Saturday Statements, From Arizona to Fullerton

Woke up in Surprise, Arizona. Went on another early morning desert hike. Then, after getting back in the truck, I looked at my dog's face and realized she really wanted to get home. So I drove back to Los Angeles today. But all was not lost, because I made my way out to Fullerton for game two of the Cal State Fullerton-Arizona game tonight.

Before I get to that game and the rest of the college baseball world, a few quick notes about the road I travelled the last few days.

1- Does anyone know the story behind that abandoned horse track-looking grandstand that sits on the western outskirts of Phoenix? It looks like something out of Damnation Alley or something. Huge, monolithic and many years from its last use, I'd bet. Let me know if you do.

2- Here is a quick rundown of the ugliest (relatively) new cars I saw on the road between here and Phoenix:
- The Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV.
Looks like a less-expensive attempt at a Hummer, but who decided that a white rooftop (like the Mini Cooper's) was a good idea?
- The new version of the Ford Thunderbird.
The once-proud full-sized muscle car with all that history has been cursed with a mini-sports car afterlife. Hang your head in shame Ford.
- The Pontiac Aztek.
Why is it that any attempt that Pontiac makes to be cool always blows up in its face?
- The Chrysler PT Cruiser.
The hokey, retro outer shell is merely a gimmick to shroud another crappy Chrysler product. Repeat after me, "tin-can."
- The Scion box-car looking thing.
I know, all you guys with your hats cocked sideways and the crotch of your jeans hanging to your knees, I don't have enough cred to like this car. But just like your clothes, you'll look back on this car 5-to-10 years from now and say, "What was I thinking?"

That's why the best advice my father ever gave me was to be a salt-of-the-Earth jeans and a tee-type of guy and you'll never have style regret. Now as for my haircut? That's another story.

What I saw tonight at Goodwin Field---
Arizona - 0
Cal State Fullerton - 9
Saturday starter Jeff Kaplan looked good last week at UNLV. But this time he was great, throwing a complete-game, 6-hitter. This marked the first time in 82 games that Arizona has gone scoreless. Fullerton got 2-hit, 2RBI performances from No. 1 hitter Joe Scott and No. 9 hitter Clark Hardman, making for a good back-to-back combo. This marked the Wildcats first loss of the season after nine straight wins.

I was really looking forward to seeing two things tonight, the Arizona offense and starter Brad Mills. Unfortunately, neither really showed up, as Kaplan handcuffed the Cat bats from the get-go. Then Mills only lasted 2.1 innings, giving up six hits and eight runs (five earned). The rubber match is tomorrow at Goodwin Field

Oh, and I got to meet CSTV blogger Lara Boyko. She's a renaissance woman who has a lot of irons in the fire: freelance writer, college volleyball and basketball guru and real estate agent. You go girl.


Now some notes from around the country:

Best attendance award:
The Oregon State-Arizona State number of 5,582 at Surprise Stadium was the biggest crowd to watch a game in Coca-Cola Classic history. I also loved the announced crowd of 4,427 at Saturday's Miami-Florida matchup at McKethan Stadium. Nice work people.


The best weekend, so far---
Florida.
The Gators take down the Miami Hurricane's for the second day in a row, thanks to a 5-run 4th inning. But keep in mind this is a series between the two biggest Jekyl & Hyde teams in the country (remember, Miami was swept by Mercer and UofF was beaten twice by somebody called VMI), so who knows what these two wins mean for Florida.


Best series of the weekend, so far---
Evansville at Mississippi.
EU exacted some revenge on the Rebs with Saturday's 2-1 win. Ole Miss just couldn't get that key hit when it needed it, stranding 11 baserunners, despite nine hits on the day. Lance Lynn kept UM in it by going 6.0 innings and striking out nine. Ole Miss won Friday's lidlifter 6-4. Game three should be a beauty.

Not just revenge, but angry revenge---
Long Beach State - 2
Rice - 11
The Saturday blues continue for The Beach as they go through seven pitchers but never found the right answer. Aaron Luna and Diego Seastrunk (the best name in college baseball since Jericho Jones) both hit bases-loaded triples to blow the game open in the 7th and 8th innings.

Illinois-Chicago - 11
Georgia Tech - 4
Flames return the favor to Tech by hanging 11 on them (GT won 11-2 on Friday) today, nine of them coming in an unravelling top of the 9th inning. And get this, all nine runs scored after there were two outs. Talk about a meltdown.

Virginia Commonwealth - 13
San Diego - 20
Lots of offensive stars in a rather offensive game, wouldn't you say? But the hidden stat of the day has to be USD starter Matt Couch (now 2-0) going 7.0 innings, giving up just six hits and three runs, while striking out nine Ram batters. It was relievers Stephen Streich and Scott Denault who gave up the 10 runs in the 8th and 9th innings.


Hot bats, gone cold, Day 2---
Oregon State - 12
Arizona State - 4
For the second day in a row the Devil bats are sent to Hell. This time Joe Paterson went 6.2 innings giving up four hits and reliever Eddie Kunz gives up only one hit in the remaining 2.1. OSU atones for its loss to Gonzaga last night to improve to 8-1. ASU is 6-3.


Do these count as no-hitters?---
IPFW - 1
Wofford - 5 (7inns.)
As game two of a double-header, Ben Austin and Lance Player (Sounds like a disco name. No, a poker player name) combined on the 7-inning gem. The Mastadons (great freakin' nickname) scored their run in the first inning on a leadoff walk by Quinten Brown, who was then bunted over, sac fly'd over and scored after a pair of errors.

Coppin State - 0
Appalachian State - 23 (5inns.)
Also in game two of a double-header, three Mountaineers combined on this one. Frosh starter Matt Andress retired all nine batters he faced, striking out three. I think this one was called after four and a half innings, just out of mercy.


A slew of two-hitters nationwide---
George Mason - 5
Clemson - 1
After giving up 14 runs on 20 hits yesterday, three Patriot pitchers combine to hold the potent Tiger bats to two measly hits. Starter Mike Modica went 6.0 innings, giving up just one hit.

Texas State - 2
Notre Dame - 1
Irish bats collect just two hits off of three TSU pitchers. This shouldn't be a big surprise considering the Bobcats held then-No. 1 Rice to five hits a week and a half ago and this was only ND's third game of the year. Hell, they're probably just thanking their stars that they got out of that horrible winter weather back home.

Old Dominion - 0
Coastal Carolina - 7
CCU starter Bobby Gagg gagged the Monarchs for 8.0 innings giving up just a one-out single in the 2nd inning. The Chanticleers actually had only two earned runs on the day as ODU helped out their cause with four errors.

Liberty - 2
The Citadel - 1
The Flames had Dustin Umberger go 7.0 innings and give up both hits and Ryan Page finish things up. To be fair Matt Crim and Raymond Copenhaver combined for a four-hitter for the Bulldogs. In case you're wondering, the six-hit affair lasted all of 1-hour and 58 minutes. Get your concessions early.


Somebody tell the offense that the season has started---
LSU - 1
Stetson - 14
With an un-Tigerlike .200 team average coming into the weekend, the Tigers are currently 7-for-65 in the two games in DeLand, being outscored 22-2 so far.


Okay Mercer, quit living off that first weekend---
Mercer - 11
South Alabama - 13
The Bears are now 1-5 since the sweep of Miami. USA's 6-run 6th inning blew apart a tie-game. The Jags are now 2-0. That's only 11 wins short of the basketball teams' current 13-game win streak.


Toughest day of anyone in college baseball---
Dallas Baptist - 10
St. John's - 9 (14inns.)

St. John's - 6
Texas Tech - 10
The Johnnies had a hell of a first day. Or rather, a hell of a LONG first day. A 14-inning marathon heartbreaker that lasted four hours, 21 minutes was followed by an 8th-inning implosion to the Red Raiders that broke up a hard-fought tie-game. Don't worry Red Stormers out there, the season is only one day old. There will be better days than this... we hope.


Okay, that's enough for now. It's getting late. I'll be at the Wichita State-Pepperdine game tomorrow. It's WSU's last chance for a win before heading off to the islands for a week. Can't wait to take in that awesome Eddy D. Field Stadium view. Yes!

G'night.

Comments

Eric,

The Aztek, and those who willingly purchased them, should be sacrificed.

Just as ugly, Cal Poly started 0-5. However, they lost to some good teams and now have rebounded to go 7-6 by beating some good teams. You should add SLO to your roadie schedule 3/24-3/26 when Oregon State comes to town.

Thanks Lee. And I'll say "yes" on two counts here, 1- The Aztek owners SHOULD be sacraficed and 2- I might just make it up there to San Luis Obispo for the OSU series. But I may also be covering the basketball regionals in San Jose that weekend, so we'll have to see. And thanks for reading, of course.

E.

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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