More Numbers Heading Down The Stretch…
With less than a month to go before NCAA selections are made, here’s our latest “By The Numbers” look at the latest college baseball action…
1…NCAA Tournament ticket punched. Cornell grabbed the first automatic bid of 2012 by taking two of three games from Dartmouth in the Ivy League Championship series over the weekend. The teams split Saturday’s games and then Cornell downed the Big Green 3-1 in 11 innings on Sunday with a two-run walk-off home run from right fielder Chris Cruz. The shot was Cruz’s school record 12thof the season. The NCAA bid is just the second all-time for Cornell and its first since 1977.
28 … Current winning streak for Utah Valley, which has posted wins this season over Arizona and Arizona State (the NCAA record is a 34-game winning streak, set by Texas in 1977 and matched by Florida Atlantic in ’99). Utah Valley’s conference, the Great West, does not have an automatic NCAA bid – so the Wolverines may need to win out simply to be in the discussion for an NCAA at-large spot. Utah Valley is 35-11 overall and has a #62 RPI (per WarrenNolan.com), largely due to its #209 strength-of-schedule. Wolverine senior Goose Kallunki not only has one of the best names in the nation, but also is among the national leaders with a .419 batting average, 15 home runs, 72 RBIs, and a .747 slugging percentage. Utah Valley has nine games left in the regular season, followed by the Great West Tournament.
If Las Vegas had been laying odds in the preseason for what three teams would post win streaks higher than 20 games this season, how much could have been made by predicting the trifecta of: Kentucky (won first 22 of season) … Baylor (won 24 straight, from March 16-April 22) … and Utah Valley (current 28-gm win streak, started March 23)?
.500…Batting average of LSU outfielder Raph Rhymes. The junior, who spent a season at a junior college in 2010 when he couldn’t make the LSU roster, is 85-for-170 at the plate in 45 games this season. He sports a .618 slugging percentage and .544 on base percentage as well. Rhymes was 5-for-11 over the weekend while helping LSU take two of three games from Ole Miss to improve to 38-11 overall and an SEC best (tied with South Carolina ) 16-8).
80 1/3…Innings between home runs allowed this season by LSU pitcher Matt Gausman. The sophomore gave-up a leadoff shot to Ole Miss first baseman Matt Snyder in Friday’s game. It was the first long ball he had allowed since the first inning of LSU’s Feb. 17 season opener against Air Force.
19…Straight non-conference wins for UCLA after Saturday’s 5-1 and 3-2 decisions over visiting Purdue. The Bruin pitching staff tallied 17 strikeouts with no walks in 18.0 innings in Saturday’s big showdown with the Big Ten Conference leader. Adam Plutko led the way for the staff with 7 Ks in 8 1/2 IP, but the 19-game streak ended on Sunday…
10…Runs scored in the top of the 9th inning by Purdue in Sunday’s series finale with UCLA to win 15-11. Seven of the runs came with two outs in the frame as the Boilermakers salvaged a win. 15 batters went to the plate in the inning. Bruin pitchers walked eight in the loss.
1…Series loss this season by Purdue after dropping those games at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Boilermaker Friday starter Joe Haase (7-1) lost for the first time this year after allowing 3 ER in 6.0 innings, while his loss was also the first time the Boilers lost in a series opener in 2012.
113…Years since Purdue won its only Big Ten baseball championship. The Boilermakers (35-9, 14-4), whose only previous NCAA Tournament bid was in 1987, have remaining B1G series vs. ninth and tenth place Iowa and Michigan to close the regular season.
106…Years since Indiana and Nebraska had met on the baseball diamond prior to Saturday’s 13-2 Cornhusker victory in Bloomington. It also marked the first time IU has lost a Big Ten series opener this season, but the Hoosiers (24-24, 11-7) won the last two games of the series and sit in second place in the Big Ten behind arch rival Purdue.
7…Wins in as many starts by Oregon’s Alex Keudell after going the distance in Friday’s key 6-1 win at Arizona. Keudell fanned seven in his second straight complete game. He has allowed just six runs in his last 57.0 innings (0.95 ERA).
12-4…Oregon’s record against ranked opponents after taking two of three games from Arizona over the weekend in Tucson. The wins keep the Ducks (34-14, 16-8) in first place in the Pac-12 standings. Oregon has also won nine series this season, including five on the road against ranked teams.
1…Big 12 regular season championship secured by Baylor. The Bears (38-8, 18-0) were idle over the weekend, but could lose all six of their remaining conference games against Oklahoma and Texas without worry. Current second place teams Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas are all 13-8.
10…Wins in its last 11 games by Oklahoma State to find itself in the thick of the Big 12 race and back in the NCAA Tournament picture. Three of those wins and the only loss in the current stretch came against arch rival Oklahoma. The Cowboys won a midweek game over the Sooners on April 24 and took two of three from OU over the weekend in the Bedlam Series. The Cowboys play two games at Ohio State this week and then host another non-conference series with Alcorn State this weekend before hosting Texas A&M in the Aggies’ last series in the Big 12 May 17-19.
32…Wins for USC Upstate this season – its first full season of D1 eligibility. The Spartans, who won a combined total of 36 games over the last two seasons, are eligible for the D1 NCAA Tournament for the first time this season. They were picked to finish just 10th in the Atlantic Sun preseason poll, but currently lead the conference with a 15-6 mark after taking two of three games over the weekend from preseason favorite Stetson.
11…Straight at-bats with a hit by USC Upstate’s Gaither Bumgardner before the streak ended in Friday’s 8-4 win over Stetson. Bumgardner was coming off back to back 5-for-5 performances, but grounded out in his first at-bat to fall three short of the NCAA record set in 1977. He had also reached base safely 15 consecutive times, which is three short of the record set in 2002.
10…Series won vs. SEC Eastern Division foes in the last four seasons by Florida after taking their series at Kentucky over the weekend. The Gators took two of three games from the Wildcats and have only lost two such series since 2009.
8…Unanswered runs scored by red hot South Carolina in Friday’s 8-6 10 inning win at Arkansas. The Razorbacks scored all six of their runs off Gamecocks ace Michael Roth in the first three innings, but then saw South Carolina plate three in the 4th and 6th innings before Evan Marzilli’s RBI double in the 10th provided the winning margin. South Carolina (36-12, 16-8) would take two of three games in the series in Fayetteville and currently leads the SEC’s Eastern Division.
19-5…South Carolina’s record in its last 25 games. The Gamecocks started SEC play with a 1-5 mark after being swept by Kentucky and then dropping two of three at home , but have been red hot since then. The 19 wins in their last 24 games includes a 15-3 mark in conference play.
2…Doubles hit this season by South Carolina Friday night pitcher Michael Roth, who connected on his second two-bagger, which drove-in two runs, as a pinch hitter in Sunday’s 10-7 win over Arkansas. It was Roth’s second pinch hit in as many days. He is 4-for-14 at the plate (.286) this season, while going 4-0 on the mound with a 2.82 ERA.
15-11…Kentucky’s record since rattling-off 22 straight wins to start the season. The Wildcats (37-11, 15-9) are just 9-9 over the last four weeks, including consecutive SEC series losses to Vanderbilt and Florida. They are percentage points behind the Gamecocks in the SEC Eastern Division.
60…Feet – the combined distance of Oregon State’s first three hits against Stanford’s Mark Appel Friday night in Corvallis. The Beavers’ first two hits were swinging bunts and the last was a bunt single. Stanford scored all eight of its runs in the last two innings for an 8-2 victory, but Oregon State (30-15, 11-10) won Saturday and Sunday to win the series. Stanford and OSU now share fifth place in the Pac-12 standings.
11…Series wins in 2012 for Indiana State after taking two of three games in their Missouri Valley Conference series with Wichita State. The Sycamores (36-12, 10-5) are the only MVC team that has not lost a series this season. They are percentage points behind Missouri St. on the MVC leader board and host the Bears May 17-19 in the last regular season series for both teams.
10…Consecutive wins by Florida State heading into Monday night’s series finale with visiting Maryland (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU). The Seminoles (39-7, 21-2) haven’t lost since their series finale at Boston College on April 15. Their only other ACC setback was in their finale at Wake Forest on March 25.
8…Straight series New Mexico had won prior to dropping two of three games in Ft. Worth over the weekend to TCU. The Lobos (27-21, 13-5) and Horned Frogs (29-16, 13-5) share the lead in the Mountain West Conference. With just five teams in the league teams play two conference series against each other this season. New Mexico took two of three from TCU in the first meeting in Albuquerque.
23-24…Vanderbilt’s overall record after taking two of three games from rival Tennessee over the weekend in Knoxville. The series win comes on the heels of the Commodores taking two of three from Kentucky last week. Vandy started the season by dropping seven of its first eight games, but now finds itself creeping back into the mix for an NCAA bid. Vanderbilt’s last SEC series are against LSU and Ole Miss. It could have to do what Georgia did last year – get into the SEC Tournament and win a few games – to receive an at-large NCAA bid.