CWS: Day three wrap. Zzzzzzzz!

Okay, I have to admit, today's games were a bummer. I almost fell asleep on two occasions. I had to run across the street to get a couple of RedBulls from the DJ's Dugout (the only beer garden with air conditioning and free peanuts). Louisville and Rice made this day a snoozer from just about the first inning of each game on.

I've gotta say, the highlight of the day had to be Glenn Tanner's tailgate where I pilfered a free beer or two. Or maybe the highlight was doing the post-game wrap-up show for CSTV.com with Carter Blackburn on our nightly post for the dot-com site. He's totally awesome in front of the camera. I just wish I could say the same thing about myself. But I gave it a good effort.

Here's what happened today... just in case you missed it yourself.

Wind.jpg
(Check out that wicked South wind. Now you see why Louisville went all Gorilla Ball this weekend.)

GAME ONE
UofL - .212.300.301- 12 18 1
MSU - .000.003.100- 4 10 1

WP: Justin Marks, 9-2
LP: Chad Crosswhite, 8-5

Top Hitters:
Louisville-
Daniel Burton, 3-for-6, double, HR, 3rbi
Isaiah Howes, 3-for-5, double, HR, 2rbi
Chris Dominguez, 2-for-4, 2HRs, 3rbi
Mississippi State-
Jeffery Rea, 3-for-4
Brandon Turner, 2-for-4, HR, 3rbi

Game Time: 3:18
Attendance: 18,187

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In A Nutshell---
Here's the deal, this Louisville team is on-freakin-fire! Boomer Whiting started the game with a single and Logan Johnson followed that up with a crushing home run over the batter's eye in center field. That pretty much set the tone for the hot-hitting Louisville Cardinals. From there, Daniel Burton added a dinger and strapping Chris Dominguez added two more as the Cards never let State into this game. Freshman All American Justin Marks had an exceptional performance, giving up four hits (though one was a wind-aided pop-up that should've been caught on any normal day and the other was a hard come-backer that hit marks in the leg) in 5.1 innings. After jumping out to an 8-0 lead after four innings, State never got closer than five runs again.

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Key Moment---
The minute we showed up at the park and saw those centerfield flags blowing straight out like crazy.
Players like Logan Johnson and Chris Dominguez had to be licking their chops from the minute they showed up at the park today. And it showed. These guys swung for the fences and made it happen. Even Coach Polk of Mississippi State admitted that the two-run homer that Dominguez hit in the 7th was the dagger in the heart. Or as Polk put it in the post-game press conference, "Man that 3rd baseman was a hoss! We just could NOT strike him out."

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SEC Black Eye---
With MSU going uno-dos-adios, that brings the SEC ignominious mark to 6-of-the-last-9 teams to go 0-2 have been SEC teams.
2003- LSU
2004- LSU and Arkansas
2005- Tennessee
2006- Georgia
2007- Mississippi State

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Bruised but not battered---
Louisville starting pitcher Justin Marks is a touch S.O.B. As you might've seen, he took a wicked line-drive on the leg from the bat of Mitch Moreland in the 6th inning. He was writhing in pain on the ground for a good amount of time too. He got up after a few minutes and actually pitched to a few more batters before being pulled from the game. It was later announced that he suffered only a bruise on the knee and nothing more serious than that. It still looked nasty though.

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Speaking of bruising, the Louisville offense is batting the Omaha area code---
Through two games in the College World Series, the Card bats have banged out 33 hits, seven home runs, seven doubles, seven walks and five hit batsmen. That figures out to a .402 average in two games.

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The Voice of the NCAA---
Ron Polk of Mississippi State.
Even Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said it in the post-game, "We have a lot of respect for Coach Polk and what he's done for college baseball. He's the voice for many of us and we lean on him to speak for us in so many areas of college baseball."

Coach Polk had earlier stated that he' is looking forward to helping his players get started on summer ball and pro ball when he gets back. He also said, "our boys don't go to summer school very often because they can't afford it. Make sure and tell that to the NCAA." After snickers from the press and a short pause, he snapped back again, "I always seem to get my zing in."

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The M*A*S*H* unit in Bolldog uniforms---
All things considered, it's pretty amazing that MSU made it this far in the post-season. According to SEC baseball guru Mark Etheridge, MSU started a first baseman in right field, a second baseman in center and a backup catcher in left. That also goes along with starting three Freshmen in the infield. I'd like to call this the magic that is Ron Polk, because teams just don't make post-season runs like this with that many newbies in the lineup. At least not normally.

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Favorite quote---
Mark Etheridge is truly a college baseball guru, but even he couldn't resist picking MSU 12th in the SEC in the pre-season. When he was asked by a Mississippi State beat writer, "So now that they've made it to Omaha, why did you pick them 12th in the pre-season?" Mark answered with, "Because there were only 12 teams in the SEC."

I agree with Mark, you can't say that the Dogs had high expectations coming into the season. But again, the job that Ron Polk did this season was pretty incredible. And Mark also reminded earlier today that the State fans wanted Polk fired after last season after ONLY going 37-23 and finishing the season in another Regional title round.

Are you listening Tennessee and Florida?

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GAME TWO
Rice - .061.220.102- 14 14 0
UNC- .011.020.000- 4 8 1

WP: Joe Savery, 11-1
LP: Alex White, 6-6
Save: Cole St. Clair, 9 saves

Game Time:
Attendance: 22,602

Top Hitters:
Rice-
Diego Seastrunk, 3-for-5, 2rbi
Tyler Henley, 2-for-3, 1rbi
Aaron Luna, 1-for-4, HR, 2rbi
North Carolina-
Josh Horton, 2-for-4, triple, 1rbi
Reid Fronk, 2-for-3

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In A Nutshell---
Unlike Entourage, there was no drama in this one. Rice jumped all over Frosh Alex White with six runs in the second inning. Leadoff hitter Brian Friday and Jess Beunger keyed the rally with a pair of two-run doubles. In all, the Owls knocked out six hits, walked one, balked in a run and demoralized the Heels in one fell swoop.

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Key Moment---
Both coaches alluded in the post-conference to J.P. Padron's 13-pitch at-bat in that huge 2nd inning avalanche. After fouling off pitch after pitch, Padron ended up inducing a walk off of starter Alex White. Padron's marathon walk energized the Owl dugout, because Jess Beunger had them going nuts when he followed that with a two-run double that essentially put the Heels on their heels the rest of the night.

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More Key Moments---
Okay, I hate to admit this stitch-heads, but this game was so out of suspense, it was a genuine snoozer. I couldn't wait for the outs to start to pile up because Rice dominated this game from start to finish. It was actually cool to see Cole St. Clair get out on the bump and throw three innings of three-hit ball. To be honest, this year's Rice outfit is in much better shape than the Owl team of last year, where they went scoreless in two games with Oregon State. This team has already smacked 29 runs in two games this weekend. This train doesn't appear to be slowing down this time.

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The most telling stat---
Rice going 6-of-8 with 9 RBI with runners in scoring position through the first five innings against the Tar Heels. There you go. THAT'S the story of the day for Rice. 'Nuf said.

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Eight Ain't Enough---
Just in case you haven't checked out the box score, the Heels used eight pitchers tonight, none of which pitched more than 2.1 innings. Of course, nothing worked as the Owls knocked out 14 hits and seemed to have their own personal track meet going on out there in Rosenblatt's infield. And get this, the Tarheels set a College World Series record with the eight pitchers used in one game.

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Okay, that's it. I'm going to bed now. If the baseball Gods treat us right, we'll have a high temperature of 78 tomorrow, like they've been promising. My Scandanavian blood will thank Mother Nature for that one.

G'night.

 


Eric Sorenson Eric Sorenson
Eric Sorenson is CSTV.com's National Baseball Columnist, and also appears on CSTV as a baseball expert