Sunday, June 5, 2016

College Baseball Update

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the sports year, as the WatchESPN app on the Apple TV provided its "Bases Loaded" coverage of the NCAA Regional Baseball Tournaments.  There are sixteen double-elimination tournaments underway, with four teams in each region, and from about noon until midnight, Bases Loaded jumped from game to game all over the country.  It was fantastic.  I got to see East Carolina hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to stun Virginia.  I got to see Navy grind out an 8-5 win over St. Mary's in 13 innings.  I got to see Louisville blast Ohio State 15-3 and look like the best team in the country.  I got see Florida edge UConn in a 6-5 nailbiter, and see Miami (Fla.) beat Long Beach 3-2 in 11.

Coming into the tournament, the big story was that teams from the ACC or the SEC were hosting 13 of the 16 regionals.  Yesterday's big story was that two of the SEC hosts -- Ole Miss and Vandy -- went 0-2 and were eliminated.  Vandy's day was about as painful as any I can remember.  In the first place, the Dores were playing with broken hearts after a freshman pitcher for Vandy drowned a few days ago.  Then they were hammered 15-1 by the 4-seed, Xavier.  And then, facing elimination, they took an 8-2 lead over Washington into the sixth inning -- only to blow that lead and lost 9-8.  Plus both games were played in the midst of driving rain that blew in and out of Nashville.  By the end of it, I was just happy that the poor kids from Vandy can take the rest of the summer off.  They looked exhausted, and I don't blame them.

The weather was the other big story of the day.  It rained all over the middle part of the country yesterday, and wreaked havoc on the baseball schedule in places like Louisiana, Texas, and Nashville.  But that's all part of the fun in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

Here's where we stand after Saturday.  Remember that if you lose two games in the regional tournament, you are eliminated.  The eight national seeds are identified by number:

Gainesville, Fla. Regional:
(1) Florida:  2-0
Georgia Tech:  1-1
Connecticut:  1-1
Bethune-Cookman;  0-2 (eliminated)

Tallahassee, Fla. Regional:
Florida St:  2-0
So. Mississippi:  1-1
S. Alabama:  1-1
Alabama St:  0-2 (eliminated)

Both of these regions are going as expected, and it will take a big upset to prevent Florida from hosting Florida State in next week's Super Regionals.

Baton Rouge, La. Regional:
(8) Louisiana St:  1-0
Rice:  0-0
SE Louisiana:  0-0
Utah Valley:  0-1

Raleigh, N.C. Regional:
N. Carolina St:  1-0
Coastal Carolina:  1-0
Navy:  1-1
St. Mary's (Calif.):  0-2 (eliminated)

The folks in Baton Rouge have been watching it rain for most of the last two days, while Coastal Carolina led NCSU 3-0 in the ninth inning before their game was suspended last night.  So it's way to early to make any judgments about how these regions will play out.

College Station, Tex. Regional:
(4) Texas A & M:  2-0
Minnesota:  1-1
Wake Forest:  1-1
Binghamton:  0-2 (eliminated)

Fort Worth, Tex. Regional:
Texas Christian:  2-0
Arizona St:  1-1
Gonzaga:  1-1
Oral Roberts:  0-2 (eliminated)

Things are going as expected in these two regionals, which should set up a Super Regional between ancient rivals Texas A & M and Texas Christian.

Lubbock, Tex. Regional:
(5) Texas Tech:  2-0
Dallas Baptist:  1-1
New Mexico:  1-1
Fairfield:  0-2 (eliminated)

Charlottesville, Va. Regional:
E. Carolina:  2-0
Virginia:  1-1
William & Mary:  1-1
Bryant:  0-2 (eliminated)

Texas Tech will probably host a Super Regional next week, and I still think they'll end up hosting UVA, but the Wahoos have some work to do after losing to ECU yesterday.

Coral Gables, Fla. Regional:
(3) Miami (Fla.):  2-0
Fla. Atlantic:  1-1
Long Beach St:  1-1
Stetson:  0-2 (eliminated)

Oxford, Miss. Regional:
Boston College:  2-0
Tulane:  1-1
Utah:  1-1
Mississippi:  0-2 (eliminated)

The Oxford region was a disaster for Ole Miss, which lost to Utah and Tulane, dropping both games by the score of 6-5.  Miami (Fla.) had a struggle with Long Beach State, but the Canes won 4-3 in 11, and now their path to Omaha is wide open.

Starkville, Miss. Regional:
(6) Mississippi St:  2-0
Cal-State Fullerton:  1-1
Louisiana Tech:  1-1
SE Missouri:  0-2 (eliminated)

Lafayette, La. Regional:
La-Lafayette:  1-0
Arizona:  1-0
Sam Houston St:  1-1
Princeton:  0-2 (eliminated)

The Committee gave Mississippi State and Louisiana-Lafayette the chance to host regionals, but then gave them two of the most formidable number two seeds in Cal-State Fullerton and Arizona.  Mississippi State beat Cal-State Fullerton 4-1 last night, so they have the edge there.  Rain has delayed everything in Lafayette.

Louisville, Ky. Regional:
(2) Louisville:  2-0
Ohio St:  1-1
Wright St:  1-1
W. Michigan:  0-2 (eliminated)

Nashville, Tenn. Regional:
UC-Santa Barbara:  1-0
Xavier:  1-0
Washington:  1-1
Vanderbilt:  0-2 (eliminated)

With Vandy out of the way, Louisville should have little trouble getting to Omaha -- and they could be very formidable once they get there.

Clemson, S.C. Regional:
Oklahoma St:  2-0
(7) Clemson:  1-1
W. Carolina:  1-1
Nebraska:  0-2 (eliminated)

Columbia, S.C. Regional
UNC-Wilmington:  2-0
S. Carolina:  1-1
Rhode Island:  1-1
Duke:  0-2 (eliminated)

Oklahoma State crushed Clemson 12-2 last night, meaning that the Tigers became the first of the eight national seeds to lose a game.  Meanwhile, South Carolina's offense is struggling -- the Gamecocks lost 5-4 to Rhode Island before edging Duke 4-2.  So it's hard to know who will make it through these two regions.


  1. In Raleigh this morning, Coastal Carolina finished of NCSU, beating the Wolfpack 4-0. So Coastal Carolina moves to the Regional Final, while NCSU will face Navy in an elimination game.

  2. UPSET SPECIAL: The Tribe of the College of William & Mary have defeated the defending National Champions -- the University of Virginia Cavaliers -- by the score of 5 to 4. This means that Virginia has been ELIMINATED from this year's tournament. W & M moves to the regional final against E. Carolina. The ECU Pirates need only one victory to advance to Super Regionals; the Tribe need two. But to be honest, I'm pretty sure the Tribe won their National Championship today.

  3. In Louisville, Wright State has eliminated Ohio State by the score of 7 to 3.

    In Baton Rouge, Rice beat SELA 7-2 in an opening game.

  4. In a rematch of the 2004 NCAA Basketball Final, UConn and Georgia Tech are tied 5-all after 8 innings down in Gainesville.

  5. In Gainesville, the Jackets score two runs in the top of the 9th, and Georgia Tech beats UConn 7-5. The Jackets now move on to face Florida.

  6. One of the best things about college baseball is how Tulane's jersey features two pelicans sitting on a baseball bat, in an obvious imitation of the St. Louis Cardinals.

    One of the worst things about college baseball is the number of teams that insist on wearing camouflage uniforms. Here's my proposed rule: the only D-1 schools allowed to wear camouflage uniforms are the Citadel, the Virginia Military Institute, and the U.S. Military Academy.

  7. Also, I would note that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has one of the prettiest of all college ball parks -- it has a grove of enormous trees out beyond the outfield fence and a really cool-looking scoreboard with a big clock in left field. But the Ragin' Cajuns annoy me by their determination to keep referring to themselves -- both on their scoreboard and on their jerseys -- as "LOUISIANA." That's just wrong, and every time I see it, it makes me want to start referring to them by their old name of "Southwest Louisiana."

  8. In Coral Gables, Long Beat State has eliminated Florida Atlantic by the score of 5 to 1, so the 49ers -- also known as the "Dirtbags," for baseball purposes -- will get a rematch with the U.

  9. We are now reaching the point in the proceedings where some of the smaller teams are running out of pitching. In an elimination game in Columbia, South Carolina pounded Rhode Island 23-2. Over in Raleigh, NCSU leads Navy 11-0 through 6.

  10. NCSU finally eliminates Navy, by the score of 17 to 1.

  11. In Oxford, Tulane eliminates Utah by the score of 4 to 1. I have no idea what happened to Pac 12 baseball this year. It's hard to believe they're playing a tournament without USC, UCLA, Stanford, or Oregon State.

  12. And that's all from me for tonight.