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College : : Story
Fighting for position
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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HELPED ITS CASE

Auburn (31-27) -- The Tigers still have plenty of work to do having entered Wednesday’s action with an RPI of 57. However, they at least kept hope alive with a 3-2 win over Georgia. AU freshman left-handed pitcher Daniel Koger rose to the occasion, allowing just seven hits in 5 1/3 shutout frames, while Justin Bryant tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to finish the night. Auburn could make things interesting by winning one more game in the SEC tournament.

Georgia Tech (33-24) -- The Yellow Jackets were put in a very precarious situation after dropping a home series to Miami. But they’ve started the ACC tournament on a positive note with a 5-4 win over Florida State. Tech starting pitcher Buck Farmer allowed just three runs in six innings, while reliever Alex Cruz stepped up with three solid frames. Jake Davies led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two homers, two runs and four RBIs. The Jackets aren’t safe, but they’re looking much better. 

Mississippi (35-23) -- The Rebels entered the week in good shape to reach the NCAA postseason, but they could’ve made things interesting on Selection Monday by going 0-2 at the SEC tournament. Ole Miss avoided that fate, beating Arkansas 2-0 to stay alive in the tourney. Ole Miss starting pitcher Mike Mayers struck out eight and allowed just five hits in seven innings, while Brett Huber finished the game with two scoreless frames. The Rebels should rest easy … for now.

Mississippi State (36-21) -- The Bulldogs went from just hoping they’d reach the NCAA postseason to having an outside shot of earning an NCAA Regional host. What an incredible run John Cohen’s club has been on the past couple of weeks. State continued its outstanding play Wednesday in a 3-2 win over LSU. State starting pitcher Chris Stratton struck out eight and allowed just two runs on five hits in six innings. Meanwhile, relievers Caleb Reed and Jonathan Holder stepped up. State is a team you don’t want to see in your NCAA Regional.

Oklahoma (36-21) -- The Sooners are leaving little doubt when it comes to their postseason fate. OU took a huge step forward a few weeks ago with a home series sweep over Baylor. Now it’s playing a very crisp brand of baseball. OU left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton struck out eight and allowed just six hits in 7 1/3 innings, as the Sooners defeated rival Oklahoma State 1-0. OU entered the day with an RPI of 37. In other words, they’re in good shape at this point.

HURT ITS CASE

Georgia (31-26) -- The Bulldogs needed a magical run at the SEC tournament last season to reach the NCAA postseason. Well, there was no magical run this go-round, and chances are great the Bulldogs will miss the postseason this season. Georgia starting pitcher Michael Palazzone allowed three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings in a disappointing 3-2 loss to Auburn. After the game, Bulldogs coach Dave Perno said his team won a lot of single games against some good teams.

College of Charleston (37-19) -- The Cougars entered the Southern Conference tournament in good shape for an at-large berth, but now they must avoid leaving the tourney without recording a win. The Cougars dropped an 8-6 decision to The Citadel, as starting pitcher Christian Powell was lifted after allowing five runs on eight hits in five innings of work. The Cougars still have a very respectable RPI.

Wichita State (35-25) -- The Shockers were on the good side of the bubble entering the week, but they’ll now need a miracle to get their name called on Selection Monday. WSU went 0-2 at the Missouri Valley tournament, dropping a 7-0 decision to Missouri State on Wednesday. While MSU starting pitcher Cody Schumacher was tremendous, Shockers starting pitcher Kris Gardner was lifted in the first inning after allowing five runs. 

East Carolina (34-21) -- The Pirates entered Wednesday’s action with an RPI of 23, so it’s hard to imagine they’ll miss the NCAA postseason. However, with where they finished in Conference USA regular season action, perhaps the committee is ready to penalize them for that come Selection Monday. The Pirates’ struggles continued on Wednesday with a 4-3 loss to Tulane. For now, ECU would be smart to win its next two games to avoid a potential disaster scenario. 

Texas (30-21) -- The Longhorns felt good about their chances against Missouri with hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Corey Knebel on the mound. However, the talented righty had a tough night on the mound, allowing five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss to Missouri. UT has an RPI in the 50s, and though it finished Big 12 play with a respectable record, going 0-2 at the Big 12 tournament with losses to Missouri and Kansas could spell doom. Stay tuned.
 

NATIONAL SEEDS (as of Wednesday, no order)

Florida

Florida State

Baylor

Oregon

UCLA

Louisiana State

North Carolina

South Carolina 

Three more to watch: Stanford, Rice, Texas A&M

 

REGIONAL HOSTS (as of Wednesday)

Florida

Florida State

Baylor

Oregon

UCLA

Louisiana State

North Carolina

South Carolina

--

Texas A&M

Rice

Stanford

North Carolina State

Purdue

Virginia

Arizona

Kentucky

Three more to watch: Cal State Fullerton, UCF, Mississippi State



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