The ninth weekend of college baseball started up today, beginning the second half of the college baseball season. Two of the top batters in this draft class squared off tonight in New Mexico and one pitcher kept his first round hopes alive with a strong outing Thursday night. These players, and many others, have less than two months to impress scouts in advance of the draft. The schedule for the top college players this weekend can be found here. Check out the draft preview posted here and the recap of the eighth week’s action here. Just a reminder, the Pirates pick #9 and #14 in this year’s June amateur draft, so for the duration of the college season, leading up to draft day, we are following the players closely that are ranked in that range. This year’s draft will be held June 6-8.
San Diego’s Kris Bryant, who some consider the best college bat in the draft, went 0-for-3, with two walks and a strikeout against Pepperdine. He had a down week last weekend, striking out two times in three straight games, so he has been struggling as of late. Aaron Brown played center field for Pepperdine and went 1-for-4, with a double and walk. He was drafted by the Pirates in 2011 and has been used mostly as a pitcher this season.
Colin Moran went 3-for-5 in North Carolina’s 21-8 win over Virginia Tech on Friday night. He drove in four runs, getting RBI’s on a double, single and sacrifice fly. He also drew a walk, getting seven plate appearances in the route. Kent Emanuel, the 2010 draft pick of the Pirates, and highly rated pitcher, got the win despite making his worst outing of the season. In eight innings, he allowed eight runs on 14 hits and a walk, striking out four. He came into the game with a 1.30 ERA.
Mark Appel got the start today for Stanford against Washington and was not his usual self, but still went eight innings in his team’s 7-5 win. He gave up four runs(three earned) on seven hits, two walks, a hit batter and he struck out seven. Appel committed the error that led to the unearned run.
Austin Wilson finally returned to action last week and has been hitting well in his brief time back. Tonight he made another return, this time playing the field for the first time. Hitting seventh and playing right field, he had a double, walk, HBP and scored three runs, finishing the game 1-for-2.
Jonathon Crawford from Florida, took on #8 ranked South Carolina on Thursday night and went 6.2 innings, picking up the win by allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks, a hit batter and he struck out five. It was just the second win for Crawford, who has struggled in most of his starts, showing occasional glimpses of the talent that had him ranked near the 10-15 spots in this year’s draft class during the pre-season.
Ryne Stanek of Arkansas and Ryan Eades from LSU will meet head-to-head Saturday night in Arkansas. Most people have both pitchers rank in the top ten among draft-eligible college pitchers.
Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma, took on Baylor tonight and threw eight solid innings, but walked away with a no-decision. Baylor ended up winning on the first batter after Gray left, getting a lead-off homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 2-1 win. Gray gave up one run on four hits, two walks and he struck out ten batters. According to reports at the game, he was hitting 99 MPH.
Bobby Wahl got the start today for Ole Miss against Alabama and was nearly unhittable, but displayed control problems again that have plagued him all season. He allowed just one hit and no runs through six innings tonight, but he issued five walks, leading to an early departure with a 4-0 lead. Wahl struck out three batters. He has 30 walks in 57.2 innings this season.
Marco Gonzales from Gonzaga, had a so-so outing against St Mary’s College tonight. The lefty went seven innings, allowing four runs(one earned) on six hits, three walks and one hit batter. Gonzales recorded nine strikeouts on the night and now has 60 strikeouts in 63 innings.
DJ Peterson from New Mexico and Aaron Judge from Fresno State are two of the top six college bats in this year’s draft. Their two teams began a three game series tonight in New Mexico. As predicted, it was a high scoring game, with an 11-4 final score in New Mexico’s favor. Judge had the slightly better game, going 2-for-3, with two walks, compared to 1-for-3, with two walks for Peterson. They each scored one run, but neither big bat was able to drive in a run despite 15 runs being scored in the game.
High School News
JP Crawford, a shortstop out of California, is now hitting .357 through 19 games, with 18 runs scored and seven extra-base hits. He went 2-for-4, with a run scored on Wednesday.
Oscar Mercado, from Gaither HS in Florida, is struggling with the bat this year. Scouts like him because he looks like he can stick at shortstop in the pros, but his bat is bringing up some questions. He is hitting .264 through 19 games. He has drawn 15 walks, helping him to an .820 OPS, but he has just four doubles, a triple and no homers in 53 AB’s.
Dominic Smith, from Serra HS in California, is hitting .487 through 19 team games, though he has missed time with a suspension and minor injury. He has nine extra base hits in 39 AB’s.
Reese McGuire, a catcher out of Washington, has 18 hits, including 11 extra-base hits, in his last ten games. He has also drawn eight walks during that time. Our own Jessica Quiroli interviewed him earlier this year for her Heels on the Field site.