As usual, Friday college baseball starts early, on Thursday. This week, two SEC games jumped the week, and both were close.
Auburn used swingman Hayden Mullins on Thursday, and he kept down LSU's potent offense for four innings, allowing two runs, and fanning seven. Auburn exploded for six in the fifth off of Blake Money, with the two outs coming from their best draft options, Blake Rambusch and Jason Howell. LSU fought back, as offense is their strength. Cade Doughty, who makes sense early in the second round of the draft for the Cubs if he's on the board, had two hits and a lead-off homer in the home first, scoring twice.
Auburn's Blake Buckhalter is the sort of mid-90s guy teams throw second- and third-day draft picks toward in July. He closed it out after some peril. Auburn won 6-5, as LSU continues to hit, but not enough to win regularly.
Florida and Georgia had a border battle with late heroics. Gator lefty Hunter Barco was pitch-counted after five three-run innings. He's an entirely acceptable second-round choice for the Cubs, and fanned six. His bullpen misfired.
Georgia went away from Jonathan Cannon, and Jud Fabian (an acceptable second-rounder) homered to give Florida a two-run lead in the ninth.
JUD FABIAN 11TH OF THE YEAR. GATORS LEAD pic.twitter.com/pXG5UUQNFC— 11Point7: The College Baseball Podcast (@11point7) April 1, 2022
It wasn't enough, as the Bulldogs rallied for three in the home half.
There are well over 50 entirely valid choices for the Cubs for that pick at 46 in the second round.
If the Cubs draft Georgia right-hander Jonathan Cannon in the second round, I'd be good with it. He held down Florida on Friday night until I jumped to my next game. Cannon and Marcus Johnson (from Duke) are among my second-round preferences.
Brandon Sproat, Cannon's opposition, was 97-99 early, but tends to get lit up. Third round seems fine.
Tennessee homered with two out in the first against Vanderbilt. However:
Didn't take long to get drama in Nashville. Jordan Beck connects on a 93 mph Chris McElvain FB and dives it over the fence to ostensibly give the Vols a 1-0 lead, but after a conference and examination of the bat, Beck was ruled out. Trying to figure out why.— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) April 1, 2022
So, the issue in the Vandy-Tennessee game is that the sticker present on the bat was from a midweek game, and did not have an updated sticker for the weekend series.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 1, 2022
Tennessee added a two-run homer in the second. This one counted. Luc Lipcius even stared down the bat.
Sr. 1B Luc Lipcius (@Vol_Baseball) stays short and gets the head out to drive a 2-run HR down the RF line. His 7th of the year gives a Vols a 2-0 lead. Emotions are high early, buckle up for an exciting Top 5 series. @prepbaseball @DSeifertD1PBR @d1baseball pic.twitter.com/UNoSHE9vmy— Colton Provey (@ColtonProvey) April 1, 2022
Vandy halved the lead in the third when speed demon Elijah Bradfield singled, stole second, and stole third in three pitches. He scored on an infield out.
Tennessee broke it open with a four-run fifth. Vandy outfielders lost two fly balls over the light standards. One went for a double, and one for an RNI-triple. A two-RBI double from Beck, who lost the homer, was the dagger.
Both bullpens were elite.
Chase Burns could be special in the 2024 Draft:
A full inning (5th) from Vols ace Chase Burns, who was good once again in a series opening win against Vanderbilt. Fastball up to 97 mph, high-80s cutter his the go-to out pitch.— Burke Granger (@burkegranger) April 2, 2022
5.1IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 7K (W, 6-0). pic.twitter.com/l15DoKFyyC
No. 4 Oregon at UCLA was my last stop. The Bruins starter was touched for an early two-run in the fifth, but that was all Jake Brooks gave up until the ninth. His offense parlayed three two-out singles into three runs, and that was how it was to the ninth. (Brooks seems third round.)
After a leadoff double in the ninth, current reliever and future starter Gage Jump fanned two of three Ducks for the save. UCLA won 3-2.