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College  | Story  | 5/8/2013

State of College Baseball: May 8

Kendall Rogers     

Helped its case

West Virginia: Could Randy Mazey's Mountaineers actually reach the NCAA postseason in his first campaign? It's certainly possible, though, the Mountaineers have little room for error down the stretch. With the series win over Oklahoma last weekend, the Mountaineers are up to 66 in the RPI with a solid 8-6 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs. Furthermore, it certainly helps the Mountaineers that they're 11-7, and tied for first place, in the Big 12.

Stanford: Sure, the Cardinal is coming off a tough midweek loss to San Francisco, but there's no doubt last weekend's road series win over Arizona State is paying dividends from a resume standpoint. The Cardinal is up to 73 in the latest RPI, a significant jump from the 91 they were entering last weekend's action against the Sun Devils. Overall, Stanford is 11-10 in the Pac-12, but only is 3-6 vs. RPI Top 50 clubs. A strong finish is a must.

Colby Suggs and Arkansas are red-hot heading down the stretch. (Arkansas photo)

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continue to improve their hosting resume, now fresh off a home series sweep over Alabama. State is now 13-11 in the SEC and 13-11 vs. RPI Top 50 clubs, that 13-win mark against that grouping an impressive figure. With that said, the Bulldogs finish the season with a pair of tough opponents in rival Ole Miss and South Carolina, one road series, one home series. State likely is a host if it finishes the regular season by at least splitting those two series.

Arkansas: Boy oh boy, what to do with the Razorbacks moving forward? The Hogs improved their resume last weekend by taking two of three on the road from Kentucky. The Hogs still only have an RPI of 39, but it's my take they'd be in good shape to host right now with an impressive 15-8 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Going deeper, the Hogs are 11-11 vs. RPI Top 50 and 18-14 vs. RPI Top 100.

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have little room for error down the stretch, but certainly improved their resume over the weekend by taking a road series from Texas Tech. The Cowboys are up to 46 in the latest RPI, and are sixth in the Big 12, just 1 1/2 games out of first place. In this instance, conference standing probably won't matter too much. OSU is 5-3 vs. RPI top 50 clubs, and reaching the postseason in Josh Holliday's first campaign would be a huge step in the right direction.

South Florida: We've always thought the Bulls had potential to be one of the nation's elite mid-major programs, and they're taking a step forward this season, tied for first place in the Big East with an outstanding 15-3 record. USF took a big road series from Notre Dame over the weekend, and is now up to 52 (from 78) in the latest NCAA RPI. The Bulls are just 3-3 vs. RPI Top 50, but also are 7-10 vs. RPI Top 100.

Kansas: Just a week after seemingly hurting its chances to make the NCAA postseason, the Jayhawks bounced right back by sweeping a home series against Baylor. KU is up to 48 (from 59) in the latest RPI, and is now 12-9 in the Big 12, half-game out of first place. Kansas is 3-3 vs. RPI Top 500, so will need to finish the regular season strong, as well as showing well in the Big 12 tournament.

Kansas State: I still think Arkansas would get a host site over Kansas State as of today, but keep an eye on the Wildcats moving forward, especially if they can win the Big 12 regular season title. The Wildcats captured a road series win over Texas last weekend, vaulting from 29 to 24 in the latest RPI, Furthermore, the Wildcats need some solid wins down the stretch, sitting at 6-5 vs. RPI Top 50 and 18-13 vs. RPI Top 100.

Cal State Northridge: Speaking of impressive coaching jobs, how about head coach Matt Curtis and his staff? The Matadors have won eight-straight contests and are up to 86 (from 99) in the latest NCAA RPI. They also received a bump up to 74 after a nice midweek win over UCLA. The Matadors are one game out of first place in the Big West, but still have a tough road with tough series remaining against UCSB, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.

Hurt its case

Florida: The Gators had a very much outside chance of hosting with an incredibly strong finish, but put that debate to rest last weekend by getting swept on the road by LSU. With that series result, UF is now 27-23 overall with a 13-15 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs. UF should still be a postseason team with an RPI of 19, but host chances are done.

UCF: Terry Rooney's club is still in the mix for the Conference USA regular season title, but likely will need to win the league tournament to make the postseason. UCF, though, 11-7 in league play, got swept on the road by Florida State last weekend. The Knights have an RPI of 120 and 2-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs. Not exactly an impressive resume.

Oklahoma: The Sooners likely saw their ship sail as a host site with a road series loss to West Virginia last weekend. OU only dropped from 41 to 45 in the RPI, but the overall resume just doesn't add up to a host site at this point. OU is 16-9 vs. RPI Top 100, but only 3-2 vs. RPI Top 50.

UC Irvine: The Anteaters likely will need to finish incredibly strong to be a third team out of the Big West to reach the NCAA postseason. UCI is down to 75 from 64 in the latest RPI, and has some work to do in league play. The Anteaters are just 1-2 vs. RPI Top 50 and 13-9 vs. RPI Top 100.

Arizona: I'm getting the feeling that Arizona's ship has sailed in terms of making the NCAA postseason after dropping a brutal home series to suddenly red-hot Washington. The Wildcats are down to 83 (from 45) in the latest RPI and are 10-11 in the Pac-12, to go along with a 1-7 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Mississippi: The Rebels had a shot to host an NCAA Regional with a strong finish, but those plans likely were shot last weekend with a tough series loss to Auburn. Ole Miss is still 20 in the latest RPI, which is solid, but only is 12-12 in the SEC and 8-11 vs. RPI Top 50 teams. Good news for Ole Miss is that it finishes the regular season with series against Mississippi State and LSU, ample opportunities to bounce back resume-wise.

Central Arkansas: Yeah, remember when these guys seemed like slam-dunk postseason contenders? Well, the Bears are in tough shape now, sitting at seventh in the Southland Conference standings after a series loss to Southeastern Louisiana. UCA now has an RPI of 43 (from 33 two weeks ago) with a 4-2 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Going streaking

Here's our inside look at some interesting trends to watch in college baseball:

Current win streaks


Valparaiso (10)

Sam Houston State (9)

Seton Hall (9)

Cal State Northridge (8)

Florida Gulf Coast (8)

Florida State (8)

Louisville (8)

Oregon State (8)

Vanderbilt (8)

Bryant (7)

Current road win streaks


North Carolina State (9)

Seton Hall (9)

Navy (8)

Rider (6)

Cal State Northridge (5)

East Carolina (5)

Pittsburgh (5)

Vanderbilt (5)

Wagner (5)

Current home win streaks


Troy (16)

South Florida (12)

New Mexico (11)

Wisconsin-Milwaukee (11)

Florida State (10)

Georgia State (10)

Valparaiso (10)

Western Carolina (10)

Dartmouth (9)

Oregon State (9)

On the bad side …

With yet another home series loss over the weekend to Kansas State, it's astonishing to think Texas now has lost 10-straight Big 12 series, dating back to last year's series against Kansas toward the end of the year. Sitting at 6-15 in conference, 24-22 overall, the 'Horns are out of the postseason picture. However, they at least have a chance to end that conference series streak the final weekend of the regular season against TCU.

Prospect watch: Kansas State OF Jared King

AUSTIN, Texas -- Kansas State junior outfielder Jared King is well on his way to following the footsteps of brother Jason, who starred for the Wildcats and was a fourth-round pick to the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 MLB draft.

Jason was an all-out, run through the brick wall type of guy. Jared, more business-like in his approach. Both exceptional college players and very good overall prospects.

"I would say Jared is kind of comparable to Jason. Jason was all about fire and he wanted to run through a wall all the time," Kansas State coach Brad Hill said. "Jared is a little more mellow, and that's not a bad thing, but Jason was definitely all about charging all the time."

Jared has really developed as an intriguing prospect the past couple of seasons. As a freshman for the Wildcats, he batted .307 with eight homers and 40 RBIs, while finishing the campaign with 32 strikeouts and 15 walks. He showed very good raw power, but as with most freshmen, didn't work counts all the time.

King showed immense improvement, and developed into a good prospect, as a sophomore for the Wildcats. He batted a much-improved .377 with again, good raw power, with seven homers and 47 RBIs. He also really improved his strikeout-to-walk total, finishing the campaign with 31 walks as opposed to 29 strikeouts.

Though King got off to a rather slow start this spring, he once again is having a season that has caught scouts' attention. He's hitting .335 with six homers and 42 RBIs. Also very impressive is the fact he only has struck out 16 times, as opposed to 18 walks. 

"Jared is just a really good player. He's got great work ethic, and it starts with that. But he has a strong desire to be a great player," Hill said. "His outfield play has gotten much better, and he does things across the board better than he did as a freshman. His right-handed swing has really improved, and pretty much evened out with his left-handed swing."

King, ranked as the No. 40 college prospect in the latest PG College Top 50 prospect rankings, is an all-around very solid prospect. Though known for his offensive skill set, King actually is a solid defender. Though with his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame, he's not incredibly fast, he showed good instincts and defense last weekend against Texas, even making a sliding catch toward the infield, and catching another tough ball over his shoulder.

"He really runs better than you'd think he does by looking at his frame. And it's something he works on a lot," Hill said. "You watch our batting practice, and some guys are out there shagging balls. Jared is out there working on his defense. Jared is not the most vocal guy out there, but he's most definitely very invested in helping this team, and his game, get much better."

Moving forward, King, who likely will be chosen in the top two or three rounds in the MLB draft, has an impressive skill set that doesn't warrant much criticism. But if there's one thing Hill would like to see improve down the stretch and his career progresses, it's just sheer consistency at the plate.

"I just think he needs to be a bit more consistent sometimes. He's a really streaky player, and tends to over-swing when things aren't going great," he said. "That's the one thing with him right now. When things go bed, he just needs to learn to relax, stop, and talk a walk. Otherwise, he's looking pretty good."

In the case of the two Kings, it's brother like brother.