Sunday Summations: The Jackie Robinson Edition

April 15th. To me, it's more about Jackie Robinson. Less about the tax man.

Since this is the 60th anniversary of Mr. Robinson's first Major League game and stadiums everywhere are paying homage to it, I felt it only right to go out on this bright sunny SoCal afternoon and see his alma mater play at USC.

In the grand scheme of things, this game didn't mean a whole lot (my apologies to any coaches or fans that were emotionally involved). I mean, not when compared to the symbolic meaning of a man of color taking a major league field for the first time since the 1890s or anything.

... unless you're a cad like Kenesaw Mountain Landis or something.

So in this age of Don Imus and various other short-sighted dipsticks, it's still good to see that there are days like today that we remember a great person/athlete like Jackie Robinson.


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What I saw at Dedeaux Field today---
UCLA - 000 122 151 - 12 15 2
USC - 211 001 112 - 9 12 1
This completes the three-game sweep of the rival Trojans this weekend for UCLA. Things didn't look very good early on, as the Bruins fell behind 4-zip after three innings. After going nine-up, nine-down, UCLA never had another empty frame the whole game long.

The top four in the lineup went 8-for-19, scoring seven runs and knocking in nine runs. The biggest blast of the day came from clean-up man Cody Decker, who sent a screamer over the center field fence for a four-run grand slam in the top of the 8th inning, all but ending things today.

Other than Decker's 4-run bomb, the biggest cheer from the UCLA contingent was hearing that Stanford had beaten Arizona, 6-3, up in Palo Alto. Coupled with the Bruin win today that puts UCLA in a first place tie with the Cats at 8-1 in the Pac 10.

But before we get too geeked for the Bruins, let's realize that their schedule still has Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State left for them to play. So far, UCLA has built its 8-1 mark against Stanford, Washington and the Trojans. Not exactly the top of the Pac. But at least the Bruins are winning the ones their supposed to win. Can't hassle that.


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The difference in having Jermaine Curtis in the lineup---
Before Curtis: 10 wins-14 losses
With Curtis; 8 wins-2 losses.
As Coach John Savage alluded to on TV yesterday, the biggest key to the Bruins good showing in the Pac 10 so far has been the infectious addition of Jermaine Curtis in the starting lineup after having to sit out the winter quarter academically. Although he's only hitting .262 since his return, his glovework at third base and overall leadership can't be overlooked either.


JermaineCurtis.jpg

Jermaine Curtis has been the key cog in the renewed Bruin machine.


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Speaking of conference leaders with scuffed-up overall marks---
Cal Poly - 12
UC Irvine - 0
I gotta admit, UCI coach Dave Serrano told me after Saturday night's game that he warned his team that they better be ready to get Poly's best shot on Sunday. Guess what guys? NEVER doubt what a coach says. UCI got all it could handle from the Mustangs tonight and it showed on the scoreboard. I got a little lost in the hoopla of Blair Erickson breaking the career saves mark on Saturday night and forgot that this was still a three-game set and nobody should crown UCI as the top of the Big West just yet. So now I'd like to give the Mustangs the props they deserve. This was a huge road-trip for them, winning two of three and maintaining their perch at the top of the Big West at 7-2. Cal Poly slugger Grant Desme ended up going 7-for-8 in the last two games this weekend, while also scoring four runs. Desme hit his 12th home run in today's game. I have to say, he really, really impressed me going up against Wes Etheridge with a lot of success as he did on Saturday night. Despite their 20-18 record, Cal Poly is a legit threat in the Big West.


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Bad Weekends---
Harkening back to the days when I wrote the "Week to Forget" feature on the USAToday website, here are the teams that had the most dispirited weekends in all of college baseball.

- Ohio State (0-4 vs. Michigan)
Maybe the Bucks wish the weather could've been worse. As I stated in my Saturday Statements, this was really a series that OSU needed more than UMich. Now, they're really behind the 8-ball at 18-10 overall and no big RPI wins to point to.

- Florida (0-3 at Arkansas)
The former SEC East leaders got their hats handed to them in Fayetteville, including getting struck out 30 times and giving up 31 runs to the Hogs in the three games.

- Southern Illinois (0-3 vs. Wichita State)
Like Arkansas, the Shockers went crazy at the dish, blasting the Salukis right out of contention in the MVC with a 37-run attack. SIU is now 23-12 and 4-5 in the Valley.

- Middle Tennessee (0-3 vs. New Orleans)
The Raiders entered the weekend right in the thick of the SBC race at 10-5, a game behind UL-Lafayette. But MT pitching was abused to the tune of 36 runs on 45 hits, good for a weekend average of .375 for the Privateers.

- East Tennessee State (0-3 vs. Lipscomb)
Like their in-state brethren at MTSU, the Bucs entered the weekend in second place in the A-Sun. But three bad, non competitive losses (by a combined 29-14) to the Bison will leave a black mark.

- Iowa (0-3 at Minnesota)
It wasn't just a bad weekend for the improved Hawkeyes, it was a bad week as they lost three games by a single run. They were snakebit twice at Minnesota, once letting an 8-3 lead in the 8th slip through their talons.

- UNLV (0-3 vs. TCU)
The Rebels own wins over such luminaries as Pepperdine, Cal State Fullerton, Arizona and Texas Tech. So when it came time for the MWC favorite to come to Sin City, you'd thought this was going to be the Rebel Uprising, right? Nope. 36 runs later, the Frogs routed the Rebs.

- Sam Houston State (0-3 vs. Lamar)
Hosting the leaders of the Southland, SHSU was hoping to parlay its 8-4 league mark into a shot at first place this weekend. Instead, the Bearkats got a pair of frustrating one-run losses. Ouch. This drops The Sam to 8-7 in SLC play, a full five games behind Texas-San Antonio.

- Winthrop (0-3 vs. Northeastern)
This isn't the season the Eagles were planning on having. Especially getting swept by some carpet-bagging team from the Northeast just looking to escape the weather, but instead won a pair of one-run games. This was a bad weekend for Alex Wilson and Co., who fall to 22-18.


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Best series of the weekend---
Hawai'i - 9 5 3
Fresno State - 8 6 4
Three games. Three white-knucklers. The second game came down to a play at the plate, but Rainbow catcher Kevin Fujii dropped the ball on a collision at the dish and Fresno won in the 9th. Game two on Sunday also came down to the bottom of the 9th, with Fresno once again coming out on top. FSU's Todd Sandell, who scored on the collision play in Sunday's first game, also got the game-winning RBI in Sunday's second game to give Fresno the series win. Hawai'i drops to 6-6 in WAC play, but now hosts league-leading Louisiana Tech this coming weekend. Fresno is at 8-4 in WAC play, good for second place.


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Not just revenge, angry revenge---
Auburn - 4
South Carolina - 18
Apparently Carolina REALLY didn't like getting beaten 16-1 on Friday. The Gamecock offense freaked out on that shell-shocked Tiger arm staff, winning Saturday and Sundays games by a combined 28-5. I would go into the offensive stars, but they're too numerous to mention here. Just know that when the 'Cocks bear down, they can hit with anyone. If you don't believe me, ask the Plainsmen.


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Rice wins the Silver Glove series---
Rice - 11
Houston - 6
After a great pitching performance by Houston's Aaron Brown on Friday night, Rice recovered nicely to pull out a pair of wins over their cross-town rivals 12-0 and 11-6. With the wins, the Owls still have the keys to the C-USA kingdom, with a 10-2 mark. They also carry a 28-10 record into their Tuesday night CSTV game vs. Texas. Houston falls down to fourth place at 6-3 and 19-16 overall.


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Why I like the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference---
All five games that were supposed to be played today were postponed due to the continuing bad weather. But unlike most conferences, the MAAC teams won't hit the bricks and call it a series. No, these guys stick around and make the game up on Monday. So hopefully the weather will cooperate this time.


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One more thing in a Rush---
Bravely, I used to sneak into my older brother's room when he wasn't home and listen to his Rush albums and tapes without him knowing it. (Considering the risk of getting my ass kicked, I'd say it was very risky). So, since I foolishly had never seen the band live before, I decided to call Ticketmaster today to get ducs to their July 25th show at the Hollywood Bowl. So I called, went through a myriad of primers before I got to the buying part. But after trying to get the $175 seats, the $125 seats, the $85 seats, I relented and pressed the "best available" button on my phone's keypad. Then I got this accu-voice response, "We have found seats for your price range. They are in row one thousand, two hundred and sixty five, seats one and two. If you want to purchase these seats, press one..." CLICK!


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Okay, enough of my power-trio depression from the nose-bleed section. I don't wanna see those damn grandpa's anyway, right? (sigh)

See you tomorrow for the Teams of the Week.

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