Sorenson: The Ouch List, April 25thFeatured
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Okay masochists, if you are a fan of the Ouch List, this was a really good week for you. If you love the pain and misery of a large group of teams near the top of our sport, then this is perhaps the best week of keen, prurient interest in the falter of others. Only four teams in the Top 25 went through the week unscathed. Yes, just four. Most of you can count that on one hand, I know.
As the regular season begins its quick decline in the month of May, expect more and more chaos at the top as teams shift in and out of contention in their respective conferences and for NCAA tournament berths. It’s going to be fun people, even for those on the down side of success.
Here’s where the Pain Train makes its stops this week.
The Tar Heels took a shot to the solar plexus this weekend, becoming the latest victim of Wake’s awakening. In the process the Heels fall into that danger zone of having a losing record in conference play at 9-12. Plus, they’ve got Louisville, Notre Dame and North Carolina State remaining. Can they pull their won-loss mark into the positive side? I suppose the saving grace is that the RPI is still in the top 20, so they won’t be sitting the NCAAs out again like last year. It just looks like it’ll be a road trip.
The Wildcats were starting to make hay in the national scene, beating No. 1 Florida two-of-three a couple weeks ago and all. Then came this week. Well actually, the last two weeks. But this week saw UK suffer a jog-off loss to Louisville in the mid-week, then lost twice to a Razorback team that came to town with an RPI in the 120-range. The three losses came by a total of four runs. Arrrrrgh. To put a cap on this, the Bat Cats are now just 2-7 in the last 13 days.
Man, I know it’s just not cool including the Ducks here once again, so this is it. No more. The bad news: You’re on the Ouch List. The good news: You don’t have to worry about being listed on here again. The Ducks 0-and-3 showing in Westwood raised UCLA up to the 60s of the RPI, while the Ducks spiral into the triple digits. They also dip to a losing mark in Pac 12 play at 7-8, tied with USC and Stanford for second-to-last. Ugh.
The Golden Domers have been coming on lately, working their way up to No. 42 in the RPI entering this weekend in Tallahassee. So playing the Seminoles would help either way. And imagine what a victory or two would do for them? Well no soup for you Irish. You came up snake eyes. The bitterest pill was losing a 5-0 lead on Sunday, before bowing out with an 11-6 loss. But the good news is, even with the losses, UND is still just No. 44. So they may make the Ouch List, but they didn’t exactly nosedive.
Looks like the hopes for having a top eight national seed west of the Rocky Mountains just ain’t going to happen now. The Gauchos entered the week at No. 8 in the RPI, but after three straight losses in San Luis Obispo to a good Cal Poly team, the chances of finishing back up in the top eight isn’t likely. The Mustangs, who jump into a first place tie with Fullerton in the Big West, hit .321 against UCSB, while holding the Gauchos to eight runs and a .188 average in the three games.
Losing to UC Riverside? This year? A team ranked in the 200s? Twice? Oof, that hurts. The Highlanders came into the weekend with an RPI at No. 216. Now, the Dirtbags lost twice to these dudes. No matter how much UCR has improved – and to their credit they have – the Beach just can’t go out and suffer these kind of losses. Aye caramba. With the mid-week loss at USC and the two losses at UCR, the Beach finds itself way down at No. 71 in the RPI.
Now sitting two full games behind the Bulldogs with just four games to play, the Big Green’s eight-year streak of winning the Rolfe Division looks to be in serious jeopardy. Yes, it’s been since 2007 that the name “Dartmouth” was not in the Ivy League playoffs. The Big Green lost the three games to the Elies by a total of four runs.
The Red Raiders lost a 10-inning game at New Mexico in the mid-week, then allowed 24 runs on 21 hits in two losses to the hated Longhorns on Saturday and Sunday, in what amounts to a really big upset. The second loss came on Sunday by a 17-1 count in a run-rule ending after seven innings. All three games were huge sellouts at Rip Griffin Park, totaling 26,592 fans for the weekend. At No. 15 in the RPI, the Raiders are really close to losing out on a No. 1 seeding.
Oi vey. What can we say about the Coogs? As if last week’s 0-and-3 performance at Hofstra wasn’t bad enough, right? This week CofC lost a game at Coastal Carolina (no shame in that), then went 1-and-2 vs. No. 193 James Madison. Yes, at home! (and I don’t use exclamation points often). That’s no bueno. You’ve got to win those kind of games. Charleston has seen its RPI ranking plummet from the mid-teens a few weeks ago down to No. 53 today.
Losing a series to the Bulldogs isn’t a total shock, especially since MSU has won weekend series at Vandy, Florida and LSU. But the Tigers losing on Friday and Saturday with their aces Jared Poche and Alex Lange on the bump is tough to take. Especially the fact that Poche gave up seven runs in six innings on Friday. Then in Saturday’s 2-1 loss, Lange was pitching as well as he has all season, a complete game four-hitter, and the Tigers couldn’t get the W, dropping a 2-1 decision.