I'd like to start this off with a haiku about the best right fielder we've ever had at Alex Box Stadium/Skip Bertman Field, better than our beloved Alspaugh from the 2013 Baton Rouge Super Regional.
Trey Harris, Mizzou right field
I'll be rooting for him even if
He doesn't watch NASCAR
Now let's start before I start getting all Peter King.
The National Seeds
LSU, UCLA, Illinois, Louisville, USC, Texas A&M, Florida State, Florida
LSU (43-8) got that SEC sweep it's been searching for since the Alabama series and further solidified their case for the #1 overall national seed. Apart from getting swept in Columbia East and going 2 and Q in Hoover, I think the Tigers have pretty much nailed down the #1 national seed. When the bombshell was dropped Friday that Jared Foster was academically ineligible you could feel a chill of worry ripple through the ballpark as son as everyone realized LSU would be starting their third (or fourth if you count Hale) choice second bagger in Danny "I have terrible taste in walkup songs" Zardon. Zardon held his own though, and LSU's Blackhawk of an offense kept flying uninterrupted.
"Playing against this offense is like watching an army of chariot archers go to war against an army of tanks and helicopters."- @d1baseball— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 7, 2015
UCLA (36-12) took 2 of 3 from Arizona State (29-15) and continues to be king of the mountain in the PAC-12, kicking the Sun Devils out of the top 8 in the process.
Illinois (43-6) have the same number of consecutive wins as Texas A&M did to start the year, 24. The Illini's is much more impressive than the Aggies' because they're doing it in conference play, and this isn't the Big Ten of old, they're putting more teams in the tournament than the Big 12 and just as many as the PAC 12.
Louisville (40-12) won their top 8 matchup with Florida State (37-16) by bouncing back after a 13-4 trouncing to take the rest of the series 7-0 and 6-5. The Noles slid, but not out the top 8 because at this point I'm contractually obligated by SB Nation to keep on #TalkinBoutTheNoles.
USC (34-14) was a 3 run 8th away from not only a sweep of Stanford, but from 3 game shutout of the Cardinal as well. The Trojans finish out the PAC 12 regular season with an interesting matchup against Cal, who has quietly surged into a 2 seed spot and is putting together a regional host resume.
Texas A&M (42-9) has entered a complete flatspin after losing a series to hapless South Carolina, their 3rd dropped series in 4 weeks. It's forgivable for a team to lose to LSU, and understandable to do the same against Arkansas, but the Aggies had absolutely no business losing this series to South Carolina. A&M has Ole Miss to end the regular season, which is no easy task since the Rebels are very much aware of their postseason bubble team standing and are hot off a sweep of arch rival Mississippi State. As I pointed out on Twitter, slumping into Hoover is never ideal and good way to absolutely wreck your postseason standing.
With Arizona State losing their place in the top 8, Florida (38-14) picked it up with a series win over Vanderbilt (36-16) via an extra innings affair Sunday. In Vandy's favor, Friday night Carson Fulmer solidified his spot at SEC pitcher of the year (and possibly national pitcher of the year) with a complete game shutout fueled by 11 strikeouts.
Miami (FL), Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Iowa, Nevada, Arizona State, Dallas Baptist, TCU
Miami University Of Florida (FL) (34-13) had pretty much a bye week, playing Bethune Cookman (16-38) and independent New York Tech (14-30). Let's just say that the Canes outscored their opponents last week 72-2 and move on.
Oklahoma State's (31-16) final Big 12 series was washed after a rain-suspended game 1 went to West Virginia 7-2. The Cowboys have Dallas Baptist Tuesday night before riding up to Ann Arbor for their final weekend series.
Iowa (37-12) climbed into the hosting clan with a sweep of Minnesota and FAU getting swept by food. The Hawkeyes outscored their opposition 31-11 last week, so
Nevada (40-12) continues to be my
new UCF pet team following a 2 game sweep over Creighton, who is on pace on be Summit league champions and who I have pegged as a 2 seed in Illinois' regional. If D1Baseball won't recognize how good the 30-win, Mountain West regular season champions, 36 RPI, score-at-will Nevada Wolfpack are, then I will be a champion for them.
Dallas Baptist (39-9) is the other small school I'm giving a cup of coffee on, but then again so is everybody else. The Patriots were 3-0 on a rain-shortened week against UTA and San Francisco. After hosting Oklahoma State, DBU (no, not that DBU) will welcome Wichita State, so they're ending the regular season on a big bang.
TCU (39-9) only played 2 games against Kansas this weekend thanks to the rain that plagued the Dust Bowl, but the Horned Frogs won both games, the second coming via a walkoff throwing error.
The Rest Of The Field
I resisted the urge last week, but this week I gave into the fact that there's no way the NCAA doesn't clump all the tournament eligible schools in the Mississippi river delta into Baton Rouge. I'm sure the committee is secretly hoping Tulane wins the American Athletic tournament so they can send them up I-10 as a 4 seed (for the record Tulane was one of the Last 4 in for me, so a 4 seed is justifiable if they win the conference).
Miami is still paired with the Baton Rouge regional, but more on that later.
The Regional Of Death Of The Week™ goes to Stillwater for having Okie Lite hosting Arkansas (30-19) who will be there in numbers due to the 3 hour drive from Fayettnam to Stillwater. Oh, and the Razorbacks will be playing The Ohio State University of Ohio (OH) (34-14) in a rematch of [BOWL GAME VACATED].
Projections Within A Projection
Since we're nearing the end of our fun little adventure that started in Smarch, I've decided to take things a step further and pretend like my projections are worth a damn and play bracket with them, prognosticating the Super Regional Matchups. Where as the actual field projections are rewarding teams for their quality of work, this is the "if I were a gambling man" type deal, with the teams I can actually see winning each 3 game series.
That was a lot of fun gang. I had a lot of fun this weekend, starting with a trip to see Avengers: Age Of Ultron (meh) after acing my final to spending a weekend tailgating and watching baseball at The Box to bonding with Trey to writing this post, fun was had. But I have to break up all this fun with some somber advice: