Sunday Summations- A Mother Of A Day in College Baseball

The Big 12 title. The National seeding. The regional hosting. The bickering back and forth about who has the better farmer mascot image. There was a lot on the line this weekend in Lincoln.

In the end, Nebraska and Texas A&M gave college baseball a great series. What, with Friday's 16-inning white-knuckler, a rain day to recoup our senses and then a pair of improbable Husker comebacks today... what a panic this series was.

In the end, Nebraska got the drop, pulling out comeback wins number 18 and 19 on the season to down the Aggies 9-8 and 13-10 at Haymarket Park today.

NU-celebrates.jpg
(The Cornhusker Nation explodes after Mitch Abeita's winning RBI in game one)

But even with the losses, A&M still controls the Big 12, with a game-and-a-half lead on NU and the rest of the pack. But if you were in that Aggie dugout, would you feel comfortable with a half-game lead and your bitter rival Texas up next on the docket? I didn't think so.

THREE UP---
1- Navy and Bucknell.
Those two beat Holy Cross (9-5) and Army (1-0) respectively to advance to the Patriot League championship playoff next week.
The Bison got a combined 2-hit effort from Jason Buursma and Eric Jarrett to subdue the Black Knight bats. The two BU flingers also set down 11 batters via the strike out.

The Midshipmen, meanwhile, rallied twice from deficits to the Crusaders to nail down the series win and will host Bucknell next week. What's the best part of Navy hosting the Bison next week? Well, as you know I tend to like teams with winning records taking small conference titles and Navy is currently a Patriot-best 32-23-1 overall. So, not to show favoritism here, but... go Navy.

2- Mike Dufek, Michigan.
Hit two home runs, knocking in seven runs and even picked up the first save of his career on the mound in the DH sweep of Minnesota.
The strapping soph came into the day with one home run and 16RBI on the entire season. In the two Wolverine wins today, Dufek doubled his home run total and added 50% more production to his RBI total.

UMich-Dufek.jpg
(Dufek watches his grand slam sail as Minnesota pitcher Kyle Carr despairs)

With the two wins, the Big Blue clinched the Big 10 title and thus, will host the post-season conference tournament at revamped Fisher Stadium.

3- North Carolina-Wilmington.
Beat James Madison 23-4 today to complete the three-game sweep.
Speaking of the number 23 (cue that lame as hell Jim Carrey movie of the same name), The Seahawks just put the CAA way, way in the rear-view mirror with this dominant three-gamer by a combined 41-12. It also marked the most dominant season in CAA history with their 23rd win. Heavy slugging Mark Carver set the single season RBI mark at UNCW with his 76th career run-knock.


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THREE DOWN---
1- Florida's bullpen.
Lost at Alabama 8-7 to lose two of three this weekend.
For the second time this weekend, the Gator bullpen allowed Alabama to rally for a late-game win and take the series. Today, the Tide scored six runs in the 8th and 9th innings to get the win. Facing one of those God-awful curfews, Bama got a deep, deep sac fly from Matt Bentley, that somehow scored Jeff Texada from 2nd base. Florida could've taken over 3rd place all on its own had it held on to win, but now there's a four-way tie for 4th with the Gators, Tide, Ole Miss and Kentucky.

2- Minnesota.
Lost a pair of games vs. Michigan, 11-5 and 12-9.
Been a weird season in Minneapolis. In fact, unlike any season they've had in decades. With today's two losses, it assures the Gophers of two things, they won't make the Big 10 post-season tournament. And biggest of all?... this is officially going to be the first losing season in 45 YEARS!

Holy freakin' cow.

3- Texas A&M's defense.
The blunders were a large part of A&M's 9-8 and 13-10 losses today.
The Aggies played hard, showed resiliency and were motivated all weekend at Nebraska. Only problem was, they appeared out of their Olsen Field comfort zone. They got the heeby-jeebies in the bottom of the 9th of game one, suffering two crucial errors that allowed NU a "floodgates" frame that pulled out the unlikely win. Then they were stricken with six errors in game two, dooming their series-winning hopes.

A&Merror.jpg
(A&M's 9th inning defense went South on them when 2B Blake Stouffer and 1B Luke Anders, here botching a gimme grounder, committed a pair of errors)

Hmmm, while we're on the subject of A&M-NU, let's give an honorable mention 4TH DOWN---
- Nebraska coach Mike Anderson...
For not playing superfrosh David Stewart on Friday night.
The freshman vs. freshman matchup with Texas A&M's high-profile hurler Barrett Loux was a no-contest as the seldom used Stewart went 2-for-3 against the frosh wunderkind, including a two-run home run and a two-run double in his first two at-bats. Then, in game two of the double-header, Stewart was 2-for-5 with two more runs batted in. For the day, he went 4-for-9 with 7RBI.

But the "down" part is that Stewart probably could've helped NU's horrid 1-for-23 performance with men in scoring position in Friday night's 16-inning 6-3 loss.


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THE OUCH LIST FOR SUNDAY, MAY 11TH---
We'll feel your pain, people.

- East Carolina
Result:
Got swept at home vs. Tulane
Why it hurts:
With an RPI in the Top 15 coming into the weekend, the Pirates and their spectacular Clark-LeClair Stadium were looking to be in good shape to host a post-season regional. That should probably be out the window now, especially considering their 4th standing in the C-USA, seven games behind Rice.

- Houston
Result:
Lost the Silver Glove Series vs. Rice, losing all three games.
Why it hurts:
Their RPI of No. 50 will probably improve to tell you the truth, but boy, even a single win vs. the No. 5 Owls would've helped. Now, the Coogs will still look to be on nervous time come Memorial Day. Especially after getting run out of town by a combined 33-13.

- South Carolina
Result:
Swept in three straight at Arkansas, including today's 4-2 loss.
Why it hurts:
The Gamecocks have taken a number of shots to the ego this year, mostly on the road, and this is another. I think college baseball fans everywhere are probably wondering if this team can win at home. And it goes without saying now, that it's not as likely that Sarge-Frye Field will host a post-season regional.

- Stanford
Result:
Lost two of three vs. Cal this weekend.
Why it hurts:
Remember all that talk I did about the Cardinal having a chance at being a national seed? This weekend is starting to put that out to pasture on The Farm. Barring a complete collapse by Arizona State, Stanford probably won't win the Pac 10, especially since the Trees have to travel to Arizona and Washington the next two weeks. Hell, they're looking more likely to be traveling for the post-season as well.

- Furman
Result:
Swept in three straight games at Appalachian State
Why it hurts:
It's not often when you see the Paladins in the 1st place slot of the Southern Conference. Well, it happened at the start of this week, but it didn't last long. Furman was outscored 23-5 in Boone this weekend and see their SoCon mark fall to 15-9 as they now dip to a tie for third place.

- Vanderbilt
Result:
Lost two in a row at home to Georgia.
Why it hurts:
Today's 12-10 loss assured the Bulldogs will win their 6th SEC title. It also means that Vanderbilt could very well be hurting for a host slot in the NCAA post-season. C'mon people, they came in with an RPI at No. 24. But you gotta love the Bulldogs though, as this marked the third time this season that they've lost game one on Friday, only to come back and win the next two games to take the series.

And of course...

- Texas A&M.
Result:
Swept in both ends of a double-header at Nebraska on Sunday
Why it hurts:
Sure, the Aggies may still win the Big 12, but if it comes down to them and Nebraska for the 8th and final National seed, guess who gets it?

Plus, I'm starting to wonder about A&M's mental makeup and defense now.


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IS A MEA CULPA IN ORDER?---
N.C. State - 17
Maryland - 8
So after I bagged on the Wolf Pack yesterday for looking beyond average in their 6-2 loss on TV at Maryland, they turn around and beat UMd in two straight by a combined 29-9. Nice recovery. Hot-diggity, there might just be some fire in that locomotive after all. Don't worry NCSU, I'm still keeping a close watch.


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AND FINALLY, A LITTLE HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY HONOR---
In case you didn't know, who are the greatest mothers in the world?... The Mothers of Invention.

MothersOfInvention.jpg
(The Mothers of Invention album cover for "We're Only In It For The Money" which lampooned the Beatles "Sergeant Pepper" cover)

Fronted by the legendary rock iconoclast Frank Zappa (front right above), the musical talent in this band flooded a rather bland record industry in the late 60s and early 70s with amazing whit and biting social satire. Zappa would soon strike out on his own and become a visionary musician and composer. He also went on to be the face of the music industry in the mid-80s when bored housewife Tipper Gore decided to try to censor the recording industry as he testified on Capitol Hill on behalf of musical artists everywhere.

Being Frank here, Zappa is a Mother.

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On that note (pun only slightly intended), G'night.

Comments

With UCLA picking up yet another series loss (again blowing a game in the late innings), what so the Bruins have to do in the final 8 games to make a regional?

Eric -- it was totally amazing how the Aggies let two games get away. I was listening on the Internet to Rice-UH but stopped to watch the 9th inning of game 1 on CSTV (oops). Who do you pick for your 8 national seeds? -- Guy

Ryan, my thought is that UCLA will simply have to finish their last eight games with a winning record. At 25-23, if they go 5-3 from here on out they'll be 30-26 and with Washington State, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Cal left, their strength of schedule should give them huge points. Then again, Warren Nolan has them down at N. 53. So there may be more work to do than I just mentioned. Hmmm.

Guy, you sound like me on a Saturday afternoon at home, bouncing from one game to the next. As of right now - keeping in mind these things tend to change by the hour at this time of year - here would be my Eight National seeds as of 12:30pm on May 12th:
- Miami
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- Arizona State
- Rice
(Those five are my "locks")
- Georgia
- Nebraska
- Texas A&M
(Those are my three shaky picks)
- San Diego
- Oklahoma State
- Cal State Fullerton
(Those are my next in line picks)

E,

Since you're in the mood for prognostications with your national seeds and regional hostings... where do you think CBSC will send "Going Yard" for the regionals?

We would have been to Miami, FSU, Georgia, SD and Fullerton. We would have seen UNC and ASU play.

Keep in mind that we will be in Hoover, AL for the SEC tourney and this is a "marginal budget" project.

Lets see you get THAT oh great seer.

P.S. - you should join Dick Vitale in his hatred of the RPI and use the same method he uses, the BDI or "Bald Dome Index". No need to take a Vitale-esque number of amphetamines, but it is encouraged.

Hmmm.

First off Brody, you're right. I despise the RPI. It's a basketball formula. A BAD basketball formula at that. So yes, I'll join Dickie V. in the Bald Dome Index. What the hell, it fits my hair style. But I'd rather the NCAA committee just use their common sense instead of the RPI.

Now, as for where you Going Yard guys should go for the Regionals... Me personally? I'd send you guys to either Tempe, where it will be 110 degrees (but it's a dry heat... it'll only feel like, oh, 110), or worse, to Baton Rouge, where it will only be 95 degrees, but with 200% humidity it will feel like 120. Oh yeah, and there's no indoor press boxes at either. Welcome to hell boys.

Funny you should mention that, after talking to New York it looks like Baton Rouge is the tentative spot... then through texas. Which will involve getting lost in "The Kansas Rectangle" (http://www.theonion.com/content/news/30_years_of_mans_life_disappear_in) on the way to Omaha. Those leather seats in the Grand Marquis are gonna be STIIICKKKY.

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert