Around The American: Baseball

 UConn baseball beats Quinnipiac University on April 17, 2017 at home with a final score of 4-3. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

UConn baseball beats Quinnipiac University on April 17, 2017 at home with a final score of 4-3. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

College baseball is one of the harder sports to keep up with at UConn. Most games up until the postseason are not available on TV, basic box scores can be hard to come by and the Huskies don’t have a single home game until almost a month into the season. You’re in luck, however. From this week forward, I’ll give you three things you should know from the previous weekend and three things to look forward to next weekend from the world of AAC baseball.

Three things you should know from week two

1. ECU took their weekend series from No. 20 North Carolina (3-5), vaulting them into the D1Baseball.com Top 25 at number 18.

East Carolina (6-1) came out on top in game one of the series 2-1, led by the combined efforts of sophomore pitchers Trey Benton and Tyler Smith. Benton started the game and picked up the win, pitching six innings and cutting down 11 North Carolina batters, which earned him the AAC Pitcher of the Week honors. Smith then came in to close the game out, earning the save by holding the Cougars hitless through three innings.

The Pirates fought hard in the second game of the series but ended up falling to the Tar Heels 5-4. ECU fell into an early 3-0 hole but stormed back to take the lead in the fifth inning off an RBI single from first baseman Turner Brown and a three-run homer from DH Spencer Brickhouse. North Carolina took the lead back in the next two innings, then turned to their All-American closer Josh Hiatt, who shut down the Pirates in the bottom of the ninth.

ECU responded in the rubber match of the series, running the Tar Heels out of Greenville by a score of 12-0. Five different Pirates had multi-hit games, including catcher Jake Washer, who went 2-3 at the plate and drove in three runs.

2. 24th-ranked Houston (4-2) punted Cal-State Fullerton (1-6) out of the top 25, taking two out of three from the Titans.

The Cougars out-hit Fullerton 8-2 in game one but struggled getting those baserunners home, falling 2-1 in the season opener. Houston ace Trey Cumbie put up a quality performance, allowing just one hit and zero runs while striking out 10, but Fullerton took advantage of the Cougars’ relief staff and scored both of their runs after Cumbie was pulled.

Houston bounced back in the next two games of the series by actually converting those hits into runs, beating the Titans 9-4 and 10-5 in games two and three. The Cougars racked Fullerton starter Andrew Quezada up for seven runs and seven hits in game two. Sunday was a similar story as Houston’s bats lit up for 12 hits, led by shortstop Cooper Coldiron who had five RBI in the two-game stretch.

3. AAC newcomer Wichita State continued to impress, improving to 7-0 with a series sweep of Omaha.

The Shockers knocked off Omaha 4-3 in the opening game of the series, scoring three unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh. The doubleheader the next day was a similar story. Wichita State rode a standout performance from freshman Liam Eddy, who gave the Shockers 7.1 scoreless innings on his way to his second straight win on the season.

All-American third baseman Alec Bohm lifted Wichita State in game three, going 2-3 and taking part in the second part of back-to-back homers as the Shockers blew the game open 5-0 in the fifth.

Three things to look forward to this weekend

1. Fresh off of taking care of one baseball powerhouse, Houston will play host to the SEC’s best in their Shriners Hospital for Children College Classic in Minute Maid Park. Houston will run the gauntlet of No. 7 Kentucky on Friday, No. 21 Mississippi State on Saturday and No. 12 Vanderbilt on Sunday.

2. Undefeated Wichita State will face their first real test this weekend as they take on a 5-3 Nebraska squad that made the NCAA tournament last year and holds impressive sweeps of Pac-12 opponents Washington State and Utah.

3. Tulane (3-3) surprised many this week by giving undefeated Ole Miss a fight in their weekend series and now has a chance to make a statement by knocking off reeling Cal-State Fullerton, who ranked in the top 10 to start the season.


Luke Swanson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at luke.swanson@uconn.edu.