Friday First Takes - No "Sooner Magic"

Remember those days when Oklahoma's football team had horses like Billy Sims, Marcus Dupree, Elvis Peacock, Thomas Lott and J.C. Watts? Their high-risk, high-reward option offense used to fumble six or seven times a game and still beat the mess out of people by 50-10 or so.

Well, it turns out their baseball team doesn't have that kind of wishbone luck - or maybe I should say that kind of incredible talent. Seven times in their game at Nebraska today the Sooners got their lead batter on and five times they stranded a runner at third base to end an inning. All they got was two stinkin' runs today. And they lost 4-2 in Lincoln.

ChildOfTheCorn.jpg

First a quick look at the best and worst around the country from Friday...

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THREE UP---
The best of Friday action in college baseball.

1- Miami's murderer's row.
Tekotte, Weeks, Alonso, Raben and Sobolewski combined to go 11-for-19 with 10 RBI, four home runs and three doubles. The Canes hit six home runs in all as they lambasted Wake Forest 17-4. I'm running to my Webster's to see if the definition of the word "scary" has been redefined.

2- North Carolina State
Beat Clemson 5-4 at Kingsmore Stadium
I've got my right hand way up in the air, like with my armpit showing and everything. I admit I was skeptical as could be about the Wolf Pack, since they were one of those stay-at-home teams that were stealing everyone's lunch (okay, except Miami's who beat them twice). But today's win at Clemson was impressive. The three-through-six hitters in the lineup powered the effort, going 8-for-14 including home runs by Ryan Pond and Russell Wilson. Pond, the first baseman, also out-raced Kyle Parker to first base with the last out as the game-tying score was heading for home.

3- Northern Iowa pitching.
Beat Northwestern 6-0 and 2-1, combining for 15Ks and just 2BBs.
Talk about getting your triple shot of espresso at Starbucks and heading to the mound. UNI starter Nick Kirks took the mound at 9am in Bradenton, Florida and threw a complete game 2-hitter with 7Ks in game one. Guido Fonseca (who is up for my name of the year team) tossed a complete game five-hitter with 8Ks in game two. Both games were seven innings.

THREE DOWN---

1- Arizona State.
Lost to Northern Colorado 6-3.
So let me get this right, the Devils have beaten Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Arkansas, Troy and Arizona. And their first loss is... against Northern Colorado? Who here would've thought that was possible? Anyone?... Anyone?... Beuhler?... Beuhler?

But give major league props to the Bears, that's a win over No. 1 on the road to go along with two wins at Texas A&M and three wins at Ohio Valley favorite Southeast Missouri. Too bad they're an independent, because they could do some damage in a low-major conference.


2- The home-bodies that hit the road.
These teams have spent over 90% of their season in the comfy confines of home so far. Now they've ventured into enemy territory and, well, here are the results.

- Kentucky.
Like Arizona State, entered the day 19-0, but came up short, losing 2-0 at Auburn in its second true road game. Now we'll see if this is another paper Wildcat like last year, or if they're legit and this was an aberration.

- Central Florida.
Lost 8-4 at Southern Miss. That makes their road record 1-2 so far. Their home record? 18-0.

- Duke.
Lost at Georgia Tech 5-4 in its first true road game. But should've won, considering three of Tech's runs were unearned.

- Florida.
Lost 5-4 at Ole Miss by giving up three runs in the bottom of the 9th. The winning run came across on a bases-loaded error with two outs.

- Pepperdine.
Lost at Oregon State 10-3 and 9-7 in its second and third true road games. No on-shore breeze to help at Goss Stadium. Oh and this was OSU's first two home games of the season.

3- Carolina pitchers.
It wasn't a good day for the high-profile arms in James Taylor country.

- T.J. Hose, East Carolina.
The giant killer was hosed today, lasting just two innings and giving up five hits and two runs in a 14-2 shelling by Houston.
- Alex White, North Carolina.
His 6th inning went: HBP, BB, SacBunt, wild pitch, sac fly RBI, reliever comes in. UNC lost to Maryland 4-2.
- Eric Surkamp, North Carolina State.
Wasn't doing too bad vs. Clemson, but gave up four earned runs in the 5th inning, including back-to-back homers.
- Andrew Wolcott, Duke.
The Friday starter for the Dookies suffered his first loss of the season, giving up five runs (though only two earned) in 6.0 innings as part of a 5-4 loss to Georgia Tech.
- Ben Hunter, Wake Forest.
Miami teed off on the Wake ace for two dingers and five runs. 'Course, he also issued five walks too.


(And Liberty, don't think I didn't notice your double-header sweep at the hands of Columbia. I just didn't have room on my "Three Down" list today)


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WHAT I SAW AT HAYMARKET PARK TODAY---

Oklahoma - 001 010 000 - 2 9 2
Nebraska - 000 000 202 - 4 7 0

Nick Sullivan and Craig Corriston led a "surreal" late-inning rally for the Bugeaters, overcoming a 2-0 deficit and winning the game on a Corriston lazer-shot into the face of a fierce wind from left field off of Sooner reliever Ryan Duke.

And I mean Corriston really put a monster charge into the 2-0 offering from Duke in the bottom of the 9th. He had to. That wind was gusting up to 25-30mph today. "I really didn't think I hit that one well enough." Corriston admitted afterward. "The way the wind was blowing today. It was kind of surreal, but we've got a game tomorrow, so it was nice while it lasted."

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(Craig Corriston rounds third after hitting his game-winning home run)

Coach Mike Anderson admitted it was a matter-of-time kind of thing for Corriston. "He's been a good leader, he's been swinging it well. He's been aggressive. So I'm proud of him. I'm happy for Craig, walk offs are fun. Especially after being behind for so long."

But to say OU "had their chances" would be in-accurate. It's more like they were dominating and really blew it. This game was theirs. As stated above, when a team gets seven leadoff batters on base and only scores two runs, it's a problem. Including in the 6th inning where Jamie Johnson doubled and moved over to third on a wild pitch. Then stood on third as his teammates flew out, struck out and grounded out in succession.

Aljay Davis was the main catalyst for the Sooners, scoring after a third inning double to put up OU's first run, then smacking an RBI single in the 5th to stake out that 2-0 lead. Davis went 3-for-4, with an RBI and scoring once himself. He also laid down a beauty of a sac bunt in his first at bat, displaying his outstanding versatility.

OUaljayDavis.jpg
(Sooner OF Aljay Davis was pretty damn impressive today)

Sooner starter Jeremy Erben was doing an amazing job on the hill as well. Starting just his second game of the season, Erben put the clamps on NU's bats through the first six innings, allowing just one batter over the minimum and three hits, along with some great defense behind him.

But after the 7th inning stretch, Erben gave up a leadoff double, an infield error and a walk to load the bases. Duke came in and immediately gave up a 2RBI single to Sullivan to tie the game.

That set the stage for Nebraska's 9th inning heroics. After two quick outs, Sullivan got back up and delivered again with a sharpe infield single to first base. Corriston then got two pitches out of the zone, before seeing a fast ball that looked more like a beach ball that he sliced into stealth-like into the roaring wind, winning the game.

"We got lucky in the 7th and 9th." Anderson admitted later. "But we're always trying to win the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Our kids understand that. I give our kids a lot of credit, they were able to put the first six innings behind them. We got some clutch hits. Sullivan and Corriston came up big. I mean Oklahoma's a very good team. Extremely good."

But Anderson still wasn't ready to get totally geeked about his team after one gutsy finish vs. the Sooners. "We have to keep being solid defensively. I don't think we're the most talented team on the field. I don't think we're the most talented team in the Big 12. We're going to do be fundamentally very strong. We have to have days like this where something special happens."

Guess this was one of those "something special happens" kind of days. The kind those Oklahoma wishbone teams used to overcome every week. But that was football.

Comments

Nebraska is by far one of the most underrated teams this year. They take a 17 game win streak into the second game against a great Arkansas team and despite falling in that second game, they have proven that this is not a league to just talk about Texas and Missouri--it's a league to include Nebraska. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we're back!!!

Well the spelling bee never happened but props to Harvard for never giving up...off to the road with the Bags, Cal, Stanford, Fresno and Riverside...hope my laundry lasts!

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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