Saturday Statements - Going Yard... part 14

Imagine you're Columbia. You are a decent Ivy League team, probably going to contend for the Gehrig Division title. You just got your first win of the season over a superior Georgia Southern team, 8-5, at their place and everything. You have to expect some measure of revenge from the Eagles, right? But do you really expect a 26-8 bloodletting? How about 54% of that production coming from bee-bees hit beyond the outfield wall?

Well don't worry, you're an Ivy League school. You can always pull out the old, "We're smarter than you" credo. But GSU did much more than retort to that.

Lemme explain further...

1- Georgia Southern Yard Calls.
The Eagles were so angry at allowing the Lions to get their first win of the season against them on Friday night, they went and blasted the hell out of them to the tune of a 26-8 win over Columbia. In the process, the Eagles smacked an NCAA record 14 home runs, including five home runs in six at-bats in the 8th inning. Winds musta been blowin' out like a mother.

Damn! Now I can't brag to people that I was actually at the game that set the previous record, the 1996 Cal State Northridge 13-home run barrage over Fresno State in 1996 at gale-force Matador Field. That game featured Robert Fick, Adam Kennedy and Fresno pitcher Jeff Weaver.

2- Boston College.
Won at Clemson for the second day in a row, 7-6.
They won, but they got pretty damn nervous while doing it. BC allowed Clemson to score three runs in the bottom of the 9th, but Chris Kowalski got Ben Paulsen to strike out to end the game with a man on. Still, two wins at Kingsmore Stadium is two wins. And yes, for a team from the Northeast, that's really surprising. Catcher Tony Sanchez has had two hits in each win so far, including a big home run today.

3- Michigan.
beat Coastal Carolina 4-1.
beat Ball State 8-2.
Boy, did M-go-blue need this. As I pointed out in last week's Ouch List, the Wolverines are off to a similar start as last year (when they began 6-6), but unlike last year, no marquee wins to speak of. The big stars made sure this CCU game would be one of them, with strapping Nate Recknagel going 2-for-3 with another home run and starter Zach Putnam K'ing 10 in 6.1 innings and surrendering just three hits. Another two-way specialist, Adam Abraham, got the save.

1- Alabama.
Lost at Kentucky 15-2.
Gotta admit something here, the Cats are totally putting it in my face. I predicted the Bat Cats would fall to a *real* opponent, but here we are with UK taking the first two from the Crimson Elephants and improving to 17-0. The Tide has some mound problems, as witnessed by Will Stroup's 2.0 innings of work, giving up six hits, seven runs and allowing three walks. Bama drops to 9-7 and there's one last hope for my prediction of Kentucky getting an L in the loss column.

2- Vanderbilt.
Lost 16-7 to South Carolina.
The Gamecocks went all Sun Devil on the Commodores today. Nick Christiani was the victim today in rainy Nashville, lasting just 2.1 innings and giving up nine hits and nine runs (five earned). Seven Gamecock starters had multi-hit games, led by Kyle Enders (2-for-5, three RBI), James Darnell (3-for-5, three RBI), Andrew Crisp (2-for-5, three RBI) and Phil Disher (2-for-5, four RBI). Ouch. Game three will need to be a confidence builder.

3- Prairie View A&M
Lost at Houston Baptist 8-7.
The SWAC favorites have now lost eight of their last nine games, including their second straight loss to the Division II Baptists. In their last five games, all losses, the Panthers have committed 16 errors and issued 30 walks. Overall, PV is now 10-9, but the news gets even worse for the purple crew. They begin a 19-game road trip at Texas Southern next weekend and it ends on April 20th at Texas-Pan American.

Long Beach State - 101 012 121- 9 13 2
Southern California - 000 030 300- 6 8 2
WP- Jason Markovitz (2-0)
LP- Ryan Cabral (0-1)
Save- Bryan Shaw (4)

For the fourth time this season, the Dirtbags win a series against another high-profile opponent. Do you think the pollsters will take note? Coach Mike Weathers has been a little on the grumpy side about the lack of offense from his Dirtbags. Well he can't complain right now because Shane Peterson went 4-for-5 with three Ribs and Jason Corder went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two walks.

(Jason Corder gets props from his mates after his 5th inning home run)

Even though the game was tied on three different occasions, Long Beach never seemed out of control. The final time the tie was broken was in the top of the 8th on an RBI triple by Jonathan Jones, who came into today's game with just three at-bats.

It wasn't a vintage Long Beach performance, mainly because of the errors and extra offense, but the Beach seems to be figuring out different ways to win games. Bully for them.

Just to show you how light Long Beach has been hitting so far this year, here are the batting averages of their starting nine tonight - in order.
As a team, the Dirtbags came into Saturday's game at USC with a team batting average of .235.

After this game, I foolishly decided to hit the L.A. basin freeway system and drive from South Central to the O.C. Have I mentioned my hatred for people driving while on their damn cell phones?:

Hawai'i 010 000 012- 4 11 1
UC Irvine 521 100 40x- 13 18 0
WP- Christian Bergman (3-0)
LP- Nicholas Rhodes (0-2)

This was the second game of a double header between these two teams. Originally, game three in this series was supposed to take place on Sunday, but because of expected rain, the two schools agreed to play two today instead. Unfortunately, I was hoping to catch Matt Daly on the mound for Hawaii, but the Rainbow rotation changed when the DH was announced. Daly ended up starting the first game, a 14-3 loss. He got rocked for seven hits and six runs (four earned) in 4.0 innings.

This was a real beatdown. I'm starting to wonder if there is any drop-off from last year's Anteater team, despite the loss of names like Cipriano, Holliday, Morris, Etheridge and Axelrod. But in the three games this weekend, and especially early on in tonight's second game, UCI seemed to get every bloop hit to fall in and every wormburner grounder to find a hole for a single. For the three games, the Anteaters hit .422. Jeff Cusick did his share of damage, hitting for the short cycle in his first three at-bats and also got some help from Francis Larson, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning to put UCI up for good.

For the day, Larson went 8-for-9 with a walk and seven RBI, including a home run in each game. The Anteaters improve to 14-1, while Hawaii drops to 7-12.

(Jeff Cusick and Francis Larson, both wielded hot bats for the 'Eaters)

"I don't remember a Rainbow team getting beaten this badly in a three-game series in a long... long time."
Don Robbs, Hawaii announcer during tonight's broadcast.

Oklahoma State - 0
Baylor - 3
Shawn Tolleson, Baylor.
If Pete Incaviglia had a grave, he'd be rolling over in it right about now. Facing the molten-hot bats of Oklahoma State today, the Bear starter hung a complete game, two-hitter to lead BU to a 3-0 win in Waco. He threw 108 pitches in all, walking just two and striking out six. It's been an up-and-down season for Tolleson so far, so this was a good performance that could turn his season into something special.

BEST DOUBLE-HEADER SWEEP (other than UC Irvine)---
Washington State - 4 8
Oklahoma Univ. - 3 5
This gives some credence to my thinking that the Pac 10 will be the toughest conference this year. But also consider this, maybe it's just the fact that Wazzu will be a lot better than everyone thinks. Especially since OU split a series at UCLA to begin the season. Hmmmm. Let's see what the Cougs do next.

Virginia - 10
Duke - 1
Pat McAnaney did what Friday starter Jacob Thompson couldn't do - dominate the Dookies. McAnaney went the distance, giving up just four hits and one run (unearned, if you must know) and striking out eight to get is second win of the year. Dan Grovatt and Franco Valdes each hit a big-time bomb and accounted for seven RBI.

Chicago State - 0
Creighton - 11
The weather between the DH was 32 degrees under partly cloudy skies. The winds were out of the North at 12-15mph. Factoring the wind chill, the Jays and Cougars were playing in temps that felt like 24 degrees.

The late-night results from the Southern-most Division I school in college baseball:
San Diego - 5 4
UH-Hilo - 0 2 (game two 10 innings)
With tomorrow's single game not slated to start until 6pm, it looks like a long morning of surfing on the windward side of the big island tomorrow for some of the Toreros.

(As you can see, USC's swimming and diving complex is right next door to Dedeaux Field)

A great Saturday will be followed by an interesting Sunday in college baseball. Okay, sure, it will all be over-shadowed by the NCAA selection show for our basketball brethren. But that's okay, 'coz March Madness still rules.

More tomorrow.



thanks for carrying the long lens Saturday!

It's amazing that The Dirtbags keep winning despite such paltry offense. Contrast that to Virginia, which has a team batting average of .344 and 2.11 team ERA. With those numbers, any idea why the Cavaliers have lost 3 of their first 5 conference games?

Thanks for the comments guys. Dr. Dan, I'm all about bringing the camera and capturing a bit of the atmosphere of college baseball. You know that. Glad you're diggin' it.

Six Pack, I'm really concerned about UVa. I mean, after the CWS last year, I mentioned them as one of my "Eight for The O in 08". I think this is one of those classic cases where stats don't mean much when you build them up against the likes of Lehigh, Coppin State and Siena. But also keep in mind, their 2-3 ACC mark (so far) has been on two road trips. The ACC is tough. The ACC on the road? That's brutal.

It's a long season. I think they'll come around. Let's revisit this in early May.

Eric, Johnny Dorn from NU continues to handle his business with dominating efficiency. What is it that the scouts don't find impressive about this talented pitcher, especially after watching him work his magic for the past three years?

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