. Day three of the Super Regionals sees two more teams run their tickets to Omaha through the scanning machine with the new downtown stadium as the final destination. Big props to Texas Tech and Vanderbilt for adding their names to the 2014 College World Series roster today.
We’re 7/16ths of the way there people. Yep, seven of the 16 slots reserved for the Super Regionals (still a dumb name) have been secured. Hopefully the remaining nine spots will be filled on Monday… that is, unless Mother Nature keeps being a freakin’ jerk.
I can’t start with anything else here besides that record-setting crowd in Omaha for today’s Big 10 title tilt. Indiana may have won the game and Nebraska given them a run for the money, but the REAL story of the day is the 19,965 fans which filed through the turnstiles today to see this game and give it a College World Series atmosphere.
The 19,965 was the largest conference tournament crowd to ever. The fact that it came from a Big 10 conference game was pretty remarkable too. Great atmosphere. High-pressure stakes. Incredible day in downtown Omaha.
I dig it, man.
With yesterday’s Ivy League Playoffs ending after two games, I rubbed my eyes increduously and couldn’t believe my luck. It gave me the chance to see my hometown Creighton Bluejays play at St. John’s in a battle of first place teams in the Big East.
And since Creighton is the best baseball program in the history of the sport, I jumped at the chance. Hop a subway, walk a mile and get to take in some Big East baseball. It’s a win-win-win boys and girls.
After traveling thousands of miles for games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it was time to go just 1.2 miles for today’s game; The Pepperdine-at-LMU game three.
The Ouch List.
It’s getting more and more painful as we go people. Medics, get the electric paddles ready, there are some teams that are lying on the gurney and in need of a shock and jump-start. Even though it may be too late for some.
Here is this week’s Ouch List.
Swept in three games at home vs. Mississippi State, getting outscored 18-1.
Why it hurts:
Auburn was pretty shaky coming in anyway, sitting at No. 48 in the RPI. After two losses and going into Sunday’s finale the Plainsmen were shoved down to No. 63. It’ll only get worse when Boyd releases a new list tomorrow. In other words, it may be time to put dirt on their post-season hopes.
2- UC Santa Barbara
Winless in three games at UCI.
Why it hurts:
The Gauchos were a little shaky in the RPI, sitting at No. 50 entering the weekend. After three straight losses to the Anteaters, their RPI will fall out of at-large consideration. This despite the fact that the Big West is notoriously under-estimated in the much-hated RPI rankings.
3- Texas Tech
A rather stunning 0-3 performance at Kansas
Why it hurts:
Be it correct or not, Tech entered the weekend on the fringe of arguing for a National Seed with a No. 10 RPI. The first two losses saw the Red Raiders drop to No. 14. In addition, they also dropped below Kansas in the Big 12 standings, falling to fifth place at 11-10.
4- Arizona State
0-for-3 in a non-conference series at Oklahoma State
Why if hurts:
Considering they were playing a Top 40 RPI team this week, the Sun Devils have slowly dipped down into the 40s. On top of that, they fall to 24-20 overall. But this is the Pac 12 we’re talking about, so redemption is just a week away, as they’ll host Oregon net weekend.
Lost all three games to Florida in Tuscaloosa.
Why it hurts:
Winning a game or two over the No. 3 RPI team in the country would’ve helped their chances at getting into the No. 1 seeding discussion. But three straight losses is a top-seed killer. The three game sweep also showed the Tide isn’t quite up to snuff with the top of the SEC… at least not yet.
6- Utah’s pitching staff.
The Utes lost all three games to visiting Washington, which isn’t a big surprise. But to give up 40 runs on 46 hits? Aye-yaye-yaye. The Huskies lost Sunday’s Arena ball-fest 21-17.
7- Sunday baseball.
Result: Speaking of Arena Football-style scores, day was the triumphant return of what we used to see in college baseball in 2008 or 2009 before the much-needed bat changes came around.
Why it hurts:
Because it’s a bummer to see scores like this…
- Florida 13, Alabama 3
- TCU 21, Kansas State 7
- Pepperdine 16, LMU 3
- Oklahoma State 14, Arizona State 12
- Washington 21, Utah 17
- Pitt 16, Boston College 11
- Florida Gulf Coast 22, Northern Kentucky 13
- Illinois 11, Michigan State 10
- Illinois State 22, Western Illinois 4
- Eastern Kentucky 17, Eastern Illinois 11
- Samford 14, UNC-Greensboro 7
- Sam Houston State 16, Stephen F. Austin 7
Lost the one-game playoff for the Rolfe Division of the Ivy League at Dartmouth 11-4.
Why it hurts:
The Bulldogs were looking for their first Rolfe Division title in 19 years. And after leading the division the entire season, they lost the one-game playoff at Dartmouth, 11-4, assuring they will go without hardware for another season.
Lost two of three in College Station to Texas A&M.
Why it hurts:
The Tigers losing two games at Texas A&M isn’t a total shock, but it is a small tremor on the college baseball landscape. What is even bigger though is the fact that the Bayou Bengals are one amazing outfield catch away from being swept by the Aggies, who have been a little on the “meh” side of baseball this year.
Here’s THE catch of the year in college baseball so far:
Click your mouse here to see Jared Foster’s incredible white-man-CAN-jump catch.
10- Bad Uniforms.
That whole one-shot specialty uniform is getting out of hand. Every team has a fatigues uniform to honor the armed forces. But the problem is we’ve seen them all now, so we can move onto another uni style. And the pink uniforms? Fuggedaboutit! Every one in sound mind and body knows about breast cancer awareness by now. But here is Indiana’s idea of a throwback uniform, very spot-on, even though it’s got to be uncomfortable wit 3/4s sleeves and rising temperatures.
WHAT I SAW AT PAGE STADIUM
Have to admit, I came home from my early morning flight from Houston and ended up having a complete crash, napping until well after the Pepperdine-LMU game had started. So I shook the cobwebs outta my brain and got on my bicycle to make it to the wicked-beautiful Loyola campus for the last few innings.
P’dine – 090 102 220 – 16 15 1
L.M.U. – 000 000 012 - 3 9 2
WP: Aaron Brown, 9-1
LP: J.D. Busfield, 0-1
- Austin Davidson, 3-for-6, 2RBI
- Aaron Brown, 1-for-3, HR
- Brandon Caruso, 1-for-2, 3RBI
- Tommy Cheek, 2-for-4, RBI
- Kevin Garcia, 2-for-4
- Pepperdine: 32-12, 15-6 WCC
- LMU: 28-20, 15-9 WCC
IN A NUTSHELL:
Okay, so because I was having a much-needed visit from the Sandman, I missed the brunt of the story as Pepperdine pushed across nine runs in the second inning alone to turn this one into a boat race. And this was a game the Waves really needed, having come into Sunday on a three-game losing streak and seeing their RPI drop from No. 38 going into the weekend, down to No. 41 on Sunday morning.
Aaron Brown was one of the many heroes for the Waves, having gone 7.0 innings and giving up just five hits and no runs on the mound, and then having smashed a 4th inning solo home run as part of a 1-for-3, three runs scored kind of day. Fellow partner in crime 1Bman Brad Anderson went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, a bases-loaded walk and a double to help pace the 15-hit attack from the usually light-hitting Waves.
Chris Fornaci added a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the 8th inning as part of a 1-for-1 day. Eleven of the 16 players to take a bat to the dish ended up with a hit today as Pepperdine never stopped racking up the offense.
Caught up with Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez after the game. And as I like to do, it’s cool to point out the Waves head coach also once blasted a grand slam off of Texas All American Brooks Kischnick at the 1992 College World Series as Pepperdine won the national title
Anyway, here’s what the Waves big kahuna had to say about today’s game vs. LMU.
- On the previous two losses in this series
“Well first off, LMU is a really good team. Make no mistake about that. They were just really close games both days and it seemed when we got up to the plate with the bases loaded or runners in scoring position, we just couldn’t get that key hit. Today we did.”
- On what he told his team before today’s game:
“I just told them to play their game. They don’t need to change anything, other than to be a little more aggressive at the plate. And we had kicked the ball around a little bit in the previous three games, so I knew we could play better defense. Our pitching was not the problem, it was the execution of the offense and the defense which cost us. But I wasn’t too concerned.
- On getting the nine-run cushion.
“It’s certainly huge and it just relaxed us and let us play better. But after the way we hit the previous three games coming in, we needed to break out the bats today and we were getting good swings and playing loose. This is the way we wanted to come out and play today.”
- On Aaron Brown getting it done on the mound and at the plate.
“He’s a special talent. He doesn’t get fazed by anything. I think if you had talked to anyone in our dugout they would expect a performance like this from Aaron. When he comes off the mound he just grabs his batting gloves and says, ‘Okay, what do we got next? Oh, a lefty, what are his tendencies? What is he going to throw?’ He’s just a natural athlete. He can run a 6.4 60, he can throw a 93 mile per hour fastball, he can hit for average and for power. He’s got it all.
Coming into this past week I couldn’t understand how people were still ranking teams like UCLA, Mississippi State, Clemson, Kentucky and Cal State Fullerton. Those teams just haven’t been that good lately, yet all of them were in one or two of the current seven or eight national rankings out there. How?
Well this weekend proved at least four of those teams I was right about. Fullerton escaped the bad weekend blues with a pair of scintillating one-run wins as part of a sweep of Hawaii. As for the other four? Read on…
THE OUCH LIST.
Here’s where the pain starts for teams that are trying to build their post-season resumes. Instead, these are the teams which have tripped up and left their fans scratching their heads.
Result: Got swept at home by rival USC.
A stunning 0-3 home weekend for the national champs. Through injury, poor play and jut plain bad luck, the Bruins have sunk below the century mark in the RPI and are now 22-19 overall and have dipped to 9-9 in Pac 12 play. The surprising upshot to this weekend is that we now have to look at USC as being a possibility for the NCAA Tournament bubble. They entered the weekend at No. 57 in the RPI and now sit tied for third with Arizona State at 12-9 in conference play.
Result: Lost all three games at home vs. Ole Miss.
As mentioned in Saturday’s write-up, the Bat Cats are true blowout artists… but in a bad way. Twelve of the Cats’ 17 losses have come by allowing eight runs or more. This weekend against Ole Miss, playing on their home field, they gave up 39 runs, on 49 hits and 13 walks. Yikes.
Still, going into Sunday’s finale, UK was sitting at No. 12 in the RPI. Somehow. But of course, redemption is never far away in the SEC, where they’ll play Tennessee, Auburn and Gerogia to finish up the regular season.
Result: Got swept at home vs. Miami.
You almost want to give the Tigers a pass here considering how third-rail hot the Hurricanes have been – winning 18 of their last 19. But this was still a winnable series being played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and CU managed just two runs in each game as the Canes pitching and defense kept them in check. Going into Sunday, Clemson had an RPI at No. 42. The remaining ACC slate has just Notre Dame and B.C. left, so making up ground should be nearly impossible.
4- Mississippi State.
Result: Lost two of three vs. Texas A&M.
Although the Bulldogs put together a six-game win streak, dropping the last two games to the Aggies on their home field was a bad pair of losses. After the back-to-back 6-3 and 6-4 losses dropped MSU down to No. 46 in the RPI. And as you know, any SEC team which sits 35th or higher tend to not get much rope in the at-large consideration.
Result: Lost all three games at Oregon State
Ouch is right. Coming into the weekend at No. 7 in the rankings, this Ducks squad was looking at winning its way to a national seed, if not a home Regional at least. But this one hurts. Their RPI was already on the fringe of home Regional consideration, sitting at No. 22. These three losses to their resume will not help.
6- New Mexico
Result: Swept at UNLV.
This one came a little out of the blue, considering the Lobos came in as a hot team, and then you couple that with UNLV’s getting swept at Air Force last weekend. But my Gaw-wed! I mean, this was a team that had won 12 of 13 in the month of April, then THIS happened. The Lobos got trucked over by the Rebels, losing all three games by a combined 39- 10. The good news is that losing three games to a team which was ranked No. 24 in the RPI means they won’t drop too far from their No. 42 perch.
Result: Dropped three games at Boston College.
Not sure how this happened, but the Terrapins, who came in at No. 21 in the RPI, proved once again that the ACC gets too much credit when it comes to that notoriously bad rating system. I mean, if UMd was really s’posed to be so good they would not have lost three games to what some people call the ACC’s worst team. The combined score of 17-7 also shows how dominant the Eagles were. Maryland is now down to the upper 30s.
8- Kansas State.
Result: Dropped all three games at West Virginia
The Wildcats were a fringe hope at best to make up ground and reach out for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. But now, that fringe just became totally unhinged. With an RPI in the lower 80s, losing three straight at WVU was not what the doctor ordered. The fighting EMAWs are now just 8-17 in games away from the Little Apple.
9- Dallas Baptist
Result: Lost two of three at Indiana State.
It’s no great shame to lose a series to the Sycamores, who are very good. But to bigger picture this thing, these two losses are part of a real cold stretch for the Patriots. After taking the first two games at Illinois State three weeks ago, DBU has now gone just 5-8 since. But like New Mexico above, it’s a good thing that the Pats are playing a team with such a high RPI – the Sycamores came into the weekend at No. 20. So they shouldn’t drop much with the weekend loss, but let it be known now that DBU just can’t keep up with all the losing. Turn it around NOW boys.
10- Bad Announcers.
The Dr. of College Baseball forwarded to me two horrible faux pas’ by two in-game announcers from Sunday.
1- During the Saturday night Oregon-Oregon State game, Aubrey Huff, the former Miami Hurricane, made a remark when looking at OSU catcher Logan Ice who was checking his wristband for the pitch call. “I’ve never seen that.”
That obviously means that Mr. Huff hasn’t watched a college baseball games since the early-2000s or so.
And 2- LSU radio announcer Jim Hawthorne was looking at a Tennessee baserunner during today’s game vs. the Vols and thought the runner was wearing a brace on his wrist. He then incredulously remarked that it wasn’t a wrist brace but that the runner was actually holding his batting gloves in his hands. “Not wearing them, but holding them while he runs the bases!”
How could a guy who’s called so many college games over the decades not have noticed how ubiquitous the holding of batting gloves in the hands of a baserunner is now? C’mon Jim, it has been all the rage in baseball for better than 10 years.
The depths of pain increase week by week as we get nearer and nearer to the post-season. Now is the time traditional powers must keep winning to protect their home Regionals and mid-majors, as you know, just can’t afford to drop a weekend to a lesser foe. That will kill an RPI like nothing else.
This explains the Ouch List. These are the teams which had the most painful weekends and hurt themselves the most in the post-season picture. StitchHeads, this is the time of year for you to keep your first aid kit, gauze pads and some extra towels to soak the blood up somewhere nearby. The carnage is going to be like one of those Chainsaw Massacre movies. Leatherface would love the Ouch List.
The Ouch List Makes Its Debut
Ahhhh, now I’ve only got baseball to worry about. Over the previous eight Sundays I haven’t been able to contribute much at all to this baseball stuff due to my college hockey duties on ESPN.com. But now, I’m all yours baseball. Yep, no prob.
Well, the important part is that it’s getting about that time people. It’s mid-April now and the college hockey season is done, so it’s time for the Ouch List to make it’s debut here at College Baseball Today.
I always hated Rod Dedeaux. As a kid growing up in Omaha, his USC teams would come to town every year and beat all the teams I designated as “my favorite team” at the College World Series. He won title after title and was the college baseball version of the Russian Red Army. Hell, because of him, I started to like Texas.
Last year in this Sunday Super Regionals column, I spent the better portion of 2,000 megabits of bandwidth to talk about how that “parity” word hadn’t really been real in all the years leading up to Fresno State’s national championship. But that the Stony Brook’s and Kent State’s of the world should’ve proved that the word “parity” finally meant something. And it should be reflected in all the ratings and rankings and computer measurements.