Busy weekend gives clearer picture
Notes: Princeton punches NCAA tourney ticket, UConn rolls
It was a busy weekend in Division I baseball as the conference tournament picture became clearer as just two weeks remain before most leagues hold their championship tournaments and hand out automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament.
• Princeton claimed the first NCAA automatic bid of the 2011 season on May 8 by winning the Ivy League Championship. The Tigers defeated Dartmouth in a best-of-three series, claiming their first Ivy title since 2006. Princeton (23-22) will now enjoy an extended hiatus before NCAA Tournament bracket is announced on Monday, May 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
• After entering the weekend in a three-way tie in the Southeastern Conference East Division standings, Vanderbilt won its series with Kentucky to take a one-game lead over Florida and South Carolina, which lost weekend series to Arkansas and Mississippi, respectively. Arkansas’ series win against the Gators also moved the Razorbacks into first place in the SEC West Division standings with a 12-12 mark.
• Stetson notched its fourth Atlantic Sun series sweep of the season with three victories against Florida Gulf Coast as the Hatters secured a berth in the league tournament. The Hatters’ magic number is three as they look to capture their first regular season league title since 2007.
• Connecticut continued to roll in Big East play, winning the first two games of a league series against South Florida which will conclude Monday. George Springer belted his 44th career home run in the Huskies’ 9-5 win on Sunday to move into a tie for first place on the school’s all-time home run list. The Huskies own a four-game lead in the Big East standings.
• Old Dominion swept a series with Delaware to maintain its first-place position in the Colonial Athletic Association standings. ODU entered the weekend tied with James Madison, but pulled away and now hold a one-game lead over JMU and UNC-Wilmington.
• Wright State was down but now out as the Raiders rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the fourth inning to earn a 6-5 win against Valparaiso on May 8. With the win, WSU moved into first place in the Horizon League standings at 13-5, a half-game ahead of Valparaiso's 13-6. Both teams have seven league games remaining in the next two weeks. The win also improved Wright State's overall record to 30-14, marking the sixth time in as many seasons that the Raiders have won 30 or more games.
• Senior Stephen Peterson capped off Rhode Island’s sweep of UMass with 10 strikeouts in his third complete-game victory of the year in a 4-1 win against the Minutemen on Sunday. URI moved into a tie with Charlotte for first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings. Peterson has given up just five runs in his last 35 innings pitched.
• Michigan State stretched its streak of Big Ten wins to nine with a 6-5 win against Purdue as the Spartans completed a three-game sweep of the Boilermakers on May 8. Michigan State and Purdue entered the weekend tied for first in the Big Ten at 10-5. Following the sweep, the Spartans (30-14, 13-5 Big Ten) sit alone at the top of the standings, two games ahead of second-place Minnesota (11-7).
• Coastal Carolina reaped the benefits of an outstanding weekend by its pitching staff, sweeping Radford to extend its winning streak to eight games. The Chanticleers shut out Radford in all three games, following a shutout of VMI on May 1. It is the first time in school history that Coastal Carolina has thrown four straight shutouts. The Chants’ scoreless inning streak is now at 37.
• Southern Miss maintained a two-game lead in the Conference USA standings with a sweep of UAB, while second-place Rice remained two games behind the Golden Eagles after sweeping Houston.
• Oregon State stayed on top of the Pac-10 standings, winning two of three games against California, including a 4-2 victory against the Bears in the series finale.
• Texas won a Big 12 series at Nebraska, but fell behind in percentage points in the league standings behind Texas A&M. The Aggies (15-6), who swept Dallas Baptist in non-conference action this weekend, will face the Huskers next weekend while the Longhorns (17-7) will be off.
• Bethune-Cookman completed another perfect Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season with an 18-0 record after sweeping Delaware State. The Wildcats have won an NCAA all-time record 43 consecutive games against conference opponents. B-CU will face two non-conference foes before looking to claim its six consecutive MEAC title at the MEAC Championships on May 18-21.
• Monmouth notched a three-game sweep of Long Island as the Hawks moved into first place in the Northeast Conference standings. The Hawks (22-6 NEC) are one league win away from tying the program record for conference victories.
• Texas State cruised past UTSA in a three-game sweep as the Bobcats improved to 20-7 in Southland Conference play to take a three-game lead in the standings.
• Florida International is riding a 12-game winning streak after a sweep of Middle Tennessee last weekend. It was FIU’s third consecutive sweep of a Sun Belt Conference foe as the Panthers moved within one game of first place Troy in the league standings.