Feb. 20, 2012


Weekend 1 Wrap-up


We now have one weekend in the books. What did we learn?


The ACC looks to be stronger from top to bottom.

What has made the SEC so tough in recent years is balance, tough teams from 1 to 12. The ACC has had some weaker squads, but that may change this year. Maryland, under head coach Erik Bakich (left), headed west and took two of three at No. 17 UCLA. Boston College traveled south and defeated Virginia, James Madison (CAA favorite) and Coastal Carolina (Big South favorite). Duke won at Texas on Sunday after two close losses on Saturday. Virginia Tech won three of four in Kennesaw State’s tournament.


Stanford may be as loaded as predicted.

The third-ranked Cardinal swept No. 13 Vanderbilt, outscoring the Commodores 35-13 in three games. Stanford hit .352 as a team, led by Brian Ragira going 7 for 12 (.583). Stephen Piscotty hit two of the team’s four home runs, drove in eight and scored six. Stanford drew 15 walks and was plunked eight times while striking out 15, posting an on-base percentage of .455. The Cardinal host Texas this weekend for another tremendous non-conference series.


Whoooo are those guys from Florida Atlantic?

There is another team of Owls besides Rice to keep an eye on. FAU was picked to finish fourth in the Sun Belt, but swept a three-game set at Alabama by outscoring the Crimson Tide 23-8. The Owls hit .333, while its pitching staff posted an ERA of 2.33 and held ‘Bama to a batting average of .204. FAU’s starters, Ryan Garton, Jake Meiers and Jeremy Strawn, combined to allow three earned runs in 16 innings.


Several other series were closer than expected.

There were several match-ups that may have looked lopsided on paper, but in fact were not. VMI had two close losses in its series at No. 2 South Carolina. Xavier got a win at No. 4 North Carolina and fell in a Saturday slugfest. North Dakota State won at No. 15 Arizona on Saturday. UAB picked up a victory at No. 19 Clemson.


The Big East/Big Ten Challenge was a push.

The Big Ten went 6-4 on Sunday to even the Challenge with the Big East at 15-15. Purdue was the most impressive squad from the Big Ten, defeating Connecticut, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State all won two of three. USF was the lone undefeated Big East team at 3-0. West Virginia went 3-1, while Louisville and Notre Dame were 2-1.


Other interesting results included Pepperdine taking two of three at home from No. 16 Oklahoma, Gonzaga sweeping a three-game set from Nebraska in Peoria, Ariz., USC getting three wins over Jacksonville, Cal Poly getting two shutouts in a three-game sweep of Oklahoma State, Santa Clara going 3-0 in Texas State’s tourney, Ole Miss splitting a rain-shortened two-game set at No. 11 TCU, Baylor sweeping Summit power Oral Roberts, Sam Houston State getting two of three from WCC favorite San Diego, Liberty won four in The Citadel’s tournament, and College of Charleston swept a three-game series at South Alabama.


Can’t wait for Weekend No. 2.

(photo courtesy of Maryland Media Relations Office)