Friday First Takes

A quick look around what happened in college baseball on the first full Friday of the regular season. Read on...

Friday First Takes
By Eric Sorenson


Lets hear for the "mid-majors" in the college baseball world!

Let me get this right, Mercer scores two runs in the 9th to win at Miami? San Diego pulls the trick on Texas for the forth time in a row? Texas State stuns Oklahoma? And Louisiana Tech nearly extinguishes Arkansas? Nice.

First some quick hits from the first big Friday of the college baseball season:

Best pitching matchup:
Winthrop at UCLA.
Hate to toot my own horn here, but I said this was going to be the best matchup of the weekend and, well, a 2-1 duel (Bruins won) with brilliant performances by Alex Wilson and Tyson Brummett didn't disappoint.

Best hitting performance:
Hawaii's Chris Sanchez.
The dude goes 4-for-4 and, in the 7th inning, comes two feet short of hitting for the cycle in the Rainbows 5-3 win over Georgia Southern out on the islands tonight.

Runner-Up Best Hitting Performance:
Mercer's Josh Thompson.
In keying the win over Miami, Thompson goes 4-for-4 as well and falls a triple short of the cycle. Considering it came against the No. 5 team in the country, maybe this shouldn’t be runner-up?

Biggest Upset:
Mercer 6
Miami 5
The Hurricanes have some issues pitching-wise, allowing the Bears to come back with a pair of runs in the 9th. But don't be too shocked. Remember, Mercer went 34-26 last season and that included wins at Florida, at Clemson and a sweep of Florida Atlantic.

Best crowd:
Love Field, Louisiana Tech.
3,154 rabid fans nearly see Tech pull off the upset of Arkansas. Hogs win 4-2. Chasing Hog ace Nick Schmidt after just three innings had to be encouraging for the Bulldogs.

Worst reoccurring bad dream:
San Diego 6
Texas 5
The Toreros jump out to a big lead then hold on for dear life as the Longhorns rally in the 9th comes up short. Rich Hill has to be smiling ear-to-ear as his charges seem to have UT's number.

The Hard Luck Award:
Long Beach State’s Vance Worley.
Last year, Worley was a freshman Sunday starter that had flashes of brilliance, but his record was just 4-7 on the year. Tonight, he holds USC to just four hits in 6.0 innings, striking out six along the way, and he still doesn't get a W for it. SC wins 2-1, but at least Worley doesn't get saddled with the loss either.

The Do A Double-Take Award:
Tennessee 2
Florida State 9
Seminoles make this one look easy, racing out to a 9-zip lead after seven innings. RF Jack Rye was kosher, going 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. Bryan Henry Ks 11 in just six innings of work against the Borbon-less Vols. Our own Mark Etheridge is headed for the last two games of this series in Tallahassee. Look for his blog entries.

The Stop-The-Presses! Award:
Cal State Fullerton's Wes Roemer issued a walk tonight in the win over Stanford. He's already one-seventh of the way to equaling last year's total. Maybe he should be moved to the pen?

The So-Ugly-It's-Fugly Award:
The state of Arizona.
Southern Utah 1
Arizona State 20

Gonzaga 0
Arizona 14
Just like that BCS title game, it's no contest in the Grand Canyon State tonight either. Eye-yey-yey! There just aren't enough white flags to go around. UofA's Preston Guilmet took a no-hitter into the 9th before surrendering a line-drive single.


What I saw at frigid JRS tonight:
Winthrop 1
UCLA 2

Yep, that dastardly thing known as an error reared its ugly head tonight at the Winthrop-UCLA game I went to. In the game-deciding 8th inning, Eagle second baseman Phil Carey misplayed a simple pop-up that allowed UCLA pinch hitter Will Penniall to score all the way from second base to make for the Bruins 2-1 winning margin. Heartbreaking, I know. Especially for the handful of parents and girlfriends that traveled from Rock Hill, South Carolina to see the Eagles play.

I gotta admit, it was a drag. This was a great display of pitching all the way around. Tyson Brummett threw eight innings, giving up just six hits and one run while striking out six and walking just one for UCLA. He outdueled stud WU hurler Alex Wilson, who last 5.2 innings, also giving up six hits and one un-earned run.

Tall-tree Brant Rustich, who missed almost all of last season to injury, came on to get the save for the Bruins. Lefty Ryan Mullins pitched pretty well for Winthrop in relief of Wilson, going 2.1 innings, striking out a pair and giving up only a double to Penniall.

Games two and three should be interesting.


Elsewhere in the Top 25:
Stanford 5
Cal State Fullerton 11
Okay, doesn't look like the Titan offense is missing all those draftees now, does it? Roemer strikes out eight in six innings of work. I had some friends at this game telling me that he hasn't missed a beat. They also said this game wasn’t even close. Guess not, with an 11-0 lead after four innings. Geez, maybe the mustachioed one, George Horton, has something up his sleeve this year.

Oklahoma 3
Texas State 8
Sooner arms have no answers as Bobcats hold 14-hit track meet. Four TSU hurlers combine for 10 Ks and hold OU to just six hits.


Outside the Top 25:
Texas College 0 1
Prairie View 22 17
Okay, this is like a freaking video game put on "God" mode. The Panthers steal 19 bases on the day. Myrio Richard snags seven in the two games and Spenser Dennis totals five. Was sportsmanship never taken into account by the PV coaching staff? This is ugly.

Georgia Southern 3
Hawaii 5
The best part of listening to this game was UofH announcer Don Robbs saying during the game that Les Murakami Stadium was about to undergo massive renovations, including replacing that gawd-awful astro-turf with field turf. Good news. Rubber match in this series is tomorrow… or today, depending on where you live and when you're reading this.


Okay, I gotta go get some sleep. I’ve got a big SoCal double-header tomorrow with USC at Long Beach State and the second game of the Stanford-Fullerton series on the docket. It's like Christmas Eve, I can't sleep. Well, I’ll try.

G'night

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Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert