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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Postseason snapshot: May 23

Kendall Rogers        

National seeds



North Carolina


Florida State

Cal State Fullerton

Oregon State


Despite Louisville's extra-inning loss to Connecticut at the Big East tournament, there's no change in this department for now. The Cardinals maintain an RPI of 16 with a solid overall record. For instance, the Cards are still 8-4 vs. RPI Top 50 and 19-7 vs. RPI Top 100. I'd keep a close eye on Indiana and Oregon as the week progresses. The Hoosiers  have an RPI of 14 with a 13-9 record vs. RPI Top 100, while the Ducks suffered a setback when their midweek game against rival Oregon State was shelved because of inclement weather. With that said, the Ducks could grab the eighth national seed with a strong showing against Utah this weekend, though, the fact the Utes have an RPI of 152 gives them absolutely zero wiggle room.

Regional hosts

Mississippi State

South Carolina

North Carolina State





Kansas State

Nothing has changed when it comes to NCAA Regional host sites. Mississippi State entered the mix as a host last week, and the Bulldogs only have done more to solidify their position, starting 2-0 in the SEC tournament with wins over Missouri and South Carolina. There aren't a lot of other hosting options, but it would be smart to keep an eye on South Alabama, which cruised to a 10-2 win over Arkansas-Little Rock to begin the Sun Belt tournament. The Jaguars have a 2-3 record vs. RPI Top 25, 5-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 12-13 record vs. RPI Top 100. In other words, it's not likely at this point South Alabama would steal someone's host site. Though also a very long shot, Virginia Tech officials confirmed they indeed put in a bid for a host site. The Hokies are 36-10 overall with an RPI of 13, 11-14 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Helped its case

Florida Atlantic: The Owls entered the week on the good side of the bubble, but certainly helped their case Wednesday night with a 5-4 win over Western Kentucky. FAU starting pitcher Austin Gomber struck out seven, walked two and allowed just three runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of work, while at the plate, Brendon Sanger had a triple and two RBIs. With the win, FAU is now 33 in the RPI with a 7-11 mark vs. RPI Top 50.

Texas A&M: It's safe to say the Aggies are playing like a team desperate for an at-large bid to the NCAA postseason. A&M put together an impressive performance for the second-straight day, beating top-seeded Vanderbilt 5-0 behind three homers and a stellar performance from right-handed pitcher Parker Ray. Ray struck out three, walked three and allowed just three hits in eight shutout frames, while Hunter Melton, Cole Lankford and Troy Stein each hit homers in the game. RPI-wise, the Aggies are up to 30 with a 10-19 mark vs. RPI Top 100. I still think the Aggies need one more win this week in Hoover to feel good heading into Monday.

Mississippi State: If there were any questions at all about State's host spot entering Wednesday, they've been answered in impressive fashion. The Bulldogs captured a 5-3- win over South Carolina, and have clinched a host spot, at least in my opinion. MSU starting pitcher Luis Pollorena allowed three runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, but reliever Myles Gentry was phenomenal with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 shutout frames. Resume-wise, the Bulldogs now have an RPI of 10 with a 22-16 mark vs. RPI Top 100.

Illinois State: Chances are good Illinois State silences the doubters and wins the Missouri Valley automatic bid, but there's a chance it could make the NCAA postseason without accomplishing that goal. Redbirds starting pitcher Dan Savas once again was terrific Wednesday night in a 6-1 win over Missouri State. Savas struck out 12, walked one and allowed just one run on four hits in a complete game performance. With the win, the Redbirds are now 68 in the RPI with a 1-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.

Campbell: Chances already were pretty good the Camels were making the NCAA postseason field, but they probably punched their ticket by starting 2-0 in the Big South tournament with a 4-3 win over Radford. Campbell right-handed pitcher Heath Bowers put together a solid performance in the win, striking out four and allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings. RPI-wise, the Camels are now 45 with an 0-1 record against RPI Top 50 teams.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish likely need to win the Big East tournament to get into the field of 64, but the RPI definitely is their friend at this point. Irish starting pitcher Adam Norton was simply fantastic in a 5-0 win over Seton Hall. Norton struck out seven and allowed just seven hits in a complete game shutout. With the win, the Irish are now 41 in the RPI with a 7-7 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers haven't played particularly great as of late, but feel like they're in NCAA field if they can win a few games at the Big East tournament. Pitt starting pitcher Ethan Mildren struck out five, walked one and allowed just two runs on four hits in eight innings in a 10-2 win over St. John's. The Pirates, with the win, are at 62 in the RPI with a 3-3 mark vs. RPI Top 50.

South Florida: Much like the Panthers, the Bulls have something to prove this week at the Big East tournament. USF started the week in impressive fashion with a 5-2 win over Rutgers. From a postseason standpoint, there's no doubt the Bulls have some serious work to do. For instance, they're 65 in the RPI with a 2-10 record vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Anytime you're not one of the top two teams in your league, especially a mid-major, you want to make sure you take care of business and leave little doubt. That's exactly what Louisiana-Lafayette did against Florida International, as Jace Conrad smacked a walk-off three-run home run to beat the Panthers 9-6. The Cajuns have pretty much punched their ticket to the NCAA postseason with an RPI of 24 and 5-5 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.

South Alabama: The Jaguars still have some serious work to do to be an NCAA Regional host, but took another step forward Wednesday night with a 10-2 win over Arkansas-Little Rock. Jaguars starting pitcher Anthony Izzio was fantastic in the contest, striking out three, walking one and allowing just two runs on seven hits in eight innings of work. Going deeper into the Jaguars’ resume, they now have an RPI of 17, but only a 5-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams. South Alabama likely needs to win the Sun Belt tournament to have a strong shot at hosting.

Hurt its case

Creighton: The Bluejays didn't have an overly impressive resume entering the Missouri Valley tournament, and they're in even more trouble after losing 11-4 to Wichita State to go 0-2 and home. That likely means Creighton is done for the season. CU now has an RPI of 64 with just a 1-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50 teams.

Louisville: The Cardinals are fighting for a national seed, but took a small step back on Wednesday with a 3-2 setback to Connecticut in extra frames. UL starting pitcher Kyle Funkhouser allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings of work, while UCONN starting pitcher Carson Cross was terrific, allowing just two runs in a complete game performance. UL remains at 16 in the RPI, but still needs to avoid going 0-2 this week.

Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles didn't have a great chance to begin with of getting into the NCAA postseason, but with a strong run in the Atlantic Sun tournament, perhaps some things might change. Well, FGCU has some serious work to do after dropping a 3-1 decision to Kennesaw State to start the weekend. FGCU starting pitcher Ricky Knapp allowed three runs in a complete game performance, while Stephen Janas was his typical dominant self in the win. FGCU is now sitting at 67 in the RPI with a 3-8 mark vs. RPI Top 50 clubs.

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