June 22, 2024

College baseball in review: Tennessee, Kentucky share SEC title, battle for No. 1 overall seed

The SEC champion wasn’t determined till the ultimate day of the common season … and we now have a tie. Kentucky entered Saturday with a one-game lead over Tennessee, however the Wildcats misplaced at house to Vanderbilt, 12-4. The Vols, in the meantime, accomplished a sweep of South Carolina with a 4-1 win in Knoxville.

Both groups are 22-8 in the league, however Tennessee — which received two out of three in Lexington final month — would be the No. 1 seed on the SEC Tournament. And Kentucky, regardless of sharing the league title, would be the No. 3 seed in Hoover this week as a result of the No. 2 seed goes to the SEC West champion Arkansas.

Tennessee has received the SEC championship two instances in the previous three seasons and 5 instances overall. Kentucky has two titles in its historical past, 2006 and 2024.

Tennessee seemingly has the within observe to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, although Kentucky continues to be very a lot in the combination and may bounce the Vols with a stronger exhibiting on the SEC match.

Around the horn

There was unimaginable drama in the Pac-12, the place the ultimate regular-season championship in league historical past (for now) went right down to the ultimate inning of the ultimate sport.

After taking the primary two video games of the sequence in Tucson, Oregon State held a half-game lead over Arizona heading into Saturday evening’s finale. The Beavers scored one run in the highest of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead, however Arizona punched again and received it with a two-run double off the wall by outfielder Brendan Summerhill with one out.

Barring one thing wild on the Pac-12 match in Scottsdale, Ariz., this week, the league is three bids in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona and Oregon State needs to be joined by Oregon, which is 37-16 overall and 19-11 in the league with an RPI of 47.

Cal may play its method onto the bubble with a deep run. The Golden Bears are 34-18 overall and 17-13 in the league with a 65 RPI.

USC doubtless must win the league match to achieve a Regional, however the Trojans have received at the least 17 convention video games in consecutive seasons for the primary time because the early 2000s.

The first day of the SEC match has by no means been extra intriguing.

Five groups are tied for seventh place with a 13-17 file in the league, and all 5 will play on Tuesday. Each group’s RPI is 30 or higher, which suggests all 5 are in first rate form to obtain an at-large bid. If all 5 do make it, the SEC would ship a file 11 groups to the NCAA Tournament. Here’s a fast have a look at the SEC’s bubble, in order of seed on the SEC match, with every group’s RPI and KPI (a metric the choice committee will probably be utilizing this yr) in addition to first-round opponent:

  • No. 7 Alabama (33-21 overall, RPI 18, KPI 17, vs. South Carolina)
  • No. 8 Vanderbilt (35-20 overall, RPI 27, KPI 19, vs. Florida)
  • No. 9 Florida (28-26 overall, RPI 24, KPI 20, vs Vanderbilt)
  • No. 10 South Carolina (33-21, RPI 19, KPI 22, vs. Alabama)
  • No. 11 LSU (36-20, RPI 30, KPI 21 vs. Georgia)

Hagen Smith completed off probably the greatest common seasons in SEC historical past with a superb efficiency at Texas A&M on Thursday evening. Arkansas’ left-hander allowed solely two hits and struck out 14 with no walks in six shutout innings.

Texas A&M’s Ryan Prager was excellent as effectively, permitting 5 hits and no runs in seven innings. The Aggies received the sport 1-0 on a two-out bases-loaded stroll in the underside of the eleventh inning.

Here are some numbers as an example simply how good Smith has been:

  • He leads the nation in ERA (1.52), batting common in opposition to (.135) and strikeout proportion (50.2).
  • He allowed two earned runs or fewer in 9 of 10 SEC begins — and simply three in the opposite begin.
  • He allowed 5 hits or fewer in all 10 SEC begins.
  • He struck out 10 or extra in 9 of 10 SEC begins regardless of pitching greater than six innings simply as soon as.

North Carolina received its first ACC title since 2018 after taking two out of three from Duke in Durham. The Tar Heels are 41-23 overall and 22-8 in the ACC with a top-five RPI.

In league video games solely, UNC led the ACC in slugging (.560) and ERA (4.72) — sometimes a formulation for success.

The Tar Heels are in a three-team pod on the ACC match with eighth-seeded Wake Forest and Twelfth-seeded Pittsburgh.

NC State strengthened an already spectacular resume by sweeping Wake Forest in Raleigh. The Wolfpack, 32-19 overall and 18-11 in the ACC with an RPI of 14, are in prime place to be one of many 16 Regional hosts. They have 12 Quad 1 wins, tied for fifth-most in the nation.

Illinois swept Purdue in West Lafayette to safe its first Big Ten title since 2015. The Fighting Illini completed 16-8, two video games up on Nebraska. Those two groups, with RPIs of 43 (Illinois) and 31 (Nebraska), are in excellent form to earn an at-large bid it doesn’t matter what occurs on the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha.

After that? It’s not nice. Maryland performed its method out of consideration by getting swept by Penn State. The Terps have a top-50 RPI however completed 10-14 in the league (eleventh place). Indiana is 30-22-1 and 15-9 with a 60 RPI. A robust week may put the Hoosiers on the bubble.

Senior day was further particular for the Hannahs household. With Indiana State concluding the common season at Valparaiso, ISU coach Mitch Hannahs was in a position to be in attendance for his son Kaleb’s closing faculty sport.

Kaleb, the 2021 Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, completed the 2024 season second on the Beacons with a .283 common. Valpo didn’t qualify for the MVC match.

Indiana State received the MVC by 5 video games over Murray State and Evansville and would be the No. 1 seed in the match. The Sycamores, with a top-10 RPI, are just about assured to host a Regional.

The Big 12 appears to be like to have 4 NCAA Tournament locks heading into the league match — Oklahoma (the regular-season champs), Oklahoma State, Texas and West Virginia.

Here’s the place a few of the Big 12’s bubble groups stand heading into the match, in order of convention end:

  • Cincinnati (31-23 overall, 17-13 Big 12, RPI 55, KPI 46)
  • Kansas State (31-22 overall, 15-15 Big 12, RPI 42, KPI 41)
  • Kansas (29-21 overall, 15-15 Big 12, RPI 73, KPI 55)
  • UCF (33-18 overall, 14-15 Big 12, RPI 41, KPI 36)
  • TCU (31-19 overall, 14-16 Big 12, RPI 39, KPI 30)

And lastly …

• Charlie Condon continues to guide the nation in each batting common (.451) and residential runs (35) heading into the postseason.

• Air Force received its first-ever Mountain West championship because of a season-ending sweep over Fresno State in Colorado Springs. The Falcons, 18-12, edged New Mexico by one sport and Fresno State, Nevada and San Jose State by two video games.

• Louisville rallied late in the yr to complete with a profitable file in the ACC (16-14), however the Cards — with a 52 RPI and 42 KPI — will doubtless want to select up a couple of high quality wins on the league match in Charlotte. Louisville is in a pod with No. 2 seed Clemson and No. 11 seed Miami.

• Five of the eight groups in the Big East ended the common season with RPIs in the highest 70, however the different three are 170 or worse. UConn, at 17-4, received the league by three video games over St. John’s.

• USCB is three video games up on UC Irvine in the Big West with one weekend remaining (the Big West doesn’t have a match). The Gauchos host UC Riverside (5-21 in the league) whereas Irvine hosts CSUN (15-11).

• Charleston held on to win the Coastal Athletic Association by 1.5 video games over UNCW. Northeastern, which completed in third place, has the league’s greatest RPI at 29. Charleston is at 50, UNCW at 48. Barring a CAA match title, Campbell’s streak of Regional appearances will finish at 5.

• Louisiana Tech edged Dallas Baptist for the Conference USA title. Both groups are safely in the NCAA Tournament.

• The anticipated wild end in the Sun Belt by no means materialized. Louisiana (20-10) ended up profitable the title by three video games over Southern Miss. The Sun Belt is ranked fifth in the RPI and has 9 groups in the highest 100.

• Maryland-Eastern Shore completed the season 0-48, the primary winless Division I group since St. Peter’s in 2017.

(Photos of Christian Moore, Trey Pooser: Angelina Alcantar / News Sentinel, Cyndi Chambers / Gainesville Sun]