Saturday Statements - The Devils send Vandy to Hell

Okay, if Arizona State isn't No. 1 in at least five of the eight or nine rankings that will be released on Monday, then they're just not giving the Devil his due.


KaiASU.jpg
(Kai Murphy, the coach's son and ASU batboy, gives Coby Cress some pointers on his batting stance)

Got up early this morning, loaded the dog in the truck and made the six-hour drive over to Tempe to see a pair of national powers collide in ASU and Vandy. Unfortunately, only one showed up.

Let's make this the best of today's best.

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THREE UP---

1- Arizona State.
(Beat Vanderbilt 18-6)
After what we saw from the Commodores on Friday night (an 8-1 win over Oregon State), I'm not sure anyone would've seen this one coming.

Player of the Day Award? Easy. ASU's Brett Wallace. The beefy, athletic third baseman went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs. One was a 4th inning grand slam that turned this game into a no-brainer... and a yawner. His second blast was a three-run job in the 6th that pushed the lead into the teens. He also walked twice.

2- Nothing wrong with the Carolina bats.
South Carolina combined for seven home runs and 26 runs in a split with East Carolina.
North Carolina rallied time and time again to subdue Florida Atlantic 14-13. Kyle Seager with two home runs and Seth Williams added his third dinger in two games so far this weekend.
Coastal Carolina beat Maryland 10-4 behind 16 hits, including a double and home run from leadoff man David Sappelt. Three other players had three hits each as well.

3- HILO!!
Beat Kansas twice today, 4-3 and 12-4.
That nice little trip to paradise isn't an instant gimme anymore. Coach Joey Estrella has made great strides with this woe-be-gone program. They are now 3-3 on the season with today's stunning twin upsets out on the Big Island. Ronel Trias finished today's DH going 4-for-5 with four RBI to pace the Vulcans.


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THREE DOWN---

1- Texas A&M going 0-fer against... Northern Colorado? (Really?).
UNC got the Aggies 3-1 and 4-2 in College Station today. Yeah, I know it's the first weekend of the season, but that's a big red flag.

2- Capra goes out to emergency appendectomy.
Wichita State's highly regarded LHP Anthony Capra will be sidelined indefinitely after being hospitalized yesterday. Capra was 7-1, 1.76 last season for Gene Stephenson's rotation.

3- The SEC vs. the Pac 10.
Today was a 180 from Friday's outstanding performance, as both Vanderbilt and Georgia went down to defeat. Georgia lost to Arizona in game two of that series, 7-1.

Overall, it was a tougher day for the SEC than yesterday was. Cal Poly swept a pair at Alabama (16-7 and 6-2), Tennessee lost to Morehead State 4-1, Mississippi State dropped an ugly one at North Florida by a 17-9 count and South Carolina split with East Carolina in a DH, but the loss was by a 13-4 count.


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DEVILS DOWN 'DORES DECISIVELY---
Vanderbilt 000 002 013- 6 11 0
Arizona St. 003 634 02x- 18 16 6

WP- Mike Leake, 6.0inns, 7H, 2R, 1ER, 4Ks, 0BBs
LP- Brett Jacobson, 3.0inns, 4H, 6R, 6ER, 5Ks, 4BBs

Top hitters:
Brett Wallace, 2-for-3, 7RBI, 4-run homer, 3-run homer.
Ike Davis, 3-for-4, 4RBI, double
Jason Kipnis, 2-for-3, 3RBI, triple, home run

First off, it's early people. It's early. Don't do backflips over this ASU fans. Don't go looking for the nearest Britney Spears concert video VU fans. Even ASU head honcho Pat Murphy had a word of warning.

"I'm going to say it right now, Vanderbilt will be in Omaha at the end of the year." He reasoned. "This will be a good thing for Corbin and them. They were No. 1 all last season and felt they could do no wrong, but then Michigan got them in the Regionals. That won't happen to them this year."

Another big facet not to forget? Pedro Alvarez didn't play. His mystery injury kept the nation's top player on the sidelines instead of manning the hot corner and making a difference at the dish.

Murphy would go on to say, "When I heard he wasn't going to be in the lineup today, I said 'Whew!' I mean, normally one guy doesn't make that big of a difference in an offense. But he does. He changes everything. So keep that in mind"


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IT'S MURPHY'S WORLD, WE JUST LIVE IN IT---
Pat Murphy was having a good time in the post-game press conference. Particularly when it came to talking about his victorious pitcher. "Since we have all these national media guys here, I want this to be known. I'm a 49-year old man... old man... and I beat 19-year old Mike Leake in a 3-point contest this morning."


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JARVIS PLAYS---
Despite numerous reports to the contrary, it turns out that Arizona State Super Soph Jason Jarvis IS eligible after all. In fact, he came in as a pinch hitter today, drawing a walk.

JarvisPlaying.jpg
(Jason Jarvis getting a handshake from 1st base coach Tim Esmay)


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PEDRO DOESN'T PLAY---
Not sure what his injury was, but CSTV Player of the Year candidate Pedro Alvarez didn't play in tonight's game. His bat was missed, to be sure.

Pedro.jpg
(Guess I can't "Vote for Pedro" this week.)

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CORBIN DOESN'T LIKE HOW I ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE---
After the game a few of us media types were talking with Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin and I asked him, "With 11 hits, six runs and no errors, you have to take away some positives from today, right?"

He looked at me stone-faced, "You're really reaching, aren't you?"

Yes I was coach.


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FAITH IN THEIR FEET---
I didn't have my camera on me at the time, but as we were waiting for Coach Corbin to meet with us after the game, some of the Vandy players were taking off their cleats. I noticed that they are outfitted with the logo of the College World Series on the tongue of their cleats. Obviously, the logo they used on their shoes was the CWS logo from 2007. Must be a motivational thing.

College World Series2007.png
(The logo worn on the feet of the Commodores)


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CHECK OUT THESE OREGON STATE TOGS---
Joey Wong flashes the fashion for the Beavers tonight.

OSUunis.jpg
(Will the wonders of Nike's fashion plates never cease?)


OSU beat Miami Univ. in tonight's second game 8-3.


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THE TOUGH LUCK AWARD GOES TO...
Purdue.
Lost to Baylor in 11 innings 11-10.
For the second day in a row, the Boilers lose at Baylor by a single run. Yesterday, they couldn't get the offense cranking, losing 1-0. Today, they could stop cranking. But neither could Baylor's offense.


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THE TOUGH LUCK RUNNER UP GOES TO...
Rice.
Lost 3-2 at Long Beach State.
Once again, the Beach wins in its last at-bat as Danny Espinosa is the hero again, going 3-for-4 with a home run and scoring the winning run in the 8th. Rice out-hit the Dirtbags, but starting pitcher Cole St. Clair wasn't sharp in his first start, lasting just four innings and giving up the bomb.


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SORRY, GOTTA CUT THIS SHORT---
So I checked into the Motel 6 near campus because A- They welcome dogs. And B- They offer free wireless internet.

Of course, I was informed the wireless was busted and they also put me in a hotel room right next to a large group of guys that looked like they were ready to party all night. Great. Maybe they'll show me their tattoos while they're keeping my dog on bark alert all night. Gotta love Motel 6 man.

So I'm finishing my article while at Packard Stadium tonight, since I won't have internet in my hotel room. Oh and I've got to go share a beer with Kendall Rogers and Doug Kroll. No, the dog has to stay in the truck.

Sorry so short. More tomorrow after my drive back to Smogland.

G'night.

Comments

Eric,

Not heading to see your beloved Huskers in Palo Alto? Shame on you!

Go 'skers, go 'cocks, go 'jays!

Hey Jeremy.

Nope, couldn't make it up to the Bay Area this weekend. Too many good games in L.A. and over in Arizona.

But I will see the 'Skers in March when I'm up there to work the NCAA basketball tournament (Shhh, don't tell CSTV I'm planning on going to some baseball games while I'm supposed to be covering March Madness)

Too bad the Bluejays are out of town that weekend. - E.

Eric,

Just one correction on St.Clair's start -- he was on a pitch count because he's coming back from a very long layoff over last summer. I was at the games (I would've bought you a beer Friday night had I known you were there), and actually St.Clair pitched great. He only gave up one earned run on Espinosa's bomb, and his off-speed and breaking stuff were great. His fastball is still coming back.

Thanks for the otherwise great coverage!

Ron. Man, I owe YOU the beer, big daddy. Thanks for reading and writing me the info. I was pretty certain that St. Clair was on a pitch count, but for Espinosa - or anybody for that matter - to hit a home run at Blair Field, he really had to rope the big guy awfully well. I obviously hope to see St. Clair pitch at some point this season. That Rice-Beach series was unreal. Both teams are so freakin' good.

Eric

Espinosa was the truth in this series, the absolute difference between the two teams (well, that, and being able to bat last). His shot against St.Clair was a no doubt about it, gone in a flash, laser-beam type of shot.

BTW, I'd rank the six starting pitcher performances this weekend as: 1) Liebel (dominant), 2) Berry, 3) Langwell (and this is debatable, as he may have been more dominant overall than Berry, but did give up the one HR), 4) Worley, 5) St.Clair, 6) Thompson. This was, easily, Omaha caliber pitching from all these pitchers.

Met a bunch of very cool and knowledgable Beach fans, and Blair Field is a nice place to watch a game.

Thanks again for the slog, Eric. Unfortunately, job and real life will be intruding on my desire to travel every weekend to watch college baseball/Rice baseball, but am hoping to make Rice/ECU at the Reck in April. Rice has a beer garden at games now, as well ...

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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