My thoughts on the college baseball weekend:
USC – I’ve said all week that the series that matters the most for National Seed purposes is the Texas A&M weekend. So for the purpose of this article, I’ll spend my time on what matters more. But before we move forward, 15 runners left on base won’t be good enough to get out of a regional, so that needs to be cleaned up quickly. USC should’ve won Sunday but incredibly poor approaches at the plate and no adjustments led USC to dropping a series. I’ll explain later what that means for the future. Oh…and starting DC, I have no explanation.
On a normal year, USC would probably be around 9th or 10th in the country when it comes to a national seed. But this isn’t most years…the west coast and middle of the country are dreadful. Oregon St, the west coast’s best chance a national seed, got swept over the weekend by Arizona. The Gamecocks are now around 7th or 8th, but it’s more complicated than that.
I’ve been following this sport for 17 years and I can’t imagine a conference getting 4 national seeds…no way! But if I only give the SEC three, I can’t find my 8th national seed. Nonetheless, USC could still easily be one of the top 3. Vandy and LSU will have a real tough time being a national seed without winning the SEC tournament. That leaves Florida, USC, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, and Miss St. These five teams will all have very good win totals and SEC records.
Florida is a lock. To separate the other four, RPI, record vs RPI top 25, and head to head will be the biggest key. Due to where everyone is, I believe it will come down to head to head vs top teams. USC has tied Florida, swept Ole Miss, won’t play Miss St, and has Texas A&M remaining. The Gamecocks have already lost to Vandy as well. USC needs a series win against A&M because at the end of the day, the committee will be trying to find reasons to eliminate a team from the group. If USC can get another big series win, that will go a very long way.
Now since USC has struggled on the road for a while, winning the last series at Alabama is now probably a must as well. The Gamecocks have run out of free passes they built up back in March. But as of this writing, USC is tied for the SEC lead and is still right there for a national seed. Losing to Kentucky stings a little, but at the end of the day, it’s about beating the top teams because USC will have the wins, the conference wins, and the RPI.
So to say next week is HUGE is an understatement. What’s also a little strange is that the conference tournament could mean more than ever before. More on that later.
A few team points:
- I still have a lot of confidence in Josh Reagan. That was a good 3-2 pitch… it was just turned on. I do however now question his own confidence.
- Hopkins has lost his mojo due to lack of at bats. John Jones… is just lost. Holbrook needs to start Hopkins though along with Cullen.
- I’d start to squeeze bunt more.
Clemson – Tiger fans can take a deep breath. Three series wins against high RPI teams will be enough to get you in the NCAA tournament on its own. The Tigers should finish around 7th or 8th in the ACC barring disaster which will also be good enough. Maybe don’t get swept at Norte Dame and Clemson should be fine.
Pat Krall has given Clemson new life. The Tigers now have a front line starter… who starts on Sundays, but that’s ok. By Regional time, he’ll have to be moved up, but there’s plenty of time for that. However, the Tigers have a new problem… the bullpen is a disaster. Krall will have to pull Scott Barber duty… close on Fridays and start on Sundays.
But for the Tigers, making the tournament this year, with this staff, is a win in itself. So take a deep breath Clemson fans. Unless something crazy happens, you’re in.
A few team points:
- Sunday was a great moment for Weston Wilson. The Tigers needed someone else at the plate to have a big moment after multiple guys have started to struggle.
- Even when Seth Beer struggles, he’s awesome.
- I have absolutely no clue who the 3rd starter should be.