Baseball America takes a look back at the good and the bad from this past weekend in Three Strikes.
Five teams have reached the College World Series championship round since its inception in 2003, and two of them sit alone in last place in their conferences on May 1. Conference struggles and middling records mean Stanford and Florida likely won't be playing at all in another month. The last time that happened to Stanford was 1993, and Florida hasn't missed the postseason since 1999. Even with a series upset of Arizona State over the weekend, the 19-19 Cardinal still own the worst conference record in the Pac-10 at 5-10. Florida stands at 24-23, but six straight SEC series losses have it at the bottom of the league with a 6-15 mark.
LSU and Long Beach State each looked as though they were heading toward the same fate as Stanford and Florida before recent rallies. The Tigers (29-17) last missed the regionals in 1988, and they scored a big victory toward keeping that streak alive with a series win against Arkansas that moved them into 10th place in the SEC at 8-13. It's still not an enviable position, but tradition and the Ratings Percentage Index could help LSU if it can claw up one more spot in the SEC. Long Beach State was below .500 in mid-April, but has won a season-best seven straight games to improve to 23-18 and into a solid second place in the Big West at 7-1. Long Beach State has made the NCAAs each year since 2000, and that streak should continue.
How's this for the nadir of any team's season: Wofford (18-30) moved up the start of its Friday game against The Citadel to 5 p.m. so it wouldn't have to compete against "Cow Bingo" for local entertainment dollars. Wofford's Moo-uau celebration divides up the school's football stadium into squares, which patrons purchase. Cash prizes are awarded based on which squares the cow marks. "I don't know about that," Wofford senior Stephen Johnson told the Spartanburg (S.C.) Journal-Herald. "I've got to talk to someone about that. Cow bingo is more important than the baseball game? I don't know." Baseball won in the end, as Wofford scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 5-4 win. Meanwhile, Lu Lu Belle the cow leapt a hedge and chain-link fence and no one was able to coax her back onto the field. Prizes were awarded by a random drawing.
• Le Moyne junior Bobby Blevins struck out 32 batters and walked two in throwing a pair of two-hit shutouts this week. He struck out 14 against St. Peter's on Monday before recording 18 strikeouts against Canisius on Saturday. Both outings set school records for strikeouts in a game. Blevins is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 71 innings on the year.
• Houston went 14-4 in April to improve to 31-16 and move into the Top 25. Credit at least part of that success to a power surge that produced 39 home runs in the month. The Cougars hit 17 homers in February and March combined.
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