The opening weekend of the 2023 college baseball season was pretty chalky, and the top team is unchanged on all ranking lists. The Tigers of LSU completed an easy sweep of Western Michigan, but it didn’t come without some worry.
1. LSU (3-0)
The season started out well on the winning front, but not so much on the injury front. Key transfer Tommy White jammed his shoulder on Opening Day and was out the rest of the weekend. Tigers’ head coach Jay Johnson provided an update and he expects “Tommy Tanks” to be back in the lineup soon. Johnson said that White may play designated hitter upon returning while his shoulder continues to recover. The ace of the pitching staff, Paul Skenes, was dominant on Friday as he struck out 12 over six shutout innings.
2. Wake Forest (4-0)
The Demon Deacons had a dominant weekend in which they swept the first editon of the ACC Baseball Weekly Awards. Sophomore first baseman Nick Kurtz was voted the ACC Player of the Week after slugging four home runs, driving in a team-high 10 RBI and scoring a team-high eight runs. Kurtz also led the team with seven walks and a .684 on-base percentage. Sophomore left-hander Sean Sullivan earned ACC Pitcher of the Week, as he struck out 10 hitters while allowing just two hits and one walk in four scoreless innings to earn the save. He and Rhett Lowder combined for 20 strikeouts in the game.
3. TCU (2-1)
The Horned Frogs pick up two big top 10 wins this week, over Vanderbilt and Arkansas, at the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas. TCU hammered across 29 runs in the two wins, before falling, 8-9, in 10 innings to Missouri. Junior center fielder Elijah Nunez went 6-f0r-13 with six RBI, six runs scored, four walks, and two stolen bases over the weekend to lead the offense.
4. Stanford (2-1)
It was almost a disastrous weekend for the Cardinal and took a crazy extra inning game on Sunday to avoid losing two of three. Stanford fell behind, 11-6, in the eighth inning, before scoring seven runs in the ninth to take a 13-11 lead. Braden Montgomery began the rally with a leadoff double, and then Drew Browser whacked a three-run bomb a batter later. The Cardinal batted all the way back around to Montgomery, who gave them the lead with a three-run double. Cal State Fullerton, who won Game 1 on Friday, would come back to tie the game at 13 in the bottom of the frame. Stanford would explode for eight more runs in the 10th on five hits, two walks, and two errors.
5. Ole Miss (3-0)
The Rebels outscored Delaware, 35-6, in a three-game sweep of the Blue Hens. Friday night ace Hunter Elliot struck out nine batters in five innings on Opening Day. Junior Jacob Gonzalez lifted off on Sunday, as he mashed a grand slam and a three-run double for a seven-RBI day.
6. Texas A&M (3-0)
The Aggies swept Seattle over the weekend, although they lost senior outfielder Brett Minnich to a broken left thumb, which he suffered sliding to first base in game one. Freshman outfielder Jace LaViolette leads A&M in batting average (.400), homers (two), OPS (1.538) and RBIs (five) after three games.
7. Florida (3-0)
After recovering from Tommy John surgery his freshman season, Jac Caglianone dominated for the Gators as they swept Charleston Southern. In his first collegiate start on Sunday, Cagianone struck out nine over 6 2/3 shutout innings allowing just two hits and a walk. His fastball came in around 96-97 mph on average and topped out at 98 mph, while his slider was devastating and got left-handed hitters looking silly.
8. Vanderbilt (2-1)
After dropping the first game of the season, the Commodores bounced back with two straight wins over Oklahoma State and Texas at the College Baseball Showdown. Vanderbilt exploded for a seven-run second inning against the Cowboys on Saturday, highlighted by a three-run triple from sophomore designated hitter Matthew Polk. Then on Sunday, junior catcher Alan Espinal blasted a grand slam to highlight an eight-run second inning as Vandy downed Texas, 12-2.
9. Tennessee (1-2)
It was a rough first weekend for the Vols, as they dropped their first two games at the MLB Desert Invitational to Arizona and Grand Canyon. The offense struggled and could really use transfer shortstop Maui Ahuna, who is still awaiting NCAA clearance. The fill-in at shortstop, Austin Jaslove, only went 2-for-10 at the bottom of the lineup this weekend. Sophomore Drew Beam struck out six over six scoreless in Tennessee’s only win of the weekend on Sunday.
10. Arkansas (2-1)
Although they got crushed by TCU on Saturday, it was a pretty good weekend for the Razorbacks. They took down Texas, 3-2, on Opening Day and Oklahoma State, 18-1 on Sunday. Creighton transfer Jared Wegner provided a lot of the damage, as he slashed .545/.643/1.364 (6-for-11) with four extra-base hits, including two home runs, and eight RBI over the three games.
11. North Carolina (2-1)
12. Virginia (3-0)
13. East Carolina (3-0)
14. Virginia Tech (2-1)
15. Maryland (2-1)
16. Oklahoma State (1-2)
17. Louisville (3-0)
18. Southern Mississippi (3-0)
19. Texas State (3-0)
20. UCLA (3-0)
21. Auburn (2-1)
22. Miami (2-1)
23. NC State (3-0)
25. Texas Tech (3-0)
Just missed: Missouri, Arizona, Alabama, Florida State, Dallas Baptist
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Image Credit: From D1 Baseball