After a full weekend of games — and more great ones left today with the State Farm Showdown finishing up in Arlington — college baseball is officially back. We got three full days of ranked matchups, walk-off home runs and everything you could possibly want. It was glorious and we get to do it again every weekend for the next four months.
Here are the biggest storylines and highlights from the first weekend.
No. 1 Florida Falters on Opening Weekend
No. 1 Florida surely knew that No. 21 Miami posed a threat in the first three games of the season, but I doubt many had the Gators dropping two of three to start the year. After a win in Friday's season opener, Florida allowed six Hurricanes to reach via walk or hit by pitch in the 9th inning on Saturday, leading to three Miami runs which sent the game into extra innings where UM eventually won 10-9.
Miami's bats came alive again in the rubber match on Sunday, outdueling the Gators to an 8-6 win. Florida certainly looked to be among college baseball's upper echelon at times throughout the weekend, but definitely didn't come away with the result it wanted. But what a great series win for Miami and sweet revenge after being swept by UF in Coral Gables last season while the Canes were atop the polls.
Ole Miss and Arkansas Shine in Texas
Each team in the State Farm Showdown still has a game left to play on Monday, but No. 6 Ole Miss and No. 8 Arkansas will leave the lone Star State feeling good regardless of what happens in their final matchups.
The Rebels took down No. 10 TCU on Saturday before toppling No. 3 Texas tech behind an 11-strikeout performance from Gunnar Hoglund. And SEC West compatriot Arkansas handed the Red Raiders another loss on Saturday before blanking No. 9 Texas 4-0 on Sunday to also get off to a 2-0 start.
UCLA Is a Fraud
I'm just getting out ahead of this so that we hopefully don't have to talk about West Coast baseball for the rest of the season. Every year, we pretend UCLA is going to do something of note and the Bruins haven't been to Omaha in nearly a decade. So after dropping two of three to San Francisco to start the year, I'm hoping we can all make a collective pact to not discuss the Pac-12 until there's something actually worth discussing.
Player of the Week: Caleb Pendleton, Florida Atlantic
I've watched enough baseball in my day to feel qualified to say that starting your career 2-2 with two grand slams in the same inning is pretty solid. Two home runs and 8 RBI would be a fantastic week for any baseball player and Caleb Pendleton stepped into the box for the first time in college and just promptly smacked two taters over the fence.
It doesn't get much better than that.
Play of the Week: Braydon Webb, Arkansas
Webb feels like a pretty appropriate last name for an outfielder capable of making catches like this. Some might even call a play of this caliber a Webb Gem. And that play was a a big one, because Arkansas needed to save every run it possibly could in a 13-9 win to open the season over Texas Tech.
Uniform of the Week: Mississippi State
There's no better time to unveil a new uniform than during the biggest event in college baseball and there's no better color uniform to unveil than cream. I don't care what your school colors are, everybody should have a cream uniform. And the script "State" across the chest looks about as clean as it gets.
College Baseball Moment of the Week: San Diego Scores 18 Runs in a Loss
I wouldn't imagine the locker room following a 19-18 loss is a place where pitchers and position players are saying too much to each other. You generally want to win the games in which your offense puts 18 runs up on the board.
It feels great to be back. The Road to Omaha is on.