The Ouch List: Opening Weekend
Yes I know. It’s too early in the season for an Ouch List, right? Oh you couldn’t be more wrong. Pain gets doled out in February just as it does in June, it’s just that it might not be as painful as it is in the warmer months. Yet, we still must find the most painful outcomes in college baseball. The good news if you are on this list this week, there is plenty plenty plenty of time to turn things around. And you know how we have zero attention span anymore, right? So college baseball fans will totally forget you are on this list as the weeks pass.
A reader of mine commented this weekend that calling a tough loss “root canal-painful” was a great description I had written. With that as a theme, here are the ten teams that will climb into the dentist chair, get that tiny little speed drill out and start boring into those molars. Sorry, no novocaine available. The dental assistant was supposed to tell you that you should’ve downed a bottle of Vodka for this procedure. Oh well, too late now.
The Ouch List…
– Texas Southern
What Happened: Lost four straight games at New Mexico State
Why It Hurts: Oh it’s HOW they lost that should be Rated R for mature audiences.
This may be the poster child for the Ouch List in 2019. The two-time defending SWAC champions were hearty enough to go on the road to open the season at the wind tunnel that is Presley Askew Stadium and got lambasted by a combined 98-19 to New Mexico State. Yes, that’s not a typo. For the weekend the Aggies hit .509 as a team with 13 home runs and 13 doubles. To make matters worse, TSU committed 15 errors in the four games.
What Happened: Went 0-3 at the RyCass Classic
Why It Hurts: Punchless bats
Yes, I saw one of the Hatters’ three losses in person as they dropped a 5-2 game vs. Manhattan on Sunday. In their three losses to Virginia Tech, Sam Houston State and the Jaspers, Hatter batters struck out 13 times in each game. And as mentioned in my column from yesterday, take out three-hole hitter Austin Bogart’s 5-for-10 performance and the remaining Hatters hit .128. This is a team that returned eight of their top 10 hitters from last year’s Super Regional squad, so you know the ability is there.
– Kent State
What Happened: Lost all three at Dallas Baptist
Why It Hurts: Expected this to be a nip-and-tuck series.
This was a series I was particularly interested in as one of the better mid-major showdowns. But DBU surprisingly ended up dominating this series, holding the Flashes to just 17 hits and five runs in the three games and never trailing the entires series. Friday’s lidlifter saw Jordan Martinson and Jarod Bayless hold KSU to two hits in a 3-0 shutout. Better days ahead for the snowbirding Golden Flashes, I think my sneaky feeling that Dallas Baptist is going to be really good this year may be true.
– George Washington
What Happened: Swept at Tulane
Why It Hurts: Unearned winning runs.
I’m not certain how good of a team the Green Wave will be this year, but the Colonials blew a pair of good chances to get a win down in New Orleans. In the 3-2 loss on Friday and the 7-6, 13-inning loss on Saturday, GW allowed the game-winning run to score unearned. Friday’s loss came via a throwing error with a Green Wave runner scoring all the way from second base. A fielding error and a hit by pitch helped the game-winning run score for Tulane on Saturday. On Sunday the Colonials actually had a 6-4 lead midway through the sixth before the bottom dropped out in Tulane’s eight-run sixth inning.
– Western Michigan
What Happened: Got swept at Southeast Missouri State
Why It Hurts: Three losses in one very cold day.
Wintry weather caused WMU and SEMO to postpone their Friday opener. Then they ended up starting Saturday’s game late since the field needed to be cleared of snow, pushing the start time to 3:10pm. After eight innings were played, darkness overtook the field and the game was called until the next morning. At 9am on Sunday the game was resumed and SEMO held on to its 5-1 lead. Then, two nine-inning games were played, starting at 10am in 40º temperatures. The Redhawks prevailed in those two games, 8-4 and 9-8. Brrrrrr.
What Happened: Swept at home by Indiana State
Why It Hurts: Dug themselves early graves.
Like fellow A-Sun member Stetson, JU has been mentioned as a contender for the conference crown and returns a number of All A-Sun performers to the roster. But something happened this weekend, and it happened early in each game. The Sycamores were able to put the Dolphins behind the eight ball in all three games and force them to play catch up, which they couldn’t do. After four innings, ISU rushed out to leads of 5-1, 8-3 and 7-2, on their way to 7-1, 13-7 and 8-3 victories.
– Southeastern Louisiana
What Happened: Swept at home by Louisiana Tech
Why It Hurts: Lions blew 8-6, 8-1 and 8-4 leads in the three games.
This is not a big hurt on the Ouch List pain scale, because Tech is going to be a national sleeper this year. But coming into this season SLU’s strength was definitely it’s pitching, returning a lot of key arms from a unit that posted a 3.64 team ERA last season. Well Tech scored 40 runs in their three wins, notching 43 hits along the way. The Lions will rebound, for sure. But this coming week they’ll host Stony Brook, a team that took two of three at FIU.
What Happened: Lost all three at Southern Miss
Why It Hurts: Blown opportunities for quality wins
Like SLU above, this is certainly not a big “ouch” on the Ouch List pain scale since USM is going to be a Regional team this June. But the part that hurts is that the Boilermakers blew leads in all three games, including that painful 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning of Friday’s 7-6, 10-inning loss. I get the feeling that the Boilers will be good again this year, for sure. In fact, I can’t wait to see what they do at Texas this coming weekend.
– Vanderbilt Pitching
What Happened: Gave up 28 runs in three games.
Why It Hurts: This is a mound corps everyone is expecting to be one of the best in the country.
As Aaron Fitt wrote in his preseason write-up of the Commodores pitching, “Vanderbilt is absurdly deep on the mound.” So it was really weird to see the Anchor Down boys give up 28 runs and 32 hits while walking 17 and plunking four this weekend. Don’t freak out Dores fans, we realize they played high-quality teams in Virginia, Fullerton and TCU and still won two out of three. It was just weird to see them give up football scores all weekend. I’m confident these things won’t last long.
What Happened: Lost all three games at the MLB4 Tournament
Why It Hurts: The road back is a little longer.
Again, it’s obvious that UVa was bold in scheduling this tough trap of games for opening weekend and should be commended. But the Wahoos really wanted to make a statement after missing the postseason last year. They played toe-to-toe with Vanderbilt and TCU until giving up the big inning in each game to sour their chances. Then on Sunday, the Cavs gave up three runs in the ninth inning to drop a heartbreaker to Fullerton 6-5.