Commentary

Gators take another turn at No. 1

Originally Published: May 15, 2012
By Eric Sorenson | Special to ESPN.com

Three things we learned over the weekend

1. Being tabbed the No. 1 team is more of a curse this year.
2. Vanderbilt of 2012 is this year's Georgia of 2011.
3. The number of one-run games is astronomical.

Team of the weekend: Oklahoma

A three-game sweep of No. 2 Baylor was just what the doctor ordered. The Sooners have jump-started their postseason aspirations as they move from No. 67 in the RPI into the mid-40s. Reliever Steven Okert gets credit for handing Baylor its first league loss in a 1-0 Game 1 win in 10 innings. He also got the save in Game 2.

Off-radar team of the weekend: UNC Wilmington

After a 3-9 start to the season, the Seahawks have rebounded to win the CAA following this weekend's sweep of William & Mary. The Seahawks' bullpen was a strength again, throwing 10.2 innings with no runs, five hits and just two walks while recording a pair of wins and a save.

Biggest disappointment: Arkansas

This team is hard to figure out. There's enough pitching for it to be considered a national championship contender. But Auburn was able to lace the Hogs for 37 hits in three games and for 12 runs in Game 3, stealing two games at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks' hit-and-miss offense has been a problem, going silent at inopportune times this season.

Heating up: Vanderbilt

That tough nonconference slate has turned into a positive, as the Commodores have now won 13 of their last 19 games to pull above .500 at 26-25. With an RPI in the mid-40s, a three-gamer versus Ole Miss this weekend and the SEC tournament still to play, just staying above .500 could be enough to earn an at-large bid.

Cooling down: Raph Rhymes, LSU

The hit machine came into the Tigers' series with Vanderbilt hitting .500, but went 2-for-12 through three games, dropping his average to .478.

Raised an eyebrow: East Carolina

The Pirates dropped three painfully close games at Southern Miss this weekend, which means ECU has now dipped to 8-12 in true road games this season. File that away as an ominous sign for a team destined to hit the bricks for the postseason.

Quick Hits

• Purdue clinched its first Big Ten title in 103 years with Saturday's 14-3 rout of Michigan. The last time the Boilers won the conference, William H. Taft was in office.

• Indiana State is now 40-12, its first 40-win season since 1992. The Sycamores have never won a Missouri Valley regular-season crown but have a 1½ game lead on Missouri State going into the final weekend.

• Liberty tied a Big South record by recording its 10th shutout of the season in Friday's 5-0 win over High Point. John Niggli and Patrick Eckelbarger have three shutouts apiece.

• Surprising Saint Louis clinched the Atlantic 10 title with a three-game sweep at preseason favorite Charlotte (7-5, 9-1 and 6-4), giving the Billikens a school-record 37 wins on the season.

• It hasn't been a banner year for Creighton (21-25), but attendance-wise, the Bluejays are pulling numbers. Last week's five games saw 23,745 go through the turnstiles at TD Ameritrade Park, including 12,184 for Tuesday's game against Nebraska.

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

1. Florida (38-14)

Of note: The Gators take another turn through the revolving door at No. 1, but they're still erratic on offense, scoring just six runs off 13 hits in three games vs. Mississippi State.

2. South Carolina (38-13)

Of note: Sunday's rainout at Georgia could really come back to haunt the Gamecocks as they now sit a half-game behind Kentucky in the SEC East.

3. Rice (36-14)

Of note: A perfect week was ruined when the Owls blew a 4-3, ninth-inning lead in Sunday's loss to UAB. Leadoff man Ford Stainback was 9-for-13 in the three games against the Blazers.

4. Oregon (37-14)

Of note: The Ducks have gone 23-6 since March 31, having given up five runs or more just six times. They lead the Pac-12 by 1½ games with three to play.

5. UCLA (35-13)

Of note: Leave it to the Bruins' pitching to quell the Washington Huskies' bats, as UCLA won three games in Seattle this past weekend, holding UW scoreless in 24 of 27 innings.

6. Baylor (39-11)

Of note: Maybe the Bears relaxed since they already had the Big 12 title in their pocket, but losing three to OU was a stunner. Their national seed status should still be safe.

7. Florida State (41-11)

Of note: The Noles drop from the top after losing games against Maryland and Stetson and two at Clemson. But the bats caught fire in Monday's getaway game at Clemson, a 9-5 win.

8. Purdue (39-10)

Of note: Although the Boilers have grabbed the Big Ten title, they can't let their guard down vs. Iowa this weekend. The RPI hit will be too harsh if they drop a game or two.

9. LSU (39-13)

Of note: Kevin Gausman's complete-game five-hitter on Friday was the lone bright spot for the Tigers as the pitching floundered and the offense lacked clutch hits once again.

10. North Carolina (38-13)

Of note: Surprise starter Shane Taylor went 8.0 innings with eight K's and one hit in Sunday's 3-0 win over Duke. The Heels have won eight straight since their exam break.

11. Stanford (32-14)

Of note: Stephen Piscotty went 6.1 innings in his first mound start and Dominic Jose hit a grand slam in his first-ever start on Sunday in the Cardinal's three-game sweep of Washington State.

12. Arizona (33-15)

Of note: The Cats stay within 1½ games of Pac 12-leading Oregon by surrendering just 14 hits in a sweep at Cal. Kurt Heyer and Konner Wade both tossed complete games.

13. Cal State Fullerton (32-14)

Of note: Michael Lorenzen proved his All-American worth, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs at the dish and picking up his 15th save in Sunday's getaway game at UC Santa Barbara.

14. Texas A&M (37-14)

Of note: Through the first two wins of the Aggies' three-game sweep of San Diego State, they held the Aztecs to five hits and one run in 18 innings, including Ross Stripling's seven-K, one-walk no-hitter in Game 2.

15. Kentucky (41-11)

Of note: A tenuous half-game lead over South Carolina in the SEC East will be put to the test as the Bat Cats head to Mississippi State this weekend. A national seed is on the line in Starkville.

16. UCF (40-12)

Of note: The Knights have won 40 games for the first time since 2005. On the down side, UCF also gave up 21 runs, 31 hits and issued 20 walks in three games at Marshall.

17. North Carolina State (36-13)

Of note: A 12-game win streak was snapped in Sunday's 6-4 loss at Virginia Tech. But on Saturday, Trae Turner became the third player in ACC history to steal 50 bases.

18. Arizona State (32-17)

Of note: While the Devils aren't eligible for the NCAA tournament, they are relishing their spoiler role, dousing Gonzaga's at-large hopes with a three-game sweep in Spokane, Wash.

19. Virginia (34-15-1)

Of note: Winners in 10 of their last 11, the Cavs have leaned heavily on the best offense (.300 as a team) and the best defense (just 53 errors) in the ACC.

20. Louisville (35-17)

Of note: It could be argued that Jared Ruxer has become one of the nation's best freshmen pitchers (7-1, 2.49 ERA). He helped take down St. John's this past weekend.

Dropped out: San Diego, Oregon State, Arkansas

Bubble wrap: Appalachian State, Indiana State, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Utah Valley