Portland Pitching Shuts Down Oregon …
The Portland Pilots boosted their NCAA Tournament resume with Tuesday night’s win at Oregon, which was listed 20th in the most recent version of the CB360 Composite National Rankings. Three other teams upset CB360 top-50 teams, as: Davidson win 14-10 at #23 Virginia Tech … USC rallied for an 8-3 victory at #30 UC Irvine … and Central Florida posted a 14-3 win at #43 Florida Atlantic. Jacksonville came close to adding its own upset win, but the Dolphins lost in 13 innings (11-10) at #10 Florida State. (front-page photo courtesy of Portland)
Note that all of the Composite National Rankings referenced on this page are from the most recent CNR update (April 28), with the next update set to be formulated and posted on May 5 (several of the teams listed below likely will make significant drops, or jumps, in the CNR).
The Portland vs. Oregon matchup was one of four played on Tuesday between CB360 top-50 teams. Arizona State (the top team in the CNR) registered a midweek win over #16 Arizona (13-1) while #13 LSU snapped its seven-game losing streak (9-5 vs. #44 Southeastern Louisiana) and #21 Rice returned to action with an impressive 16-2 win over #35 Texas State.
It will be interesting to see how things play out in the Pacific Northwest, when the NCAA bids and Regional setups are announced. Oregon currently sits as an intriguing candidate to serve as one of the 16 host sites in the NCAAs (even as a possible #2 seed at the site). With regional power Oregon State sliding over the past month, the pieces have been falling into place for Eugene as a possible NCAA Regional host site.
One key factor that could tip a Regional in the University of Oregon’s favor would be Portland qualifying for the NCAA field (and this providing a team that could travel by bus to Eugene). In a roundabout sort of way, Tuesday’s results actually could help Oregon’s slim chances at becoming a host site, because: (a) It may boost Portland’s confidence for this weekend’s huge West Coast Conference showdown series vs. San Diego (to be played at Portland); and (b) It could help Portland’s slim chances at earning an NCAA at-large spot, if the Pilots don’t earn the WCC automatic bid.
It should be noted that the WCC does not sponsor a postseason tournament in baseball – thus the NCAA automatic bid goes to the regular-season champion. USD (12-0) currently holds a one-game lead over Portland (11-1) in the WCC standings. Portland’s current official NCAA RPI is #79, but that number should receive a boost after the USD series (the Pilots also have two games remaining vs. Washington State and another midweek game against Oregon).
Portland (31-9) is riding an 11-game win streak (tying the longest in the program’s history) and entered the week with the nation’s 6th-best team ERA (3.24, now down to 3.18).
There were a handful of Division I baseball games scheduled for Monday, with three of them involving teams in the most recent CB360 top-50. Florida Gulf Coast’s series finale at #27 Clemson was rained out and moved back to Tuesday, as was Elon’s game at #41 North Carolina. In the only Monday game that actually saw a CB360 top-50 team take the field, #22 Stanford beat Santa Clara 8-3, avenging its loss to the Broncos from the previous week (Finals Stats | STAN Recap | SCU Recap).
Tuesday’s Top-50 Results (5/4/10, upsets in italics)
(based on CB360 Composite National Rankings, as of 4/28)
• Bethune-Cookman at #7 Florida – canceled (no makeup game announced)