Hitter of the weekend: Brent Rooker
No player was on fire more than Rooker was on Saturday. After going 3-for-5 with a homerun and five RBI's in the first game, he belted a moonshot over the leftfield wall in the next game for his second homerun of the day. The two-run homer put the Bulldogs on top just before rain set in and delayed the game a whole day. Rooker is only a redshirt freshman, but he should be one of the better power bats on the team.
Honorable mention: Jacob Robson
Robson continued what he started last week, totaling seven hits in 14 at bats this weekend. He also walked four times and continued to be an on-base machine for the Bulldogs. Robson stole three bases to raise his total to six on the young season.
Pitcher of the weekend: All the starters
Preston Brown started things off Friday against Marshall with a six-inning performance, allowing one earned run and striking out eight.
Austin Sexton followed that up with his second start of the season against Alabama A&M on Saturday. He gave up just one run and two hits in six innings of work, striking out eight batters while walking one.
Lucas Laster pitched the second game on Saturday before it was delayed. He went five innings and gave up one earned run.
Vance Tatum pitched the final game against Alabama A&M, giving up only one run on two hits in six innings pithed. While he did walk three batters, he struck out nine to more than make up for it. Tatum may be the best starter on the team before too long.
Stat that made the difference: 38
Bulldog pitchers combined to average more than nine strikeouts per game, totaling 38 for the weekend. Brown, Sexton, and Tatum had 25 of the 38 strikeouts. The starters really stepped up this weekend.
Best individual play: Reid Humphreys' catch at the wall
It looked as if Alabama A&M was about to take a 3-0 lead on a homerun in the final game on Sunday, but Humphreys was able to hall in a tough catch at the left field wall. Even if the ball stayed in the park, it would have given the other Bulldogs a 2-0 lead early in the game, and might have changed the outcome.
MVP of the weekend: Ryan Gridley
Gridley started the weekend off with a bang with a diving stop at second base to save a run in the first game on Friday. The highlight of his weekend came on Saturday when Gridley hit possibly the shortest inside the park homerun in the history of baseball that cleared the bases. He recorded a hit in every game, including an RBI single that gave his team a 2-1 win in the finale. The freshman racked up seven RBI's over the four games.
A lot of young players continued to step up this weekend. Players like Brent Rooker and Ryan Gridley will stay in the lineup if they continue to pound the baseball. Cohen has to find a way to keep Gridley in there when Rea comes back and Holland moves from first to second. You don't want to put him at DH because that would take Rooker out of the lineup. I think they have to look into putting Holland or Gridley at third base if they can play it. Reynolds and Britton have really struggled there offensively. Spruill did show some life this weekend, however.
This team is extremely deep at a lot of different positions. The outfield will be crowded once Michael Smith comes back. Cody Brown is making a case to be the starter every game in right field, and Vickerson is producing as well. Jacob Robson is still playing out of his mind, and I don't think it's something that will only last a few games. He looks like a completely different player than the past couple of years.
Josh Lovelady has done an excellent job behind the plate. He's now thrown out eight base runners, which leads the SEC by far. He hasn't done anything spectacular at the plate, but he's done enough. When Gavin Collins comes back, Lovelady will be one of the better #2 catchers in the league.
Man, when Rea and Collins come back, this team may be one of the better hitting clubs in all of college baseball. The rumor in the fall was that we would see more offense this year. They definitely haven't disappointed in the first eight games. The competition hasn't been great, but that will change when Arizona comes to town next weekend. The Wildcats were an extra-inning game away from taking two of three from a ranked Rice squad this weekend.