SEC RACE HEATING UP:
Seven teams are within one game of first place in the Southeastern Conference standings heading into the final one-third of regular-season schedule.
Auburn, Mississippi State and Kentucky are all tied for first place in the SEC standings with a 14-7 conference record; Auburn won two out of three at Miss. State this past weekend and owns the tie-breaker over the Bulldogs; MSU won two out of three from Kentucky in Starkville on April 7-9 and owns the tie-breaker over the Wildcats; Auburn and Kentucky do not meet in the regular season.
Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M are all one game back of the league leaders with identical 13-8 SEC records.
Auburn (32-14, 14-7 SEC) has not won the SEC Championship since 1978, the longest active drought among SEC teams. The Tigers last won the SEC Western Division championship in 2010. Auburn plays Alabama (home), LSU (away) and Ole Miss (home) in the final three weeks.
Miss. State (30-16, 14-7 SEC) is seeking its second straight SEC Championship. MSU has not won back-to-back SEC championships since 1970-71. The Bulldogs posted a 21-8 record last season to win its first league championship since 1989. Miss. State closes the season with Texas A&M (away), Georgia (away) and LSU (home).
Kentucky (31-14, 14-7 SEC) has one SEC Championship (2006) and two SEC Eastern Division titles (2) in its history. UK shared the overall SEC Championship with Alabama in 2006. The Wildcats defeated Tennessee in a one-game playoff to win the 1976 Eastern Division title. Kentucky finishes the season with Georgia (home), Tennessee (home) and Florida (away).
Arkansas (34-12, 13-8 SEC) is seeking the second straight worst-to-first season in the SEC. The Razorbacks had the worst record in the league last year with an 8-22 SEC record. Arkansas loses the tie-breaker with both Auburn and MSU. Arkansas has not won the SEC Championship since 2004 and has not won the SEC Western Division title since 2007. UA will play Tennessee (away), Vanderbilt (home) and Texas A&M (away) in the final three weekends.
Florida (30-13, 13-8 SEC) hosts Kentucky the final weekend of the regular season in a series that will most certainly have championship implications. The Gators close the season with Ole Miss (home), Alabama (away) and Kentucky (home).
LSU (30-15, 13-8 SEC) plays both Auburn and Miss. State in the final three weekends and own the tie-breaker over Arkansas. The Tigers lost two out of three at Kentucky on April 21-23. LSU will face South Carolina (home), Auburn (home) and Miss. State (away) the last three weeks.
Texas A&M (32-13, 13-8 SEC) plays two of the three teams in front of them in the standings the last three weekends. A&M wins the tie-breaker with LSU, but loses the tie-breaker with Kentucky. The Aggies will play Miss. State (home), Ole Miss (away) anArkansas (home) the next three weeks.
SEC CONTENDERS REMAINING OPPONENTS RECORDS:
Team Opponent Record (Pct.)
Kentucky 24-38 (.387)
Auburn 26-37 (.413)
Florida 27-36 (.429)
Arkansas 29-32 (.460)
Miss. State 31-32 (.492)
LSU 38-25 (.603)
Texas A&M 38-25 (.603)
POST-SEASON PLAY BEGINS THIS WEEKEND:
Columbia (18-22, 12-8 Ivy) swept Penn (22-20, 12-8 Ivy) in a three-game Ivy League series this past weekend to force a one-game playoff for the Lou Gehrig Division championship. The Lions posted 12-7, 14-4 and 7-5 wins to sweep the Quakers and force the one-game playoff this Saturday, May 6 at 1 p.m. (ET) at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium in Manhattan. The winner will play Yale (27-16, 16-4 Ivy), Red Rolfe Division champion, in a best-of-three series on May 13-14 for the 2017 Ivy League Championship and the league’s automatic bid to NCAA Tournament.
Navy, Holy Cross, Army and Bucknell all qualified for the Patriot League playoffs, which begin with the best-of-three semifinals on May 13-14. Navy (36-14, 16-4) won the regular season championship and will host No. 4 seed Bucknell (19-26, 10-10) in the best-of-three semifinals on May 13-14 in Annapolis. No. 2 seed Holy Cross (19-24, 10-8) will host No. 3 seed Army (23-25, 10-10) in the other semifinal in Worcester. The winners will meet in the best-of-three championship series on May 20-21.
BOWMAN HITS FOR CYCLE:
Western Carolina centerfielder Bryson Bowman hit for the cycle in the Catamounts 21-1 win over Savannah State on April 25. He hit a 2-run home run in the first inning, reached on a RBI single in the second inning before driving in his fourth run of the day on a run-scoring triple in the third. It took the Baton, N.C., native until the seventh to complete the cycle, driving in two on a double to the fence in right field. He finished 4-for-5 with four runs and career-best seven RBIs.
Bowman is the first Catamount to hit for the cycle since the historic date in 2014 when two WCU hitters – Aaron Attaway and Bradley Strong – both hit for the cycle in the same game against La Salle resulting in both sets of their batting gloves being sent to the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bowman is batting .382 (65-for-170) with 43 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 43 games this season.
LENGHTY HITTING STREAKS COME TO AN END:
Air Force senior third baseman Bradley Haslam had his 44-game hitting streak snapped in the Falcons 4-3 win over Nevada on Sunday, April 30. Haslam went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in the series finale with the Wolfpack. Haslam’s hitting streak dated back to the final six games of the 2016 season. He had hit safely in all 38 games this season prior to Sunday. The 44-game hitting streak was the sixth-longest in NCAA history. Haslam is still hitting .407 (69-for-164) with nine home runs and 43 RBIs on the year.
Western Carolina centerfielder Bryson Bowman had his 27-game hitting streak and 42-game on base streak snapped in rain-shortened seven-inning game at Samford on April 30. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the 7-0 loss to the Bulldogs.
NCAA STATS LEADERS:
Air Force leads the nation with a .339 batting average.
Morehead State leads the nation with 9.0 runs per game.
Wake Forest, Tennessee Tech and Virginia Tech lead the NCAA with 74 home runs.
Oregon State leads the nation with 1.91 ERA.
Washington and Illinois-Chicago lead the NCAA with .985 fielding percentage.
Cal State Bakersfield senior infielder Ryan Grotjohn (39 G; 63-for-156) is the nation’s leading hitter with a .414 batting average.
Morehead State sophomore OF Nico Hulsizer and Eastern Kentucky senior infielder Ben Fisher led the nation with 20 home runs.
Miss. State junior 1B Brent Rooker leads the NCAA with 64 RBIs.
Five pitchers are tied for the NCAA lead with nine wins over the mound.
Oregon State junior Luke Heimlich leads the NCAA with a 0.78 ERA.
Alabama A&M senior Brandon Marsonek leads the NCAA with 113 strikeouts.
Minnesota senior Brian Glowicki leads the nation with 15 saves.