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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | April 9, 2019

5 college baseball takeaways from an impactful weekend

Watch the best of baseball from week 8

Six top 25 matchups highlighted an action-packed college baseball weekend. While No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Stanford put on a show at Sunken Diamond, it was a team outside the top 25 that stole some headlines.

Let's take a look at a few things we learned from a weekend full of big conference games that could in fact impact the Road to Omaha and the College World Series.

COLLEGE BASEBALL RANKINGS: UCLA solidifies spot at No. 1 after series win vs. No. 2 Stanford

UCLA baseball is No. 1

The Bruins entered the weekend as the No. 1 team in the country and headed to Stanford in a matchup for college baseball supremacy against the No. 2 Cardinal. The Bruins left Sunken Diamond still perched atop the rankings, winning the series 2-1.

It wasn't simply winning the series that cemented UCLA's spot as the No. 1 team, but how they did it. Stanford ace Brendan Beck pitched 7.1 innings of sensational baseball in Game 1, putting the Cardinal in a position for the 3-2 win. The Bruins struck back, however, scoring 21 runs in two days against the pitching staff with the best ERA in college baseball. Jack Stronach remains on fire from the cleanup spot for the Bruins, but it was Sunday starter Ryan Garcia who may have made the biggest impact. He went seven strong, striking out a career-high 11 batters while walking just one, clearly locking up his spot at the back of the weekend rotation and giving UCLA a scary Big Three.

Believe the buzz, Georgia Tech is strong against the top 25

In our preseason preview on NCAA.com, we said that Georgia Tech was the team to watch in an ACC loaded with top 25 teams. After a big series win against then-No. 16 North Carolina this past weekend, the Yellow Jackets are rolling against some of the best competition in college baseball. They have won six of their last eight games. The teams included in that mix? Now-No. 2 Georgia, No. 22 Auburn and the aforementioned Tar Heels.

The series win against UNC gives Georgia Tech its second series win against a top 25 opponent — an ACC one at that — after going on the road and taking 2-of-3 from Louisville earlier this season. Xzavion Curry and Connor Thomas are a strong 1-2 punch atop the rotation and trying to get through Michael Guldberg, Kyle McCann, and Tristin English in the lineup has been an opposing team's nightmare. The Yellow Jackets are for real, and it's time to watch. 

Georgia stakes its claim in the SEC

Things are looking good in the Peach State right now. After dropping Game 1 to Vanderbilt in an extra-inning thriller on Friday, the Bulldogs stormed back to take the next two. In doing so, they moved their record to 9-3 in the SEC, the best record in both divisions.

Tony Locey sealed the series, dealing seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball for the Bulldogs. It was a sign of the most impressive takeaway of the weekend. Starters Emerson Hancock, C.J. Smith and Locey held one of the nation's best offenses to just four earned runs on the weekend. Surprisingly, it was Aaron Schunk, the Dawgs seemingly always-reliable closer, that struggled closing out Game 1. Normally, that's a done deal.

We say normally because we learned that Vanderbilt never quits. The Commodores showed it again in the Game 1 win. As they did Tuesday, Vanderbilt used late-inning home run heroics to walk off with the victory. Though it lost the series, that's the kind of moxie that goes a long way come May and June.

ALL-TIME NINES, SEC: LSU | South Carolina | Vanderbilt | Mississippi State | Florida

Ole Miss has some big bats

We knew Florida would have some bumps and bruises this season with so many new faces in the rotation, but the Gators may officially be in some trouble. They dropped their third series in the SEC and were swept for the second time, both to top 25 teams (Vanderbilt and Ole Miss).

It wasn't simply that Ole Miss swept the Gators. The Rebels put up 12, 16, and 12 runs this weekend, outscoring Florida 40-18. It tied the program record for most runs scored in an SEC series and they did it against a top 25 College World Series regular. The frightening part is that it was a balanced attack and not just one offensive player streaking. Grae Kessinger (8-for-14, six RBI), Ryan Olenek (7-for-11, five RBI), and Anthony Servideo (8-for-11, seven runs scored) certainly led the way, but there was plenty of help.

ACC baseball is wide open

We knew it would be. There were simply too many good teams for any one team to run away with the conference. Thanks to then-No. 23 Clemson taking the series against then-No. 10 Louisville, the ACC is none the clearer after a weekend of upsets at the top. 

ALL-TIME NINES, ACC: Miami | Florida State | Georgia Tech | Clemson | North Carolina | Virginia

Clemson — which now has a sweep of UNC and a series win against Louisville on its resume — nearly had another sweep until Louisville rallied in the 11th inning on Sunday. Perhaps the most eye-opening numbers of the series came in Game 1 with how the Tigers lineup handled Louisville's ace Reid Detmers. Logan Davidson, Kyle Wilkie, and Elijah Henderson all went yard against Detmers who had a 0.92 ERA heading into the weekend, having allowed no home runs on the season.

Georgia Tech now leads UNC and Virginia by a game in the Coastal, while N.C. State, Clemson, and Louisville are in a two-game cluster atop the Atlantic. That is all with Florida State struggling. If the Seminoles get it going, it's going to be a wild finish in the ACC.

What else caught our eye:

The Gauchos are surging: UC Santa Barbara is playing some good baseball. They followed a series win against Cal State Fullerton with a sweep of Stephen F. Austin to enter the top 25. 

Baylor back in front in the Big 12: Sadly, the Texas vs. Baylor finale was washed out after the teams split the first two games. But the Bears are back in front of a tight Big 12 race and that's exactly where they want to be.

More SEC fun: LSU took 2-of-3 from Texas A&M while Arkansas claimed 2-of-3 from Auburn. That makes the top six teams in the SEC West separated by a whole one game. It's going to be a fun stretch here in April and May. 

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Division I
College World Series
June 13-23/24, 2020
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