CWS: Day four wrap... the Razing of Rosenblatt. Done deal?

Okay, for starters. Here's the deal... the latest I had heard tonight was that Rosenblatt is DEFINITELY going to be razed and the Henry Doorly Zoo peeps are going to build a panda exhibit where the the skeleton of Rosenblatt will soon haunt. So that new stadium downtown is (apparently) a done deal. Get your last looks at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium while you're here this week. It's not long for this world.

That's the word I got late tonight while sharing beers with friends after this marathon day of college baseball. (Thank you 13th street beer garden).

And I suppose the loudest applause I'm hearing is coming from Creighton University, who will get a beauty of a brand new stadium to be the cornerstone for their program. Coach Servais, don't go taking another job anywhere. You're about to get a major boost to your program.

On to today's games at lame duck Rosenblatt Stadium.


GAME ONE.
Cal State Fullerton - .010.020.100.000.0- 4 11 0
UC Irvine - .000.102.100.000.1- 5 15 6

WP: Dylan Axelrod, 6-4
LP: Bryan Harris, 2-3

Top Hitters-
Nick Mahin, 2-for-6, HR
Matt Wallach, 2-for-4, HR, intBB

UCI-
Taylor Holiday, 2-for-4, HR, 2rbi, 3HBPs
Cody Cipriano, 2-for-6, HR
Matt Morris, 4-for-7
Bryan Petersen, 3-for-6, 2B

Game Time: 5:40 (CWS record)_
Attendance: 16,451 (2,000 of which remained to the end)

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In A Nutshell---
Despite six errors, six walks, left 16 men on base and got a guy thrown out at home in the 13th, the Anteaters... can't believe I'm writing this... won the game.

It was all about tenacity and stick-to-itiveness and not freaking out for the Anteaters. They kept things neck-and-neck with their big brothers in the Big West and finally broke through in the 13th with a run off the bat of Bryan Petersen, the hero of last week's Super Regional clinching win over Wichita State.

Even though the game was the longest contest in CWS history, the crowd was into it, the teams were amped and the coaches were strategizing all the way 'til the final cleat hit the hard rubber of home plate. Great, great game. And incredible drama.

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Key Moment---
Overcoming adversity.
Bryan Petersen does it again. For the second weekend in a row, the Junior slugger provided the game-winning hit in jog-off fashion (I don't believe in the phrase "walk off"... guys jog on hits like this). Last week, in the gut-wrenching win over Wichita State, the Anteaters saw a bad over-rule by an umpire allow the Shockers to tie things up in the 9th inning. Without losing their heads, Peterson came on and hit an RBI double to the wall to send UCI to Omaha. Today, the 'Eaters saw Taylor Holiday get thrown out at home on a perfect strike from Titan left fielder Josh Fellhauer, seemingly taking the wind out of the sails of UCI. But two pitches later, Peterson calmly sliced a single to center field, allowing Cody Cipriano to score from third.

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Crying in baseball---
Coach George Horton, understandably, was choked up when he talked about coaching against his former assistant Dave Serrano. When asked about what he said to Serrano after the game, "I told him I'd never talk to him again (laughs). No, I told him I loved him... and uh... he told me he loved me... I told him I hope he wins the tournament... Dave apologized. He knows how I am feeling right now. They didn't apologize necessarily for beating us, more about me being thrown out of the game. That is where the sorrow was." (the parts with the elipses is where he got a little choked up and took his time with the answer)

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Given the boot---
What Horton was referring to above was the fact that he was given the heave-ho by home plate ump David Buck in the 13th, for arguing that Holiday had indeed stuck his arm out in order to gather his third beaning of the night. Catcher John Curtis was also close to getting yanked for giving Buck hell over the call as well.


HortonTossed.jpg
(1st base ump David Rogers makes sure Horton heads to the showers)

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Gold Gloves---
There were many defensive gems throughout the game, but Titan CF Clark Hardman made a remarkable diving stab of Sean Madigan's line drive that was headed to the gap with two men on, helping them keep their 3-1 lead.

But the biggest defensive play of the night came on the aforementioned laser from Titan left fielder Josh Fellhauer that caught Tyler "Bean me-bean me" Holiday out at the plate in the 13th inning. It took a near-strike from there to catch the speedy Anteater leadoff man, and that's exactly what he served up. And huge props to Catcher John Curtis, who laid down the perfect block of the plate. Wicked, wicked play all the way around.

I loved the way Titan 1B Matt Wallach put it, "The game was lying in Josh's hands and he made a great throw. My heart throbs right now when you realize you are not going to be playing with some of these guys again." Well put. Nice choice of words too.

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The last time...
- a CWS game went 13 innings was last year when North Carolina beat Fullerton 7-5.
- a CWS game went longer than 13 innings was the 14-inning donnybrook that Arkansas played South Carolina in 1985 (hint: neither team was a member of the SEC, in case that was the first thing that came to your mind). The Hogs won 1-0.
- a home team won an extra inning game in its last at-bat was Arizona State's incredible 8-7 win over Nebraska in 11 innings. THAT was one of the best CWS games I'd ever seen. And talk about an incredible atmosphere?... whew.
- a CWS game had eight hit batters was when Arkansas and Texas had fun plunking each other on June 18, 1984.
- two teams from the same county played each other in the CWS was... never. Stanford and San Jose State each made the field of eight in 2000, but didn't face off.

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The worst swing ever---
UCI's Cody Cipriano had the biggest at-bat of the day to open the 7th inning. He forced a 13-pitch at bat in which he eventually blasted a home run shot to right field to tie the game at four again. When asked by Mark Etheridge in the post-game about the marathon match-up, Cipriano said, "Well in my previous at-bat, I took probably the worst swing of my life." Coach Serrano later agreed.

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Best statement in the press conference---
I know a 5 hour, 40 minute game doesn't sound very appealing, but I think Coach Horton got this part right, "I know it was a marathon game and sort of painful. But for those who are purists of the game, it was great baseball." It's true, these two teams played an exciting game that came down to whoever blinked last. Nice.

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No "prediction" by Coach Horton---
Unlike last year's "see you guys back here next year," ole George didn't show his hand this time. When the press conference ended, Coach just said, "Thanks everybody, hope to see you again soon."

GAME TWO.
Arizona State - .010.000.401 - 6 7 2
Oregon State - .241.113.00x - 12 18 0
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WP: Mike Stutes, 11-4
LP: Brian Flores, 11-2

Top Hitters-
ASU-
None really. This was a clamp-down.
OSU-
Mike Lissman, 3-for-4, HR, 4rbi
Joey Wong, 3-for-5, 2rbi
Chris Hopkins, 3-for-6

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Game Time: 3:34 (yeah... it couldn't be a short game now could it?)
Attendance: 21,692

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In A Nutshell---
This one was ugly from the word go.
Who was wearing Oregon State's uniforms man? This didn't look anything like the team I saw take on Arizona State up in Corvallis a few weeks ago. After the first two innings, OSU had already scored more runs (6) than they had scored in that three game set in mid-May (4). A pair of runs in the first off RBI singles from Mike Lissman and Jason Ogata got things cookin' for the Beavers. Then in the 2nd, OSU put up four runs up in the frame to dart out to a 6-0 lead and the Beavers wouldn't look back again.

And how about this... ASU was held to seven (7) hits in all. Two of which came in the meaningless 9th inning. You kiddin' me?!

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Key Moment---
OSU's clean-up man Mike Lissman made sure this game became a no-doubter in the 2nd inning when he blasted a three-run bomb, further ensuring that this would be a different game compared to the three games they dropped to the Devils four weeks ago. And talk about dominating, it took until the 7th inning before the Beavers finally failed to score in an inning. Dam, Beavers!

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Blame the NCAA---
In the post-game press conference, Pat Murphy of Arizona State was quick to put the blame for their "worst six innings of baseball this year" to the NCAA's hastily rushing them into a game they weren't ready to play. Murph said that they were "only" given 50 minutes to prepare for the game because the first game went so long. He also said, "this should be a memo to the NCAA. We shouldn't be forced to play under these conditions. We can't be rushed into playing games and being given 50 minutes notice. We took batting practice at five and had to wait until almost eight to play. That's not right."

As a caveat to that statement, Oregon State was left in the same situation... and played just fine, by the by.

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Even Eric Sogard joined in---
The ASU second baseman said, "We were all sitting under a tree waiting for that first game to end. We just weren't there mentally. We only had about 20 minutes to get ready."

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Then came Darwin Barney up on the podium---
Here's what he said about the wait for game one to end. "We were sitting around at first. Some of us went and sat around the stadium. Then I started playing ping-pong with a ball of tape with Mitch Canham." Hmmm, sounds like it worked for them.

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And lastly, what about sportsmanship?---
I was in the press box shooting another nightly video wrap-up with Carter Blackburn so I didn't see it. But a bunch of my friends at the stadium noticed that Arizona State didn't shake hands with the Oregon State players after the game. They said OSU even stood there in a line ready to shake hands, but the Devils just walked out to right field instead.


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NOTES.
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Did you see all the damn moths that were flying around Rosenblatt late tonight? Even on the telecast you could see the obtrusive little bastards flying all over the place. I kept waiting for the ball to come back with windshield-like splatter marks all over it.

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The stadium p.a. played Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" and The Doors' "Don't you love her madly?" in-between innings today. Nice digging for unexpected cuts people.

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Concerning that whole new stadium/razing Rosenblatt thing... Play-by-play announcer Mike Patrick of ESPN said during tonight's game, "The thinking is that the beauty of the College World Series is the event itself, NOT the stadium." That sounds like a door-slammer on Rosenblatt right there. That's more of an indictment than another legal finger pointed at Pacman Jones.

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I just saw a trailer for the movie "Live Free or Die Hard"---
Hmmm, I wonder how it will end? Do you think Bruce Willis will survive for another Die Hard edition? Duh.

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For a closing visual to this edition, here's a picture I took after walking out of the stadium tonight of the ESPN set-up from Omaha and the anchors from their coverage---

EA&Oral.jpg
(Erin Andrews and Oral.............................. uh, Hershiser, that is.)

Comments

I just hope the new downtown stadium can also be called Rosenblatt Stadium. Odds are they will sell off naming rights, but playing the CWS at Nextel Field, State Farm Stadium or anything other corporate named stadium would be a shame.

Three things of note:

1) Amen on Coach Servais...those who didn't see Creighton this year need to watch his team next year. This guy is the real deal.

2) Noticed no coaching hire in Knoxville? Dave Serrano was a pitching coach at Tennessee, so I'm betting UT puts in a call to Irvine come Thursday morning.

3) Erin Andrews...well, the picture really says it all.

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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