The Ouch List: Week 10Columns
Last week I mentioned in this space that it’s not a good time of year for a mid-major to have a bad weekend, sure enough the biggest plunges in this week’s RPI came from the mid-major ranks as Coastal Carolina and Sam Houston State took it on the chin both on the diamond AND in the computer rankings. Getting their cleats dug back in and turning their seasons around might be tough to do considering their competition level won’t be that of an SEC or Big 12 team. Their work in the Sun Belt and Southland tournaments, respectively, take on much more importance.
Well worry not, there was plenty of pain to go around in the Power Five conferences as well since it seems there are teams out there in a similar situation of having their seasons slipping away like sand through their fingers. Let’s dole out the punishment now.
The Ouch List…
– TEXAS SOUTHERN
What Happened: Lost two of three at Southern
Why It Hurts: Because I’m giving them the top slot on the Ouch List.
I’m not sure if anyone from the TSU camp will see this, but the only real reason I’m leading this list off with the Tigers is because I went to their game at Southern on Easter Sunday, so I figured I’d put something about that game in this write-up. But there is legit pain involved too since the two losses leave them at 8-10 in the SWAC West, which would be an eight-seed in the SWAC tournament if it started today. Southern is firmly in first place with a 14-3 record, a full 2.5 games ahead of Grambling in the West.
Now on to the rest of the Ouch List…
– MISSISSIPPI STATE
What Happened: Swept in three at Arkansas
Why It Hurts: An assault on the stat sheet.
The Bulldogs came into this past weekend’s series with Arkansas with the best offense in the SEC (.327) and the staff with the most strikeouts (427) and second-fewest hits allowed (255). But Arkansas crush it against those Bulldog arms in Fayetteville, outscoring them 27-10 and outhitting them 31-17. Ethan Small was handed his first loss of the season in Thursday’s 5-3 defeat, even though he was throwing a perfect game till the fifth inning. On Saturday, Hogs freshman Connor Noland shut down the ‘Dogs to four hits in 7.2 innings. It was the second time in three seasons that Arkansas had swept State.
What Happened: Went 1-3 last week
Why It Hurts: Out of sight, out of mind.
All things considered, the human rankings don’t usually mean a lot. But one of the times they DO have a big influence is when a team has a poor RPI but yet they are in the human polls. That holds water to me. Well the Frogs (23-15) dropped out of the D1 top 25 after losing to UT Arlington in the mid-week, then dropping two of three at K-State, including the rubber game where they tied it at 10-10 in the top of the ninth inning with four runs, only to see the Wildcats win it with a jog-off squeeze bunt. The Horned Frogs now have an RPI of No. 74, so losing their spotlight of a national ranking doesn’t help.
What Happened: Swept in three at Georgia
Why It Hurts: Not sure if they’ll get back over .500.
Tough assignment for the Tigers (26-15-1) to go to Athens and face off with the best pitching staff in the conference. The Tiger bats were a bit befuddled, gathering just four runs on 13 hits in 27 innings. Even draft-darling slugger Kameron Misner had his struggles, going 2-for-9 on the weekend. But the worse part for the Tigers is that they now sit at 7-10-1 in SEC play. Their last four weekends will be at home vs. South Carolina, at Tennessee, at Vanderbilt and vs. Florida. With that remaining slate it could be tough to get that conference mark to .500 or better, which is always important for an SEC team.
What Happened: Swept at home by Duke.
Why It Hurts: That’s seven losses in a row.
Hard to figure out these guys. After an impressive series win vs. Louisville, the Tigers (25-15) have spent the last two weeks on the Ouch List after getting swept at Florida State and then at home to Duke. Only four runs separated the Iptay’s and the Dukies in this series, as the Devils won two of the games by identical 9-8 scores where they scored the winning runs in their last at-bat of the game both times. This was the first sweep for the Blue Devils over the Tigers since 1948. The Fighting Swinney’s have three ACC weekends left and two of them are at Georgia Tech and at NC State.
– UC SANTA BARBARA
What Happened: Went 3-0 vs. UC Davis
Why It Hurts: There may not be a way for the Gauchos to improve their RPI this season.
This is a first in the history of the Ouch List; a team with a perfect record on the week makes the list. See, by beating the No. 249 Aggies in three games the Gauchos saw their RPI drop from No. 4 to No. 7. Not a big deal, right? Well consider this, their five Big West weekends will be at No. 205 UC Riverside, at No. 200 CSUN, vs. No. 230 Long Beach State, at No. 245 Hawaii and vs. No 141 Cal Poly. Get the picture? Yes, their RPI may drop out of Regional hosting range by selection Monday AND this is a huge indictment against how bad the Big West is this season. Oi vey.
What Happened: Swept in three at Oklahoma State
Why It Hurts: Oh man, they’re becoming regulars.
This will be the second week in a row that the Longhorns (24-18, 5-9 Big 12) have appeared on this infernal list of the damned. Last week they lost two of three at home to Kansas State, but this week they REALLY earned it. The ‘Horns went to Stillwater and got roughed up to say the least. There were outscored 25-2 in the first two games, including getting just one hit off of OSU ace Jensen Elliot on Thursday. Then in the Saturday getaway game, the Pokes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out an 11-10 win. Very reminiscent of what the Longhorns did to LSU earlier this year; two blowouts and then a jog-off for the sweep. Well, what goes around…
What Happened: Went 0-4 this past week.
Why It Hurts: This may have been the last gasp of the Bat Cats.
The Wildcats might be showing their youth, wearing down a bit this week. After an impressive (and surprising) series win at Ole Miss last week, the Big Blue was battered pretty harshly this week, losing at home to Louisville 18-6 and losing all three at home vs. Tennessee. The Vols outscored them 28-5 along the way. This means that UK (20-20) now falls to 4-14 in SEC play. I can’t imagine the Cats are going to be able to overcome that, even though their RPI is at No. 47.
– COASTAL CAROLINA
What Happened: On a 1-5 skid
Why It Hurts: Because it’s part of a 4-9 skid.
Man alive, this losing stuff is killing the Chanticleers (24-16-1). Because of this 4-9 spree they are on their RPI has dropped to No. 52 and this past weekend they lost two of three at home to Georgia Southern and thus relented control of the Eastern Division of the Sun Belt, dropping a half-game back of the Eagles in the process. Saturday’s second game of the doubleheader saw the Chants score five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and had the tying run on second base, only to see GSU’s David Johnson get a strike out and a ground out to end the game and the series.
– SAM HOUSTON STATE
What Happened: Swept in three at Central Arkansas.
Why It Hurts: Biggest drop in the Top 75.
Back in my “Off The Top Of My Head” column I mentioned the Bearkats (22-15) as one of the mid-majors that could blow up your NCAA Tournament bracket come this June. Instead, it was the Bearkats that were doing the imploding, losing four games in a savage Bear attack. First, the Baylor Bears took them down in the mid-week, then the UCA Bears swept them in Conway. The Bearkats came in with the 11th-best offense in the country, but were held to four runs on 19 hits. Oddly, they also had leads in all three games too. Due to the 0-4 week, The Sam saw it’s RPI plummet 26 spots to No. 69. Yikes.