Friday First Takes

Spent the evening out at Goodwin Field in Fullerton watching the Titans take on UCLA in a great college baseball game, but also got the chance to take in a game with one of the better ambassadors of college baseball, one Kendall Rogers, who was in town from Nashville to check out some of the games in SoCal this weekend.

Or maybe I should say, to check out just about the only area of the country that has something remotely interesting in non-conference games in February.

For more on the day nationally, read on...

To try to help Kendall enjoy his time here I offered to take him to get a surf lesson, or a military workout at muscle beach or to play some hoops at the basketball area in Venice Beach where they filmed "White Men Can't Jump" or even a trip out to Hugh Hef's joint. To no avail. So instead I gave him the tilted-head, raised-eyebrow look as if to ask him if he's feeling alright.

But I understand. He's like me this time of year, baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball. I can dig it man. (Okay, and some college basketball and college hockey too.)

Here's to a good weekend of it.

What I saw at Goodwin Field tonight---
UCLA - 6
Cal State Fullerton - 2
The Bruins played confident, loose, relaxed and with a lot of energy tonight, pounding out 14 hits and committing no errors. As you might have read on my live blog from the game, Tyson Brummett was a man possessed on the mound for the Bruins. He pitched his second consecutive complete game, striking out 11 Titan batters and giving up just a meager five hits. Brummett is now 3-1 and on my radar for Player of the Year honors. Alden Carrithers, the UC Santa Barbara transfer, got the game-winning hit with an RBI single in the 4th inning, as part of a 2-for-5 day. No. 2 hitter Will Penniall also went 2-for-5, but added a game-high two ribs. In all, four of the first five hitters in the lineup went 2-for-5 on the night.

Who needs to adjust the start date?---
Considering these teams have had zero outdoor practices so far, let's hear it for northern baseball and the Ws they pulled off today.
Miami Univ. - 6
Winthrop - 5
The Hawks merely waited for Alex Wilson to get tired and then pounced for three runs in the 9th inning. DH Dan Leonard smacked a two-run double for the game-winning hit. Don't mean to say I told you so, but I did indicate in Thursday's column that Miami was capable of a W or two here. I just didn't think it'd come on Friday night against Wilson.

Villanova - 6
Alabama - 1
It's not just that the Cats beat Bama in the first game of the series. But it's that they did it against the two best arms on the Crimson Tide roster, Tommy Hunter and Bernard Robert. Matt McFolling was not intimidated, as he hit a two-run home run and another RBI single to outscore UA all by himself.

Kent State - 10
Florida - 4
(Okay, the Flashes have had a handful of games played, but still no outdoor practices) Don't mean to sound like a broken record, but when someone can figure out the Gators, please tell me. After last week's series win over Miami, the Gators are now 0-2 this week, including Tuesday's horrible blowout loss to hated Florida State. UofF also commits six errors in this loss. Ouch!

Pittsburgh - 3
Vanderbilt - 4
The Panthers raced out to a 3-zip lead off of all-world hurler David Price and also had runners in scoring position when the game ended on a pickoff at first base. Still wouldn't have imagined this one to be as close as it was.

Top 30 score that jumped off the page---
TCU - 6
Coastal Carolina - 11
If not for the Frogs scoring four runs in garbage time, this game is way worse than it looks. Jake Arrieta, the TCU ace that got well-deserved recognition in CSTV's Player of the Year poll, got run off the mound after three innings, giving up four runs and five hits to absorb his first loss of the season. CCU's Matt Rademacher earned three RBI off of a double and sac fly. Tommy Baldridge added four RBI as part of a 3-for-5 day. The Chants are now 8-0 heading into tomorrow's game with North Carolina State.

Non-Top 30 score that jumped off the page---
Niagara - 8
VMI - 1
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, this probably isn't a big deal to you guys out there. But to me, the purple boys from Honeymoonland, who have also had no outdoor practices and played a game and a half at East Tennessee State before their games were called by - what else? - snow, beats the team that beat Florida twice. That's huge. A big hollah out to starter Mark Wilson, who went eight innings, striking out 12 Keydets and giving up just three hits.

Mid-major pitcher I'm ready to name to my All-American list---
Rob Musgrave, Wichita State
Last weekend I saw him pitch 7.2 innings of four-hit baseball to potent Pepperdine in Malibu. Tonight, out on the islands, he held Hawaii to just one hit in 7.2 innings to pick up his second win against no losses as part of a 7-1 Shocker win. He took a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the Rainbows before surrendering a single.

Look, if you're a highly ranked team that's going to play tomato cans in the non-conference, win like this---
Illinois State - 1
Arkansas - 12

Not like this---
Wright State - 2
Mississippi - 3

Strangest stat of the day---
Elon - 10
Miami - 7
How in the hell did the Phoenix hold Jemile Weeks and Yonder Alonso to a combined 1-for-10 with zero RBI? Good win for Elon, recalling shades of 2002, where they won 2-of-3 in Coral Gables on the way to an at-large bid come post-season tournament time.

Greenhorn mops up the Green Wave---
Tulane - 5
USC - 8
I can't help but be more and more impressed with Trojan frosh shortstop Grant Green. Once again, he's pulled off the hero trick tonight against Tulane, pulling SC from behind with a single swing - a bases-loaded triple in the 4th inning. The Men of Troy went on to abuse Sean Morgan, lacing him with his first loss of the season. SC's Paul Koss picked up his 5th save of the month as well.

More hero routines---
BYU - 4
Missouri - 1
Stephen Wells led off the top of the 10th inning against a good Missouri team with a towering shot over the right field wall to help give the Coogs a real big win at the Service Academies Classic. Jake Wortham didn't get the win but deserves the lion's share after going nine full innings, giving up just two freakin' hits and striking out seven. Jacob Perez came on to get the win with a one-hit 10th inning. BYU is now 4-3 and Mizzou drops to 5-3.

Oklahoma State - 8
Cal State Northridge - 9
Mats rally for two runs in the bottom of the 9th, with Jorge Andrade getting the game-winning double, plating C.J. Belanger for the come-from-behind W. Coach Steve Rousey has CSUN at 9-6 now, which is a world away from 2005's 18-36 outfit. Nice work coach.

Okay, so Duke is now 8-0, but here's the question---
I understand that the Blue Devils stayed unbeaten with the controversial 4-3 win over Washington today, after Udub catcher Joey Dunn was ruled to be interfering with Duke baserunner Gabriel Saade as he was racing for home plate. That part I get. But the thing I was wondering was, what the hell was Saade thinking by trying to score all the way from 2nd on a routine groundout?

Throwin' doughnuts---
Campbell - 0
Charlotte - 1
The 49ers are becoming shutout machines. Today's 1-zip win marks their fifth shutout in six wins this season. Adam Mills threw a complete game 3-hitter, striking out 13 for his third win this year. Mills has now given up just three earned runs in 29 innings pitched. Aaron Bray scored the lone run after cranking a triple down the right field line and scoring on Alex Burt's single. Charlotte is now 6-2.

Okay, we're off for more great non-conference games here in frigid SoCal tomorrow. Full report tomorrow night, of course. Man I love this stuff.



Pitt-Vandy game:
Vandy thought Pitt was just going to lay down. We didn't win but our pitchers did a great job and they had a few calls go their way or we would have had the "W".
John Nardozzi

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