Draft Dope: John Barr, Scott Woodward, Ryan Terry, Brendon Kelliher, Glen Misho, Doug Shribman

One of the featured series last weekend pitted 8th ranked Clemson hosting 6th ranked Virginia. Virginia fought back Saturday night for an 8-7 win, featuring a 2-5, 2-R game from senor leftfielder John Barr. Barr stressed team when I asked him how his game went:

 
“It was a great team win today. In a tough environment like Clemson being down and able to come back is a great confidence booster for us and gives us a lot of momentum going into tomorrow.”

 
Through 16 games, Barr is hitting .265/.300/.339, with four dubles and nine runs batted in.

 
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Coastal Carolina (11-5) senior Scott Woodward led the way in Sunday’s 5-3 victory over UAB (8-6). Scott’s stat line was impressive: DH 3-4, 1-R, 1-RBI, 1-SB, .346. I asked him if he’s been doing omething special lately:

 
“I was just doing what I normally do, just trying to get on base for my teammates to hit me in. I started the game off on the right foot being more aggressive than I have been in previous games. I tend to be a little passive starting off the game, but today I was more aggressive. This season has been going very well for me so far. The team has been coming together recently, and hopefully it continues to be that way for the rest of the season.”

 
The 6-2, 200 pound Woodward hails from Norwell High School, in Markie, Indiana. He entered this year as the all-time career CCU leader in OBS (.502).

 
He was drafted in the 15th rounf of the 2010 draft, by the Oakland A’s, but chose to return to CCU. for his senior year. Trust me, his teammates are thrilled with that decision.

 
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30th ranked Monmouth (4-6) finally beat Rutgers (6-8) Sunday, 3-2, at the Keith LeClair Classic, in Greenville, South Carolina. Monmouth scored first, in the second inning, when senior 2B Ryan Terry singled in CF Josh Boyd. Terry wound up going 2-5 in the game and was thilled with the team victory:

 
“I hope you enjoyed the good baseball in Greenville this weekend. I very happy with the way the season has started both for me and the team. For the first time in a couple years we have a very solid bullpen which has given us the ability to close out games. We had a couple of tough losses to ECU and Liberty, both scores 4-3, but I think we showed a lot of poise in those games. I think we have gotten off on the right foot and there are good things to come. The game today was great! We were on the wrong side of two one run games the previous two days and coming out on top today was huge. We had the bats ready early, but just couldn’t muster that extra hit to break it open. As I explained earlier, our bullpen has done a magnificent job all season, and Dan Smith held Rutgers hitters at bay throughout his 6 innings. Today was an overall team effort, pitchers came up big in big situations, we made plays in pressure situations, and hitters got the job done. As for myself, I have gotten off to a slow start statistically which in years past would be disheartening. I have been taking good swings and making hard contact and vs. Rutgers that all came together for me. I was locked into a zone and when the pitch was in that zone I made sure that I was ready for it. I know come May my numbers will be much different than they are now. I’m a huge competitor so beating Rutgers, our in-state rival, feels great and I’m glad i could contribute offensively to our winning effort.”
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George Washington (5-9) senior leadoff CF, Brendon Kelliher, also led his team to a 13-8 win Sunday against Binghamton (2-7-1) 8. Kelliher sacrificed in a run, went 4-6 from the plate, doubled, went yard, and drove in three while scoring three more. Brendon was very proud of his team’s victory:

 
“It was nice to finally see some baseballs jumping off the new BBCOR bats. Our team is suffering putting the ball out of the park considering those were our first two home runs this season in 12 games. I was seeing the ball well today and was able to work some counts in my favor and put good swings on some pitches. I noticed today I was not missing good pitches to hit which I feel has been a big contributor to my early success this year. As far as the season, we got off to a good start and then began to struggle over the next 7-8 games. We have a lot of young talent on the mound and in the field so gaining more and more experience every day can only boost their confidence for the rest of the season. A-10 games are around the corner so we have a couple more weeks to get in shape and play our best baseball as we start league play.”

 
We first came across Kelliher when he played summer ball for the Newport (RI) Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), where he was named Defensive Player of the Year . He also hit ,291, with 3-HR, 20-RBI, 44-H, 23-R, 21-BB.

 
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Massachusetts (1-5) Glen Misho tossed a complete game Saturday against Toledo (4-10). Stats: 9.0-IP, 1-R, 8-H, 8-K, 2-BB. Misho was happy with it also:

 
“I feel like we looked good today and it was good to get our first win. My defense played great behind me especially my infield. I can’t give them enough credit for the win. I feel like my stuff was on today and, especially with these new bats, throwing strikes is very important. Our season is not going bad at all. Last weekend we lost a couple tough games, but I felt like we made a lot of strides as a team to make us better.”

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1B Doug Shribman led his Bucknell (5-7) team Sunday to a 5-1 victory against Air Force (6-9). Shribman went 2-5, scored a run, and had one run batted in after going yard. Doug was ecstatic:


“I am very happy with the result,” said Shribman. “Finally the team was able to put a complete game together and I’m just happy to be able to contribute to that with my couple hits. I am also happy with how my season is going so far, especially with my power numbers using these new bats. The batting average isn’t as high as it should be but I’mconfident I can get it back up with another couple good games. “


Interesting. He almost made it sound like the new bats were helping develop power.


Almost.

Draft Dope: Dylan Nasiatka , Logan Vick, Keegan Linza, Paul Cusick, Danny Hultzen, Jake Lowery

Hofstra (0-8) finally registered their first win on Friday, downing 30th ranked James Madison, 4-3. Junior DH Dylan Nasiatka went yard, which was the difference in the game.

 
“Today was a big win for our team,” said Nasiatka. “We haven’t been playing the best baseball lately but we have been working extremely hard during the week and we are starting to put some pieces together. Our starting pitching has been throwing consistently and our bullpen is beginning to gain confidence. I am in the same boat with all of our hitters. We have all had some struggles but are beginning to see the ball better and are getting better swings and more quality at bats. Let me know if you need anything else, I’d be happy to answer.”

 
Naisatka is a former Bakersfield College All-American catcher, whobroke the school record for batting average after hitting .473 in 2010.

 
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Baylor (8-5) beat Louisiana Tech (8-4) Thursday, 8-4, in the first game of their four game series. The Bears’ left fielder, sophomore Logan Vick, went 3-4, 3-R, and raised his season batting average to .241. Logan was happy with his performance:

 

“it was nice to finally have some hits fall,” said Vick. “I think tonight we played well as a team and hit the ball well and had great pitching for us tonight. For me, the season may not look that great in the books, but I feel like i have been hitting the ball really well and squaring balls up but they have just been right at people. I’ve just stuck with my process knowing that they will start to fall and tonight I feel like that’s what happened. I have been taking quality at-bats this year and not worrying about the results, but about the process which has really helped me because I feel like I have been hitting well, but the results haven’t been coming out the way i would like. But that is the game of baseball. You’re going to square balls up that will be caught and that has been happening to me more than usual these past few weeks. I am going to stick with my process and I am excited about the rest of season and what our team is capable of achieving.”

 
Vick comes out of Kerrville, Texas (great steak!) and hit .329/.473/.553 as a fireshman.

 
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Liberty (6-8) opened up their weekend at the Keith LeClair Classic, in Greenville, South Carolina, with a 5-2 win against Rutgers (5-6). Starter Keenan Linza went all the way with stats of 9.0-IP, 2-R, 7-H, 5-K, 0-BB

 
Linza’s interview was as efficient as his outing:

 
“We played a good game today. Our team defense was awesome and made some really great plays. Being from North Carolina, it was an honor to pitch in the Keith LeClair Classic.”

 
In the past, Linza has made the roster for both Northwest Florida CC and the University of South Carolina before pitching for Liberty.
The weekend series is part of the event named after the late baseball coach of Western Carolina University, who passed away in 2006, from ALS.

 
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The University of Pennsylvania’s Paul Cusick lead his team Friday to a 4-0 win against Georgetown. Custick pitched 8.1 innings, striking out five, and giving up no runs. Paul talked “team” after the game:

 
“I just faced Georgetown earlier in the week and it didn’t end quite the way I wanted it to. Luckily, I got to come back and face them on four days rest. The defense behind me today was awesome which really makes it easy to challenge hitters and throw strikes. Obviously being 3-4 we’d like to see a bigger number in the win column, but I really feel like we are starting to learn a lot about ourselves and are coming together as a team. Hopefully we can build upon the performance we had today, both offensively and defensively, and get a couple more wins before heading home.”

 
Cusak was named a Pacific West Baseball League all-star this past summer where he went 5-1, 2.86 for the Atwater Aviators.
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Most of the draft pundits, including me, keep dissecting Virginia’s Danny Hultzen’s game and complaining he doesn’t have the velo that others have in this upcoming draft. And yet… so far this season he’s pitched 27.1 innings, walking 4… and striking out 50.

 
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#30 James Madison got back to their winning ways Saturday, routing Hofstra 21-8. Not sure who kicked the extra points, but the game included a 12-run 4th inning, most of which were unearned. What was earned was the job JMU junior catcher Jake Lowery did: 3-4, 3-R, 1-HR, 5-K. I asked Jake to fill me in on his exploits; however, the class act chose to talk about his team instead:

 

“I am pretty game happy with the season so far. We are winning games and have gotten off to a nice start as a team. My personal season has been off to a good start I’d say and have been fortunate to be seeing the ball well.”


Lowery went into his junior year as a member of the 2nd team All-CAA team, and a JMU Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete. Sophomore stats include: .285, 53-H, 8-HR, 11-doubles, 3-triples, 41-RBIs, and defensively, he threw out 18 runners attempting to steal.

Draft Dope: Anthony Rendon, Dylan Bundy, George Piccirilli, Nick Loredo, Ricky Jacquez, Hunter Scantling, Joe Zwierzynski, Matt Gotschall

Warning… warning… I’m not sure America is noticing that the number one projected pick in the 2011 draft hasn’t played his position yet. At some point, Anthony Rendon is going to have to show us that he’s cured from last year’s injury.

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-We updated the composite Mock Draft earlier this week and once again there are some players on the move:

Ups:

RHP Jose Fernandez looks like a lock for a first round pick, and has been ranked as high as the 9th pick overall in a February mock draft

RHP Anthony Meo’s value continues to rise; however, no mock draft has come out since Tony’s miserable opening outing. He has since bounced back, but it will take another month to see if he can hold up as a first rounder.

LHP Tyler Anderson is now a consistent late first round pick.

C Andrew Susac has now become the only possible first round catcher pick, other than Blake Swihart.

The move of Hawaii’s Kolton Wong from the outfield to second base has made him the consistent first round pick he wasn’t as an outfielder… which is really strange.

SS Francisco Linder keeps improving his ranking and may turn out to be a top 10 pick.

No mock draft in February or March has ranked 3B Anthony Rendon below the 2nd pick in the draft. Most have him 1st.

OFer Josh Bell and Brian Goodwin are shooting up the rankings.

 

Downs:

The excitement of drafting RHP Austin Woods seems to have calmed down and he currently projects out as a late 1st round pick.

RHPs Logan Verrett and Jack Armstrong have not been picks on the last five mock drafts that covered only the top 33 picks in the first round.

 
Both LHPs Bryan Harper and Taylor Wall have fallen off the mock boards.

C Peter O’Brien is no longer being mocked in the first round and looks like a mid-range second now.

1B Preston Tucker currently isn’t a first round pick anymore, though that might be due to others exciting the pundits more than any decline in Tucker’s ability. Frankly, he’s just about exclusively playing in the outfield now.

2B wise, Brett Harrison, and John Schwind have fallen off the draft boards.

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I spoke briefly with Owasso (OK) igh School’s Dylan Bundy about how his season is going so far:

“Things have been going well”, said Bundy. “I have only thrown in one game, but it was good. We play in Florida this week and I will be on the mound Friday. Then again the next Thursaday in a tournament we are playing. I lit it up pretty good in first outing. Little anxious to get at it again.”

Right now, I have Bundy as the 7th RHP taken in the draft and the 16th pick overall; however, the Mets are welcome to pick him 13th.

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VMI went to 7-6 Tuesday night with an 8-2 win against 30th ranked James Madison, behind junior 1B George Piccirilli, who contributed stats of: 2-5, 1-R, 1-RBI. I asked George how his game went, and young season is going:

 

“Today was a big win for us against a really good ball club. We are starting to find our swings here and hoping this win propels us into our first Big South conference weekend coming up. So far this season I have been seeing the ball really well and I’m glad I can be contributing to the team the way I am right now and looking forward to stick to the plan as the season continues.”

 

Picc plays 2B, 1B and DH’s and played summer ball for the Herndon Braves of the Cal Ripken League.
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Had a chance to converse with UC Santa Barbara pitcher Nick Loredo after their Tuesday 3-2 win against USC. He was thrilled with the results of both the game and his performance in it:

 
“Thanks for watching today, and I am pretty pleased with the season so far. It is still early and i really feel that our team can compete with anyone out there. As for me, I am just starting to head in the right direction. My arm feels great and I’m very pleased with the pitches I have been able to make in critical situations. It’s a good start to a hopefully great season. Look forward to seeing the gaucho’s do big things this year!”

Nick went to 2-0 this young season, after going 7.1-IP, 2-ER, 5-K, and 0-BB.

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So, how are the high school kids doing… well Franklin (TX.) High School’s RHP Ricky Jacquez pitched seven innings on Tuesday. That’s 21 outs. He had 20 strike outs and the other out was a pick off. A few days before that, Jacquez struck out 16 in 7.0-IP. That’s a two game total of 36-K in 14.0-IP.
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Florida State continued their winning ways Wednesday, beating Maine, 9-3, and going 12-1 for the year. Junior RHP Hunter Scantling went 5.0-IP, giving up 0-ER and striking out three. Scantling was very happy with his outing:

“It felt great out there today”, said Scantling. “I just wanted to be efficient with my pitches and I felt like I was. I really got my change-up working today and that helped me out a lot. It is a long season and I am very excited to see where it takes the team and I feel like I have done everything that has been asked of me so far this season and will continue to try and do so.”


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I also checked in with Michigan State middle reliever Joe Zwierzynski who posted 2.1-IP, 0-R, 2-H, 3-K, 0-BB in their Wednesday win against Miami of Ohio. Joe’s emphasis was on the team:


“I thought it was a good team win. Our offense got us the momentum early and we continued to play good defense as we have all season. I think as a team we are happy with our start, but we’re not getting complacent. We’re still working hard to improve each day.”


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One of the better Tuesday outings was by Penn’s Matt Gotschall (8.0-IP, 1-R, 2-H, 8-K, 3-BB) in their 9-5 win against Georgetown. Matt was happy to get his first win of the season:


“Thanks for the compliment on the game today. It felt great to get out there and have some success. Much of the credit from the game today goes to the defense who backed me up with a bunch of great plays. As far as my season, I am happy to go out and get a win in my first start, but mainly I am just glad to be able to help the team in any way that I can to help us get wins.”

Draft Dope – Trevor Bauer, IF Draft, Kevin Brady, Casey McElroy, J.J. Ethel, Brooks Beisner, Anthony Meo, John Austin Hicks, Eric Oxford, Jonathan Taylor

129 pitches in early March? What are ya talkin’ about, Willis?

UCLA actually let pitching prospect Trevor Bauer pitch the ball 129 times Saturday night. No, he didn’t have a no-hitter going.

I’m thinking of starting a poll on the site with guesses when Bauer will have his first TJS surgery.

I know, the manager will probably tell you ‘I asked Trevor and he said he was fine and wanted to stay in…’.

Jeez…

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According to the current mock drafts, infielders are just not going to dominate the first round of the 2011 draft. Right now, there are no first basemen projected for the first round and, since Florida’s Preston Tucker has now moved to the outfield, there might be none in the second round either. Hawaii’s Kolton Wong is the only second baseman projected there, while there are only two shortstops, Montverde (FL.) High School’s Francisco Linder, and Arlington (TX.) Country Day’s Javier Baez projected that high. Yes, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is still ranked as the first overall pick, but only Vandy’s Jason Esposito also projects out as a first rounder.

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Clemson ‘s Kevin Brady is down and out for up to 2 weeks… forearm muscle strain .

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Auburn junior SS Casey McElroy led his Tigers to their 7th victory last Friday, going 3-4, with a 3-run homer. Casey was philosophical: “I think today’s game was great, our team is still trying to find its identity and it was a good win for us today. For me, the past few weeks, I have been hitting the ball right on the nose, but all my balls have seemed to find the leather. Today, I got a couple of those hits back, and got a ball up in the zone to drive out.”

McElroy was named to the Cape Cod League all-star team this past summer. He also hit .325 as a sophomore, with nine home runs and 11 doubles. So far this season, he’s hitting .341/.391/.537.

He followed this game with Saturday stats of 3-5, 1-R, HR, 1-RBI.

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Louisville’s J.J. Ethel (1-4, 1-R, 1-RBI) takes little credit for the come from behind 3-2 win Friday night against Kent State:

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates and coaches. They know I have not had the start I wanted for season, but they kept belief in me. It was the not the hit at the end, that won us the game. It was our pitching and out defense. The pitching has been the main reason why we have our first six wins. Hopefully this come from behind win, can wake up our offense and give our team the confidence it needs. But overall it’s the best feeling to have a walk off win at home, especially in front of the fans.”

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Auburn’s junior OF Brooks Beisner had a killer game against The College of Charleston Saturday, going 3-4, scoring two runs, going yard, and knocking in three. He had nothing but praise for his opponent: “Hey Mack, we had some good at bats as a team. The College of Charleston is a great program, and we got some good balls to hit and we did our jobs. It was a great overall team win.” Beisner hails out of Charlotte (FL.) High School and was a transfer from St. Petersburg Junior College, where he hit .320 as a sophomore.

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As many of you who follow my site know, Coastal Carolina starter Anthony Meo is one of my favorites going into the draft. Meo has been projected as a first round pick in four of the last five mock drafts that have come out and I see him as a lock for a seven figure signing bonus.

Things didn’t start out well for Anthony (2-25: 5.0-IP, 9-ER), but everything got back together in Saturday’s 11-1 rout of Ball State. Meo went 5.0, giving up only one earned run while striking out eight.

Meo was happy with Saturday:

“My last outing was very important for me after having a rough start the week before,” said Meo. “ All week long you really try to figure out what you didn’t do well and you try to improve. No one is going to have their best stuff every time out there and it was important to me to get back on track with a solid bounce back start. Early in the year you’re trying to figure out how to get back to what you do successful and I can see an improvement each and every week.

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Virginia’s 1B John Austin Hicks went 3-4, 2-R, 1-RBI against Cornell on March 4th:

Mack: John, it was just a great overall game for you tonight. What made everything click?

Hicks: “The team had a great day today which helps you get things going. I was able to get a few hits and my teammates continued to drive me in. Our pitching looked great and we got off to a good start. When the team is playing well it helps build up your confidence. I was able to get that confidence today at the plate and my teammates continued to give me opportunities to make things happen.”

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1B Eric Oxford and his 2-3 Holy Cross team kicked St. Joe butt on Monday, going 4-5, 3-R, 3-RBI. Eric was both happy with the win and proud to be a member of this team:

“We were real happy with our win vs. St. Joe’s. I was glad I was able to help my team win. It was a great win all around: pitching, hitting, defense. This win, as well as the previous win against Villanova, were wins we knew we had a great chance of getting. That’s not a knock on Nova or St. Joe’s, because both teams have a lot of talented guys and have a chance to do well this year. But this year, our team has a lot of confidence. The great mix of returners and freshmen gives us a great chance to be successful this season. We know that we have the potential to do well this season, and we are confident that we can get a lot of things done this season.

“Our first weekend, we played 3 games against LSU. Although the results weren’t what we were looking for – we lost all 3 – there were a lot of positives to take out of that series. Those positives shone through this weekend with two solid wins. I think we have a great opportunity this spring to accomplish things that haven’t been done by a Holy Cross baseball team in a long time.

“Our ultimate goal is to win a Patriot League championship this year. We were one win away from winning the league last year, and I’ve never been more excited for a baseball season than this year.”

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An update on the injury to Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor… he underwent “surgery to stabilize his neck fracture” and spine Monday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens and will move later this week to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta to continue his rehabilitation.

Taylor’s family has established http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Johnathantaylor for individuals to check of updates and send messages of support.

Draft Dope: – Danny Hultzen, Blake Swihart, Roberto Padilla, Navery Moore, Mikie Mahtook, Eric Wahley, Keith Bilodeau, Phillip Pohl

Virginia ace SP Danny Hultzen isn’t known for his velocity, but most draft pundits say he has been the most consistent pitcher over the past few seasons. On Friday, he kicked butt, striking out 15 East Carolina batters, which must mean he has some speed on his fastball, right? Oh yeah, he also went 3-4 from the plate, but that doesn’t mean anything to the scouts. Hultzen is a future pitcher, period. Currently, I have him as the 13th overall pick (Mets) in the 1st round, and the 3rd LHP picked behind Matt Purke and Daniel Norris.

 
Lots of talk on the piss poor start of Texas, but it only takes one look at the stats of the majority of starters to figure out what’s wrong here(through Saturday’s game): Tank Shepherd .217, Kevin Lusson .214, Paul Montalbano .190, Jonathan Walsh .120, and Jordan Etier .053

As of right now, the top five catchers in the June draft are Cleveland (NM) High School’s Blake Swihart, Oregon States’s Andrew Susac, JSerra (CA) High School’s Austin Hedges, Bethune-Cookman’s Peter O’Brien, and Utah’s C.J. Cron. Falling down the list are Farragut (TN) High School’s Nicky Delmonico, Hanna (SC) High School’s Garrett Boulware, and Arizona’s Jett Bandy.

 
Players to Watch: San Jose State SP Roberto Padilla. Padilla transferred this year to SJS from Ohlone JC, where he earned All-American stripes. He went out and tamed big boy UCLA, limiting the Bruins to five hits… Vanderbit closer Navery Moore hit 99 Saturday against Stanford… Arizona’s Josh Garcia now has four home runs on the season… Owasso (Ok.) High School’s Dylan Bundy sat in the 91-35 range, hit 95… Dylan Maples tits 91-95 with 79-80 breaking ball.

 
I asked LSU’s Mikie Mahtook, who has already hit five home runs this season, if the new bats have affected his game in any way this year and if he had changed his off-season prep in any way to anticipate the new bats. “No sir”, said Mahtook, “I didn’t do anything different. I just didn’t allow myself to think of the new bats as an issue.” Simply put, that sounds like the right approach.

 
I congratulated Miami’s Eric Wahley on a job well done Saturday (7.0-IP, 0-ER, 9-K) against Appalachian State. He thought he had pitched well: “The defense made all the plays and didn’t make one error, so they helped me out a lot. I thought the main thing that was working for me was spotting my fastball inside and outside and getting ahead of hitters. My off speed pitches still aren’t how I want them to be right now but I just have to keep on working on them. I think that as a team we have a lot more improving to do and well all get better as the season goes on.”
The sophomore Wahley isn’t eligible for the draft until 2012… played high school at Cardinal Gibbons in South Florida… senior year: 2-3, 2.10… was drafted in the 40th round of the 2009 draft by the Chicago Cubs, but chose to attend the U instead… freshman year at Miami: 5-1, 4.28.

 
Maine’s Keith Bilodeau threw one hell of a game on Monday against Stetson, going eight innings, giving up no runs, and striking out ten. He… well, let’s let him tell you:

Lastly, Clemson’s Philip Pohl checked in after his role in the February 26th 19-1 win over Charleston Southern:

 
“Today’s outing was a great first win to put on the books for the 2011 season. I was very confident going into today’s game. My game plan was simple. Pound the strike zone and make them put the ball in play. If you look at our past outings from other starters one thing that really stands out is the amount of walks given up. We have a good enough field behind us that if you attack the hitters and make them put the ball in play things will be taken care of. Another great positive from today’s outing was working with freshmen catcher, Matt Verrier. I was really happy with the way he worked behind the plate. Everything from defense to hitting was well executed today. Great team win! Overall I am just happy to get the first one out of the way and I am really hungry for more of what’s to come.”

This past weekend, including Saturday,  was a good weekend for our team as we went 3-0. Saturday we beat Charleston Southern 19-1 and it was good to see our offense sharp and poised. I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on a down and in fastball to add a 2 run homer to our 19 run effort. Overall it was a good weekend as we looked to carry some momentum into this weekend for a three game series against the University of South Carolina with the first game tomorrow night at 7pm.”