Friday First Takes - The Friday Heartbreak Edition

I guess you could say that I'm heartbroken over not spending a Friday with college baseball. But to be honest, the first day of the NCAA tournament here in New Orleans was pretty cool. Granted the only game that was worth a damn in the end was the Nevada OT win over Creighton. But I got great inspiration from watching Jackson State's first half performance against the National Champion Florida Gators (as well as the crowd's intensity during the 41-35 game).

And I also thought Purdue's tough-as-hell style of basketball was incredibly impressive in its win over Arizona. I had the Wildcats winning that game in my bracket too.

Now one thing the NCAA tournament is known for is its abundance of upsets. But this year, there haven't really been that many. And taking a quick look at the diamond action today, we see a whole host of near upsets that ended up just being heartbreaking losses. In a word, ouch.

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Inside the Rankings---

No. 15 Ole Miss - 2
No. 1 Vanderbilt - 3 (10inns)
First off, the Rebs let Vandy tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, then Pedro does his usual act. He gets a double in the 10th and is knocked home by Jonathan White.

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Wake Forest - 6
No. 3 Florida State - 7 (11inns)
Thank Allan Dykstra for tying the game with a bomb in the 9th, but Wake couldn't pull the stunner after having the winning run in scoring position in the 10th and 11th. FSU gets the W after Jack Rye's infield single scored the winning run.

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Cal Poly - 8
No. 7 Rice - 9
Owls plate three runs in the bottom of the 9th to deny the Mustangs of their best win of the season. Aaron Luna hit the jog-off double to help Rice improve to 15-7.

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Baylor - 2
No. 10 Texas - 3
Again, it must be some kind of rule that these two play a close, hard-fought game. Only four hits on the night for BU, as it falls to 12-8. UT is 15-7. Series switches to Baylor for the next two days.

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No. 13 Auburn - 3
Georgia - 4
Dogs get game-winning run on a bases-loaded walk. Remember now, UGa hasn't been very impressive and Auburn has built its record on cream puffs. So this is a bad loss for the Plainsmen.

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No. 17 Long Beach State - 2
No. 20 Wichita State - 1
The Dirtbags improve to 12-5 with a win at a very tough venue, Eck Stadium. A Shocker error in the 9th lead to the winning run.

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Michigan State - 4
No. 21 Oklahoma - 3
Frosh Chris Roberts hits the game-winning single down the right field line to improve the Sparty diamonders to 6-6 on the season. OU is still a mystery so far. More later.


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Outside the Rankings---

Rhode Island - 6
California - 7 (11inns)
The Rams force extra innings with a pair of runs. But back-to-back errors blew up in RIU's face in the 11th inning, giving Cal the non-conference win.

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Penn State - 8
Oral Roberts - 11 (10inns)
Poor Nittany Lions are so snake-bitten. A three-run bomb by Jake Kahaulelio keeps them out of the win column, despite some decent performances. PSU is now 2-11. ORU is now 8-8.

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Centenary - 0
Arkansas-Little Rock - 1
David Klumpp goes the distance for the Trojans, giving up just four hits on the day to improve to 2-1. UA-LR is now 8-11. The Gents are just 10-13.

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Iowa - 17
Dallas Baptist - 13 (10inns)
Hawks allow five runs in the final two innings to send it to extras, but then lay the wood to the Patriots, scoring four runs in the top of the 10th. This was part of the annual Pepsi/Johnny Quik Tournament at Fresno State.

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Team of the Day---
Iowa - 10
Fresno State - 8
Jack Dahm's Hawks pick up a pair of decent wins. Nice bravado Hawkeyes. IU is now over the Mendoza Line at 5-4 on the season.

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Best win---
Troy - 12
Florida Atlantic - 6
After recent rough treatment, this is a nice win for the Trojans Sun Belt aspirations. FAU ace Cleeg Snipes only lasted 4.1 innings as Troy hammers out 12 hits to improve to 11-8. The Owls are now 17-5.

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Score that jumped off the page---
Hartford - 8
No. 18 Oklahoma State - 4
This was the Hawks' first win of the season in seven tries. Look people, despite what Kendall Rogers said, Cal State Northridge nearly swept the Pokes, so I haven't been totally impressed with them anyway. Maybe it's time they leave the rankings, until they can win some Big 12 games or something.


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Okay, I've got to go get back into basketball mode here soon. Hope you enjoyed the Friday baseball action. Hope I don't miss too much the rest of the weekend. But you've gotta love New Orleans on St. Patrick's Day weekend.

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