WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Kentucky got a solid start from junior preseason All-American A.J. Reed and multiple-hit games from Austin Cousino, Max Kuhn and Thomas Bernal, posting a 8-3 win against No. 2 Virginia in the season opener on Friday afternoon at Brooks Field on the campus of North Carolina-Wilmington.
Kentucky (1-0) fell behind 1-0 after three complete innings. UK then mounted a four-run rally in the fourth – highlighted by two-out RBI from freshmen Connor Heady and JaVon Shelby – before getting two runs in the fifth. UK stretched its lead to 8-1 with single runs in the seventh and eighth, before UVA ruined sophomore Ryne Combs’ bid at a four-inning save with two runs in the ninth.
UK got a solid start on the mound from Reed, who worked five innings, allowing just three hits and one run, walking three and striking out two. Combs, a native of Lexington, Ky., came on in relief of a 6-1 game to start the sixth, working three hitless innings, before UVA rallied with two runs in the ninth on two hits. Combs finished with 3.2 innings, walking two and striking out one, with sophomore Zach Strecker getting the final out of the game with a strikeout.
Virginia (0-1) started Brandon Wadell worked 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, walking one and striking out seven, scattering just one UK hit through the first three innings. He was relieved with one out in the fifth and a runner on second by freshman right-handed standout Connor Jones, who worked 2.2 innings, allowing three hits and one run.
Kentucky totaled 11 hits in the game, drawing three walks and getting hit by one pitch. UK’s offensive attack belted six doubles, stole four bases and laid down two sacrifice bunts. Eight of UK’s nine starters contributed RBI.
No. 1 Cal State Fullerton 12, Washington State 0
FULLERTON, Calif. -- Top-ranked Cal State Fullerton built a nine-run lead after four innings and that was all sophomore pitcher Thomas Eshelman needed as he went seven shutout innings to lead the Titans to a resounding 12-0 opening night victory over Washington State Friday night at Goodwin Field.
The 6-foot-3 right hander tied a career-high with eight strikeouts in his seven innings of work for the Titans (1-0), allowing just three hits. Eshelman struck out five consecutive Cougars (0-1) at one point.
Senior Greg Velazquez paced the offense with a 3-for-3 night at the plate, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning that put the Titans up 7-0 and essentially put the game away. He finished the night with four RBIs.
Third baseman Matt Chapman started the rally in the fourth inning with an infield single to short. He would go on to steal second with two outs and Tanner Pinkston reached after he was hit by a pitch. Velazquez, who had already recorded two singles, came up to the plate and launched a fastball over the left field fence that just stayed on the right side of the foul pole.
As a team, the Titans pounded out 17 base hits, 14 of them singles. They also received free bases on two walks and four hit batters from four Cougars pitchers. Fullerton sent at least seven men to the plate in three innings, including nine in their three-run fourth inning.
The Titans jumped on Cougars starting pitcher Scott Simon early and he was out of the game by the third inning. Simon took the loss after two innings of work where he surrendered six earned runs on eight hits. He faced 16 batters.
Every Titans starter and 11 of the 12 players who had an at-bat recorded at least one hit. Sophomore Tanner Pinkston went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored and Jake Jefferies also drove in two after going 2-for-5 on the night. He also scored twice.
No. 3 Oregon State 4, Gonzaga 3
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jeff Hendrix singled to center with two out in the eighth to score two and send the second-ranked Oregon State baseball team to a come-from-behind 4-3 win against Gonzaga on Friday night at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The game marked the season opener for the Beavers, and the win pushed OSU’s win streak to five games in season openers. OSU is now 75-30 all-time in such games.
Caleb Hamilton walked to open the eighth, and moved to third when Trever Morrison doubled to left center. Both scored when Hendrix blooped a single in front of center fielder Brock Slavin, with Morrison, the trail runner, beating the throw from center for the game-winning run.
Zack Reser picked up the win for Oregon State after going one full inning. He faced four batters to improve to 1-0. The losing pitcher for Gonzaga, Kenny Smith, allowed four hits and three runs in three innings of relief.
Max Engelbrekt worked a scoreless ninth for the save.
Andrew Moore started for the Beavers and allowed five hits and three runs in six innings of work. He struck out four and walked one while tossing 97 pitches.
His counterpart, Brandon Bailey, worked five full innings, scattering four hits and a run. Neither starter figured in the decision.
Western Carolina 3, No. 4 Mississippi State 2
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Jeremy Null struck out a dozen Bulldog batters while scattering three hits in eight solid innings as Western Carolina held off second-ranked Mississippi State to pull the upset 3-2 on Friday night in the 2014 season opener Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
The Southern Conference's Preseason Pitcher of the Year, Null struck out seven of the first 13 batters he faced and held the Bulldogs hitless until the lead-off batter of the fifth inning. He worked around a lone walk to pick up his first win of the season - and the 14th of his WCU career.
In his WCU debut, freshman LHP Bryan Sammons recorded two thirds of an inning to earn his first collegiate save. He secured the final two outs in the nail-biting bottom of the ninth inning as he induced a ground ball out to short to ice the Catamount victory.
No. 5 Florida State 13, Niagara 2
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Behind six no-hit innings from opening day starter Luke Weaver and a four-hit barrage from DJ Stewart, No. 5 Florida State (1-0) began the 2014 season with a 13-2 victory against Niagara (0-1) Friday evening in front of a crowd of 5,756 on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
"That was a good opener," head coach Mike Martin said. "Niagara did a tremendous job in the fact that they haven't been [outside]. You could see that they weren't quite ready but at the same time we took advantage of some mistakes and my hats off to our guys for getting it down. I am very proud of our ball club. We got some timely hitting tonight."
Five Seminoles recorded multiple hits in the win led by Stewart who set a career-high with four hits on a pair of doubles and two singles. Josh Delph went 2-for-3 with a walk from the leadoff spot with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI, while Brett Knief and Jose Brizuela each registered two hits in the win.
No. 6 LSU 2, New Orleans 0
BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU junior right-hander Aaron Nola pitched six scoreless innings Friday night, scattering four hits in the second-ranked Tigers’ 2-0 win against the New Orleans in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The win was LSU’s 13th in a row in a season-opening game. The contest was played before a paid crowd of 12,472, the second-largest attendance figure in LSU baseball history.
Nola (1-0) fired 81 pitches Friday night, recording no walks and six strikeouts in the victory. Junior Joe Broussard provided two innings of strong relief work, allowing Bone walk with two strikeouts.
Senior right-hander Kurt McCune worked a scoreless ninth for the save. McCune struck out two Privateers and forced a groundout to close the game.
No. 7 Indiana 1, Texas Tech 0
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Joey DeNato picked up right where he left off last season, blanking Texas Tech en route to his 25th career win. DeNato, a southpaw from San Diego, needed just 66 pitches to clear six innings as an encore to his complete game shutout in the 2013 College World Series. Indiana's bullpen duo of Scott Effross and Ryan Halstead took care of the final three frames to complete the 1-0 Hoosier victory.
DeNato faced the minimum amount of batters in five of six innings worked, allowing just four base runners. Effross posted a pair goose eggs in the seventh and eighth before handing it off to closer Ryan Halstead for his school-record 23rd career save. DeNato's next win will be number 26 of his career, good for a share of second all-time at IU (Craig Williams; 1987-90).
Will Nolden provided the only run of the contest right away in the top of the first. He stroked the very first pitch he saw into deep right field, one-hopping the wall for a stand-up double. After scooting over to third base on a Kyle Schwarber grounder, Nolden advanced the final 90 feet to pay dirt on the strength of Sam Travis' sacrifice fly.
Texas Tech threatened twice but were turned away on both occasions. The first opportunity came in the second stanza with runners at the corners and no outs. DeNato escaped the jam, however, utilizing his patented pick-off move to nab the first out of the inning. He followed with a groundball and strikeout to thwart the threat. A second Red Raider ventured into scoring position in the eighth inning where he was left stranded thanks to Effross' pitching efforts.
Portland 1, No. 9 UCLA 0
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Portland scored the game's only run in the top of the first inning and Travis Radke and the bullpen were solid on the mound as Portland opened the 2014 season with a 1-0 win against the defending national champion and ninth-ranked UCLA Bruins on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
It was Cody Lenahan who scored in the first when he trotted home after Caleb Whalen was plunked with the bases loaded. Lenahan had led off the game with a single, made it to third base on a Turner Gill single, and scored with two outs on Whalen's hit-by-pitch.
It appeared the one run would stand as Radke cruised through four innings of work, holding the Bruins to just one hit. But in the bottom of the fifth, UCLA was able to load the bases after Radke had retired the first two batters of the inning. Enter reliever Jackson Lockwood, who promptly fanned Brian Carroll to end the inning and the threat.
It wasn't the only jam the Portland bullpen had to work out of, but Lockwood, and then Brandon Snyder and closer Colin Feldtman came through to seal the win.
In in the seventh, UCLA's Brett Stephens led off with a double before moving over to third on a wild pitch. With the Portland infield drawn in, Lockwood induced a ground-out and a fly-out before Snyder entered the game. The junior lefty then ended the inning with another big-time strikeout.
The Bruins again threatened in the bottom of the eighth inning, loading the bases. But this time it was Feldtman to come through with the clutch strikeout.
Feldtman then retired the Bruins in order in the ninth to register his third career save.
Lockwood (1-0), a sophomore right-hander, gets the win after holding the Bruins scoreless during 2.0 innings of work. Radke didn't allow a run in 4.2 innings, striking out seven along the way.
James Kaprielian (0-1) takes the loss for the Bruins, who had four relievers each toss a scoreless inning of relief.
Portland out-hit UCLA 6-4 and Gill and Kevin Wade each had two hits to lead the Pilots.
No. 10 Vanderbilt 5, Long Beach State 2
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Tenth-ranked Vanderbilt opened the season with a 5-2 victory against Long Beach State at Blair Field.
The game did not start well for the Commodores as the team went in order in the opening frame and starter Tyler Beede struggled in the first. The right-hander walked leadoff hitter Zack Domingues to start the game and after a bunt single from Garrett Hampson the Dirtbags had something cooking. Beede retired the next two batters but Zack Rivera reached on catcher's interference to load the bases for Richard Prigatano. Beede then lost control of a breaking ball and plunked Prigatano to force in a run and put the Dirtbags in front. Beede finished the frame with a strikeout, which was a sign of things to come for the junior.
The Vanderbilt offense immediately responded in the second with a leadoff single from Zander Wiel. After freshman Nolan Rogers was hit by a pitch to put two runners aboard Chris Harvey gave the Commodores the lead, hitting a long ball to right field that was misplayed by Prigatano.
Pitching with the lead, Beede took over the game. The right-hander did not allow a runner over his final four innings as the Commodores pushed the lead to 3-1. Beede retired the final 13 batters he faced, striking out seven and allowing only two balls to leave the infield. He punched out two in the third and rang up his final two batters of the night in the fifth.
Xavier Turner added to the Dores' lead in the fifth with a two-out, RBI-double down the left field line to score Harvey. Turner was again in the mix when Vandy scored two runs in the seventh. Freshman Bryan Reynolds opened the inning with his first collegiate hit, a single to left-center field. Turner knocked in Reynolds from third base two batters later with the freshman making a nice slide into home plate to avoid the tag. Vince Conde capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Dansby Swanson.
Turner led the way for the Dores in the opener with two RBI and John Norwood picked up a pair of singles. On the night, nine Commodores reached base. Hampson led the Dirtbags with two bunt singles and Prigatano drove in both runs.