Saturday Statements - In the shadow of the world's biggest mall

Okay, it's really late already (damn central time where "late night" comes so early). I probably won't write a lot tonight because I spent a good portion of the evening swilling beers and trading war stories with an old bud of mine. So now it's past midnight already and I've gotta hit the hay soon.

And despite the lack of drama here in Minneapolis - and I mean a reeeeeaaaaal lack of drama (Ohio State scorched the Gophers for a pair of runaway drillings at Siebert Field) - it was still a very intriguing day across the college baseball landscape.

My best friend from when I was a wee one in Omaha, and who is now the head football coach at Minnesota State (http://www.msumavericks.com/bio.php?id=196), hooked up with me after today's double-header at a joint just East of the massively heinous Mall of America, where the old Metropolitan Stadium used to sit. And while I was hanging out with his family, his 6th-grade son Brett - who knows more about college football than Ivan Maisel - gave me his pre-season Top Five for the coming football season:

1- USC
2- Florida
3- Michigan
4- West Virginia
5- LSU
Also Darren McFadden will win the Heisman Trophy, Notre Dame will be terrible, Rutgers is very over-rated and Nick Saban will go 8-4 in his Alabama debut.

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In the meantime, here are a few knee-jerk reactions to today's games in the Stitched-ball nation---

- Best team of the day:
LeMoyne - 4 3
Manhattan - 2 1
The Dolphins pull out two huge wins and now sit just a half-game behind the Jaspers in the MAAC. Pitcher Bobby Blevins went 7.1 innings giving up just five hits and striking out nine to improve to 7-2. Ryan Woods breaks the school saves record with his 23rd. Philip St. Amant finished the two games going 5-for-8 at the dish.


- Best doubleheader:
Miami - 9
Wake Forest - 8 (14inns)
In a game resumed from yesterday (after Wake scored six runs in the 9th to tie it), Jemile Weeks gets the game winning run after starting things with a single.

Miami - 8
Wake Forest - 10
18 runs were scored from the 6th inning on. Wake gets the winning runs on a jog-off two run bomb from Austin Jones in the bottom of the 9th.


- Worst doubleheader:
Ohio State - 8
Minnesota - 1
Normally a reliever, Jake Hale goes the distance with a six-hitter. Eric Fryer goes 3-for-4 with two ribs and Justin Miller goes 3-for-3 with one RBI.

Ohio State - 13
Minnesota - 1
J.B.Shuck goes 6.0 with just three hits allowed to improve to 4-3. Once again, it's Fryer (3-for-5, four RBI) and Miller (3-for-5, one RBI) doling out the most damage. This one really puts a crease in Minnesota's at-large hopes.

(Oh but I also had a very interesting convo with UofM head coach John Anderson this morning, which I will type up in a day or two and try to post soon.)


- Score that jumped off the page:
Gonzaga - 7
Pepperdine - 1
Was anybody listening when I said that Gonzaga was a good team? Now they're 32-21 and 4.5 games ahead of Pepperdine in 2nd place in the WCC. Now... will the WCC get THREE teams in the big dance.


- Biggest Houdini act:
Cal State Fullerton - 3
Wichita State - 1
The Titans are done with their mind games and freak out sessions. Jeff Kaplan, a sometimes-on, sometimes-off hurler clicked into his "on" mode today, going 6.0 innings and surrendering just three hits and one earned run.


- Hanging off a cliff, fingers slipping:
Winthrop - 5
Liberty - 6
For the second day in a row the Eagles fall short by a single run. Today, they let a 4-1 lead in the 8th inning slip by allowing five runs in the last two frames. WU is now tied for 1st in the Big South as Coastal Carolina won at UNC-Asheville 10-2.


- One more win to the Big Dance:
Army - 5
Navy - 3
Nick Hill strikes out 13 Midshipmen in 8.2 innings of work (c'mon coach, let him get the complete game!). Navy's season ends at 35-20. Army moves on to...

Army - 3
Lafayette - 8
The Leos take down Army. Good thing Mike Raible was on his game (he went RBI triple, RBI walk, HBP, 2-RBI HR in his first four at-bats) because they committed six errors on the day. Two games to win one tomorrow for Lafayette.


- Most painful loss:
UCLA - 4
Arizona State - 5
Welcome to college baseball Charles Brewer. The much-anticipated debut of one of the best Freshman pitchers in the sport. But he gives up an RBI single on his 5th college pitch to tie the game. Then, three batters later, he gives up the game-winning RBI single. ASU moves into 1st place in the Pac 10 at 13-4. UCLA drops to 12-5.


- Second most painful loss:
Long Beach State - 10
UC Santa Barbara - 8
The Beach scores six runs in the 9th, punctuated by SS Danny Espinosa's three-run homer to pull out an unlikely win at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Last week Coach Mike Weathers talked about how Espinosa and Robert Perry were solidifying the middle of the lineup. Those two combined to go 7-for-10 with six RBI and two home runs. Mission accomplished.


- Most painful doubleheader loss:
Quinnipiac - 6
Mount St. Mary's - 5 (10inns)
The Bobcats rally from a 5-0 deficit to win it in extras.

Quinnipiac - 3
Mount St. Mary's - 2
QU now moves into 1st place in the NEC by one game at 17-6. That's three straight wins for the Bobcats in this 1-versus-2 showdown.


- The party's over?:
Florida - 8
LSU - 4
For the second straight day, Gator bats put a crimp in Tigers' post-season plans. In the two games so far, UofF hitters are 34-for-48 for a .386 average. And Matt LaPorta is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch, going 4-for-7 with two home runs, six RBI and three walks in the two games. Mercy.


- Revenge win:
Clemson - 7
Florida State - 6
The Seminoles obliterated the Tigers on Friday by an 11-1 count. But CU reliever Alan Farina, who, according to the CU website, grew up an FSU fan in Chuluota, Florida, pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless relief to lock down the potent 'Nole bats.


- Revenge win II:
Arkansas - 12
Alabama - 5
Danny Hamblin is making minced-meat of opposing pitchers. His average isn't anything to howl about (.279) but with two more long-distance calls today, he's raised his home run total to 19 on the season. Dare I say, LaPorta-like.


- Lucky 13 again:
BYU - 7
San Diego State - 3 (13inns)
For the second day in a row the Cougars take down the Aztecs in 13 innings, this time Patrick Wells hits a two-run bomb to help BYU pull out a two-to-one series win and improve to 31-18.


- Best pitching this weekend so far:
Texas A&M - 2
Kansas State - 1
Today, David Newman went 8.0 innings giving up just three hits, K'ing eight. Yesterday it was Kyle Nicholson tossing a complete-game six-hitter. That's nine hits in two days for the homestanding Cats.


- Cold 'cutt:
South Carolina - 3
Tennessee - 4
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Carolina's Harris Honeycutt start his college career with 13 straight wins, or something like that? Today, Honeycutt took loss No. 5 on the season with 6.2 innings of six-hit work. The vaunted 'Cock offense couldn't get its sticks together against Nick Hernandez, Aaron Everett and Jeff Lockwood.


- And then there's this:
the Big East standings:
Rutgers, 18-5 (beat Pitt 5-2)
St. John's, 17-6 (lost to Cincinnati 5-4)
Louisville, 35-16 (beat Notre Dame twice 3-1 and 4-3)

This is turning into a really intriguing title chase. All three teams are within striking distance of an at-large berth with their respective RPI's sitting at Nos. 54, 53 and 42 going into this weekend.


More tomorrow from the last game of the Ohio State-Minnesota series and after my flight back to Los Angeles tomorrow evening.

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