Wow, it is conference tournament week (for most conferences) already. This has been an interesting season for the Forgotten with multiple programs pushing for a deep run into the NCAA tournament.
The Baseball America top 25 rankings currently have five teams in the poll with Long Beach State sitting at #7 nationally. From teams like Southern Miss to Cal State Fullerton to LBSU to multiple programs in the AAC, this could be the year of the Forgotten in the tournament.
Later this week, we will take a look at the teams on the bubble, in the tournament, and the Forgotten that will (might) host a regional. But for now, let’s celebrate another week of the Forgotten takeover of the top 25.
Current Top 25 Programs (Baseball America Poll):
- Long Beach State (35-16-1, #7): A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the need for the Dirtbags to take care of business versus Minnesota. Winning two of three and then sweeping Hawaii counts as a successful stretch and LBSU is officially the Big West champions. Due to the conference not having a tournament, we will have to make due with LBSU facing off versus rival Cal State Fullerton in a three game series this weekend. That series could be better than any conference tournament in the country.
- Cal State Fullerton (33-19, #14): The Titans have some of the best wins out of conference in the Big West and are arguably the most talented team in that conference. They still do not know how to put it together for long stretches and need to win two of three over LBSU in the final series of the season to guarantee hosting a regional. I still feel like they will host, but a couple of wins over the Dirtbags would go a long way in public perception.
- Southern Miss (44-12, #15): Since losing the third game of a series versus Old Dominion in late April, the Golden Eagles have been on fire. They are on a 14-game winning streak and have scored eight or more runs in ten of those games. There is no reason to think the bats will go quiet anytime soon, and the selection committee has to give serious thought to a Hattiesburg regional. If they run the CUSA tournament, they would be a 48 win team on an 18-game winning streak. Get on the Golden Eagles train.
- Central Florida (38-18, #23): It seems as though every team, except ECU, has spent some time as the belle of the ball in the AAC. UConn, Houston, USF, and now UCF have spent time pushing for a top 20 ranking throughout the season. No team has been more under the radar than the Knights. What sets UCF apart and could result in a trip to the super regionals is the bullpen. They can trot out Eric Hepple, Trent Thompson, Thad Ward, Bryce Tucker, and Jordan Scheftz and feel incredibly comfortable. That quintet has given up 23 earned runs in 140.1 innings pitched. That is a 1.48 ERA.
- Houston (36-19, #25): Can you imagine this team if Seth Romero would have been able to keep his head on straight. They have several batters that can rake the ball and an impressive pitching staff led by Trey Cumbie. The Cougars have to prove that they can win on the road to be a true team to watch in the upcoming NCAA tournament. They can improve their resume dramatically if they can win the AAC tournament in Clearwater, Florida.
Others to watch:
- Binghamton (30-11), South Florida (40-15), Florida Gulf Coast (37-17), Florida Atlantic (33-19), Old Dominion (36-19), Louisiana Tech (36-18), Wright State (36-19), Illinois-Chicago (36-15), Yale (30-16), Kent State (35-16), Missouri State (37-15), Dallas Baptist (36-19), San Diego State (28-18), Tennessee Tech (37-19), Morehead State (34-21), Navy (37-17), Mercer (38-15), McNeese State (36-18), Sam Houston State (36-20), Southeastern Louisiana (35-18), Jackson State (38-17), Oral Roberts (39-14), Coastal Carolina (37-18), Louisiana (35-20), South Alabama (36-19), BYU (33-18), San Diego (35-18), Loyola Marymount (37-16), Saint Mary’s (37-18), Gonzaga (31-17), New Mexico State (35-20).
- Eli Boggess, Morehead State: .434
- Dylan Burdeaux, Southern Miss: 97
- Ben Fisher, Eastern Kentucky: 25
On Base Percentage:
- Keston Hiura, UC Irvine: .554
- Jackson Ware, Mercer: 22
- Drew Butler, Campbell: 38
- Robbie Podorsky, McNeese State: 38
- Ben Fisher, Eastern Kentucky: 71
- Brent Sakurai, NMSU: 9
- Gavin Wallace, Fairfield: 7
- Kyle Klotz, Belmont: 42
- Jake Fromson, Missouri State: 0.73
- JP Sears, Citadel: 138
Strikeouts Per Nine Innings:
- Wyatt Marks, Louisiana: 14.97