Teams of the Week, May 14th to May 20th
Here we go, before the conference tournaments get underway, let's take one last look at the weekly Team of the Week honors that CSTV allows me to reward. All of these teams have more important post-season games coming up soon, but for now, they scored major points here as Regional Teams of the Week.
Here's the weekly honor roll, going from right to left on your geographic screen.
Team of the Week: Bethune-Cookman (3-1)
W13-4 vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore
W7-3 vs. Norfolk State
W6-4, L4-3, W6-4 vs. North Carolina A&T
The Wildcats (33-25) became the third team in Division 1A to win its way to the NCAA tournament. It is also the eighth time in nine years to represent the MEAC in the Big Dance. But as thoroughly as B-CC dominated the MEAC in the regular season (16-1), they had a few stumbles here this week. But in the end, it was all about getting the bid as they rebounded from a loss to N.C. A&T on Saturday afternoon to win the second game that night, and another MEAC title. The Cats trailed NCA&T 4-2 going into the 8th inning of the second game, but a big rally overcame the Ags, keyed by the go-ahead RBI single by Chris Brown.
Honorable Mention: Florida State (3-0)
W17-2, W10-2, W17-11 at Georgia Tech
Does the phrase "Monster Week" come to mind? Okay, I can say without reservation or hesitation, this was an impressive week for FSU. Mmmboy! The Noles hit a combined .350 in the three games, turning this series into a track meet. Frosh Jason Stidman was named ACC Player of the Week after going 8-for-14 and slugging at a 1.000 percentile. Bryan Henry improves to 14-0 with Friday's win. FSU claims the top spot in the ACC tourney beginning on Wednesday and will open with 8th-seeded Wake Forest.
Team of the Week: Prairie View A&M (4-0)
W10-0 vs. Mississippi Valley
W6-3 vs. Southern
W14-3 vs. Jackson State
W8-7 vs. Southern
This is a confident Panther team. Maybe it's the residue from last year's NCAA tournament appearance or something, but they handled this week like a team that knew how to handle the tournament atmosphere. Now, what kind of an encore you got for us this year, Coach Robertson? Make it something good. Calvin Lester was the SWAC MOP this weekend, going 6-for-13 with four stolen bases and numerous defensive gems as well.
Honorable Mention: Mississippi (2-1)
W5-4, L4-3, W5-0 at Arkansas.
This wasn't desperation time for the Rebels or anything, but they had been slowly slipping down bit by bit over the last month or so. This was a series they needed if they still held out hope to host a Regional in a couple of weeks. And they did it in the toughest of environments too. I love the story behind Soph Brett Bukvich, making just his third start of the season and tossing 7.0 two-hit, shutout innings to earn SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. The Rebels need another arm to step up as the post-season approaches.
Team of the Week: Missouri (4-0)
W12-5 vs. Illinois
W9-6, W8-5, W7-4 at Oklahoma State
Can you get more consistent than three straight wins, on the road and all by a three-run margin? Nice. As I mentioned in the Thursday Thoughts, this team continues to be under-rated. Though I will admit that a three-game sweep shocked me this weekend. Another young arm in a bevy of youngin's got the series sweeping win on Sunday as Ian Berger improved to 5-1 with a 6.0 inning, 10-hit/4-run performance. Where does Coach Jamieson keep finding these guys? Gah. Mizzou (now 39-14) goes into the Big 12 tourney as the No. 2 seed.
Honorable Mention: Texas
W6-4, W3-2, W9-1 vs. Texas A&M
This is a scary thought for teams assigned to play UT in the post-season, but Augie's boys may be hitting their stride now. This is an impressive sweep considering the quality of opponent and the intensity of the rivalry with the Ags. The Longhorns (42-14) didn't flinch. A pair of youngsters played huge for the Horns as Frosh Josh Prince provided the game-winning RBI single in Saturday's win, giving UT its second straight Big 12 title. Then on Sunday, Soph Austin Wood allowed just five hits in 8.0 innings to improve to 7-1. Randy Boone picked up saves 11 and 12 in the first two games.
Team of the Week: UC Riverside
W7-4, W2-1, W8-7(10inns) at Long Beach State
The Dirtbags were the darling of West Coast baseball lately, but just like they did to rival Fullerton a few weeks ago, UCR (37-17) laid down a perfect squeeze play to wedge themselves into the Big West lead by two games with the stunning sweep. For the sixth time this season UCR had a Big West Pitcher of the Week. This time it was Sophomore Matt Montgomery, who was filling in for the injured Mark Rzepczynski. Montgomery went 8.2 innings, scattering nine hits and improving to 4-0 with Saturday's 2-1 win over The Beach. UCR needs just one win to claim its first ever Big West title.
Honorable Mention: Arizona State (4-0)
W11-3 vs. Utah Valley State
W4-3, W3-0, W8-1 at Oregon State
I've gushed on enough about the Sun Devils in my weekend stuff (check out Touching the Bases and my previous Extra Innings entries for more), so I'll just leave it at that. ASU is good.