HOORAY COLLEGE BASEBALL IS BACK!
And since coverage and scores are so hard to come by these days, we figured here at The Cup, we would help out with that and do an all-encompassing recap on Monday’s following a weekend of baseball.
Sounds good right?
Week one. Oh, what a weekend it was for the good guys, huh? Nothing like starting off the year 3-0. Speaking of, there were quite a few teams that enjoyed an unblemished weekend. And all of said programs were not surprising. At all.
Preseason No. 1 Florida cruised to a 3-0 start, winning three comfortably against visiting Siena. The Gators do it the same every year. Great pitching, great defense, and just enough hitting to keep Kevin O’Sullivna comfortable in the dugout, but not too comfortable so his face always looks like this:
Elsewhere around the conference, the Arkansas Razorbacks put on a clinic, literally, scoring 46 runs in Friday and Saturdays contests alone. They took care of Bucknell on Sunday, too, by a whopping score of 3-1. Kentucky played the rare four-game opening weekend and won all four contests as well.
In Texas, the Aggies won two tight ones and then blew the doors of Rhode Island in the finale to sweep and over in Alabama, the Tide and the Tigers were able to handle Valparaiso (HAHA NERDS) and Longwood respectively.
In the not-so-awesome category, we have a few teams who were able to win their opening series, but didn’t sweep. Aside from a Saturday slip-up, the Vanderbilt Commodores took care of Duke, outscoring them 18-2 in Friday and Sunday’s games. You know how that goes, sound fundamentals, a reloaded offense, and some no name dude coming out the bullpen throwing 98 MPH. Rinse and repeat.
The Gamecocks rebounded and took two-of-three from Virginia Military Institute, Georgia handled Georgia Southern, and the Missouri Tigers took down Florida International on the road.
Now we get to the not-so-good portion of the show. The LSU Tigers, who invented baseball mind you just ask them, entertained the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this weekend. The Bayou Bengals were able to come back in dramatic fashion (the Irish blew a 6-0 lead btw) and win on Friday, but were absolutely humbled on Saturday and Sunday to the tune of 10-5 and 11-3.
LSU always seems to figure it out when it becomes time to play in Hoover and get to Omaha, but many fear this could be a tough year in Baton Rouge. They moved All-Everything freshman reliever Zach Hess to the rotation and it didn’t work (2.1 IP, 8 ER, 5 H, 6 BB). And Paul Mainieri needs something to work since pitcher Eric Walker is out for the year with Tommy John surgery on the docket. Oh, and the Tigers walked 20(!) batters Saturday and Sunday combined.
The Volunteers didn’t fair much better this weekend, losing two-of-three to the Fighting Maryland Scott Van Pelts. The Vols are expected to be great this year but losing to a Big Ten team from the Northeast who may have had two or three outdoor practices this year is pretty bad. But, hey at least they won one (I would prefer a sweep tho).
The preseason No. 12 Mississippi State Bulldogs came into 2018 with some hype, but losing top reliever Spencer Price for the year put an early damper on their season.
Well, this past weekend won’t help to mend those wounds after they dropped three-straight to Southern Miss in Hub City. The Mustard Buzzards outscored State 23-6(!) in the the series and never trailed. And the Pete was allegedly rocking, filling the damn place to the brim (almost 15,000 fans total for the weekend).
And speaking of ugly, a USM fan got in his feefees and went after D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers on Twitter about the DISRESPECT AND BLASPHEMY THAT FOLKS BEEN SPEWING BOUT THEM GOLDEN EAGLES SMTTT!!!!,,,,
@aaronfitt @KendallRogers thanks for all the respect this preseason. Just goes to show how BS college baseball rankings mean absolutely nothing. Sad to see yall drinking the #SEC koolaid too. Must pay pretty good though— James (@jmcmahon1418) February 17, 2018
But, the college baseball mothership didn’t go quietly, oh no.
It’s the second game of the season, James. Enjoy your weekend series win my man. https://t.co/XXJNaGISzW— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) February 17, 2018
Well that's very gracious of you, James! It's almost like we didn't just write a big Weekend Spotlight profile on Southern Miss (and nobody else) leading into Week 1! And it's almost like we didn't pick you to win C-USA! And it's almost like 2 games is a conclusive sample size!— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) February 17, 2018
The point remains though. Southern appears to be a solid club this year. I man, hell, they went 50-16(!) a year ago and 25-5(!!!!) in Conference USA. Which brings us to the question WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU OPEN UP WITH THIS TEAM ON THE ROAD, STATE????!!!!
All in all, it was a solid weekend for everyone. Well, unless you’re Mississippi State, then it really, really sucked. But, they’ll be okay, not to worry, Left Field Lizards. Eight teams are back at it on Tuesday and all are on SEC Network+. Except South Carolina which is weird.
Here’s to college baseball being back in our lives.