I gotta give props to the Baylor Bears. Those dudes are total bad-asses. I don’t think anyone saw them winning all three games against Texas A&M. Not a soulâ€¦ well, maybe everyone except me, since I seemed to be the only one out there to have them No. 1 in the rankings. Also, huge props to Kentucky, Florida, Florida State, Stanford and yes, even Central Florida for having huge weekends and putting themselves into good position for the post-season. See, we have to start thinking about the post-season here people, even though we’ve still got a month to go.
Let’s take a look around the country on this Earth Day weekend Sunday.
The best of the day in college baseball.
How huge-o-balls do the Bears got right now? Holy crap! The Bears complete the weekend sweep of Texas A&M with today’s 7-5 win. I couldn’t put anyone else in this position, ‘coz BU was so spot-on all weekend. And plus they make me look like some big swingin’ Johnson by having them No. 1 in my Power Rankings while everyone else had them as far down as No. 17. Egad! (Sorry, self-induced mini-rant there). The Bears also have a Big 12 record 18-game in-conference win streak and a conference-best 24-game win streak overall.
2- FLORIDA AND KENTUCKY.
The SEC heavies from the Eastern Division maintained their big dog status in the Southern monster-conference with wins over Georgia and LSU today.
The Gators got a return to the mound from Hudson Randall, who had sat out the last three weeks due to the dreaded “tired arm” syndrome. He went 3.0 innings and wasn’t quite at top form yet, giving up three hits and one run. Also going to the hill for the Gators was Karston Whitson, who had just 11 innings of work so far this season due to some shoulder problems. Whitson got the win despite pitching just 0.2 innings and giving up two hits. The offense overcame a brief Georgia lead and posted four runs in the 6th inning, keyed by a 3-run bomb from Daniel Pigott to put the Dogs away for good.
In the rubber game in Lexington, the Bat Cats should be given high praise for winning the kind of series they wouldn’t have won the last few years. Today, the Big Blue prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with the potent Tigers, even overcoming Raph Rhymes and his 4-for-4 day which put his season batting average at an even .500. The Cats got the winning runs in the 6th inning as they busted out with four doubles in the inning, the last one coming from Austin Cousino to supply the 7th run of the game for UK.
By winning their respective series this weekend, both Kentucky and Florida sit pretty solid for national seed status. Though there is a lot of baseball left to play.
3- ST. JOHN’S KYLE HANSEN.
I think we’ve all been waiting for the Red Storm strapping hurler to get out of his significant rut. Looks like a game against Cincinnati was all it took, since he seems to have career days vs. the Bearcats. But coming into today, Hansen was just 1-5 and 4.87 so far this season. Today, he busted out by getting a career-high 16Ks in the 9-0 win at Cincinnati. In four career starts vs. Cincy, Hansen is now 3-0, 1.18 with 46Ks in 30 innings.
- Those non-hostile and non-abusive Seminoles.
Florida State played the old game of “anything you can do, I can do better” with in-state rival Florida as they beat MiamiÂ 8-7 in come-from-behind fashion in 10 innings. With the win the Noles sweep their rivals from Coral Gables and take a huge step toward earning a top 8 national seed. The Garnet and Gold also now lead the Atlantic Division by a hearty six-games. Wow.
- The Gera Monster.
New Mexico starter Gera Sanchez had a stout day today, going 8.0 innings and giving up just six hits and striking out 10 to help the Lobos to a 2-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Sanchez is now 5-1 and probably the biggest key to the Lobo success as far as making the post-season goes.
- Cooper gets #250, Wright State stays on top.
Wright State downed Illinois-Chicago 4-3 to win the rubber match of their three game series in Horizon League play to give head coach Rob Cooper his 250th career win. Michael Schum came in to get the Raiders out of a 1st-and-3rd position with a pair of strikeouts in the 8th inning. He also picked up his 10th save of the season and school record-tying 34th save of his career.
- Effectively Wild.
Keeping pace with Wright State in the Horizon League, Valparaiso’s Kevin Wild was anything but his namesake today, throwing a complete-game four-hitter in a 1-0 win over Butler, helping VU improve to 9-6 in HL play.
- Ard goes yard, twice.
Washington State was able to pull off a stunning series upset at Oregon with today’s 10-6 win at PK Park. Taylor Ard homered twice in the game, driving in half of the Cougars runs to pull off the win. With the two-to-one series victory, Wazzu improves to 20-16 and 7-7 in Pac 12 play. Oregon, perhaps “reading their headlines” as coach Horton told me in this week’s ESPN.com interview, drops to 27-12 and 11-7, which is tied with UCLA
- The Husker Faithful.
Today’s Haymarket Park crowd was 6,014 for the Purdue-Nebraska game. That brings the three-day total or the series to 16,969â€¦ in other words, crowds they type of which the Big 10 isn’t used to seeing. I like how the influx of the Big Red shows the Big 10 how big time baseball can be with a good fan following.
- The Purdue Stamina.
Despite the huge crowds all weekend long, the Boilermakers didn’t flinch, including today where they pulled out an 8-3 win to earn the series victory two games to one. Barrett Serrato and David Miller both went yard and accounted for half of the PU runs in the game. Nick Wittgren picked up his 9th save of the season with 3.2 innings of 3-hit, no-run work. The two of three Purdue won helped the Boilers to maintain their perch atop the Big 10 at 12-3.
- The series I forgot.
Give a big thumb down to me. Go ahead. I’ll letcha. In my ESPN preview I totally forgot to mention one of the most important weekend series that I should’ve expounded upon… the Dallas Baptist-Indiana State series. Two huge mid-major teams that faced off this weekend in Terre Haute. A large pat on the back to ISU for taking two of three in this showdown, including today’s 7-5 win. The Sycamores were out-hit 15-10 but didn’t commit a single error and walked only one to make fewer mistakes and win the getaway game. DBU came into the weekend with a No. 33 RPI and ISU at No. 56, so this was a huge weekend win for Larry Bird U.
The worst of the day in college baseball.
1- KENTON PARMLEY’S STREAK ENDS.
The Southeast Missouri leadoff-hitter extraordinaire saw his hit streak end at 47 games in today’s 3-1 win over Tennessee Tech. His 47 games is tied with Wichita State’s Phil Stephenson for the 3rd-longest streak in D1 history. During his 47-game streak, he had 25 multi-hit games and nine three-hit games.
2- SOME OTHER STREAKS ENDED.
- After their usual tough start to the season, Maine caught fire and had a 14-game win streak going, including scoring run totals of 32, 18, 17, 11 and 10 in that stretch. But today against Binghamton, the Black Bears lost twice by 6-0 and 2-1 scores, getting just four hits in each game.
- TCU had caught fire as well lately, winning nine straight games and had a one-game lead on New Mexico in the Mountain West. But today, the Frogs got caught in the Aztec trap, losing 5-3 to San Diego State on Montezuma Mesa.
3- UCLA and OREGON
Both teams had a chance to capitalize on an Arizona loss, but instead stayed a game off the pace of top dog Wildcats in the Pac 12 standings with losses to Oregon State and Washington State respectively.
The Bruins had a better than average chance of pulling out a vital series win at Oregon State, but allowed five unearned runs on the strength of three errors, five walks, two hit-batsmen and three passed balls in a 7-6 loss in Corvallis today. The Bruins out-hit the Beavers 12-5, and even laced relievers Matt Boyd and Tony Bryant for eight hits and three runs in 2.2 innings of work, but still lost the game.
The Ducks were stunned for the second time this weekend by the Cougars of the Palouse, this time by a 10-6 score. And the game really wasn’t as close as the score indicates either as the Ducks scored four runs in the last two innings. As mentioned above, Taylor Ard was a huge culprit, slamming a pair of yard calls.
- Eaters starve after no-hitter.
For the second straight year, UC Irvine lost a series to Long Beach State after no-hitting the Dirtbags in the Friday lidlifter. Today, UCI dropped a 5-4 decision to the Beach, coupled with Saturday’s 4-3 loss, clinching another frustrating series loss for the Anteaters. As noted on Friday, UCI’s weekend got off to a rousing start with Andrew Thurman’s no-hitter in game one’s 4-0 win.
- The Hurons crumble.
Eastern Michigan came into this weekend leading the Western Division of the MAC and went to play at last place Ball State. But for the second straight day, the Eagles found themselves getting dropped by the Cardinals, today by a 5-4 score. And today’s loss was particularly troubling, coming on a wild pitch in the 10th inning, which allowed BSU’s Brandon Estep to score from 3rd base.
- Some post-season resumes take a hit.
Tulane (No. 76 in RPI) lost all three games to UCF and will now undoubtedly need to win the Conference USA tournament in order to make the Big Dance. Even one win would’ve helped, but to drop all three?â€¦ oof.
Ohio State’s resume also dropped a good bit on Sunday as well. The Buckeyes entered the weekend at No. 38 in the RPI, but after losing two of three to Illinois this weekend, the Bucks have now dipped down to No. 57. (Though that might change once Boyd Nation updates his pseudo-RPI rankings on Monday morning). Either way, the Buckeyes drop to 22-18 overall and will have a lot of work to do to get back into the at-large discussion.
And how have we gone this far into the Sunday wrap-up without talking about Miami? The Hurricanes got punked in all three games at Florida State and thus saw their RPI plummet out of the top 16 status. After losing all six matchups with Florida and Florida State, it’s obvious that the Canes will now have to travel in the month of June. Today’s 8-7, 10-inning loss to the Noles saw them blow a 7-4 lead.
Okay, I’ve gotta go hit the rack and then wake up early to get crankin’ on my no-bullshit Power Rankings which will be released on Tuesday morning. Who do YOU think should go into the No. 1 spot? Go ahead, lemme know what you think.