After a Cinderella run by Fresno State to end the 2008 season, the new chapter in college baseball began Friday as the 2009 season threw its first pitch. College baseball saw the return of the Oregon Ducks baseball program, the opening of several new ballparks, and the top five teams complete the weekend with a combined 17-1 record.
Around the SEC
The Crimson Tide opened the season with a win over Southeast Missouri on Friday, but the Redhawks bounced back to win the series with an 8-4 victory in Sunday’s rubber match.
The Razorbacks welcomed Washington State to Baum Stadium with a three-game sweep of the Cougars.
The first game for head coach John Pawlowski ended a success as the Tigers beat Elon 5-3. The honeymoon ended quickly as Auburn lost both Saturday and Sunday games to lose the opening series of the 2009 season.
The Gators started the season with a three-game sweep of then 23rd-ranked Louisville in McKethan Stadium. Pitcher Patrick Keating earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance against the Cardinals. Keating struck out a career-high seven batters, including Big East Preseason Player of the Year Chris Dominquez twice, in seven innings of work.
The bats were hot for the Bulldogs as they pounded out 41 hits in a series sweep of Youngstown State in Athens. Freshman Johnathan Taylor earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors as he led the team in batting average (.800), slugging percentage (1.100), on base percentage (.867), hits (8), and walks (4).
The Wildcats started the season with two straight victories, but dropped the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s contest to Coastal Carolina.
The Tigers began the inaugural season of the New Alex Box Stadium with a bang. The Tigers welcomed over 9,000 fans to their new $32 million state-of-the-art ballpark with a 12-3 victory over Villanova. The Tigers completed the sweep with a 6-3 victory over the Wildcats on Sunday.
Junior second baseman Ryan Schimpf earned SEC Player of the Week honors after an outstanding opening series. Schimpf went 7-for-10, including two doubles and a homer, with six RBI, three runs, four stolen bases, and a 1.200 slugging percentage.
The Bulldogs opened new skipper John Cohen’s first season with a 3-1 performance in the Bank First Baseball Challenge at Dudy Noble Field.
After an opening night victory over Liberty at the Coca-Cola Classic at the University of South Alabama, the Rebels dropped Saturday’s contest to Mercer and Sunday’s game to South Alabama. The Rebels dropped seven spots in Baseball America’s Top 25, down to No. 13.
8,153 fans were on hand to see the Gamecocks beat Duquesne 12-0 in the inaugural game of the new Carolina Stadium on Saturday. The Gamecocks completed the sweep with a 6-0 victory on Monday.
The Vols' season began with a home win over Oregon State, but ended with a winter storm that caused the cancellation of the rubber match on Sunday. The series ended in a tie, and the game is not scheduled to be made up.
The Commodores were the only SEC team to lose its season opener. The ‘Dores bounced back to win game two against Stanford, but lost the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader to drop the series. Vandy traveled to Berkeley on Sunday for a two-game series against California, but game one was cancelled due to rain. Cal scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 4-3.