Commentary

Gamecocks movin' on up

Originally Published: May 8, 2012
By Eric Sorenson | Special to ESPN.com

Christian WalkerAP Photo/Tom PriddyChristian Walker and the Gamecocks took two of three from Arkansas over the weekend.

Three things we learned over the weekend

1. Cornell gets the first tux fitting for the Big Dance.
2. We can finally put the words "first place" next to South Carolina's name.
3. It's time to go ahead and call George Horton an amazing coach.

Team of the weekend: Cornell

Big Red slugger Chris Cruz hit his team-leading 12th home run of the season in the 11th inning of Sunday's rubber match with Dartmouth, sending Cornell to the Ivy League title and NCAA tournament. This will be the Big Red's second NCAA bid and first since 1977.

Off-radar team of the weekend: Washington

The Huskies played nearly a perfect weekend at USC, committing no errors, issuing two walks and giving up just 13 hits. U-Dub sits just 3.5 games out of first in the Pac-12 and improved its RPI to No. 42.

Biggest disappointment: SEC home teams

It was a tough weekend for teams like Arkansas, Ole Miss and Kentucky as they dropped home series versus South Carolina, LSU and Florida, respectively. Things can change quickly in the SEC, of course, but they all took big hits for national seeding hopes in the process.

Heating up: Utah Valley

First baseman Goose Kallunki went 10-for-19 with three home runs and three doubles to help the Wolverines win all four games at Houston Baptist, extending their win streak to 28 games. The NCAA D-I record for consecutive wins is 34, held by Florida Atlantic in 1999 and Texas in 1977.

Cooling down: New Mexico State

The Aggies keep slipping. Their recent two-game sweep at Baylor was disappointing. But this past weekend's three-game sweep at Hawaii was much more shocking, as they were outscored 20-4 in three games. Two weeks ago, the Aggies were 10th in the country in hitting at .318, but they've dropped to .308 with two cold weeks in a row.

Raised an eyebrow: Oregon's pitching

Not sure anyone expected the Ducks' pitching staff pulling off a pair of wins like it did in Tucson this weekend against that vaunted Arizona lineup. In Friday's 6-1 win, Alex Keudell threw a complete-game seven-hitter, and then in Sunday's 3-1 win, the Ducks got a great start from Jeff Gold (5.1 innings, four hits) and relief effort from Jimmie Sherfy (3.2 innings, one hit).

Quick Hits

• Baylor sat idle this week but still wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title thanks to Texas losing two of three at Missouri. The Bears are 18-0 in the league with weekends against Oklahoma and Texas, which is tied for second (with Texas A&M) at 13-8.

• Oklahoma State ace Andrew Heaney threw his third shutout and fourth complete game of the season on Friday in the Cowboys' 3-0 win over Bedlam rival Oklahoma. He struck out seven and surrendered just three hits while extending his scoreless streak to 21 innings.

• Purdue was down 10-5 going into the ninth inning of Sunday's game at UCLA. But the Boilermakers scored 10 runs in the frame, including seven with two out, to pull out a much-needed 15-11 win.

• North Dakota's Andrew Thome is the only freshman in the country to post back-to-back complete-game, nine-inning shutouts on consecutive Fridays with a four-hitter versus Northern Colorado and a three-hitter versus New York Tech, which also featured 11 strikeouts.

• USC-Upstate's Gaither Bumgardner saw his 11 at-bat hit streak come to an end on Friday night with a groundout versus Stetson. Bumgardner was three hits short of the NCAA record. The Spartans took two out of three games against the preseason favorites.

Without further ado, here are this week's Power Rankings …

1. Baylor (38-8)

Of note: The Bears took the weekend off for exams, but now dive back in with rigorous road tests at Texas State and Oklahoma coming up this week.

2. Florida State (39-8)

Of note: A 10-game win streak came to a halt versus Maryland on Monday. And like Baylor, an arduous road week lies ahead with games at Stetson and Clemson.

3. Rice (33-13)

Of note: Clutch City, indeed. Two of the Owls' past three wins have come in extras. But keep an eye on ace Matthew Reckling, who after two shutouts got roughed up in an 11-6 loss to Houston.

4. South Carolina (36-12)

Of note: On a 17-4 run since the beginning of April, these guys are white-knuckle specialists with 10 of those wins coming by one or two runs and all four losses by one run.

5. LSU (38-11)

Of note: The four-game lead in the SEC West means the Tigers are virtual locks for the pennant. But the starting pitching was dubious this week, giving up 25 hits with just 12 K's.

6. Florida (35-13)

Of note: It's amazing how disciplined this team is, having issued just 88 walks all season and possessing the best defense in the SEC with a .980 fielding percentage.

7. Oregon (34-14)

Of note: Coach George Horton told me his team is getting it done "with smoke and mirrors." I'm not calling him a liar, but you can't "smoke and mirrors" your way to a series win at Arizona.

8. UCLA (31-13)

Of note: There was just one bad inning all week for UCLA. Granted, that 10-spot put up by Purdue was really bad. Now the Bruins head out for a nine-game road trip.

9. Purdue (35-9)

Of note: After being shut down by Adam Plutko on Friday (two hits), the Boilermakers' bats went wild the rest of the weekend, getting 30 hits in the final 18 innings. They also got a good RPI bump with their UCLA visit.

10. North Carolina (34-13)

Of note: Colin Moran is back (6-for-15 for the week) and the pitching was dominant (41 strikeouts for the week). The hiccups are over as the Tar Heels look strong again.

11. Arizona (30-15)

Of note: Wildcats go from 51 runs and 65 hits in three wins over East Tennessee last week to two runs and 12 hits in a pair of losses to Oregon over the weekend.

12. Stanford (29-14)

Of note: Raise a red flag on the Cardinal after last week's 1-3 effort, including back-to-back losses at Oregon State. SU has slipped to a fifth-place tie with OSU and Washington in the Pac 12.

13. Cal State Fullerton (30-14)

Of note: Just like the Titans of old. In three wins at Pacific, starters Dylan Floro, Kenny Mathews and Grahamm Wiest gave up just 11 hits and three walks in 25 combined innings.

14. Kentucky (37-11)

Of note: The Wildcats scored just seven runs versus Florida this past weekend. But Corey Littrell improved to 7-0 and Trevor Gott earned his ninth save in Sunday's 2-1 win.

15. Texas A&M (34-14)

Of note: Thanks to red-hot Baylor, the Aggies won't win the Big 12. But they're on a 6-2 run with the two losses coming by one run apiece (at Texas and in a 12-inning loss to Texas Tech).

16. San Diego (36-11)

Of note: The BYU Cougars found these guys to be quite offensive. The Toreros scored 39 runs on 51 hits in three wins in Provo. Kris Bryant went 8-for-15 with three home runs.

17. UCF (38-11)

Of note: After going 3-3 in the past two weeks, the Knights may have lost their shot at a home regional, but they're still tied at the top of Conference USA with Rice at 13-5.

18. North Carolina State (33-12)

Of note: With nine straight wins, the Wolfpack's profile is on the fast track and a home regional is possible. Of course, hitting .300 and opponents hitting just .226 helps.

19. Oregon State (30-15)

Of note: The Jekyll & Hyde team of the West, the Beavers got a series win over Stanford thanks in part to a complete game five-hitter from freshman Jace Fry on Saturday.

20. Arkansas (34-15)

Of note: Long known for great starting arms, the Razorbacks' bullpen had a shoddy weekend, giving up 20 hits and 14 earned runs in 13.2 innings versus South Carolina.

Dropped out: Louisville, Sam Houston State

Bubble wrap: Virginia, Arizona State, Dallas Baptist, Louisville, Coastal Carolina