1A.) No. 2 Florida over No. 14 Miami
This series of baseball heavyweights lived up to the billing in 2015. The Gators took the opener in the series with a walk-off in the ninth after losing the lead late in the game. Bobby Poyner was huge for UF with 5.1 innings pitched and giving up two runs on four hits. It was especially big because the original starter, Andrew Suarez, was scratched during his pregame warm-up and the starter gave up a walk and a hit to the first two players he faced and was pulled in favor of Poyner. Josh Tobias led off the ninth with a HBP followed by a SAC bunt to move him to second. Then with two outs, Buddy Reed singled to left center to win it.
Game two went in the Hurricanes’ favor in a 7-2 final. Thomas Woodrey was very impressive in the win, giving up give hits in 6.2 innings and one earned run. He didn’t have the strikeout pitch working but he was able to keep Florida off balance for much of the outing. Leading the charge at the plate for Miami was Zach Collins, who went 2-4 with three RBI and a home run.
The rubber match of the weekend went to UF in another tightly contested game that closed at 2-1. Dane Dunning was solid on the mound in his second win of the year with five innings of no-hit baseball. The only run the Canes’ could muster was unearned. Dunning did have 3 walks on the day, but Miami couldn’t take advantage of those freebies on Sunday.
1B.) No. 7 U of Houston over No. 20 Alabama
I was able to take in this one live and I can say that I’m not sure I feel any differently about these two teams than I did before the weekend started. That is, neither team did anything to convince me that they didn’t deserve to be in the Top 25. Houston took two out of three games (W 3-1, W 14-9, L 3-8), but I left Houston today thinking that either of the first two games could have easily swung the other way and I wouldn’t be surprised. Aaron Garza looked very good today for much of the game, but ran into some trouble in the form of Casey Hughston. The Coogs fans have to be happy to not be facing him again (more on him in my quick hitters). Bottom line from Houston, the Alabama Crimson Tide is a top 20 team, and the Houston Cougars are definitely a top 10 team. Again, everything I expected to see from these two teams.
- Casey Hughston has been a huge lift to that Alabama offense in the early going. He is 18 for his first 25 on the season (.720) with 11 RBI and 11 runs scored.
- Andrew Lantrip went seven innings on Friday with one of the best sliders I think I’ve ever seen in live action. He did give up a run in the 4th, but was able to scatter the Alabama hits enough that the Crimson Tide couldn’t take advantage of the seven hits they landed.
- Taylor Guilbeau made one mistake on Friday against Houston. A fastball, belt high, to probably the best hitter in the Cougar lineup…and Chris Iriart didn’t miss it. I contend that the pitch is still falling.
- Blake Fox hasn’t been himself so far this season for the Rice Owls. In 12 innings this season he has given up seven runs (11 total, four unearned). I think he will be okay once he gets going, but he hasn’t looked like himself early on in 2015.
- Speaking of Rice, the Owls had four fielding errors in the 9th on Saturday that ended up costing them the game. Arizona stole home to win the game.
- The Texas Longhorns pitching staff went 36 innings this weekend without giving up an earned run.
If I had a Vote
My Top 25:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- Texas Tech
- Ole Miss
- Texas A&M
- Florida State
- Arizona State
- Southern California
- Mississippi State
Upcoming Series’ to Watch
- South Carolina at Clemson
- Baylor at CSU Fullerton
- Stanford at Rice
- California at Arkansas
- Tennessee at UC Irvine