May Madness

The minor league season may be in full swing, but for college baseball end of season tournament time is in full swing.

To get to the dance you need to win your league tourney or get an at-large berth. Obviously, every team would prefer the former, but let’s face it, it’s not easy. Just ask any number of ‘Riders, since many have played in these tournaments before.

Since some will be following their alma maters this weekend, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the college careers of a couple of RoughRiders.

Courtesy of Texas A&M

Barret  Loux (Texas A&M)

Prior to giving Texas League hitters headaches, Loux tied up Big 12 hitters as a member of the Aggies. As a junior in College Station, Loux led the Big 12 in strikeouts (136) and was a finalist for the USA Golden Spikes Award (Given to the top amateur baseball player in the country).

Currently No. 8 in USA Today’s Top 25 poll, the Aggies were eliminated in two games at the Big 12 tournament, losing back-to-back games to Missouri and the University of Kansas. As a top 10 team, A&M doesn’t need to be concerned about their NCAA tournament chances. However the team’s less than stellar performance in Oklahoma City could affect who they see at regionals.

Justin Grimm (Georgia)

Grimm played his college baseball “between the hedges,” as a three year member of the Georgia Bulldogs. In 2008, Justin even had the chance to visit college baseball’s most hallowed grounds, when UGA advanced to the College World Series Finals, and ended the year with a number two national ranking.

This season has been a bit of a different story, as the ‘Dawgs were eliminated from the SEC Tournament Wednesday afternoon, falling to Auburn 3-2. The good news? The SEC is the premier baseball conference in all of Division I, where sweeping a conference series almost never happen. The bad news is that at (31-26), Georgia will need an at-large berth to qualify for the NCAA tourney.

Courtesy of Stephen Slade, University of Connecticut

Mike Olt (UConn)

While he gets plenty of attention as one of the Rangers top farmhands, it’s easy to forget that Mike is still the “Sultan of Stoors.” So where does the nickname come from?

Well, in three seasons, Mike set the all-time home record for the University of Connecticut (44 homers). He also hit .318 during his junior year. The Huskies could have used him Saturday, as Mike’s old club was knocked out of the Big East Tournament by South Florida. While this means UConn’s season is over, give the team credit for knocking off Louisville, considered the favorite to take the league crown.

Chris McGuiness (The Citadel)

If you’re a baseball purist, you might be spending the weekend down in Greenville, South Carolina where the Southern Conference baseball championships are taking place. If you’re not though, don’t worry we won’t think any less of you.

However, the next time you’re at Dr Pepper Ballpark you can impress your friends by telling them that ‘Riders first baseman Chris McGuiness played for a So-Con school. Over a three year career with the Citadel, McGuiness pitched and played first base, while at the plate, he led the nation in walks during his junior year. Sadly there will be no magical run to Omaha for this bunch of Bulldogs. After an opening round win, the Citadel lost an elimination game to Elon Friday night.

Written by: Geoff Arnold

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