College baseball: Red-hot Arkansas sweeps Kentucky, earns team of the week honors
Top 25 matchups bring the best out of college baseball, and we saw the Arkansas Razorbacks steal the show over the weekend.
However, out west, the Arizona State Sun Devils have an outfielder making a major splash. Let’s take a deeper look at NCAA.com’s college baseball Team and Player of the Week:
Team of the Week
In one of the most highly anticipated top five matchups potentially all season, No. 5 Arkansas swept No. 4 Kentucky while scoring 39 runs in a clean sweep. This came after the Razorbacks picked up two wins against Texas.
To kick off the week against the Longhorns, the Razorbacks posted wins of 13-4 and 7-5, respectively. Arkansas used a seven-run third inning in Game 1 to grab the lead and never looked back. Casey Martin drilled a three-run home run while Jordan McFarland plated four runs. Kacey Murphy tossed six innings of two-run ball for the win.
Game 2 started off with Texas driving home two runs in the first, but Arkansas chipped away and took the lead for good after a four-run fourth. Martin blasted his sixth home run of the season and drove in two while Evan Lee notched a pair of RBIs in the Razorbacks' win Arkansas then plated 39 runs in three games against Kentucky, marking the most runs scored in a three-game series in the SEC since 1997.
The offensive barrage started Friday in the first inning when Eric Cole blasted a home run to give Arkansas an early 3-0 lead. Cole now has five homers on the season.
Speaking of home runs, Grant Koch broke out the bat with two long balls for the Razorbacks, one in the fifth and another in the seventh for the first multi-homer game of catcher's career. To wrap up Game 1 of the series, Arkansas posted 11 hits while working seven walks in the 9-4 win.
With the offense rolling, it picked up even more in Games 2 and 3 Saturday in a double-header. Arkansas unleashed an offensive barrage, starting with a 14-2 win in the first game. Every starting position player for the Razorbacks had at least one hit. Jax Biggers flashed the bat with three hits and four RBIs and blasted his first home run of the season in the win.
Isaiah Campbell (2-2) earned the win on the mound for Arkansas, tossing eight innings of one-run baseball.
The Razorbacks notched 19 hits to clinch a series victory and pave way for a sweep. Offense was not an issue for either team in the series finale, but it was Arkansas’ 19 hits and 16 runs that pushed the Razorbacks to their sixth straight win, and eighth in the last nine games with a 16-9 victory.
Arkansas blasted four home runs, with Biggers notching his second of the day. Martin, Luke Bonfield and Carson Shaddy drove a home run each to push the Razorbacks long ball homer to 10 in the series.
The Razorbacks finished with a combined 38 hits Saturday to improve its record to 16-4 and a perfect 3-0 in SEC play. Next on the schedule for Arkansas are Charlotte and then a weekend series with the defending champion Florida Gators.
Player of the Week
To say Gage Canning's season has been stellar would be an understatement. Arizona State's junior outfielder continues to rake in some of the top categories in the country.
Canning owns the most hits in the nation with 42 and pushed his batting average to .506, fourth in the country, after a 10-for-13 series against Oregon.
In a three-game series against the Ducks in Pac-12 play, Canning opened the show with three hits, three RBIs, two runs and a triple. Down 4-3 in the eighth, Canning drilled a bases-clearing triple to give the Sun Devils a lasting lead.
His offensive attack only continued in the second game. For the first time this season, Canning finished 5-for-5 with two home runs (one of them an inside-the-park round-tripper), another triple, and four RBIs in the 18-4 victory. The junior also scored five runs in a game for the first time in his career.
To wrap up the series, Canning went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored to finish off a career week.
FIVE. FOR. FIVE.— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) March 18, 2018
2 dingers and now a triple. Gage Canning is not of this world.
His 8th triple of the year, 21 in his career. The ASU record is 26. pic.twitter.com/pX3kT0ayK1
Canning now has at least one hit in 19 of 20 games. He started the season with a 16-game hitting streak that was snapped against Arizona four games ago. But after this strong week, he once again proved tough to stop.
Canning has become a fan favorite at Arizona State, and for good reason. The outfielder has eight triples on the season (most in the country) and 21 for his career, which is five shy of the school record. The star outfielder looks to continue his hot hitting this week as the Sun Devils host UNLV before hitting the road to take on UCLA in a Pac-12 matchup.