CWS: Day five wrap- UCI will send us all to the ICU

Let's start with this, elimination games are hell. And today we saw two hell-of-a-game type of games. Both taking on vastly different styles.

UNC (and the wind) smothered the potent Louisville offense and advanced to play Rice by relying on wicked pitching and solid defense.

UCI left all our nerves looking like 50-year old rope by making one of the most-exciting comebacks in years as they overcame a vastly talented Arizona State team.


UCIcelebrates.jpg
(Ollie Linton gets mobbed after he hit the game-winning single to beat ASU)


Someone give me some oxygen as we roll toward Wednesday with more team's seasons on the line.

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GAME ONE.
North Carolina- 030.000.000- 3 3 0
Louisville- 100.000.000- 1 3 1

WP: Luke Putkonen, 8-1
LP: Colby Wark, 3-4
Save: Andrew Carignan (17)

Top Hitters:
UNC-
Josh Horton
Kyle Seager
Seth Williams
UofL-
Logan Johnson
Pete Rodriguez
Chris Cates
(All six hitters above are listed because they are the only ones who had hits in the game)

Game Time: 2:38
Attendance: approx. 17,000 (today's games are part of a double-header)

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In A Nutshell---
Carolina got a meager amount of hits and a massive amount of pitching to eliminate Louisville in Game 9. I can pretty much tell you all you need to know about this game by telling you that in the 2nd inning, with two outs, Seth Williams' RBI single put their first score on the board. Then, Cardinal 3B Chris Dominguez threw what would've been the third out of the inning down the right field line, allowing Williams and Kyle Seager to score and put UNC up by a 3-1 count. That's exactly how things would end as it was a pitcher's duel the rest of the way.

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Key Moment---
The Ks.
Isaiah Howes, who came in as a .396 hitter, struck out four times on the day, the last of which came in the 8th inning with two men on base. Also, big-swinging Chris Dominguez was K'd twice and never factored into the game, going 0-for-4. Both those Cardinal lumberjacks were difference-makers that couldn't get out of a rut today.

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Most under-stated facet of today's game---
The wind.
Unlike yesterday's conditions, today's game found winds blowing in from the North and squashing everything hit up into the air. This hurt UofL's usual M.O. of horsehide obliteration. Although Logan Johnson was able to find the seats with a 1st inning home run, it was a low line-drive shot that barely got above the height of a basketball backboard. Coach McDonnell said, "It was a tough day for the hitters. With the wind blowing in, some hard hit balls didn't even make it to the warning track."

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Second under-stated facet of today's game---
UNC kept Boomer Whiting and Daniel Burton off the base-paths, for the most part. Both speedsters went 0-for on the day and each had a walk to his credit. But in both cases, the next batter was struck out to end the inning.

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3 hits?---
Yes, the Heels managed to win the game by gathering only three hits on the day. Mike Fox would address that afterward. "Well pitching and defense are the name of the game and thankfully we got that today. It's not often you get just three hits and win the game. So I'm glad Luke (Putknon, the starter), Rob (Wooten, the set-up man) and Andrew (Carignan, the stud closer) pitched so well.

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Say goodbye to---
Louisville.
As coach Dan McDonnell stated in the post-game interview, "These guys on this team will go down as the greatest team in Louisville history. These 10 seniors put this sport on the map at our school." 'Nuf said coach. It's true. This is easily one of the top three success stories in college baseball this year. The Cards got an infusion of attitude with their new coach and also took on an attacking style of play that was a blast to watch and made waves across the country. The Cards had Chris Dominguez (15), Isaiah Howes (18) and Logan Johnson (17) swinging for the fences and Boomer Whiting (73) stealing every base that wasn't locked down. Their pitching staff was one of the best in the country with a 3.02 ERA entering Omaha. Despite losing two of three to both Big East bullies St. John's and Rutgers, the UofL got a great draw in the post-season and made the most of it. What a season this was for them. Way to go Cards.


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GAME TWO.
Arizona State- 000.011.230.0 - 7 10
UC Irvine- 000.111.040.1 - 8 13 0

WP: Scott Gorgen, 13-3
LP: Mike Leake, 13-2

Top Hitters-
ASU-
Petey Paramore, 3-for-3, HR, two doubles, walk
Eric Sogard, 2-for-5, 2rbi
Ryan Sontag, 1-for-1, 2rbi double
Andrew Romine, 3-for-5
UCI-
Matt Morris, 2-for-5, double, 2rbi
Bryan Peterson, 3-for-3
Taylor Holiday, 2-for-4
Ollie Linton, 1-for-4, game-winning rbi

Game Time: 3:50
Attendance: 29,034 (The second largest CWS crowd ever. But don't be too impressed, it's a combination of the two games into one session today)

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In A Nutshell---
The Anteaters decided they wanted to make this another white-knuckle, pressure-cooker and I'll be damned if they didn't do it once again. This team just can't make anything boring. Everything has to be a freakin' panic. It must be a rule!

So the Anteaters found their long snoots in a real pickle after ASU scored three runs in the top of the 8th. But UCI rallied from a 7-3 deficit in the 8th inning and pulled out another unlikely win out of their hats. They started the inning with a trio of walks, then a hit batsman (try to act surprised), a Cipriano RBI single and a Morris two-rib double that tied things up. Eventually, with the crowd chanting his name, Ollie Linton sliced the game-winner into right field in the 10th, giving the Anteater fans - and the Omahans that have decided to adopt them as their team - a reason to go nuts once again.

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Key Moment---
When Greg Bergeron, the UCI 3rd base coach, held up Cody Cipriano from scoring and subsequently got him called out because of coach interference. Had Bergeron let the quick Cip go, he scores easy and UCI wins 8-7. Instead we got an extra few innings and a lot of questions for coach Bergeron. It also gave Arizona State new life, which almost transfered into an ASU win since for the second time in the game they got a runner to third with one out, but alas didn't deliver.

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Ollie! Ollie! Ollie!
Just like in yesterday's tense game with Fullerton, Ollie Linton was getting his name chanted by, not only UCI fans, but fans in the opposite side of the stands and in the outfield bleachers too. Is it campy for me to say I haven't heard that many people chanting that name since a guy named Muhammad was boxing?

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Gotta change something in the rule---
The teams here this week have now already tied the record for hit batsmen in the CWS with 37. UCI also tied the HBP's for a single team in the series at 11.

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Extra inning warriors---
UCI became the first team in CWS history to win back-to-back extra inning games. Including yesterday's marathon 13-inning win over Cal State Fullerton, UCI has rebounded nicely from a tight one-run loss to ASU on Saturday. With the last two wins, the Anteaters have also vanquished Texas, Wichita State, Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State in this post-season. Could the defending national champs be next? In the words of Dick Vitale, stay tuned baby!

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Did you read Cipriano's lips too?---
After getting the stop sign at third on Matt Morris' double to the wall, Cipriano reached out to touch his third base coach Greg Bergeron, automatically causing him to be out. He would've scored easily had he been waved in, but couldn't stop in his tracks, so he got punched out by his Bergeron's lack of trust. As he was walking toward the dugout, you could see him saying, "Why did he make me stop?"

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Sometimes the CWS can be cruel---
Ask Brett Wallace.
The Arizona State All American slugger became another in a long line of top talents that struggled in Omaha. Wallace went 0-for-12 in their three games and the most surprising fact was that he never really peppered the ball at all. Mostly just weak grounders and strikeouts. But he's only a Sophomore, and stands a good chance to return to The O next year. Which reminds me...

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Ready for Arizona State as pre-season No. 1?---
There is so much talent on this ASU team, it boggles the mind. Wallace, Ike Davis, Petey Paramore, Matt Hall, Kiel Roling and Jared Bogany are all sophomores. Plus on the mound, Mike Leake is just a frosh and Brian Flores and Josh Satow are both juniors that look likely to return. This team will be stacked.

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NOTES.

- Best uniforms ever.
As you saw, ASU went retro with some 80s throwbacks that you see in the pictures of their media guide. I loved them. Especially the extra long stirrup socks, the lightning yellow hats and (as I usually do) I loved the white shoes. Only bummer about the unis? They remind me of the days when rail-thin Barry Bonds played in Tempe. And I hate Barry Bonds.


ASUunis.jpg
(the 80s throwback unis were a beauty, if not a novelty. Dig those stirrups)


- I've gotten more confirmation on the fact that Rosenblatt is certain to be demolished in lieu of a new panda exhibit for Henry Doorly Zoo. Glenn Tanner knows one of the higher ups at the Zoo and she has said that the new panda exhibit will rake in millions for the zoo and is the logical expansion for the zoos every-increasing needs (a freeway and a river block the current expansion).

- Bogany blues.
ASU's Jared Bogany, an LSU transfer, was listed as a starter in yesterday's game with Oregon State and played the bottom of the 1st inning in center field. But before he could bat in the 2nd, he was pulled for Tim Smith. Tonight, he was in the batter's box 10th inning when Coach Murphy pulled him to bat Raoul Torrez instead. Torrez ended up grounding into a fielder's choice at short. Bogany did play an inning in center field in the first game vs. UCI, but never batted.

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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