With a week to go in the Division 1 College Baseball season, several of our 'Cats are looking at taking a step towards a College World Series championship by moving into the round of 64. Based either on their team's conference rankings or on their overall RPI ranking, a total of 12 of our boys have a shot at the dance.
Leading the way are the Oregon State Beavers (1B Gabe Clark). The Beavers are ranked #5 in the country this week, and lead the Pac 12 conference. This should give them a national Seed - meaning they are in line to host a Super-8 regional if they make it into the second round of the tournament. Road trip down south anyone?
The HarbourCats also have signed players playing for four other division leaders, all expected to hold on and make the tournament:
University of New Mexico (P Carson Schneider, P Preston Ryan, and OF Danny Collier)
Pepperdine University (C Aaron Barnett, OF Devin Carter)
Cal Poly (C Jake Lesinksi)
Sacramento State (C Gunner Pollman, OF Nathan Lukes)
If you do not win your conference, you are up to the ranking system to grant you an "at large" entry into the tournament. Currently, three players are playing for teams ranked high enough to be considered:
University of Kentucky (P Andrew Nelson, 1B Thomas Bernal) ranked 21st
University of Illinios (Kelly Norris-Jones) ranked 52nd
Kentucky is almost assured of an entry at this point, while Illinios will have to have a monster weekend and win a series in Nebraska against the #33 ranked Cornhuskers to move up. Not many people outside of Champaign would take that bet...
This should be an exciting last-weekend of Div 1 ball as teams complete their seasons and wait to find out their post-season fate. Final selections are done in a televised event May 26th. Regionals run May 29-June 1, Super Regionals June 6-8, and the College World Series is scheduled for June 14-25. If none of that makes any sense to you at all, check out our article on how the NCAA season works...
As the tournament draw is decided and the regionals begin, we'll keep you updated on our 'Cats as they progress.
05/16 Update: Gus was quick to point out yesterday that Long Beach State (P Logan Lombana, 2B Alex Dogoti) actually have a reasonable shot as well. The Dirtbags tend to put together one of the toughest non-conference schedules in Div 1, which leaves them struggling to post a .500 record each year (a mandatory requirement to make the tourney). This year they have gotten above that mark - and playing more difficult teams significantly impacts your RPI in a positive way. They currently sit at #50. With a spectacular final push (they have 6 games left), they could find themselves in the hunt for an at-large entry.
That means 14 HarbourCats could be carrying on into the post season...