikeouts  .417 Slugging%  .462 On-Base% 

All rights to BYU Athletics

All rights to BYU Athletics

Northeast Conference Player to Watch: Bryant INF Matt Zanotta

All rights to Bryant Athletics

All rights to Bryant Athletics

Ohio Valley Conference: Eastern Illinois OF Demetre Taylor 

Stat Line: .375 BA  3 Hits  .625 Slugging%  .375 On-Base%

All rights to Eastern Illinois Athletics

All rights to Eastern Illinois Athletics

Pac-12: University of Arizona 2B Scott Kingery 

Stat Line: .538 BA  1 HR  5 RBIs  1.077 Slugging%  .538 On-Base%

All rights to University of Arizona Athletics

All rights to University of Arizona Athletics

Patriot Conference: Navy Academy SP Luke Gillingham 

Stat Line: 7 IP   1 Hit  0 ER  0 BB  16 K’s

All rights to Navy Athletics

All rights to Navy Athletics

Southeast Conference:  University of Georgia  RF Keegan McGovern 

Stat Line: .375 BA  1 HR  5 RBIs  .875 Slugging%  .573 On-Base%

(Photo by John Kelley). University of Georgia Athletics.

(Photo by John Kelley). University of Georgia Athletics.

Southern: Davidson College  RHP Matt Saeta

Stat Line: 4 IP    0 ER  1 BB   5 K’s   .077 Opposing BA

All rights to Davidson College Athletics

All rights to Davidson College Athletics

Southland: Lamar CF C.J. Moore 

Stat Line: .250 BA  1 HR   4 RBIs  .563 Slugging%  .333 On-Base%

All rights to Lamar Athletics

All rights to Lamar Athletics

 

Mid-Continent Conference: Oral Roberts Pitcher Kyler Stout 

Stat Line: 2 Appearances   2 2/3 IP   3 strikeouts  No-Hits allowed 

All rights to Oral Roberts Athletics

All rights to Oral Roberts Athletics

Sun Belt Conference: Georgia State Starting Pitcher Nathan Bates 

Stat Line:   (1-0)   0.00 ERA   0.286 WHIP  1 BB allowed  1 Hit  8 Strikeouts  .048 Opposing BA

All rights to Georgia State Athletics

All rights to Georgia State Athletics

West Coast Conference: Gonzaga INF Mitchell Gunsolus

Stat Line:  .588 BA  10 Hits  2 Doubles  1 Triple  .824 Slugging%  .611 On-Base%

All rights to Gonzaga Athletics

All rights to Gonzaga Athletics

Western Atlantic Conference: Grand Canyon INF Chad De La Guerra 

Stat Line: .538 BA  3 HR  12 RBIs  1.308 Slugging%  .563 On-Base% 

All rights to Grand Canyon Athletics

All rights to Grand Canyon Athletics

My Social Media:

Twitter: @TrentA_Brinkley

Instagram: @Trent_Brinkley17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trent-A-Brinkley/1599465636939385  

 

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