March 1, 2013


Around the Nation

By Sean Ryan & Phil Stanton @collbaseball @roadtoomaha



Several interesting series and tournaments highlight this third weekend of the 2013 campaign.


The top series has No. 7 Oregon (7-1) heading south for a three-game series at unbeaten No. 18 Cal State Fullerton (8-0). The Ducks are batting just .221, but are riding a staff with an ERA of 2.38. The Titans are even more impressive on the mound, with a team ERA of 1.62. They have fanned 69 and walked just nine in 72 innings. Cal State Fullerton has a team batting average of .282.


Staying on the West Coast, Texas (6-2) visits No. 12 Stanford (6-2) in another great weekend series. The Cardinal staff is impressive again, with a team ERA of 2.03. They have struck out 66 and walked just 18. Stanford is struggling at the plate, hitting just .254. The Cardinal has received more free bases via walks and hit batsmen (49) than strikeouts (42). The Longhorns are hitting the ball pretty well at .293 with an on-base percentage of .383. Texas has been busy on the bases, successful 18 of 23 times on stolen base attempts in eight games. The UT arms have a team ERA of 2.50.


Heading across the country, one of the best rivalries in college baseball will be renewed this weekend between No. 6 South Carolina and Clemson (5-2). The teams will play at Clemson on Friday, in Greenville on Saturday at Fluor Field and in Columbia on Sunday. The Gamecocks are batting .288, led by LB Dantzler at .542. He has 13 RBI in seven games with an on-base percentage of .625. He has five walks and five strikeouts. The team ERA for South Carolina is 2.51. The Tigers are hitting .269 with a team ERA of 2.22.


Other series to keep an eye on include Kent State at No. 19 Louisville, No. 15 Ole Miss at FIU, Southern Miss at Troy, Tulane at Alabama and Michigan State at Austin Peay.


The Astros in Action College Classic will be held this weekend at Minute Maid Park in Houston with another strong field. No. 1 North Carolina (7-0) and No. 13 Rice (6-2) join Houston (6-2), Texas A&M (7-3) Baylor (3-5) and California (4-4). The Tar Heels and Owls will meet on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT.


The Coca-Cola Classic got underway on Thursday in Surprise, Ariz., with Arizona State (5-2) edging No. 2 Arkansas (7-2) by the score of 3-2. They meet again on Saturday, as well as facing Gonzaga (4-4) and Pacific (3-4).


Baseball at the Beach has host Coastal Carolina welcoming No. 11 NC State, Florida Atlantic, Indiana, West Virginia and UMBC. UNC Wilmington has San Diego, Stony Brook and Gardner-Webb in for the Hughes Bros. Challenge. The USA Baseball/Irish Classic in Cary, N.C., includes Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Ohio, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.




Conference play begins in four leagues. In the Southern Conference, Appalachian State visits Davidson and Furman goes to preseason favorite Elon. In the Big South, High Point plays at Presbyterian. In the SWAC, Alabama State goes to Alcorn State, Grambling State visits Prairie View A&M, Alabama A&M hosts Jackson State and Southern heads to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In the MEAC, preseason favorite Bethune-Cookman entertains Florida A&M.




There are still a dozen undefeated teams of those who have played. Cal State Fullerton and North Carolina have been mentioned above. No. 9 Mississippi State (11-0) hosts a four-game series with Saint Joseph’s. South Alabama (9-0) plays three at College of Charleston. No. 16 Oklahoma (9-0) welcomes Pepperdine for a three-game set in Norman. Miami (Fla.) (9-0) travels to struggling Florida for three contests in Gainesville. Virginia (8-0) will have two games against both Harvard and Bucknell in Charlottesville. No. 5 Oregon State (8-0) has a four-game home series against Bryant. Florida State (7-0) brings in Villanova for three games. Cal Poly takes its 7-0 mark to Washington for a three-game set. VCU (5-0) plays at The Citadel’s tournament, facing UNC Asheville and Pittsburgh along with the host Bulldogs. After getting snowed in last weekend, Creighton (3-0) returns to the field for three games at BYU.




There are 15 teams that begin their seasons this weekend: Brown, CCSU, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson, Harvard, Massachusetts, NYIT, Omaha, Penn, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and UMBC. Yale will be the final team to take the field, beginning its season on March 9.




Congratulations to Wichita State head coach Gene Stephenson for reaching 1,800 victories, all with the Shockers. He joins Augie Garido as the two to reach the plateau in Division I. Garido has 1,853 wins while at San Francisco State, Cal Poly, Illinois, Cal State Fullerton and Texas. The record for all divisions belongs to Gordie Gillespie, who compiled 1,893 victories in 59 Division III seasons at Lewis, Ripon and St. Francis (Ill.). Gillespie retired following the 2011 season at the age of 85. 




The undefeated VCU Rams have a team ERA of 1.00 after five games with 10 walks and 40 strikeouts in 45 innings. Opponents are hitting just .180 against the Rams. VCU has used just five pitchers so far. Ryan Farrar and Heath Dwyer are both 2-0 with 0.69 ERA, allowing one run in 13 innings with 10 strikeouts.




Hot hitters around the nation include Daniel Palka of Georgia Tech, DJ Peterson of New Mexico and Matt Oberste of Oklahoma.


Palka leads the ACC in hitting, hitting .559 (19 for 34) in nine games with five doubles, two homers, 14 runs and 12 RBI. Teammate Buck Farmer has been dominant in his first two starts, allowing eight hits in 15 scoreless innings with no walks and 21 strikeouts.


Oberste has driven in 17 in his first nine games, hitting .441 with three doubles and three homers.


For Peterson, seven of 10 hits have been for extra bases, with three doubles, two triples and two home runs. He has 23 total bases in six games and a slugging percentage of .958.


(photo by Matt Brown/