5 performances that stood out at MLB4 Tournament

February 21st, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The opening weekend of the 2022 college baseball season brought plenty of excitement, and the MLB4 Tournament was no exception. After the '21 edition of this event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament -- which features six games between four top Division I programs -- was thrilling from start to finish.

The participating schools played one game against each of the other three programs, with all the action being held at Salt River Fields, the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies. Cal went 3-0, as it notched victories over TCU (2-1), San Diego State (1-2) and Houston (0-3).

Here are five players whose performances stood out at the 2022 MLB4 Tournament, along with their weekend stats.

Cal C Cole Elvis -- 7-for-13 with one homer, two doubles, one walk and five RBIs
Elvis left the ballpark on Sunday afternoon, blasting a go-ahead three-run home run in the fifth inning to lift Cal to a 6-3 win over San Diego State in the final game of the weekend. The Golden Bears' senior catcher connected on a 2-0 curveball from Aztecs right-hander Ricky Tibbett, sending it a Statcast-projected 403 feet over the left-field wall.

"I was hunting the fastball and saw it pop up, took a hack," Elvis said. "It felt awesome. The two guys had great at-bats right before to get on and seeing them, especially [Caleb] Lomavita, two-strike hit, staying comfortable, it definitely helped me when I got in there. Saw the first two balls and I knew he had to come to me."

It was a big weekend for Elvis, who had at least two hits and one RBI in each of Cal's three victories. Now, he and the Golden Bears will look to ride the momentum from an impressive showing at the MLB4 Tournament.

"We're pumped, this is the hottest we've started off in a while," Elvis said. "But we've got, what, 52 more? It's all about those ones right there, you've got to just be where your feet are."

TCU 3B Brayden Taylor -- 7-for-11 with two doubles, four walks, four RBIs and five runs scored
After being named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year during an impressive debut season in 2021, Taylor is expected to be one of the catalysts for TCU's offense again in '22. That's exactly what he was over the weekend, collecting multiple hits in each of the Horned Frogs' three games and finishing with a 3-for-4 showing in Sunday's 10-0 win over Houston.

Taylor's biggest hit came in the ninth inning of Friday's win over San Diego State. He tied the game by ripping a one-out RBI double to right field, fueling a three-run rally that lifted the Horned Frogs to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory.

"That says a lot about our ballclub," TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos said. "It's a really good sign."

And Taylor's weekend showing is a great sign that he's poised to build off his impressive freshman campaign.

Cal RHP Josh White -- 5 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts
White recorded the most strikeouts of any pitcher at the MLB4 Tournament, reaching double digits in his strong outing during Cal's 4-2, 10-inning win over Houston on Friday afternoon. The junior right-hander threw 76 pitches (51 strikes) and allowed only three hits and two walks.

"To give us 5 1/3 zeros with a lot of strikeouts, but still stay efficient, I thought it was an unbelievable job," Golden Bears head coach Mike Neu said. "And he made some big pitches when he needed to in some big spots."

White posted a 2.79 ERA in 16 games (five starts) for Cal in 2021, earning an All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection. This year, he'll be anchoring the Golden Bears' rotation and will look to build off his stellar first outing, during which his fastball touched 94.7 mph, per Statcast. He used his effective breaking stuff to put away Houston hitters, ending eight of his 10 strikeouts with an offspeed pitch.

Houston RHP Nathan Medrano -- Seven innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts
On the other side of White's strong start for Cal was another stellar pitching performance. Medrano limited the Golden Bears' offense for much of Friday's game, holding them to three hits and a walk during his outing. The junior right-hander didn't allow a run until the seventh, when he gave up back-to-back one-out doubles to Lomavita and Elvis.

Medrano retired nine of the first 10 Cal batters he faced, as Elvis' one-out single in the second was the only hit that he yielded over the first six frames.

It was Medrano's debut for the Cougars, as he transferred after spending the 2019 and '20 seasons at St. Edwards and the '21 campaign at Temple College. He'll now look to provide a steady presence at the top of Houston's rotation throughout this season.

San Diego State SS Caden Miller -- 4-for-12 with one RBI, one walk and two runs scored
The Aztecs lost some key position players from last year's lineup, but they returned Miller, who has picked up where he left off in 2021. The redshirt sophomore shortstop had a hit in each of their three games this weekend, which included a 2-for-3 showing in Saturday night's 4-3 win over Houston.

Miller had a game-tying RBI single in the fifth inning of that victory, igniting a three-run rally for San Diego State. He also scored a pair of runs and reached base three times.

After hitting .345/.464/.426 in 44 games last season, Miller appears poised to be an effective leadoff hitter for the Aztecs in 2022.