An extremely wild weekend left me with a lot of choices for this column. However, I’m committed to giving you the biggest weekly swings so you can see just how feeble the RPI can be.
Your favorite team can be sitting solid in RPI one week and radically drop out of contention the next simply based on their on-the-field performance and how the teams they’ve played performed. Some math whiz in a sky box chugs out the new RPIs and this week a few teams couldn’t help be read them and weep.
This week we get the opportunity to put a couple of teams on the postseason shelf for a while unless they warm up while another squad found out just how quickly hot becomes cold.
Maverick Of The Week: Pennsylvania Quackers Up 107 RPI Points (276-169)
The Pennsylvania Quackers maneuvered a 7-0 week into the biggest RPI increase of the week. Penn swept three double-headers (Harvard, Princeton, Cornell), two on the road (Princeton, Cornell), to vault into first place in the Lou Gehrig Division of the Ivy League just one game ahead of Columbia.
Goose Of The Week: Harvard Crimson Down 62 RPI Points (46-108)
Mind you, Harvard was abnormally low to start the week at an RPI of 46 but getting swept by Penn and splitting a double-header with Cornell were enough to start the avalanche in RPI. However, the Crimson are just a game out of the top spot in the Ivy League’s Red Rolfe Division with plenty of games ahead.
Washington State Cougars Take 2-of-3 At The No. 18 California Bears
The Bears discovered in a hurry just how swiftly a team can go from hot to not. Cal had cruised to a 20-7 overall mark and were 7-2 in the Pac 12 with an RPI of 37. With the struggling Cougars coming to town, all seemed well set up for the Bears at Evans Diamond this weekend.
Then they actually played the games.
Games one and two told a similar tale as Washington State pitching silenced the prolific Bears’ attack. Sean Hartnett and Matt Bower combined to hold Cal scoreless through seven in game one as Cameron Frost’s first homer of the year, a two-run shot, gave them a 4-0 lead. Mitchell Kranson’s two-run homer in the home half pulled the Bears within 4-2 and broke up the shutout. Joe Pistoree threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout in game two as the Cougars took the series with a 4-0 win.
Cal would salvage game three with a 6-2 win behind Matt Ladrech’s seven inning performance helped by Chris Paul’s 3-for-4 day at the dish with a run scored and three RBI. The Bears are finding just how precarious a position in the College Baseball Central Top 25 can be.
This matchup left us with the largest total swing of 80 RPI points this weekend as Washington jumped 47 points (143-96) while Cal fell backward by 33 points (37-70) and have put themselves in the danger zone for at-large consideration with an RPI of 70.
Michigan State Spartans Sweep The Oregon Ducks In Eugene
In the last few years this would have been a mismatch, but with the suprisingly loaded Big 10 Conference the Spartans flexed some muscle and out-homered the Ducks by a 5-1 total on the weekend. Michigan State jumped 26 points higher with the road sweep of the Ducks while knocking them completely out of postseason consideration until further notice.
Mick VanVossen, Joe Mockbee and Jeff Kinley combined to two-hit the Ducks in game one with Cam Gibson adding the game-winning RBI in the 11th for a 2-1 win. In game two the Spartans hit three, two-run homers off the bats of Ryan Krill (3), Mark Wiest (2) and Gibson (2) to pummel the Ducks 9-4. Krill hit another two-run homer and Blaise Salter hit a three-run shot while Gibson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in a 7-4 close out win on Sunday.
“The Ducks’ pitching staff may need counselling, or a chiropractor at least, after the whooping the Spartan hitters put on their pitching.” – Realist Ray, College Baseball RPI Analyst
Michigan State closes with a 37 RPI and is within striking distance of at large consideration, but will have a difficult trudge through a stacked Big 10.
Washington Huskies Sweep The Stanford Cardinal At Sunken Diamond
The Huskies walked in and demolished the Cardinal in front of their home crowd in a series sweep this weekend, outscoring them 22-3 and out-hitting them 33-14. However, Washington found an excellent pitching combination on the weekend, matching a starter with the bullpen of Brandon Choate and Troy Rallings to keep Stanford in check.
Noah Bremer allowed two earned over five before Choate and Rallings closed out the final four innings in a 4-2 game one victory then Ryan Schmitten threw six shutout innings before Choate and Rallings closed out the 5-0 game three win. Sandwiched in was Tyler Davis hurling eight scoreless while the offense pounded Cardinal pitching, scoring 13 runs behind Braden Bishop, Brandon Berry and Alex Schmidt’s combined 8-for-14 with seven runs scored and six runs driven in.
Washington improved 21 points, from 112-91 while the Cardinal fell 49 points to an RPI of 100. Needless to say, the high hopes we had for Stanford in the early season have evaporated and we’ll just set them on the shelf.