CBN Staff | 2/3/13
Before we get started, here’s a picture that was just tweeted out by the official St. John’s baseball Twitter (@STJ_Baseball):
…and the season starts in 12 days.
Lucky for The Red Storm, they will open with a nice three-day trip to Sarasota, Fl. before their home opener.
Look, I’m probably the last person that will listen to the cries of northern schools that complain they are at a competitive disadvantage, but even I am coming around to the idea of pushing the season back to the first or second week of March.
And with that little tangent out of the way, lets get ready for the 2013 college baseball season and we start with news from Pasadena where Cal Tech snapped a 228-game skid by knocking off Pacifica University in the latter game of a double-header last night.
Its last win, February 15.
Said Cal Tech coach Matthew Mark after the historic win: “It was almost as if they had been there before.”
That quote indirectly describes our preseason number one rated team, LSU. Only difference is that there is no “almost” about it. The Tigers have been there before (in this instance, “there” means Omaha).
But they weren’t there last year. Instead, that was upstart Stony Brook who did the unthinkable and eliminated LSU in the Super Regionals AT Alex Box Stadium – a task that teams like UCLA, Baylor, Texas A&M, UC-Irvine and Rice have tried and failed.
|LSU's Raph Rhymes led the NCAA in |
hitting with a .431 average last season.
But, as we have seen in the past, the conference – particularly LSU – has reloaded and is chomping at the bit to reclaim the crown.
Returning to the Tigers is the NCAA’s best, statistically speaking, hitter in senior Raph Rhymes and last year’s SEC home run leader, Mason Katz. Kevin Gausman has left for the pros, but Paul Mainieri’s Tigers return sophomore Aaron Nola who, as a freshman averaged nearly nine strikeouts and less than one walk per nine innings.
Another year under the most overqualified pitching coach in the country, Alan Dunn, is always a good thing.
Rhymes and Katz aside, hitting was a huge enigma for the Tigers last year and the inability to push home runs was really what brought their untimely fate. That should change with the haul of blue chip prospects, highlighted by slugging shortstop Alex Bregman.
To sum it up, the last time LSU had this mix of proven veterans and talented newcomers, they ended the season by winning the school’s six national title. Add to that the humongous chip on its shoulder that was issued by Stony Brook and you have the equation for a very dangerous team.
However, it’s not a given that The Tigers will even win the conference for a second straight season, as Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn’s team got a taste of TD Ameritrade Park last year and are poised for more this season.
Don’t sleep on Vanderbilt either. After losing a slew of veterans from that CWS team in 2011, Tim Corbin’s young team experienced some growing pains for the first half of last season, only to figure things out at the halfway mark and go on a tear to finish the season. Big things appear to be on horizon for them as well.
That’s how scary the SEC can be this year, South Carolina and Florida could conceivably finish fourth and fifth in the overall conference standings.
Before we get to our first top 25 of the season, let’s get this out of the way:
And now this:
|12||North Carolina St.||.||.|
|19||Cal St. Fullerton||.||.|
Kent St., New Mexico, Miami (Fl.), Wichita St., Georgia,
Coastal Carolina, Baylor.
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