In the most recent update of CB360′s exclusive Senior Class Salute, we highlight a South Carolina baseball program that will be taking on UCLA in the CWS Championship Series (first game is tonight, at 6:30 central), after beating in-state rival twice (5-1/4-3) to earn the finals berth.
South Carolina has amassed a 178-82 record (.685) record over the past four seasons and is is tied with fellow SEC team Vanderbilt (also 178-82) for the 10th-most wins in all of Division I baseball, from 2007-10 (other SEC teams on the list below include: LSU, 12th with 175 wins from ’07-’10 … Mississippi, 20th with 162 Ws … and Arkansas, 21st with 161). (front-page photo of Blake Cooper courtesy of South Carolina)
Following games played over the past few days at the CWS, Florida State departed Omaha with a record of 196-65 (.751) spanning the 2007-10 seasons. FSU finished with the 4th-best record from ’07-’10, one behind ACC rival North Carolina. Coastal Carolina sits atop the list at 202-53, followed by 2010 CWS entrant Arizona State‘s 201-52 (ASU narrowly finished with a better 4-year win pct. than Coastal, .795 to .792).
TCU – by virtue of its recent wins over FSU (the Frogs’ second CWS win over the Seminoles) and UCLA –moved into a tie with Rice for the 5th-most wins over any D-I program during the 2007 (186-65; .741).
The CB360 Senior Class Salute is modeled after a similar feature on sister site CollegeSoccer360.com. One difference between a sport such as women’s soccer and baseball is that senior classes for many baseball programs can be affected by: players leaving early for pro ball; players coming and going via transfer; and some utilizing a redshirt/extra season. Nonetheless, the 28 baseball programs listed below have experienced sustained winning over the past four years (with each averaging 39 or more wins per season) … and many of the players who are seniors/5th-year-seniors/redshirt juniors have played key roles in each program’s success during this four-year stretch.
(Note: the Senior-Class Salute will be a regular CB360 feature throughout the 2010 NCAAs and in future seasons … CB360 also will be developing lists for top junior classes based on career wins and top combined records over the past two seasons).
In addition to SC, ASU, FSU and TCU, two other teams at the 2010 CWS – Oklahoma (19th; 163-88-1/.649) and Clemson (22nd; 161-97-1/.624) – are among the 28 winningest 4-year programs listed below. Oklahoma is 19th on this 4-year wins lists, while Clemson (161-97-1; .624) is tied with Arkansas for 21st on this list.
Florida ended its season with a combined record of 152-93 (.620) from 2007-10, while the remaining 2010 CWS team, UCLA, has gone 144-99 (.593) over the past four seasons.
South Carolina turned in a 46-20 record in 2007, followed by 40-23 marks in both 2008 and ’09, before fashioning the 52-16 record this season.
Two players – righthanded ace pitcher Blake Cooper (Neeses, S.C.) and catcher Kyle Enders (Greer, S.C.) – have been contributing members of the South Carolina program during the past four seasons, helping the Gamecock compile a yearly average of nearly 45 wins during that 2007-10 span.
South Carolina’s senior class also includes six players who attended other colleges/junior colleges earlier in their careers (or joined the program as a walk-on midway through their college career): RHP Jay Brown (Brunswick, Ga.), C/DH Brady Thomas (Anderson, S.C.), infielders Bobby Haney (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Jeffrey Jones (Ft. Worth, Texas), 1B Nick Ebert (Ocala, Fla.) and RHP Jordan Propst (Gaffney, S.C.).
COOPER – who is slated to make his third start of the 2010 CWS in Monday’s series opener vs. UCLA – has closed his college career with a stellar senior season that includes a 2.86 ERA and 12-2 record, a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (116/38) and 21 more innings pitched (129) than hits allowed (108; .230 opp. batting avg.). The 5-foot-10, 180-pound RHP has led the way for a group of SC pitchers that has combined for a 3.53 staff ERA and .228 opponent batting avg.
A standout pitcher throughout his four seasons (33 career wins), Cooper made two starts versus Oklahoma during CWS bracket – with his combined stats including a 3.38 ERA, 0-1 record, 10 hits allowed, 3 walks and 11 strikeouts in 10.2 innings. Both of those games were tense 1-run decisions, with SC losing the first game vs. OU 4-3 (Cooper had 5IP-3R-6H-BB-5K) on June 20. Cooper then returned to the mound on June 24 and had no-decision in a solid outing (5.2IP-R-4H-2BB-HB-6K), as the Gamecocks stayed alive with a 4-3 win.
Cooper (a Edisto High School product) has compiled a 3.78 ERA and 33-13 record in 68 career appearances (61 starts) for South Carolina, with a 2.5 career K-to-walk ratio (283/113) and an average of roughly one hit allowed per inning (374 H; 369.0 IP).
ENDERS picked a perfect time to hit his third home run of the season, doing so in the recent 5-1 win over Clemson to help SC fight off elimination. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound righthanded-hitting catcher has made 49 starts this season (59 games played) while batting .282 with 32 RBI and 13 extra-base hits (9 2B, 3B). His total”free passes” (32 walks + 7 hit-by-pitch) are more than twice his strikeouts (19), helping yield an on-base pct. of .369.
Over the course of his four-year career, Enders (a Riverside HS product) has hit .276 in 224 games played, with 99 RBI, 90 runs scored, 48 extra-base hits (13 HR, 2 3B, 33 2B) and 51 walks.
The 28 teams on the list (see below) of winningest programs from 2007-10 include six from the ACC, five SEC, plus three Big 12 programs and three from Conference USA, along with two each from the BIG EAST and Big West, and one each from the Atlantic-10, Big South, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Pacific-10, Southern Conf. and the Summit League.
Three teams on this list – Wichita State (#15), Charlote (#18) and East Carolina (#20) – failed to reach the 2010 NCAAs.
There have been 76 different teams over the past four years (2007-10) that have posted at least one season with 40-plus wins.
Winningest Senior Classes in 2010 College Baseball Season (2007-10)
(prior to CWS Championship Series)
(research courtesy of CollegeBaseball360.com; please credit accordingly)
* – 2010 College World Series teams
|Place||Team||Won||Loss||Tie||Pct.||'10 W||'10 L||'10 T||'09 W||'09 L||'09 T||'08 W||'08 L||'08 T||'07 W||'07 L||'07 T|
|(15)||Cal State Fulleton||172||81||0||.680||46||18||0||47||16||0||41||22||0||38||25||0|
|(25)||Coll. of Charleston||157||80||0||.663||44||19||0||35||22||0||39||20||0||39||19||0|