Chase Dollander’s Debut and a Dominant LSU Highlight First Weekend of 2023 NCAA Season

The first weekend of the 2023 NCAA college baseball season is in the books. It was a wild weekend, one that saw blowouts, high-scoring games, and season debuts for some of the sport’s top collegiate arms. If you missed anything from this past weekend, here’s a look at some notable highlights.

Related: Ranking Every MLB Team’s 2022-23 Offseason (NL Edition)

Dollander Makes His 2023 Debut

It was a rough opening weekend for the University of Tennessee, as the Volunteers went 1-2 in its first three games. Tennessee was without shortstop Maui Ahuna, a potential first-round 2023 MLB Draft pick, this past weekend due to eligibility issues. Ahuna transferred from Kansas after last year.

Scouts did get a first look at star RHP Chase Dollander. A potential #1 pick in the 2023 Draft, Dollander struck out seven over 4.2 innings. The righty didn’t hit the upper-90s during his start, but did comfortably sit in the mid-90’s with his heater. Dollander also flashed a good breaking ball, but struggled with command at times. The Tennessee ace hung a breaking ball to Arizona’s Tony Bullard in the second inning, a pitch that resulted in a home run.

LSU, Florida Roll

If this weekend proved anything, it’s that LSU and Florida will be tough to take down this season. LSU swept Western Michigan in its first weekend of the year, winning the three games by a combined run total of 24-5. Star outfielder Dylan Crews did fine in hi first weekend, as he went 3-9 with one home runs and two RBIs. The starts of the offense this past weekend were Gavin Dugas and Jared Jones, as the combined to go 10-16 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Top 2023 MLB Draft prospect Paul Skenes shined in his first start of the year, as he recorded 12 strikeouts on Friday night all while comfortably sitting in the mid-to-upper-90s with his fastball.

The Florida Gators also recorded a sweep this weekend against Charleston Southern. Florida posted 29 runs across the first two games of the three game series. Outfielder Wyatt Langford had a quiet weekend, but the same can’t be said for sophomore outfielder Ty Evans and senior catcher BT Riopelle. Evans drove in 10 runs this weekend, while Riopelle knocked in an additional eight for the Gators.

Wake Forest Dominates

Wake Forest dominated in Winston-Salem this weekend, as the Demon Deacons won two games apiece against Youngstown State and Illinois this past weekend. Staff ace Rhett Lowder delivered in his first start at Wake Forest. The righty struck out ten over five innings against Illinois

The stars of the weekend, though, were Adam Cecere and Nick Kurtz. Both Cecere and Kurtz hit four home runs each this weekend. In addition to the four home runs, Nick Kurtz tallied ten RBIs and 18 total bases throughout the four games. The 19-year-old Kurtz, a sophomore infielder/outfielder, is not eligible for the MLB Draft this season. However, the left-handed slugger could be a high pick come July of 2024.

What Happened in Fullerton?

Stanford opened up the regular season with a three-game slate against Cal State Fullerton. Both teams split the first two games of the series, before a wild 10-inning affair on Sunday afternoon. The two teams combined to score 34 runs in third and final game of the series, which saw Stanford come out on top 21-13. Malcom Moore went 3-6 with four RBIs and a home run for Stanford. Cal State Fullerton DH Brendan Bobo also smashed a home run and drove in four in the matinee.

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