Thursday, May 28, 2009

URI Baseball Snubbed By NCAA Baseball Comittee

Looks like the Rhode Island baseball team got snubbed and was left out of the NCAA Tournament. I just recently found out that my boy Idris is an assitant coach for the Rams as well:

And as a kid, assistant coach Idris Liasu, a native Nigerian, was always hanging around Hendricken Field when Foster played for PC. Liasu later played for CCRI and Bethany College.

Here's the scoop on the Rams snub, via ProJo Sports:

Despite posting a school record for wins en route to a 37-20 mark and finishing with an RPI rating of 53, the University of Rhode Island baseball team learned earlier this week that it was not among the field of 64 invited to play in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

URI coach Jim Foster says that he is "definitely disappointed" in the selection committee's decision, adding that this year's process "has set college baseball back five years by doing this."

"I think a lot of people feel the same way," he said of URI's omission from the tourney when reached by phone Wednesday. "For a team from New England to do what we did this year . . . . it hasn't really happened before, the success we had. And I think we definitely did enough to get in. We beat two ACC teams, three or four Top-25 teams. We almost beat the No. 2 team in the country -- they were No. 1 at the time. So we couldn't have done anything else. I've been getting text messages and e-mails and phone calls for two days now saying, 'It's unbelievable what you guys have done.' "

Going 19-6 against Atlantic-10 Conference opponents, which included a sweep of regular-season champion Dayton, URI earned the second seed and a first-round bye in the Atlantic-10 Championship, where the Rams advanced to the title game against No. 3 Xavier with wins over the Muskateers and Dayton – 7-6 and 9-2, respectively.

Xavier avenged its earlier setback to URI, defeating the Rams, 9-7 and 10-1, to capture the A-10 crown. Earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the process, Xavier (18-9) will face Kansas State in the Houston Regional.

The Rams' non-conference opponents this season included Cal State Fullerton, Oklahoma State, N.C. State, Santa Clara, Ohio State and Miami. They were 4-4 against those teams, posting wins over N.C. State, Miami, Ohio State and splitting with Oklahoma State.

"We have three great quality starting pitchers who can beat anybody. We've got guys who are going to be drafted. We've got all the ingredients that they look for," said Foster, now in his fourth year at the Rams' helm. "We have a great story. We're building something special here."

However the NCAA Selection Committee, headed by chairman Tim Weiser, apparently did not feel URI had done quite enough.

Weiser -- who is also deputy commissioner of the Big 12 Conference -- was asked to justify the selection of two schools from his conference, Baylor (10-16 Big 12, 29-24 overall) and Oklahoma State (9-16 Big 12, 32-22 overall), which finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in their 10-team league, over URI. He said in a media conference call earlier this week that URI's 12 losses to teams with an RPI ranking above 100 worked against the Rams. He also cited their non-conference strength of schedule, which he said was in "the triple digits."

Foster said URI's schedule is largely dictated by the conference it plays in. And although budget constraints and the players' academic commitments make it difficult for the Rams to travel out of the region for their mid-week games, they still played the toughest schedule they've ever had.

As for the losses, he said, "Everybody stubs their toe over the course of the season. It's not football. It's not basketball. It's baseball and you're all going to lose some games."

"I'm proud of the guys. I'm proud of what we accomplished. I'm just disappointed about not being able to play another weekend," said Foster, a former standout catcher at Providence College in the 1990s who went on to play 10 years in the minor leagues. "I've been in two regionals, and it's a blast. That's why you put in all the hard work."

No comments:

Post a Comment