Upsets are inevitable in conference tournaments, but this one was a shocker at the Conference USA tournament. Top-seeded Rice was stunned by eighth-seeded Alabama-Birmingham, 8-2. Rice junior righthander Matt Langwell allowed four runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings, and UAB broke it open with three runs in the sixth against Bryan Price. Of course, if any team has enough arms to make a run through the loser’s bracket, it’s Rice.
The top seed also went down in the Southeastern Conference tournament, as Mississippi beat Georgia 4-1. The Rebels got the performance they’ve been waiting for all year from ace righthander Lance Lynn, who struck out 12 and allowed just one run over 6 2/3 innings. Lynn and Scott Bittle combined to strike out 16 Bulldogs while yielding just four hits. If Cody Satterwhite can follow Lynn’s lead and pitch up to his potential this week, Ole Miss will have a great chance to win this tournament. And the Rebels will be extremely dangerous in the NCAA tournament, because they are one of the most talented teams in the nation.
The top three seeds all went down in the Big 12 tournament. Top-seeded Texas A&M’s recent slide continued, as the Aggies mustered just five hits in a 4-1 loss to Oklahoma, the seventh consecutive defeat for the Aggies. The Sooners are a long shot for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament no matter how many big wins they rack up this weekend because of their 9-17 conference record during the regular season, but their 41 RPI gives them a shot if they can reach the Big 12 title game. No. 2 seed Oklahoma State dropped a 3-2 decision to Kansas State, and third-seeded Nebraska lost 10-4 to Baylor. The Bears have work to do to get an at-large bid after going 11-16 in the regular season, but Wednesday’s win was a big first step.
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