The Ouch List: Week SevenColumns
In my Off The Top Of My Head column back on Thursday I went looking for Road Warriors since nine of the Top 10 teams in the D1 rankings would be playing on the road this weekend. But the only team from the Top 10 on this week’s Ouch List is LSU, which lost a series at home to Texas A&M. Texas Tech and South Carolina both lost road series this weekend, but there’s not a lot of shame in losing at Oklahoma and Auburn respectively, especially when the rubber game for both of them were won by a single run.
So who else made the much-hated Ouch List? Let’s start with a couple of teams in Northwest Florida and move on from there.
– FLORIDA STATE
What Happened: Swept in three straight vs. North Carolina… at home.
Why It Hurts: It’s official, the Seminoles are not as good as we expected.
In my preseason Top 299 I had three teams I was considering for the No. 1 spot; TCU, LSU and FSU. The ‘Noles returned nearly every pitcher and six of eight starters. We raised a slight eyebrow over the series loss at Virginia Tech a couple weeks ago, but this weekend could’ve affirmed it, the Noles aren’t what we thought they’d be. This sweep drops FSU down to No. 49 in the RPI and also comes on the heels of the news that All American Taylor Walls was announced to be suspended for two games for unspecified reasons. Don’t write‘em off yet but it’s a rough stretch for Mike Martin and his staff.
– FLORIDA A&M
What Happened: Dropped a double-header on Saturday to North Carolina Central.
Why It Hurts: There is no margin for error for the Rattlers.
This is actually a pretty big compliment for coach Jamey Shoppe and the Rattlers. Prior to this weekend they sat at No. 34 in the RPI, which is a rarity for a MEAC team. But Saturday’s two blowout losses to the Eagles, by 8-0 and 13-6 scores, is surely a wicked-huge “ouch” to their standing in at-large land. Oh sure, their RPI might’ve dropped by the time late-May comes around anyway, but this sped up the process, dropping them down to 54th. Salvaging a win on Sunday may not have helped much.
What Happened: Went winless at home vs. Nebraska, 0-2-1
Why It Hurts: Digging a hole in the Big 10 race.
When I saw the Hoosiers win a series at Hawaii I was convinced these guys seemed to be for real, especially their improved pitching and power-packed middle of the order. But in the two losses and one tie vs. the other Big Red, the Hoosiers were able to plate just five runs. Sunday’s game ended in a 1-1 tie after 11 innings due to travel curfew. I still think IU has the horses and arms to contend for the Big 10 title, but now they find themselves in sixth place. Early? Sure. But with the balance of the conference you have to take care of business at home.
– OLE MISS
What Happened: Swept at home by rival Mississippi State
Why It Hurts: Let me reiterate… it was vs. MSU and it was at home.
The Rebels are wildly young and talented, but as we talked about in this space a few weeks ago that youth is going to lead to a rollercoaster of a season. Still, I don’t think anyone saw this sweep coming, especially not with the history of these rivals. But the Rebels had leads in all three games vs. their bitter rivals before losing 4-3, 5-3 and 2-1 in Oxford. The weekend dropped Ole Miss to 16-12 and 3-6 in SEC play.
What Happened: Swept at home by Florida.
Why It Hurts: Oh the pain. All three losses were a one-run loss.
At least this time we can’t sit here and write that the Tigers aren’t worthy of being an SEC contender. They hung with the Gators as tough as possible this weekend. But still, losing 4-3, 2-1 and 2-1 is a major ouch. Tanner Houck wasn’t completely sharp in his Friday outing, giving up eight hits and four runs in 7.0 innings, which is not enough to beat Alex Faedo on the mound. The worst part? The Tigers have now lost five straight games, all by one run.
– MICHIGAN STATE
What Happened: Swept at home by Minnesota
Why It Hurts: The RPI plunge.
Three weeks ago in the still-too-young-in-the-season RPI the Spartans were ranked eighth. Two weeks ago they were 18th. On Friday morning they were 39th. Now, after losing the first two games vs. the Gophers, their RPI had dropped to No. 52. We’ll see where they end up when the rankings are re-calibrated, but the 15-9 Spartans are certainly scuffling now. But two of the losses were one-run nail-biters before Sunday’s 9-4 rout.
What Happened: Beaten soundly in three games vs. Oregon State
Why It Hurts: The Pac 12 race has already been settled.
You have to feel bad for the Cardinal, they were merely the subject of cruel scheduling. They ran into a buzz saw this weekend against what is deservedly the No. 1 team in the country. Friday was a masterful four-hit performance by OSU ace Luke Heimlich. Saturday saw the Beavers come up two hits shy of a school record in the 25-hit, 15-run win. Sunday was more of the same as OSU closed out the weekend with a dominant 7-0 whoopin’. That getaway win for the Beavers set the school record for consecutive wins at 19.
– EAST CAROLINA
What Happened: Swept by UConn… at home, no less.
Why It Hurts: Because these games were handed over in a hand basket.
I think the Huskies are going to be a really good team this season and this weekend was a microcosm of that, including winning a pair of 3-2 games on Friday and Saturday. But talk about putting the “ouch” in the Ouch List, in Saturday and Sunday’s two games, the Pirates committed nine errors and only two of UConn’s eight runs in those two games were earned. Still, give the Huskies some props for pulling off this stunning sweep. UConn is now 16-9 overall and ECU drops to 18-11.
– KANSAS STATE
What Happened: Lost all three games to visiting TCU
Why It Hurts: Because two of them were “oh what could’ve been” losses.
The Wildcats are going to cause more grey hairs on Bill Snyder’s scalp after losing both Friday and Saturday’s games in extra innings. And both losses were also via the shutout. Dang! Friday saw a five-run 11th inning sink the Power Cats. Saturday, Luken Baker sliced an RBI single in the 10th inning to give TCU the series win. Sunday saw a deflated Wildcat team drop a 12-4 decision at Tointon Family Stadium.
– WASHINGTON STATE
What Happened: Swept in three straight at Cal.
Why It Hurts: It’s not Cal’s year… unless you look at their scores here.
Man, I knew this was going to be a tough year for the Cal Bears, with almost nothing returning from a year ago. And with Wazzu coming into this weekend with an RPI at No. 45 I was encouraged to see what the Cougars could do from this point. Ack! This just wasn’t their weekend, man. The shocking thing is that none of the games were even close either, losing 12-2, 7-2 and 9-5.
What Happened: Went 1-3 on the week.
Why It Hurts: Because this team is showing some serious dents in the armor.
Well the good news is that Alex Lange looked a little more like Alex Lange again, despite being out-pitched by A&M’s Brigham Hill in Thursday’s loss. But the Tigers just don’t seem to be all of sorts right now, gathering just four hits in the two losses to the Aggies and having their bullpen play less than stellar ball. The Tigers have lost five of their last seven.