College Baseball Roundup

The Cardinal completed the regular season this weekend with a sweep of the Cal Poly Mustangs to run their record to 41-15 on the year. The final College Baseball Roundup of the season includes our All-Conference team plus an updated "Super Sixteen." Also, check out the latest NCAA Tournament projections.

Final Pac-10 Standings :

                  Conf.  GB   Overall

Stanford          18-6    -    41-15
Arizona State     16-8   2.0   50-12
Washington        15-9   3.0   40-16
Arizona           13-11  5.0   35-21
USC               11-13  7.0   28-28
UCLA              11-13  7.0   28-31

California        10-14  8.0   28-27

Oregon State       7-17 11.0   25-28

Washington State   7-17 11.0   19-37

Both Arizona State and Washington recorded sweeps last weekend to close out the regular season.  In Tempe, the Devils crushed the Arizona Wildcats by a combined score of 36-4 to claim second place in the conference.  Meanwhile, the Huskies took three straight from the USC Trojans to put them in the tournament while at the same time, knocking out the Trojans.  USC finishes with a .500 overall record at 28-28 while their sub-.500 Pac-10 record of 11-13 puts them in fifth place.  Despite their high RPI (in the mid 30's), the Trojans won't get in the tourney after their miserable end to the season.  The Huskies played themselves into the tourney with a 5-1 Pac-10 record against ASU and USC to close things out.  Watch out for Washington in the tournament, they should be a dangerous #3 seed.  Arizona, despite their season-ending sweep at ASU, will be in the tourney along with Stanford and ASU.

The Bootleg's All-Pac-10 Team :

Chad and I have put our heads together and come up with this all-conference team.  We used the same format the Pac-10 uses with 20 players on the all-conference team plus a Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and a Freshman of the Year.

Player of the Year : Ryan Garko, C (Stanford) ... Garko finished the regular season with a .406 batting average to go with 15 home runs and 78 RBI.  The senior catcher has more homers than strikeouts (13) and is a Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist.  In addition, in 24 conference games, Garko hit .433 with ten homers and 39 RBI.

Pitcher of the Year : John Hudgins, RHP (Stanford) ... The ace of the Cardinal pitching staff, Hudgins had an outstanding campaign compiling a 9-3 record and a 3.14 ERA.  The junior righthander led the conference in innings (123 1/3 IP) and strikeouts (110) while his strikeout-to-walk ratio was a remarkable 4.4-to-1.  Opponents are hitting just .232 against him.

Freshman of the Year : Jeff Clement, C (USC) ... The all-time national high school leader in homers, Clement made a big splash in his first year in the conference.  The Iowa native hit .293 with a whopping 21 home runs (tied for the Pac-10 lead) and 53 RBI.

All-Conference Team:
1B - Jeff Larish, Arizona State (.377-16-86)
2B - Moises Duran, Arizona (.293-15-63)
3B - Conor Jackson, California (.388-10-44)
SS - Tony Calderon, Oregon State (.362-4-43)
SS - Dustin Pedroia, Arizona State (.418-4-49)
OF - Brian Anderson, Arizona (.375-14-61)
OF - Chad Boudon, Washington (.289-21-55)
OF - Andre Ethier, Arizona State (.369-9-61)
OF - Sam Fuld, Stanford (.331-2-29)
OF - Brent Lillibridge, Washington (.392-12-44)
OF - Danny Putnam, Stanford (.356-11-45)
OF - Carlos Quentin, Stanford (.384-8-50)
OF - Jeff Van Houten, Arizona (.415-11-71)
DH - Jeremy West, Arizona State (.366-17-64)
SP - Erik Averill, Arizona State (8-1, 3.48 ERA, 77 IP, 52 SO)
SP - Ben Thurmond, Arizona State (6-0, 2.87 ERA, 69 IP, 55 SO)
SP - Richie Gardner, Arizona (9-2, 3.84 ERA, 105 IP, 91 SO)
SP - Mark Romanczuk, Stanford (10-0, 3.45 ERA, 88 IP, 69 SO)
RP - Will Fenton, Washington (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 30 IP, 48 SO, 10 SV)
RP - Ryan Schroyer, Arizona State (5-2, 1.45 ERA, 8 SV)

Notes: It was definitely a hitters year in the Pac-10 with numerous players worthy of the Player of the Year Award.  It's fair to say that there are a few guys on this list that would have won the top honor in the conference in an ordinary year.  Especially noticeable is the number of outfielders on this list.  20 of the 23 players that we selected play on the four tournament-bound teams.  Arizona State leads the way with seven selections, Stanford has six, Arizona with four, and Washington has three.

"Super Sixteen" National Rankings :

                       Record     Pvs.

1. Florida State        50-10      1
    * Seminoles don't win the ACC Tournament title, but still post a respectable 3-2 record.

2. Rice                 48-10      2
    * Owls wrap-up the regular season with a 2-of-3 series win of Fresno State.

3. Cal State Fullerton  43-13      3
    * Titans had the weekend off.

4. Stanford             41-15      4
    * Cardinal with a sweep of Cal Poly over the weekend.

5. Nebraska             44-16      5
    * Cornhuskers, winners of the regular season Big 12 title, finished 2-2 in the conference tourney this weekend.

6. Arizona State        50-12      6
    * Sun Devils lost the rubber game of their series with Washington on Monday, but came back with a convincing sweep of Arizona this weekend. 

7. Texas                43-17      9
    * Longhorns with an impressive weekend as they win the Big 12 Tournament coming out of the losers bracket.

8. Long Beach State     38-18      7
    * Consecutive series losses to end the year for the 49ers as they lost 2-of-3 at home to Miami this weekend.

9. LSU                  40-19     10
    * Tigers finished 3-1 in the SEC Tourney, that one loss was in the title game though to Alabama.

10. Texas A&M           43-17      8
    * Aggies started 2-0 in the Big 12 Tournament, but then lost two straight to Texas.

11. Miami               39-14     14
    * Hurricanes finish strong with a series win at Long Beach State.

12. Georgia Tech        44-16     15
    * Yellow Jackets with a remarkable day today as they won three games (UNC, Florida State, NC State) to claim the ACC Tournament title.

13. Baylor              41-21     16
    * Bears lost in the Big 12 Tournament championship game, but still notched a pair of victories over Nebraska to get there.

14. Mississippi State   40-18     13
    * Bulldogs won two games over Mississippi at the SEC Tournament, but also dropped two to LSU.

15. Auburn              40-19     12
    * Tigers fall back after a 2-2 showing at the SEC Tourney which included two losses to Alabama.

16. N.C. State          42-16     NR
    * Wolf Pack started strong in the ACC Tournament (3-0 including win over Florida State), but lost two straight including title game to Georgia Tech to finish second.

Dropped Out : Arizona (35-21, 0-4 last week)

NCAA Tournament Projections :

The Selection Show is tomorrow morning at 9:30am (ESPN2), so here's one final look at my projected national seeds along with each regional they're matched up with.

1. Florida State (vs. Southern Miss)
2. Rice (vs. Mississippi State)
3. Stanford (vs. Auburn)
4. Cal State Fullerton (vs. Miami)
5. Texas (vs. N.C. State)
6. Nebraska (vs. Arizona State)
7. LSU (vs. Texas A&M)
8. Georgia Tech (vs. Long Beach State)

Florida State should still be the #1 national seed despite not winning the ACC Tournament title this weekend.  The Seminoles still won 50 games this year, won the ACC Regular Season title, have the #1 RPI, and still played well last weekend (3-2).  The #2-#4 spots could really be looked at as a toss-up.  I have Stanford ahead of Fullerton despite the Titans' sweep of the Cardinal back in early February because the Cardinal won their conference (CSF did not) and Stanford finished red-hot (13-1 in their last 14 as opposed to Fullerton who was swept at Riverside just three weeks ago).

Texas and Nebraska should be the two national seeds from the Big 12.  Even though the Cornhuskers didn't even reach the Big 12 Tournament title game this weekend, they still won the regular season title of possibly the top conference in the country.  A&M probably had the edge over Texas before this weekend (the teams finished tied for second), but with the Longhorns taking 2-of-3 from A&M this weekend, I'll give the edge to the Longhorns.  LSU should be the only SEC team to garner a national seed as it was a down year for this conference.  The Tigers won the regular season title and lost in SEC Tournament championship game.  This is hardly a lock though.  

Georgia Tech gets the final national seed after finishing second in the ACC during the regular season and coming out of the loser's bracket to win the ACC Tournament this week.  This is also hardly a lock.  One thing the Jackets have going for them is their RPI (#4) and their strong finish.  Long Beach State has been one of my projected national seeds, but I think they fall out after consecutive series losses to Fullerton and Miami to end the season.  Arizona State is a possible national seed after their sweep of Arizona this weekend.  The Sun Devils finished second in the Pac-10, but their weak non-conference schedule has translated into a poor RPI (#21).  Miami could also be in the hunt with their strong RPI (#2) and quality series wins over Long Beach State and Georgia Tech.  The Canes though did lose a series to Jacksonville just a couple of weeks ago and finished only 1-4-1 against Florida State this year.

Now for Stanford's sub regional.  As I've stated before, it's very likely that at least one team (a #2 or #3 seed) will be from the midwest/south.  It's likely going to be from one of the "power conferences."  A couple of possibilities include Clemson and North Carolina from the ACC, Baylor and Missouri from the Big 12, and South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi from the SEC.  Other west coast teams that could be sent Stanford's way include UNLV (a likely #2 seed), UC Riverside (a likely #3 seed), or San Diego (a likely #4 seed).  Riverside seems to be a popular choice to be placed in Stanford's regional and that would be an interesting team to face as the Highlanders swept Fullerton a few weeks ago.  The #4 seed should either be an eastern school (a la Marist from a couple years ago) or possibly a western team like San Diego (who won the WCC Championship Series this weekend).  Just for kicks, here is my projected regional for the Cardinal ...

1. Stanford
2. North Carolina
3. UC Riverside
4. Central Connecticut State

Up Next for Stanford :

NCAA Regional time.  The games on Friday at Sunken Diamond are scheduled for 2pm and 6pm with the Cardinal likely playing at 6.  Chad will have a full regional preview once the teams have been announced.

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