Tuesday Stuff - Pressure Mounts, Games Starting To Mean More

I know, I know, it's not a Thursday Thoughts night or a Sunday Summations Ouch List night, but this is May (the cruelest month in college baseball). So that means it's time to post a little bit more info from time to time. So here we are on an RPI Tuesday. Let's take a quick whirl around the nation from today's action.

GeneStephenson.jpg
(Wichita's Gene Stephenson was hoping for better results tonight to enhance his team's post-season hopes)

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BIG DANCE TUX FITTING PUT OFF FOR A DAY---
Columbia - 11 15
Dartmouth - 7 16
The Big Green scored the winning run in the 9th inning to send the Ivy League playoffs to a third and final deciding game on Wednesday. In a game that featured 35 hits, it was a non-hit that finally decided the second game in the 9th as DU's Jason Bladell hit a groundout to second that scored Damon Wright from 3rd. Game three is in Hanover tomorrow. The winner takes all.


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BEST RPI-BASED WIN---
New Orleans - 9
Tulane - 8
This cross-town rivalry takes on extra meaning with the fact that both of these Crescent City teams are probably going to be on the bubble for the NCAA tournament at-large field. The Privateers are red-hot, having now won 10 straight and 13 of their last 14. The 10 wins matches UNO's longest win streak since 1987.

UNO is now 35-13 and Tulane drops to 32-15-1. The two teams are ranked 43 and 53 in the latest Warren Nolan RPI rankings. The NCAA was slow afoot to put their RPI rankings out for this week.


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WORST RPI-BASED LOSS---
Central Arkansas - 10
Wichita State - 9
The Shockers are still holding out regional hosting hopes. But this... this was pretty bad. I mean, it's bad enough that this game with the Bears would hurt the Shocks' RPI to begin with, but losing to them just makes it worse. Two weeks ago WSU's RPI was No. 20, now they sit at 36-12 overall at down at No. 25 in the RPI.


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SWEET AND SOUR 16s---
Pepperdine - 1
Cal State Fullerton - 9
Both teams now sit at 16 losses on the season as the Titans, behind - who else - Eric Komatsu's 3-for-5, 1 home run, 2RBI performance tonight. With a 13-5 mark in the Big West and adding non-conference Ws like this can only help out the Titans' hopes of hosting a post-season regional.


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MOST PAINFUL LOSS---
Creighton - 4
Missouri - 5
Ambidextrous hurler Pat Venditte gives up four runs on three hits in the final 1.1 innings allowing the Tigers to get past the Bluejays, despite holding 4-1 lead when "Sweet Caroline" was played in the middle of the 8th. With their weak non-conference slate, the 30-17 Jays will certainly need to win the Missouri Valley tourney to get to the big dance once again.


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SECOND MOST PAINFUL LOSS---
Stanford - 9
San Francisco - 13
Man! If only the Cardinal could win a mid-week game. The Trees are sucking air on days other than Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With tonight's loss at Bendetti Diamond, SU falls to 6-8-2 in mid-week games. Their RPI sits at No. 20 as of now, still within striking distance of hosting a regional in Palo Alto.


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THIS MUST'VE SET THE HIGH MARK FOR PITCHERS USED THIS SEASON---
Fresno State - 1
Long Beach State - 2
The Bulldogs and Dirtbags combined to use 15 pitchers on the night. Yet, all of them were very effective as there were only eight hits on the night. Just to show you the quality of the two pitching staffs, there were 19 strikeouts and just two walks on the whole night.


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GUESS THEY GOT MAD---
Wright State - 3
Kentucky - 21
Sorry WSU, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. A UK team that just got done getting swept by once-lowly LSU took their frustrations out on the Raiders tonight. Get this, switch-hitting Ryan Wilkes went 5-for-6 with 8RBI and also hit a dinger from both sides of the plate. That's no fluke. Neither is the fact that Wilkes is errorless in 204 chances this year as the everyday second baseman.


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COUPLE OF NOTES---
- Have you guys noticed how bad "Gamewatcher" is? (Not to be confused with "Gametracker" which is still awesome.). When you click on a "live stats" icon and get sent to the Gamewatcher, powered by JumpTV, update of the game, be prepared to sit and wait for a while. It takes a while for the gerbils to kick in. Then, you first get sent to a "setup" page that asks you your preferred way of viewing the game. Then, you click on "Go" and then have to sit through another waiting period (though this one has a message that says "usually takes 10 seconds" and features an hour glass... how cute). Then the game stats finally come up.

Just give me the Gametracker page with its easy graphics, quick speed and constant update of other games from around the country too.

- Couple of things I forgot from this past weekend.
1- Although I didn't notice him, Barry Bonds was actually at last Friday's Arizona State-UCLA game I was at. In fact, the Going Yard guys asked him for a short interview for their road-log camera, but his press agent/handler he was with said "No. He doesn't want to be bothered."

Since I didn't get a pic of him, here's a picture supplied by some website called bustedcoverage.com. Yes, I'm trying to say that with a straight face:

ASU-Bonds@UCLA.jpg
(Barry Bonds, here watching Brett Wallace at the dish, was at the Arizona State-UCLA game on Friday night)

ASU-Bonds@UCLA2.jpg
(Did you know Bonds' head allegedly grew three hat sizes in the 90s?)

2- The Going Yard guys also told me that Eddie Murray snubbed them for an interview and was pretty stern about it. But as you might've seen in the video clips, Orel Hershiser was great to talk to. Jason and Brody also were able to talk to Orel's son, Jordan, who pitched in Saturday's 10-2 loss to Washington.

3- I got a chance to talk to USD ace Brian Matusz's father, Mike, after the Sunday game at Pepperdine. He said Brian has been a lot more relaxed this season and it has shown in his play this year (Friday was his first loss since the season opener vs. San Diego State). I also told him I was interested in getting Brian in a poker match in about a month or so since, according to a lot of projections, he may end up the No. 1 pick of the Devil Rays in the June draft.

- The Kevin Costner/George Horton connection in Oregon.
Considering the history between the two good friends, it should come as no big surprise that Kevin Costner's band (yes, he does more than make baseball movies, he also plays in a band) will be playing a fundraiser for Oregon baseball this coming May 30-31. The school is trying to raise $20 million for its new stadium and other program amenities. But that does bring up an interesting question, doesn't Nike have enough money for this program? Oh well, the rich get richer.


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'Nuf for tonight. More tomorrow.

G'night.

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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