State of the Ace: Oregon State’s May Dazzles in Rivalry Win

Oregon State’s Aiden May fanned 14 over eight scoreless against Oregon to highlight Friday’s top performances.

Aiden May

Welcome to State of the Ace, a Saturday morning look at the best performances by Friday starters throughout the country.

In what will be the final Pac-12 matchup between rivals Oregon State and Oregon, Beavers’ righthander Aiden May turned in an absolute gem. The junior out of Albuquerque, N.M., fanned 14 over eight one-hit innings in a 2-0 win.

The only hit May allowed to the No. 20 Ducks was a fifth-inning infield single. The 14 strikeouts were a career-high as he fanned a batter in every inning — and finished his night by striking out three in the eighth.

The former Arizona transfer was aided by enough run support thanks to a pair of solo home runs from Brady Kasper in the second and Travis Bazzana in the third. Baserunners were few and far between: He worked around an error in the second, a leadoff walk in the fourth, a single in the fifth, and an error in the eighth. Only two baserunners made it to second base.

It was an excellent start for May, who has had an up-and-down campaign. The team’s presumptive ace entering the year missed a month due to injury after just four starts and has had a mixed bag since returning. He gave up six runs in five hits in a loss to California last week, but this outing marked a return to his much-anticipated level.

May is 3-0 with a 3.63 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings.

Let’s look at some of the other top pitching performances from Friday:

Justin Lehman (Army) vs. Navy — W, 9 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K

Through eight starts, Lehman has a sterling average game score of 63. His outing against the Midshipmen was a career performance, fanning eight and scattering three hits and three walks over nine shutout. In those eight starts, Lehman is 5-2 with a 1.46 ERA.

Bryce Cunningham (Vanderbilt) vs. Mississippi St. — W, 9 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K

After turning in a quality start against Florida, Cunningham dazzled again against the Bulldogs. The righthander matched his highest game score of the year with nine shutout innings in a 4-0 win. Cunningham is 6-2 with a 3.98 ERA and 76:21 K/BB in 61 innings.

Stephen Quigley (UConn) vs. Villanova — W, 8 IP, 3 H, 8 K

After a First Team All-Big East campaign a year ago, Quigley has struggled at times to find consistency — but Friday was an example of what he’s capable of. After back-to-back starts of less than five innings, Quigley blanked Villanova over eight innings with a season-high eight strikeouts. He allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter.

Michael Simes (UMass Lowell) vs. UMBC — W, 9 IP, 5 H, 4 K

Primarily a reliever through the first season-and-a-half of his collegiate career, Simes has moved into the rotation for the River Hawks and found success. He’s turned in three starts the last three weekends and allowed five runs in 22 innings, the latest a complete-game shutout of UMBC.

Hagen Smith (Arkansas) vs. Florida — ND, 7 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 11 K

Another week, another gem from Smith. He earned a no-decision thanks to a run scoring on a costly pickoff-into-pickle play that resulted in a errant throw, but he fanned 11 over seven two-hit innings while issuing a lone walk. His updated numbers? 111 strikeouts in just 60 innings with a 1.35 ERA and Average Game Score of 70.

Ty Brachbill (NIU) vs. Central Michigan — 9 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 6 K

Freshmen starters finding their way into this section have been rare, but Brachbill was remarkable against the Chippewas. He’s had some bumps in the road — twice allowing double-digit runs and carrying an ERA over nine entering Friday— but found his best stuff. He struck out six and allowed an unearned run on four hits in a complete-game effort.

Trey Yesavage (East Carolina) vs. Memphis — W, 6.2 IP, H, 2 BB, 12 K

Much like Smith, Yesavage has turned in regular double-digit strikeout performances. He ran his streak to four straight starts — three of which he’s not allowed a run. He pitched into the seventh against the Tigers, allowing two walks and a hit while striking out 12. He has 113 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings with a sterling 1.73 ERA.

Featured Image via Oregon State Athletics