Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wrapping up the weekend, Feb. 28

John Jones reached base all 14 times he
went to the plate as South Carolina
swept a three-game series with Penn State.
(University of South Carolina photo)
* I don't have the resources to research it in a hurry, but I'm guessing it's been a while since all 11 NCAA Division I baseball teams in the state have been at or above .500 after two weeks of the season.

In fact, it's good start for most of the state's teams on all levels. Eight of the state's 12 NCAA DII teams have winning records. Three more could be at .500 or better with a good week this week. Both NAIA schools to have played have winning records and three of the five junior college teams are above .500. The other two teams are two games below .500.

Coaches and players, give yourselves a hand.

* So, how would you like to score 45 runs in a conference series and lose two of three games? That's what happened to Anderson in its South Atlantic Conference meeting with Lincoln Memorial in Harrogate, Tenn.

The Trojans fell way behind early in both ends of the Saturday doubleheader, but rallied late to make the final scores of 16-12 and 14-9 slightly more respectable. In the series finale on Sunday Anderson batted around in four innings, got 18 hits and drew 13 walks in a 24-10 victory. The big offensive day may have made the 15 strikeouts slightly more palatable to coach Joe Miller.

* Because of weather and field conditions, Charleston Southern had to move its first two weekend home series of the season down I-26 to Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park  The 2-1 series win over Butler helped the Buccaneers get through the stretch with a 3-3 mark.

A quick check of the CSU Website didn't provide any indication if the Buccaneers will be able to play next weekend's home series with Massachusetts at CSU Ballpark.

* Clemson folks were tickled that Seth Beer opted to enroll in January instead of waiting for what was expected to be an early call from the Major League Baseball draft in June.  Beer is living up to expectations so far.   He went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs in Sunday's 10-2 win over James Madison. Beer is batting .400 (8-for-20) with two homers and nine RBIs. The latter two figures trail team leader Chase Pinder by one. Beer has hit safely in hits last five games.

Weston Wilson went 2-for-3 on Sunday, improving his team-leading batting average to .500.

The Tigers got excellent starts from pitchers Charlie Barnes and Clate Schmidt in the first two games of the series.

* College of Charleston lost two of three at Florida State, but the Cougars' 2-1 win on Friday was built on an effective start by Nathan Helvey. He allowed two hits, walked three, hit one and struck out three in 5 1/3 shutout innings.

* Erskine bounced back from a disappointing finish to the previous weekend by going 4-0 against state teams for the week. The Flying Fleet shut out Limestone twice on Saturday, with Zack Bowers allowing seven hits and striking out 12 in the nightcap.

The Fleet are putting up video game-type offensive numbers through 12 games. Sam Cothran is hitting .464 with 5 homers and 27 RBIs; Chase Watts is hitting .462 and Henry Faunce is hitting .443 with 5 homers and 25 RBIs. Chaz Davey has 5 homers and 23 RBIs for Erskine, which is hitting .369 as a team.

* Jake Crawford is shaping up as a potential two-way impact player for Furman. He pitched well in Sunday's 5-2 victory over Dayton, leaving after seven inning with the score tied. The freshman from Belton-Honea Path also is hitting .538.

The three-game sweep improved the Paladins' record to 4-2.

* Lander rebounded strongly after being swept at USC Aiken last week. The Bearcats cooled off Newberry in a midweek game, then won three games at Young Harris to improve their Peach Belt Conference record at 3-3.

Will Jones pitched a seven-hit, 13-strikeout complete game in a 2-0 win in the series opener.

On Sunday, the Bearcats broke out the bats, hitting four homers among 29 hits as they scored 28 runs in a doubleheader sweep. Lander has hit 27 home runs in 17 games. Colby Lusignan and John Mangum lead the way with six apiece.

* Peter Johnson went 6-for-11 for Presbyterian in its weekend sweep of Towson. A.J. Priaulx hit a pair of home runs, giving him three for the season. Priaulx already has two pinch-hit homers this season..

* John Jones had a weekend little kids couldn't even dream about playing by themselves in the backyard. The sophomore junior college transfer reached base all 14 times as South Carolina swept Penn State. He went 8-for-8 with two homers (one a grand slam) and 10 RBIs. He also walked eight times in the series.

For the season, Jones is hitting .593 with 3 homers and 19 RBIs.

Alex Destino, who had modest numbers as a freshman in 2015, hit two homers and drove in seven runs in the 16-5 Saturday victory.

Starting pitchers Clarke Schmidt and Braden Webb had their second straight good outings. Sunday starter Taylor Widener allowed nine base runners and couldn't get the five innings required to get the victory.

* The Citadel employed some late heroics to get its three-game week of Siena. The Bulldogs scored a run in the eighth and two in the ninth to win Saturday's game 3-2.  Drew Ellis' two-run triple sparked five-run eighth in Sunday's 6-4 win.

* USC Beaufort swept a Sun Conference series at Ave Maria. The Sand Sharks are 14-2, matching the best start in school history.

* Voorhees won four of five  games this week. Contrast that to the 2011 season, when the Tigers won just five times all year. Coach Justin Thomas has his team out to a 10-5 start. Had Voorhees not lost both ends of a Feb. 21 doubleheader at Clark Atlanta because of unearned runs, the Tigers could be looking at a 12-3 mark.

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