With about three weekends left in the regular season, here is a look at the regional D1 programs, their last weekend results and a look at the schedule ahead. Some teams are very much in contention for an NCAA regional bid, either via a conference title or an at-large bid. It is time to start putting them in some sort of order indicating their chances for postseason play...
- Stanford (1-2 at Oregon State, 29-14 season, 11-10 Pac-12) - The Cardinal won game one at Oregon State, dropped a close 4-2 game on Saturday then after tying the game in the top of the ninth and sending it to extra innings, eventually lost on Sunday. All road series in the Pac-12 are tough and Oregon State is one of the toughest places for opponents. Their chances for a Pac-12 title are pretty remote (Oregon leads at 16-8, followed by Arizona 13-8, ASU at 14-10, UCLA at 12-9) due to series losses to both Oregon and Arizona. If it came to a tie with ASU or UCLA, Stanford holds those head to head tiebreakers. Stanford finishes with Washington State (home), Utah (away), and Cal (home). If things break right, I think 8-1 is possible in those nine games and no worse than 6-3 can be expected.
- Cal Poly (1-2 at UC Davis, 27-19 season, 10-8 Big West) - As I suspected, the Mustangs ran into a competitive UC Davis team and they lost two of three in Davis. The two losses were close, both by a 5-4 score and game one went extra innings. The Mustangs sit at 4th in the Big West but are five games behind Cal State Fullerton in the loss column. Their best hope for the NCAA tourney is an at-large bid. They have six games left at home (need to go at least 5-1) and four on the road (no worse than 2-2 would help). A final record of 34-22 would likely put them squarely in the discussion for an at-large bid but I would think they will have to get into the top three in the Big West to have that happen. The Big West is a GOOD baseball conference but all too often in recent years the third and fourth place teams have been getting snubbed by the selection committee. They lost two of three to second place Long Beach State and swept third place UC Irvine.
- Cal (2-1 at Washington State, 25-19 season, 9-12 Pac-12) - A road series win in the Pac-12 is a good thing, no matter the opponent. Cal dropped the first game but bounced back with strong offense the rest of the series and got a two-hit shutout from junior LHP Justin Jones in game three. Cal's only chance to return to postseason play for the second year in a row is as an at-large and with a College World Series run last year, I would think the committee would look for reasons to let them back in. A Pac-12 record under .500 will not help that cause so they would need to go at least 6-3 in their last nine conference games and with Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford left, that is a TALL task. The good thing is that the Arizona and UCLA series' are in Berkeley.