REGULAR SEASON COMES TO END THIS WEEKEND
For a majority of the college baseball world, the 2017 regular season comes to close this weekend. Many teams across the nation are playing for conference champions, tournament seeding and NCAA Tournament bids.
It will be a nostalgic weekend for the University of Buffalo and New York Tech.
Buffalo plays its final ever series against MAC foe Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Bulls announced earlier this season the school would drop the baseball program following the 2017 season. Buffalo plays its final home game today against Niagara, before closing out the season (and program history) this weekend. The final game in program history is Saturday, May 20 at 1 p.m. (ET) in Kalamazoo, Mich.
New York Tech played its final game at the Division I level on Sunday, May 7 with a 6-2 loss to New Jersey Tech. NY Tech is dropping down to NCAA Division II in all sports next season.
St. Peter’s (0-35, 0-21 MAAC) enters the final weekend seeking its first win of the season. The Peacocks close out the year with a three-game Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference series at Manhattan (15-33, 9-12 MAAC) beginning Thursday, May 20. St. Peter’s is trying to avoid becoming the eighth team in NCAA history to have a winless season. Coppin State (0-29) was the last winless team in 2009. Coppin State (0-44) was also winless in 2007. Pittsburgh had three straight winless seasons in 1943, 1944 and 1945, going 0-7 in all three years. Vanderbilt (0-18-1) was winless in 1951 and Norfolk State (0-12) was winless in 1973.
The SEC has five teams mathematically alive for the SEC Championship or Division Championship this weekend. Florida (38-14, 19-8 SEC) owns a one-game lead over SEC Western Division leader LSU (35-17, 18-9 SEC) and Kentucky (36-16, 18-9 SEC) for the over championship.
The Gators hold a one-game lead over UK in the SEC Eastern Division race. Florida hosts Kentucky this weekend in Gainesville with the championship implications.
LSU maintains a one-game lead over Miss. State (33-19, 17-10 SEC) and a one and one-half game lead over Arkansas in the SEC Western Division. LSU plays at Miss. State this weekend, while Arkansas hosts Texas A&M. Arkansas can still win the SEC Western Division title with three wins over Texas A&M and two wins by Miss. State over LSU. In that scenario, Arkansas would finish 19-10, LSU 19-11 and Miss. State 19-11. In addition, Arkansas owns the tie-breaker with both LSU and MSU.
Alabama was eliminated from SEC Tournament contention on Sunday, leaving Missouri (31-21, 9-18), Georgia (22-30, 9-18) and Tennessee (26-22, 7-18 SEC) fighting for the last two spots. Missouri plays at Tennessee this weekend and clinches a spot with one win over the Vols. Georgia needs one win or one Tennessee loss to lock up a spot in Hoover. Tennessee makes it to Hoover if they sweep Missouri, or wins two of three from Missouri and Georgia loses three at South Carolina. Georgia owns tie-breaker with Tennessee.
A total of 65 teams enter the weekend with a chance to win a division or conference championship. Here is a look at all the conference races heading into the weekend.
America East Conference – Binghamton (27-11, 12-4 AE) holds a 2.5 game lead over UMBC (18-21, 10-7 AE) with three games remaining. Binghamton hosts Hartford on Friday and Saturday. UMBC hosts third-place Stony Brook this weekend.
American Athletic Conference – Houston (33-18, 13-8), South Florida (31-6, 13-8) and UCF (36-16, 13-8) are all tied for first place entering the final weekend and five teams are within two games of first place in the standings. South Florida and UCF square off in Orlando, while Houston hosts Cincinnati. The USF-UCF series winner will likely earn at least a share of the league championship. Houston needs a home series win over Cincinnati to earn at least a share of the title.
Atlantic 10 Conference – VCU (30-20, 16-5), Rhode Island (29-18, 17-6) and St. Bonaventure (25-17, 14-6) all remain in the hunt for the A-10 championship. Rhode Island is in the clubhouse with a 17-6 league record. The Rams host Bryant in a non-conference series this weekend. VCU (.762), who leads Rhode Island (.739) by percentage points, plays at Richmond. St. Bonaventure hosts Fordham.
Atlantic Coast Conference – Louisville (46-6, 23-3 ACC) and North Carolina (41-10, 21-6 ACC) have already wrapped up division titles. Louisville can clinch the outright title with one win this weekend over Florida State, or one North Carolina loss to Duke. Louisville has won 15 straight games. Miami (25-26, 13-13 ACC) has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1974, but that streak is in jeopardy this season. The Hurricanes hosts Virginia Tech this weekend and will be one of the 12 teams to qualify for the ACC Tournament next week in Louisville. Miami has to be one game over .500 to be eligible for NCAA Tournament consideration, which forces UM to win the series with Virginia Tech and reach the ACC Championship Game to be eligible.
Atlantic Sun Conference – The A-Sun Conference is a two team race between Jacksonville (30-21, 14-4) and Stetson (25-26, 13-5) heading into the final series. JU has won three straight and plays at North Florida this weekend. Stetson has a five-game winning streak and closes at Lipscomb. Stetson took two of three from JU back on May 5-7.
Big 12 Conference – TCU owns a 1.5 game lead over Texas Tech in the Big 12 race. The Horned Frogs have wrapped up conference play with a 16-8 record. TCU (36-13, 16-8 Big 12) closes the regular season at Cal, beginning Thursday. Texas Tech (39-13, 13-8 Big 12) hosts Kansas this weekend. If the Red Raiders sweep the Jayhawks the will tie TCU for the regular season championship. Texas Tech won two of three from TCU in Lubbock on April 28-30.
Big East Conference – Creighton (22-22, 10-3) and St. John’s (37-8, 11-4) are battling for first place in the Big East standings. Creighton enters the week with a four-game losing streak and closes the season at Butler. St. John’s has won five straight and plays Villanova, who is tied with Georgetown for last place.
Big South Conference – Winthrop (29-20, 15-6), Liberty (30-19, 14-7) and Presbyterian (27-25, 14-7) are all in conference championship contention. Liberty plays at Presbyterian to close out the season, beginning on Thursday. The winner of that series will finish with a 16-8 conference record. Winthrop plays at Radford this weekend and needs one win to clinch at least a share of the conference title, and two wins to claim the Big South title outright. Winthrop swept Liberty on April 13-15 and was swept by Presbyterian on April 7-9.
Big Ten Conference – Six teams are within two games of first place in the Big Ten standings. Nebraska (32-17, 14-6), Minnesota (30-17, 12-6) and Michigan (39-12, 14-7) are within one game of the top spot in the standings. Iowa (13-8) is 1.5 games out of first, while Maryland (15-9) and Indiana (15-9) are two games back. Nebraska (at Penn State) and Michigan (at Michigan State) are both on the road, while Minnesota hosts Purdue.
Big West Conference – Long Beach State (32-16, 15-3) and Cal State Fullerton (31-18, 12-6) meet for the Big West championship this weekend at Goodwin Field in Fullerton. Long Beach State can clinch to outright championship with one win this weekend. Fullerton needs a sweep to earn a share of title and No. 1 seed at Big West Tournament.
Colonial Athletic Association – UNC Wilmington (26-25, 14-7), Northeastern (25-23, 13-7), Delaware (28-20, 13-8) and William & Mary (28-23, 12-8) are all mathematically alive of the Colonial championship. UNCW plays at last-place Towson which gives the Seahawks the advantage heading into the final weekend.
Conference USA – Southern Miss (40-12, 22-5) has already wrapped up the 2017 C-USA regular season championship. The Golden Eagles have won 10 straight games.
Horizon – Illinois-Chicago (35-16, 21-6) holds a two-game lead over Wright State (34-18, 19-6) heading into final weekend. UIC plays at Wright State this weekend and needs one win to clinch the outright championship. Wright State needs to sweep UIC to win the league title. Illinois-Chicago swept a double header from Wright State (W, 5-0; W, 6-3) on Saturday, May 13.
Ivy – Yale (28-16, 12-4) and Penn (23-20, 12-8) are meeting in the best-of-three Ivy League Championship series today and Wednesday at Yale Field in New Haven, Connecticut. The winner gets the automatic bid to NCAA Tournament.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference – Fairfield (28-20, 15-6), Marist (27-20, 14-7) and Canisius (31-19, 14-7) are all within one game of the MAAC Championship. Fairfield closes the year at Quinnipiac, while Marist hosts Siena and Canisius hosts Niagara. Fairfield lost two of three at home to Marist on May 14-15 and did not play Canisius in the regular season. Marist swept Canisius on April 8-9.
Mid-American Conference – Kent State (33-14, 17-4) owns a 2-game lead over Central Michigan (28-23, 15-6) in the overall MAC standings. Kent State as already clinched the MAC Eastern Division title and needs one win at Ohio to clinch the outright regular season title. Central Michigan hosts Ball State this weekend with the MAC West title on the line. CMU needs one win over BSU to claim the division title. CMU can win the MAC title outright with three wins over Ball State and two losses by Kent State. KSU won two of three from CMU on April 28-30.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference – Norfolk State (24-20, 14-7) won its third straight regular season championship and is the No. 1 seed at the 2017 MEAC Tournament, which begins Wednesday, May 18 at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium in Salisbury, N.C.
Missouri Valley Conference – Missouri State (36-14, 17-0) has already clinched the regular season championship. The Bears have won six straight games overall and are 17-0 in league play this season.
Mountain West Conference – New Mexico (28-23, 18-7) and San Diego State (36-16, 19-8) are battling for the top spot in the MWC Standings. New Mexico hosts Nevada, while San Diego State hosts Fresno State. UNM took two of three from SDSU on April 28-30.
Northeast Conference – Bryant (28-23, 20-6) has already clinched the Northeast Conference championship. Bryant owns a 20-6 conference record and plays a non-conference series at Rhode Island beginning Thursday. Central Connecticut State (28-20, 17-7) hosts Fairleigh Dickinson this weekend. Even with a sweep, CCSU would finish 20-7 in NEC play and would finish percentage points (.769 to .741) behind Bryant.
Ohio Valley Conference – Tennessee Tech (36-17, 22-5) has won the 2017 OVC regular season championship. The Eagles hold a 5.5 game lead over second-place Morehead State.
Pac 12 Conference – Oregon State (41-4, 24-3) has captured the 2017 Pac 12 regulars-season championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (Pac 12 does not have conference tournament). OSU owns a 7.5 game lead over second-place Stanford.
Patriot League – Holy Cross (21-25, 12-8) hosts Bucknell (21-28, 10-10) in the best-of-three Patriot League Championship series this weekend. The teams will play Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20. The third game if necessary will also be Saturday. All games are played at Holy Cross in Worchester. No. 2 Holy Cross defeated No. 3 Army in the semifinals to advance to championship series. No. 4 Bucknell upset No. 1 Navy in the semifinals.
Southern Conference – Mercer (38-12, 17-4) has won the 2017 Southern Conference regular-season championship.
Southland Conference – McNeese State (34-16) will be looking to wrap up the regular-season title with a home series against Lamar. McNeese owns a 1.5 game lead over SE Louisiana and 2-game lead over Houston Baptist.
Southwestern Athletic Conference – Jackson State (36-15, 20-4) and Grambling (22-28, 15-9) are the top two seeds at the 2017 SWAC Tournament which begins May 17 at Wesley Barrow Stadium in New Orleans. JSU won the Western Division title, while Grambling won the Eastern Division title. The winner of the six-team double elimination tournament gets the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Summit Conference – Oral Roberts (36-14, 23-4) won its 17th straight Summit Conference championship this season.
Sun Belt Conference – South Alabama (34-18, 20-7), Coastal Carolina (34-17, 19-7) and Texas-Arlington (29-21, 19-8) are all playing for the Sun Belt Conference title this weekend. South Alabama holds a one-half game lead over Coastal Carolina in the Eastern Division and leads Western Division leader UTA by one-game in the overall standings. South Alabama closes out the year at home against in-state rival Troy. Coastal Carolina hosts Appalachian State. Texas-Arlington leads UL Lafayette by 2.5 games in the West and ends the season at Texas State.
West Coast Conference – BYU (32-15, 20-4) holds a 3-game over Gonzaga (28-17, 17-7) and Loyola Marymount (33-16, 17-7). BYU hosts Gonzaga this weekend and one win by the Cougars will wrap up the conference title. There could be a three-way tie for first place if Gonzaga sweeps BYU and LMU sweeps Portland.
Western Athletic Conference – Grand Canyon (27-24, 20-4) and New Mexico State (33-19, 17-4) are still battling for the league title. Grand Canyon has wrapped up conference play and will take on UC Davis in a three-game, non-conference series this weekend. New Mexico State hosts Cal State Bakersfield and needs a sweep to earn a share of the league title. If NMSU loses one game, Grand Canyon is the outright league champion.