CWS: Day two wrap... Damn, I'm still on West Coast temps.

Today's pair of one-run games was just the type of white-knucklers that we expected from our West coast ball teams that went at each other in the blaring white heat of Rosenblatt Stadium today.

It was the Pac 10 going 2-0 vs. the Big West in today's two games. But both came down to one-run decisions that could've very nearly gone the other way. Does that stupid over-used "game of inches" comment go here? Yes, it actually does.


IkeDavisHR.jpg
(ASU's Ike Davis gets fist pounds for his game-winning home run)


If we discovered one thing about today's games, it's that this West coast bracket will be an exciting, down-to-the-wire affair that probably won't be decided until the second elimination game finale on Friday.

GAME ONE
UC Irvine - .000.400.000- 4 6 2
Arizona State - . 030.010.01x- 5 9 0

WP: Jason Jarvis, 2-2
LP: Scott Gorgen, 12-3

Top hitters:
ASU-
Eric Sogard, 3-for-4
Matt Spencer, 2-for-3, HR, 3rbi
Ike Davis, 2-for-3, HR
UCI-
Bryan Petersen, 2-for-3, 2rbi

Game time: 3:05
Attendance: 19,638
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In A Nutshell---
The Sun Devils lived up to billing as far as blasting the ball around the park goes. Matt Spencer, a UNC transfer, got things rolling in the second with a three-rib gonzo. Then, after falling behind 4-3, C.J. Retherford, who had zero home runs in the entire regular season, hit his fourth dinger to lead off the 5th and tie the game. ASU would never trail again, thanks to the pitching of Mike Leake (starter who went 7.0 innings, six hits, three Ks) and Jason Jarvis (2.0 innings, no hits). But lastly, in the 8th, Ike Davis went yard on a solo shot to right field - one of those where the outfielder barely moves - and it proved to be the clincher.

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Key Moment---
Yard calls sure, but the walks hurt more.
Like yesterday's games, ASU woke up the ghosts of '98 with a trio of long balls that made the difference in the game. But what really hurt was the four-batter stretch in the second inning where UCI's Scott Gorgen (who rally pitched about as well as you could expect against THIS lineup) walked two of the first three batters before Matt Spencer put the biggest mash. Not to be Mr. Obvious here - well, I take it back, yes I am - if ASU just got solo shots, the 'Eaters win this one.

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Not staying "in-character"---
In the post-game press conference, one of the first things that UCI's Dave Serrano touched on was the fact that his All American pitcher, Scott Gorgen, was "out of character." As an example, he went out to visit his staff stud in the 6th and said that he was out of breath. "Kids get excited out here. They're not used to playing in front of 19,000 people and they get a little out of character. But even in spite of all that, he still held a team like that to just five runs. He pitched pretty good."

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His best wasn't good enough---
On the 8th inning home run he gave up to Davis, Gorgen said, "I threw Davis my best change up of the day and he was sitting back on it and waiting for it. I knew it the minute he hit it." (although Davis admitted in the ASU press conference that he WASN'T waiting on a change up, but rather looking for the fast ball to drive... once again proving that press conferences are mostly wastes of time.)

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Leake was---
Pat Murphy on ASU's under-exposed pitching staff, "Mike Leake was his usual self, not walking anybody. He wanted to establish the inside of the plate early and he did. Our pitching staff is pretty underrated."

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Love the way this team picks each other up---
All American Brett Wallace, shortstop Andrew Romine and Catcher Petey Paramore all had 0-for days at the plate. But with a lineup this deep and this dangerous, all ASU did was wait for someone else to pick them up. Eric Sogard was his usual steady self, going 3-for-4, Ike Davis went 2-for-3 including his dinger and of course Matt Spencer hit the big 3-run bomb. "It's just a situation where one guy struggles, another comes along and picks them up." Murph would say. "Wally didn't have his best day. Petey didn't have his best day. Kiel didn't have his best day. But guys like Sogard, Ike and Spencer and then of course C.J. hitting his home run was big. That's how our team has operated all season."

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The Boss---
Pat Murphy came into the post-game press conference wearing a t-shirt that read, "It's hard to be a saint in the city." When asked what the meaning of that shirt was, Murphy came back with, "It's a Bruce Springsteen song lyric. If you don't know who the Boss is, I'm sorry."

After the initial press conference was over, myself, Andy Gardiner of USA Today, Tom Shatel of the Omaha World Herald and the girl who is here for ESPN.com all huddled around him for some more music quotes.

- "Some people read Plato and Aristotle, I listen to Springsteen."
- "I also have t-shirts with 'Thunder Road,' 'Like a River' and 'No Surrender' on them."
- "I mean, think about 'No Surrender'. Can you get a better inspirational song than that? No way."
- When I asked him about all the Jimi Hendrix songs that he has for his players walk-up music at ASU's home games, Murphy chuckled and said, "Oh yeah. You've got to have Brother James in there. I like Jimi almost as much as Bruce."


GAME TWO
Oregon State - .110.000.100- 3 7 0
Cal State Fullerton - .001.000.010- 2 5 1

WP: Jorge Reyes, 6-3
LP: Wes Roemer, 11-7
Save: Eddie Kunz, 12

Game Time: 2:59
Attendance: 26, 559

Top Hitters:
- OSU
Mitch Canham, 2-for-4
Scott Santschi, 2-for-3, 2rbi, HR.
- CSUF
Nick Mahin, 2-for-3, solo HR
Jon Wilhite, 1-for-1 and gave Titan fans an awful lot of hope in the 9th.

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In a Nutshell---
Once again, it was the home run that played the biggest part in the difference of tonight's game. Jordan Lennerton hit his 9th of the season and Scott Santschi smacked his first dinger of the year in the 7th inning to account for the winning run. As you might expect from these two teams, great pitching all around. Jorge Reyes, a freshman starting the opening game of the Beavers '07 CWS run, pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just three hits and one run along the way. Fullerton's Wes Roemer did a decent job himself, going 8.0 innings giving up just two earned runs.

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Key Moment---
Not executing the safety bunt.
If CSUF's Josh Fellhauer gets that 8th inning bunt down instead of a direct shot to the pitcher, the run from the 3rd scores and Fullerton ties things up. That changes everything in this game. Instead, Joe Scott got hung up between 3rd and home. Nick Mahin and John Curtis then popped out afterward, snuffing the rally.

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Hairiest Moment---
The dropped fly ball in the 9th by OSU.
The whole stadium gasped after the miscommunication between SS Darwin Barney and LF John Wallace resulted in a weird dropped pop that should've ended the game. Things got even hairier with the single by pinch hitter Jon Wilhite put runners at 1st and 3rd. But a Joel Weeks pop-up ended the night with the never-say-die Titans 90 feet from home.

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Hero.
With one of those super-hero-in-real-life names, Scott Santschi proved to be the most valuable Beaver tonight. He sawed off a pair of difference-making hits, one an RBI single to put OSU up 2-0 in the second, and the other being a solo home run in the 7th. The dinger was his first of the year. It's pretty cool that he saved his hero status for a stage like this.

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NOTES ON THE DAY---
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Miserable heat.
As you guys may have noticed before, I'm a freakin' heat wimp. My Scandanavian blood can't take this 90+ weather with 50% humidity. That's what we had today in Omaha. It was a boiler. But because of that, the ball was flying out of the stadium. One stat I should probably start keeping is how many well-hit balls fly to the warning track for long outs. Because other than the 12 home runs in four games, there has been a bunch of those too.

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Miserable Heat, Part II---
Both games today, the 1:06pm game and the 6:06pm game, both recorded temperatures of 90 degrees. The first game had winds of 10mph from the South and the nightcap had winds of 12mph from the South. Both games also recorded humidity of 43%. Nasty.

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No sub-.300.
In today's first game, both UCI and ASU had every one of their starters hitting over .300. In fact, only Devil SS Andrew Romine was close to buying the beer round, coming in with an exact average of .300. Brett Wallace was the biggest stick, hitting .423.

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On the other end of the spectrum---
Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State combined to have only five of 18 starters hit over .300.

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Shades Of '98---
After the eight teams combined for only 18 home runs in last year's CWS, this years version has already seen 12 yard calls in four games. With the extremely warm temps and winds mostly blowing out so far, this is bringing back memories of the '98 series where LSU once hit 10 home runs in a single game vs. USC.

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"This team hasn't been knocked on its ass."
When asked about this year's team compared to 2005 squad, Pat Murphy was quick to point out the mental toughness of the '05 squad. "This year is a totally different group. The '05 team was kicked around all season, this team hasn't had to struggle. In '05, we didn't win the Pac 10 and we also got sent out to Fullerton for the post-season AGAIN. That team was mentally tough. This team is pretty immature. I bet six of the eight guys in our lineup today don't even know the signs... (laughter from the press corps)... You want me to name them for you?"

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Beaver eye for the straight guy---
Oregon State had those gawd-awful grey pinstripe unis with white "OSU" lettering across the front tonight. Bad... just bad.

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Speaking of bad---
Here's a picture of Erin Andrews from tonight's game. Sure, she's a hottie and all, but those horrid just-past-the-knee capri pants belong in the rubbish bin. Wonder if her and Herbstreit have a thing goin' on?


EApants.jpg

(Erin... cute, hot, baseball-chick, sure. But what the hell is with those nasty, shuffleboard-ready black capri pants? Major points off!)

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Okay, it's really late now. I'm gonna go get some sleep now. See you at the freakin' yard again tomorrow. (Crossing fingers now) Here's to cooler temps.

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