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College baseball notebook: Clemson's best start since 2002 highlighted by rare series win over Miami

Clemson's best start since 2002 keeps getting better.

The Tigers (24-3) are coming off their first series win over Miami since 2012, and first in Coral Gables since 2006. They entered April No. 1 in the RPI, No. 3 in strength of schedule and first in the ACC’s Atlantic Division at 7-2.

Clemson's biggest strides against Miami came on the mound. Over the three games, Tigers pitchers combined to allow five runs on 18 hits, three for extra bases. They walked seven and struck out 25.

Freshman Aidan Knaak turned in his best performance of the season in the Tigers' 7-0 win in the series finale Saturday. He allowed two hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in seven innings. Of his 92 pitches, 61 were strikes.

“This was a whole lot closer to our potential as a pitching staff,” second-year coach Erik Bakich said. “So it was great to see the relentless attack on the strike zone that we saw all weekend long. It was really an exclamation today on Aidan Knaak, followed up by Reed Garris and Rocco Reid, guys who just pounded the strike zone and let the defense work.”

The Tigers play South Carolina Upstate at home on Tuesday and will go for their 15th straight regular-season series win when they visit Notre Dame this weekend.

IN THE POLLS

Arkansas, Clemson and Texas A&M were the top three teams Monday in the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America rankings.

The Razorbacks (23-3) went 4-0 last week, beating Little Rock and sweeping a then-top-10 LSU at home. Clemson followed its sweep of Florida State with the series win at Miami. Texas A&M (25-3) swept Auburn at home.

BRUIN BREWS UP 7 HITS

UCLA's Payton Brennan became the first player in seven years to collect seven hits in a game. He went 7 for 7, including the winning single in the 12th inning, in a 13-12 victory over UC Santa Barbara last Tuesday.

Brennan hit his first career homer, a double and five singles. He entered the game batting .194 with six hits and came out of it batting .342 with 13 hits.

The previous player with seven hits in a game was Eastern Kentucky's Mandy Alvarez, whose big day came against Jacksonville State on May 6, 2016.

JAC OF ALL TRADES

Florida has had to come from behind in all six of its wins in Southeastern Conference play. The latest was Sunday when Jac Caglianone hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Mississippi State 4-3.

Caglianone also pitched a strong 5 2/3 innings before freshman Luke McNellie threw 3 1/3 shutout innings to earn the win.

Cade Kurland's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth Friday gave the Gators a 7-6 win over the Bulldogs and completed a comeback from four runs down in the eighth.

Florida (16-11, 6-3 SEC) has won 16 straight regular-season series at home.

HOT HUSKERS

Nebraska (20-5) will try to match its longest win streak since 2015 when it plays in-state rival Creighton in Omaha on Tuesday night.

The Cornhuskers have won 10 in a row after sweeping Northwestern on the road, and they entered the national rankings Monday at No. 24 by D1Baseball and No. 22 by Baseball America. Cole Evans was 6 for 10 with seven RBIs in the three games, and his 10th inning sacrifice fly produced the tie-breaking run in an 8-7 win Sunday.

CLEANUP SPOT

Kentucky swept Mississippi on the road for the first time in program history. The Wildcats outscored Ole Miss 37-13 and have won 12 of their last 13 games. They also are the only SEC team to record a sweep on the road in league play this season. ... Washington State's Grant Taylor pitched a one-hitter and set a school record with 17 strikeouts in a 4-0 win at Washington on Thursday. Taylor broke the previous record of 16 strikeouts set by John Olerud against Eastern Washington in 1988. ... Louisiana-Lafayette's 11-game win streak is the longest in the country. The Ragin' Cajuns became the first team to sweep a series at Texas State in three years.

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AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports