Showdown of the day:
Freshman Zak Wasserman capped Louisville's four-run ninth inning with a walk-off RBI single to give Louisville a 10-9 win in a back-and-forth contest against rival Kentucky. The Cardinals led 5-4 with two outs in the eighth when nearly untouchable closer Neil Holland was summoned with the bases loaded. Holland got Louisville out of the jam with a strikeout, but Kentucky got to him for five runs in the top of the ninth to take a 9-6 lead. But Louisville responded in the bottom of the frame to split the season series against Kentucky. The game drew a Louisville regular-season-record crowd of 4,039.
• Wichita State over Oklahoma State, 13-7
• Southern Mississippi over South Alabama, 15-5 [...] Continue Reading »
Down the stretch, Tuesday Stock Reports have become a regular feature on the blog, so we might cut back on mailbags in the final month of the regular season and move our player features to Wednesdays. But for now, here is a mailbag to complement the features we posted on two-sport stars Matt Szczur and Kyle Parker.
Due to Boston College's recent success the last two ACC weekends (with sweeps of Wake and NC State on the road) and with perennial NCAA tourney teams Georgia Tech, Florida State, and probable tourney team UConn remaining on their schedule, do you see them making the NCAA tourney?
South Burlington, Vt.
I partly addressed BC's regional hopes in yesterday's Stock Report, which moved the Eagles into the field of 64. Yesterday I wrote this:
"Boston College replaces N.C. State on the bubble after sweeping the Wolfpack in Raleigh this weekend. The Eagles are 12-9 in the league, which is a good thing, but they are just 3-12 against the top 50, which is not. Give BC credit for winning series against Maryland, Wake Forest and N.C. State, but those series won't get the Eagles into regionals. They'll have a chance to rack up some signature wins over the last three weeks of conference play against Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech, but that's also a daunting stretch, and it's easy to envision BC fading. But there are not 64 teams with better resumes at this point, so the Eagles get in, for now." [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
Jr. 2B/OF Phil Gosselin's second-inning grand slam propelled No. 1 Virginia to a 6-3 win against No. 10 Coastal Carolina, snapping the Chanticleers' 17-game winning streak. Fr. RHP Branden Kline (5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) picked up the win for the Cavaliers, who also got strong relief work from Jr. RHPs Tyler Wilson (3 IP, 1 ER) and Kevin Arico (1 IP, 0 H, 0 R).
• No. 17 Oregon over Oregon State, 9-4, in a nonconference version of the Civil War. The Ducks broke open a 2-0 game with five runs in the fourth, capped by Jr. OF Marcus Piazzisi's two-run triple. The Beavers have lost eight of their last nine.
• UCLA over UC Irvine, 4-1, behind a strong start from Sr. RHP Garett Claypool (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).
• No. 13 Cal State Fullerton over No. 24 San Diego, 13-10. The Titans overcame a 10-9 deficit on Carlos Lopez's ninth-inning grand slam down the right-field line.
• Texas Christian over Baylor, 5-4
• New Mexico over Texas Tech, 16-8
Upset of the day:
New Orleans snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 7-4 win at No. 15 Louisiana State, which has now lost four straight. The Privateers came from behind with four runs over the final two innings, led by So. OF Rodarrick Jones (3-for-4, 3 RBI). The win improved New Orleans to 11-29 on the season. [...] Continue Reading »
We deviated from the typical Field of 64 projection last week and focused instead on how the races for national seeds, regional hosts and at-large bids are shaping up. We got good feedback on that format, so let's stick with it.
We'll discuss at-large chances in a bit, but let's start with a look at which teams are on track to earn national seeds and which are on track to host regionals after the first 10 weeks of the season. All Ratings Percentage Index figures come from WarrenNolan.com and are updated through Monday.
SECURE TEAMS: Texas, Virginia, Arizona State, Florida, Arkansas, UCLA
ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Coastal Carolina, South Carolina
ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Louisville, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Louisiana State
Only one change from last week's eight national seeds: Coastal Carolina replaces Georgia Tech. The Chanticleers' 17-game winning streak has helped their RPI climb to No. 4 (and Boyd's World has them at No. 1), and it's hard to envision them stumbling at any point against their Big South schedule. They do have a bad RPI series coming up this weekend against UNC Asheville (234th), but they can negate the damage that series will do to their RPI with a mid-week win at Virginia today. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, is still likely to earn a national seed if it holds on to its current lead in the ACC, but remaining series against North Carolina State and Illinois-Chicago will hurt its RPI, so there is little margin for error. For now, we'll drop them out of the top eight following a home series loss to Virginia Tech.
South Carolina needs to run the table to finish with an RPI in the top eight, according to the very useful RPI Needs Report at Boyd's World, but the Gamecocks should get a national seed even without a top-eight RPI if they hold on to their current lead in the SEC. South Carolina has won its first six conference series, and that should mean more than its No. 18 RPI. [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Cardinal Rules
As recently as April 10, Stanford was just 13-13 overall and 3-5 in the Pacific-10 Conference after losing its second straight game at home to Oregon. The young Cardinal was struggling mightily on the mound and was in danger of falling into a deep hole in the conference with a trip to Oregon State looming the following weekend.
Stanford responded to that adversity with eight consecutive wins, including sweeps of the Beavers and arch-rival California. All of a sudden, the Cardinal is sitting pretty at 10-5 in the Pac-10 (just a game behind first-place Arizona State) and No. 21 in the Ratings Percentage Index, according to Boyd's World.
The series against the then-No. 15 Golden Bears was tightly contested, but freshman third baseman Kenny Diekroeger delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly to give the Cardinal a 3-2 win Friday, then hit a walk-off RBI double to complete a ninth-inning comeback in Sunday's 11-10 win.
"That game was huge, even though we'd already won the series," Diekroeger said of Sunday's thrilling finale. "If we had lost that game, we would have been tied with them in the Pac-10, and now we're two games up on them." [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
The Miami-Florida State series has been the most compelling of the premier showdowns this weekend. Miami came from behind to win Friday, and on Saturday the Seminoles trailed 7-3 after seven innings before rallying to win with five runs in the final two frames. Jr. DH/3B Stuart Tapley (3-for-4, 4 RBI) capped the comeback with a two-run double with the bases loaded in the ninth, giving FSU its first walk-off win of the season.
• Florida over Arkansas, 8-2, to even the series. The Gators chased Hogs starter Brett Eibner in the decisive six-run fourth inning.
• Mississippi swept a doubleheader vs. Louisiana State, 11-9 and 9-8. The first game featured the highly anticipated Anthony Ranaudo-Drew Pomeranz pitching matchup, and it was a colossal dud, due in part to fierce winds gusting out to center field. Ranaudo gave up nine runs on nine hits in 1 2/3 innings, while Pomeranz issued nine walks over three innings, allowing five runs (four earned).
• UCLA over Arizona, 6-2, to clinch the series in Tucson
• Stanford over California, 15-12, to clinch the series in Stanford
• Rice over East Carolina, 3-2, to clinch the series in Houston. ECU starter Seth Maness shut out the Owls into the eighth, but Rice slugger Anthony Rendon erased a 2-0 deficit with a three-run homer against closer Seth Simmons in the eighth.
• Connecticut swept a doubleheader vs. Rutgers, 6-3 and 8-7
• Washington State over Oregon State, 12-4, to clinch the series in Pullman. The free-falling beavers have lost seven straight.
• Oklahoma over Texas A&M, 6-5, to even the series [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
Florida State jumped out to a 4-1 lead and chased Miami starter Chris Hernandez in the fourth inning, but the Hurricanes battled back against FSU ace Sean Gilmartin and pulled out a 6-5 win in Tallahassee. Jr. OF Chris Pelaez put Miami ahead for good with a two-run double in the sixth.
• Arkansas over Florida, 8-3, behind a strong outing from So. LHP Drew Smyly (7 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K). The Razorbacks trailed 2-1 after five innings, then surged ahead with seven runs over the next three frames.
• UCLA over Arizona, 6-3, in 10 innings
• Stanford over California, 3-2
• Texas A&M over Oklahoma, 6-2
• Rice over East Carolina, 20-3. The Pirates had six more errors, giving them 46 in their last 14 games.
• Washington State over Oregon State, 5-1
• North Carolina over Clemson, 5-3
• Connecticut over Rutgers, 7-2
• Florida International over Western Kentucky, 7-6
• Kansas over Texas Tech, 10-2
• Elon over College of Charleston, 14-3
• Georgia Southern over Western Carolina, 11-4
• Texas State over Northwestern State, 5-3
• Note: the much-anticipated showdown between LSU's Anthony Ranaudo and Mississippi's Drew Pomeranz was postponed by rain.
Upset of the day:
Virginia Tech's Justin Wright (8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) outlasted Georgia Tech's Deck McGuire (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), and the Hokies broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the 11th to earn a 3-1 win in Atlanta. Submariner Ben Rowen picked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two hits. The win jumped the Hokies into the top 40 in the Ratings Percentage Index; their at-large chances are in very good shape. [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day
Louisville completed its second straight season sweep of Western Kentucky with a 7-4 win. Sr. 1B Andrew Clark and So. 2B Ryan Wright had three hits apiece for the Cardinals. Louisville improved to 30-6 with the victory, becoming the fastest team in school history to reach the 30-win mark.
• North Carolina State over East Carolina, 8-6, in an ugly game that featured six errors by each team.
• California over Pacific, 13-6
• Vanderbilt over Middle Tennessee State, 11-10
• Coastal Carolina over UNC Wilmington, 8-4
• Louisiana State over Northwestern State, 8-6
• Texas State over Baylor, 9-3
Upset of the day
Akron knocked off Big Ten leader Ohio State, 10-7, in Columbus. It was Akron's first win at Ohio State since 2008. [...] Continue Reading »
Arizona State announced self-imposed sanctions today for NCAA rules violations by its baseball program, stemming from a two-plus-year investigation. The penalties will include vacating wins in 2007 and reducing scholarships and prospect visits over the next two years. In August, Arizona State will appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which could accept the self-imposed penalties or add others. The Arizona Republic reports that the school could be subject to a repeat violation penalty by the NCAA because it remains under probation for football sanctions in 2005.
The Republic reported that the Sun Devils will vacate 44 of their 49 wins and postseason honors from the 2007 season, when ASU reached the College World Series. The school will conduct annual audits of phone calls during any term of probation set by the NCAA, prohibit phone calls during July 2010 and July 2011, reduce the number of permitted prospect visits from 25 to nine for 2010-11 and reduce scholarships by two no later than the 2011-12 school year. [...] Continue Reading »
Vanderbilt lefthander Corey Williams has gotten ESPY buzz for his spectacular play after a line drive shattered his kneecap a few weeks ago. Yesterday, Fordham's Brian Kownacki delivered another play of the year nominee in a 12-9 win against Iona. Watch Kownacki leap entirely over the catcher on this play at the plate in the eighth inning.
One other note to pass along. As I posted on Twitter, Rice coach Wayne Graham said today that the Owls are finally going to move preseason All-American Rich Hague off shortstop following his four-error performance yesterday against Texas A&M. Hague now has 22 errors on the season. He will likely DH this weekend, and first baseman Jimmy Comerota will slide to short. I'll have more on the Owls in Weekend Preview tomorrow.
On to this week's mailbag:
James Madison closer Kevin Munson had a dominant weekend against a good UNC Wilmington team and improved his season numbers to 6-0, 0.76, 6 saves, 35 innings, 51 K, 17 BB, and .150 opponents' average. What are you hearing on his current projection for the June draft or possible All-America consideration?
In a great year for college closers, Munson has been largely overshadowed by the likes of Chance Ruffin, Matty Ott, John Stilson, Neil Holland, Dan Klein and Kevin Chapman. But Munson's season stacks up well with any of them, and so does his stuff. [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day
No. 17 Arizona won a midweek rivalry game at No. 1 Arizona State, 4-2. Fr. 2B Robert Refsnyder went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the young Wildcats, and Jr. RHP Daniel Workman (6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) settled down after ASU's two-run second inning to pick up the win. It was an emergency start for Workman, who hadn't pitched since March 23. He got the call 20 minutes prior to first pitch when scheduled starter Cory Bernard felt pain in his arm while warming up in the bullpen.
• No. 24 Oklahoma over No. 11 Texas Christian, 8-3, giving the Sooners a season sweep over the Horned Frogs for the third straight year. If both teams are competing for a regional hosting spot, Oklahoma's 2-0 record against TCU could loom large.
• Kansas State over Wichita State, 7-4, giving the Wildcats their second straight season sweep of the Shockers. The game drew 7,217 fans, the largest regular-season crowd in the history of Wichita's Eck Stadium.
• Tulane over Southeastern Louisiana, 6-0. Rob Segedin got Tulane off and running with a three-run homer in the first, his ninth long ball of the year.
• Western Kentucky over Kentucky, 24-8, in front of 6,183, the largest crowd ever to attend a WKU home game. The Hilltoppers scored 16 runs in the second inning before Kentucky even recorded an out.
• Texas A&M over Rice, 7-1
• Creighton over Nebraska, 8-5, at Rosenblatt Stadium [...] Continue Reading »
Let's take a look at how the NCAA tournament picture is shaping up, focusing on who's in and who's out as opposed to where everyone gets sent.
We'll discuss at-large chances in a bit, but let's start with a look at which teams are on track to earn national seeds and which are on track to host regionals after the first nine weeks of the season:
SECURE TEAMS: Arizona State, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, UCLA
ON THE BUBBLE (IN): Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Florida
ON THE BUBBLE (OUT): Louisiana State, Florida State, Louisville, Coastal Carolina, Miami
Of the eight national seeds, five seem likely to come from the ACC and SEC, with Virginia and Arkansas as the two safest bets. Softer nonconference schedules hurt Georgia Tech and South Carolina, but the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC (and have a three-game cushion over Florida State), so we'll give them the nod over the Seminoles and Hurricanes.
In the SEC, let's take South Carolina, which has won its first five conference series, and Florida, which has lost just one series all year, over LSU, which has lost two series. The Gators are the shakiest team in this picture, but they have played a considerably tougher schedule than LSU, and their series win at Miami is the deciding factor in their favor.
Louisville is the non-power-conference team with the best shot at a national seed, but the Cardinals must win the Big East regular-season and tournament titles. Currently, they are a game behind Rutgers and Connecticut in the standings. [...] Continue Reading »
Air Force announced Monday evening that Maj. Mike Kazlausky has been named interim head baseball coach for the 2011 season. Kazlausky, who is currently an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) for cadet squadron 12 at the Academy, will assume his duties at the end of the current baseball season. He'll take over for Mike Hutcheon, who announced this weekend that he will resign at the end of the season.
Kazlausky is a 1991 Air Force graduate who has logged six years as an assistant coach for the Falcons. He arrived at Air Force as a walk-on and started for four years. A two-time all-Western Athletic Conference selection, Kazlausky held eight career school records at the time of his graduation.
From 1993-95, Kazlausky served as an assistant coach to former Falcon head coach Paul Mainieri, now the coach at Louisiana State. During that period, the Falcons posted three consecutive winning seasons. After leaving the Academy in the summer of 1995, Kazlausky spent four years at Charleston (S.C.) Air Force Base as a pilot in the C-17 aircraft. Kazlausky returned for two more stints as an Air Force assistant in 2000-04 and 2006-08.
“I’m very pleased to have Kaz take over as our baseball coach," said Dr. Hans Mueh, Air Force's director of athletics. "He has demonstrated a great knowledge of the game as both a player and assistant coach and I’m confident he’ll continue to do so as our head coach. He has shown great leadership ability, not only in athletics, but also in his current role as an AOC and I think our athletes and fans will immediately take to that. I’m excited about that and the enthusiasm that he’ll bring to Air Force baseball.”
Eric Campbell, USA Baseball's general manager of national teams, lauded the Kazlausky hire. Kazlausky played for Campbell when he was an assistant to Mainieri, worked with Campbell as an assistant and has done some work with USA Baseball.
"It’s great to see Kaz back with the baseball program at Air Force," Campbell said in an e-mail. "As one of its all-time great players and an assistant coach to four different head coaches, no one person associated with the Air Force Academy understands the needs of the baseball program moving forward as well as Kaz."
Strike One: Quack Attack
The biggest story in college baseball right now is the incredible rise of Oregon, which is on track to reach regionals in just the second season since the program was started from scratch after a 28-year hiatus. The Ducks made it clear from the outset that they intended to compete quickly—they spent loads of money to hire one of the nation's best coaches in George Horton and to build a sparkling new stadium—but year one was bitterly disappointing. Oregon went 14-42 in 2009 and just 4-23 in the Pacific-10 Conference, a performance that tempered expectations heading into this spring.
But after winning back-to-back road series against ranked conference foes Stanford and UCLA, the Ducks are sitting pretty at 23-12 (6-6 in the Pac-10). After knocking the Bruins out of the No. 1 spot in the rankings, Oregon finds itself ranked 18th in the nation.
"I think we're worthy of that, I honestly do," Horton said of being ranked. "I'm really proud of my guys. I think we are a Top 25 team. It's been a miraculous—growth spurt, I guess would be the best way to say it. We really closed the gap in a hurry. We've still got some holes, but I don't know if I've ever been around a group that has grown that much in a year. [...] Continue Reading »
Air Force coach Mike Hutcheon will resign at the end of this season, concluding a rocky seven-year tenure marked by futility on the field and controversy off it.
The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette, which first reported this story on Friday night, summarized Hutcheon's tumultuous run very well in this piece. The Falcons dropped three of four this weekend at Georgia State to fall to 8-28 on the season, dropping Hutcheon's record at the school to 73-273. Air Force is also 13-143 in Mountain West Conference play.
A week ago, Air Force suspended five players for violation of academy standards. Earlier in the season, two players were dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons.
Hutcheon will be reassigned within the athletic department for the remaining two years of his contract.
“It is important to note that this was a personal decision to leave the program and I never felt pressure in any way from the administration," Hutcheon said in a release. "I simply feel that the timing is right to step down and allow someone to take this program to the level we have all been working for these past six years. I would like to thank the senior staff and athletic director Hans Mueh for all of the support they have shown to me and my family.”
Showdown of the day:
South Carolina outlasted Drew Pomeranz, breaking a scoreless tie with five runs in the eighth against the Mississippi bullpen to win 5-0. Sr. RHP Blake Cooper was masterful for the Gamecocks (more on him below).
• Virginia over Virginia Tech, 4-2
• Texas over Texas A&M, 4-3
• Geogia Tech over Clemson, 8-6
• Louisiana State over Alabama, 12-5
• Florida over Kentucky, 10-8
• Miami over North Carolina, 7-5
• Vanderbilt over Auburn, 11-6
• Southeastern Louisiana over Texas State, 10-1
Upset of the day:
Oregon handed UCLA flame-thrower Gerrit Cole his first loss of the year. The visiting Ducks jumped out to a 4-0 lead through 2 1/2 nnings and held on for a 5-4 win against the top-ranked Bruins. So. RHP Scott McGough (4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K) picked up the win in relief. [...] Continue Reading »
Aaron Fitt reports via Twitter that Cal State Fullerton ace sophomore Noe Ramirez will miss this weekend's series against UC Santa Barbara after being injured in practice Wednesday. Ramirez was hit in the face by a line drive and also broke his left hand when he fell.
According to a Fullerton press release, Ramirez was doing his conditioning during batting practice on the warning track at Goodwin Field when a batted ball headed his way. Ramirez looked up to find it and was struck in the face, and while he wasn't injured by the ball, the resulting fall to the ground caused the small fracture to the pitcher's glove hand/wrist area.
Coach Dave Serrano told Aaron, "We will overcome." That starts with Kyle Mertins, who has been a revelation on Sundays as the team's third starter, moving into the Friday slot. Mertins, a senior whose older brother Kurt is an infielder in the Royals system, leads the team in ERA and is 3-1, 2.15 overall.
However, it's hard to underestimate Ramirez's value to the Titans, as he leads the team in innings pitched and strikeouts while going 5-1, 3.24 with 66 whiffs in 58 innings. Serrano did say in the press release that Ramirez could be available out of Fullerton's bullpen this weekend. [...] Continue Reading »
A death in the family has thrown my schedule out of whack, so we'll have to do without the daily highlights this week. Let's get right to the mailbag:
With a big series win over LSU, where do you see Auburn going the second half of the SEC season? They have three tough road series at Vanderbilt, at Arkansas, and at Ole Miss, and three fairly easy home series against Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Kentucky. Do you see them grabbing a road series?
The Tigers made a huge statement with their first home series win against Louisiana State since 1998. All of a sudden, Auburn is 7-5 in the Southeastern Conference, ranked No. 23 in the nation and in good position to end a six-year SEC tournament drought and a five-year regionals drought. Don't underestimate the motivational power of those droughts.
"People talk about it all the time—we haven't been to the SEC tournament," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. "That's something they carry with them all the time, and they're working extremely hard to get us there. When you look at our team, we're the underdogs. We kind of like that role, and these guys are playing with a big chip on their shoulder. They haven't tasted success the way they'd hoped and expected." [...] Continue Reading »
Strike One: Stock Report
A lot can change in a weekend of college baseball. We rolled out our midseason Field of 64 projection last week, and already it is obsolete. Rather than redo the entire field today, let's take a look at some of the teams whose stock has risen or fallen since last week's projection.
• South Carolina was a No. 2 seed in the Clemson Regional in last week's projection, but South Carolina now looks like the more secure team in the Palmetto State when it comes to hosting ambitions. After winning a big road series at Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks have won their first four SEC series for the first time ever and are tied with Arkansas for the best record in the league (9-3).
• Oregon was omitted from last week's field after losing their first two conference series, with road series at Stanford and UCLA looming. Well, Oregon took care of business in the first of those two series, taking two of three at Stanford. The Ducks rank 28th in the the Ratings Percentage Index according to boydsworld.com, and if they finish in the middle of the Pacific-10 Conference somewhere, they should get an at-large bid in their second season since the program was reinstated. [...] Continue Reading »
Showdown of the day:
No. 3 UCLA evened its series against No. 17 Oregon State with a 3-1 win in 16 innings. So. C Steve Rodriguez went 4-for-8 for UCLA and broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run single in the top of the 16th. So. RHP Trevor Bauer (7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) gave the Bruins a strong start, and Sr. RHP Garrett Claypool (4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) was brilliant in relief to pick up the win.
• Georgia Tech stormed back from an early 5-0 deficit to even its series against Virginia, 9-7
• Miami over Virginia Tech, 9-2
• Vanderbilt over South Carolina, 8-2
• Cal State Fullerton over UC Irvine, 6-3
• Kentucky over alabama, 8-2
• Oregon over Stanford, 9-6, in the first game of a doubleheader, clinching the series for the Ducks
• Stanford over Oregon, 2-1, in the nightcap
• Rice over Tulane, 11-8, evening the series
• Texas over Kansas, 3-1 [...] Continue Reading »
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog