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College  | Story  | 5/19/2013

Saturday roundup: Making the case

Kendall Rogers     

Helped its case

BYU: Well, the Cougars certainly are making things rather interesting. First baseman Brock Whitney had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored, double and four RBIs, as the Cougars cruised past St. Mary's 14-3. With the win, the Cougars moved into a three-way tie with San Diego and San Francisco for second place in the West Coast Conference. They also have an RPI of 54 with a 3-2 record vs. RPI Top 50.

Florida Atlantic: John McCormack's club is making things interesting in the Sun Belt at-large berth race this weekend, finishing off a clean sweep of FIU with a 12-1 win on Saturday. With the win, the Owls are now tied with Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 3 in the Sun Belt, along with an RPI of 34 and 7-11 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. The Sun Belt might just get four postseason bids.

Sam Houston State: Kevin Miller had two hits and an RBI to lead the Bearkats to another win over Central Arkansas, and the impressive series sweep. Though the Bearkats are the easy favorite to win the Southland Conference tournament, they could've very well positioned themselves for an at-large bid. SHSU is now 36-18 with an RPI of 41 and 3-1 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.

Auburn: The Tigers really helped their case over the weekend with a huge home series win over Arkansas. Though AU still is only 13-17 in the Southeastern Conference, it has played very well the past few weeks. AU freshman second baseman Jordan Ebert had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in the 11-6 triumph. AU now has an RPI of 33 with an 11-15 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Mississippi State: It's hard to imagine the Bulldogs didn't basically punch their ticket to an NCAA Regional host site on Saturday, though, anything is possible at this stage in the game. State made a statement to end the regular season, eclipsing the 40-win mark by beating South Carolina 7-2 to take the series. State starting pitcher Jacob Lindgren struck out four and allowed a run in 4 1/3 innings, while reliever Ross Mitchell performed at a high level. Overall, State has an RPI of 10 with a 19-14 mark vs. RPI Top 50.

Illinois State: It might not look like it on paper, but the Redbirds could have a legitimate chance to make the NCAA postseason, even if they don't win next week's Missouri Valley tournament. ISU's Zac Johnson was fantastic in a win over Southern Illinois to clinch an outright MVC regular season title. With the win, the Redbirds are now 71 in the RPI with a 3-6 mark vs. RPI Top 50. Probably doesn't get ISU in without winning the auto bid for now, but things can change.

Cal Poly: We had the Mustangs solidly in the NCAA postseason field in last week's projections, but I felt like Cal Poly needed to take care of business in impressive fashion this weekend to solidify things. Cal Poly defeated Cal State Northridge again, this time 6-2, to take the series. CP starting pitcher Matt Imhof was fantastic in the contest, striking out 12 and allowing just two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Seton Hall: We already felt pretty good about the Pirates' at-large chances, but they made sure to avoid huge hiccups this weekend, taking the series finale from St. John's, 4-2, on Saturday. Seton Hall relievers Jose Lopez, Sam Burum and Brian Gilbert pitched extremely well in the triumph. SHU has an RPI of 37 with a 1-4 vs. RPI Top 50.

Kansas State: Color me a strong believer that Kansas State is now in great shape to host an NCAA Regional after taking the second game of the weekend against Oklahoma, this time 5-2. K-State left-handed pitcher Joe Flattery was terrific against the Sooners, striking out four, walking no one and allowing just three hits in 5 1/3 shutout frames. With the win, KSU is up to 18 in the latest RPI with a 7-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Florida Gulf Coast: Could the Eagles be one of those surprise at-large teams the NCAA Selection Committee always includes in the field? It's definitely possible. FGCU swept Stetson over the weekend to improve to 37-18 overall, 19-8 (second) in the Atlantic Sun, just a game behind first place Mercer. FGCU outfielder Sean Dwyer led the way at the plate, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs. From a resume standpoint, the Eagles are 59 in the RPI with a 3-8 mark vs. RPI Top 50.

Florida State: If there was any doubt FSU was a national seed before the weekend, it definitely answered that question against Clemson, taking the series finale 6-1 on Saturday in impressive fashion. FSU left-handed starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt allowed just a run on nine hits in five innings, while reliever Billy Strode tossed four shutout frames to end the contest.

Hurt its case

South Alabama: Even with representation on the NCAA Selection Committee, the Jaguars might've seen their hosting chances take a significant hit Saturday in a 6-3 loss to Troy to drop a huge Sun Belt series. South Alabama starting pitcher Jarron Cito allowed four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of work. With the series result, the Jaguars are 16 in the RPI with a 5-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50, not exactly an overly impressive figure.

Florida: It's hard to imagine the Gators not making the NCAA postseason with such a great RPI and several wins against elite teams, but it could happen if they have a short, poor, showing in Hoover next week. UF starting pitcher Eric Hanhold allowed just three runs on six hits in two innings of work in a 9-2 loss to Georgia to drop the series. UF has an RPI of 25 with a 14-17 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.

San Diego State: The Aztecs were an incredibly long shot to make the NCAA postseason to begin with, but took a step back Saturday in an 11-7 loss to New Mexico to go 0-3 this weekend, and falling two games below .500. Josh Melendez had two hits and four RBIs for the New Mexico offense, while for the Aztecs, Mike Robards was lifted as the starting pitcher after allowing three runs without recording an out to start the game.

Memphis: The Tigers needed something good to happen this weekend and in next week's Conference USA tournament to make the NCAA postseason. Well, it's now auto bid or nothing after dropping two of three to Southeast Missouri State, a 9-4 decision on Saturday. Memphis starting pitcher Alex Gunn allowed five runs on four hits in three innings of work. Memphis has an RPI of 96 with a 5-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers have possessed a very solid weekend rotation the entire season, but struggled throughout the weekend in a tough series loss to Louisville, dropping the finale 7-4 on Saturday. Pitt starting pitcher Rhys Aldenhoven only struck out two batters and allowed five runs on five hits in five innings of work in the setback. With the setback, Pitt has an RPI of 64 with a 3-3 record vs. RPI Top 50, again not exactly a lock for an at-large bid.

Nebraska: The Huskers really needed to shine this weekend against Michigan to have any shot at earning an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason. However, they struggled again Saturday in a 19-9 home setback to the Wolverines. Nebraska starting pitcher Tyler Niederklein struggled in the contest, allowing four runs on six hits in two innings of work. NU has a respectable RPI, but is sitting at just 25-28 with the conference tournament on the horizon.

National notables

* Oregon State freshman right-handed pitcher, a Eugene, Ore., native, absolutely stymied the hometown Ducks on Saturday in a 9-0 triumph. Though Andy Petersen and the OSU offense gave him plenty of help, Moore was fabulous, allowing just two hits in a complete game shutout performance. He struck out two and walked one, while throwing 93 pitches, 61 for strikes.

* Cal State Fullerton freshman right-handed pitcher Justin Garza is having a monster campaign and added yet another solid performance to his resume, striking out four, walking one and allowing just five hits in 7 2/3 innings of work in a 3-2 win over UC Irvine to clinch an important Big West series victory. Meanwhile, at the plate, speedy outfielder Michael Lorenzen had two hits and two RBIs, while first baseman Carlos Lopez added a home run.

* Indiana: What a historic campaign it has been for the Hoosiers, as this team captured the program's first outright Big Ten regular season title since 1932. Left-handed pitcher Kyle Hart was fantastic in the win over Ohio State to take the series, striking out two, walking two and allowing a run on four hits in 8 1/3 innings of work. The Hoosiers have that special flare about them this season.

* Virginia and North Carolina were in absolute dogfights throughout the weekend, with the Cavaliers taking a huge series home with an 8-7 road victory over the Heels. Virginia starting pitcher Whit Mayberry allowed just five hits and a run in five innings, while at the plate, Joe McCarthy had two hits and an RBI to lead the offensive charge.