Sunday Summations - Best college baseball weekend until the post season?

I think stitch-heads all across the country can agree that Sunday concluded a great weekend of college baseball, with intriguing showdowns all around the country.

In fact, I'm working on a theory here. I'm starting to believe that the NCAA took a look around at all the crappy non-conference matchups that were being played in February of last year (except the Minute Maid Classic) and decided to cut out three weekends of the season because there were so many dead fish games out there.

Now, if there were more interesting weekends like this one we just saw here, maybe the NCAA would consider moving the start date back to late January. But because college baseball schedule makers started putting us to sleep, we fans had to pay the price.

Never again people. Never again.


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THREE UP---

1- The Big 12.
Just for the record, Texas Tech, you guys are buying the next beer round. The Big 12 went 9-1 in games on Sunday, with the only loss being Tech's 5-4 loss to Rice in the Houston College Classic. Seven of those nine wins came on away from the confines of home stadiums. Biggest shock? Nebraska completing the four-game sweep of UC Riverside with a 13-1 whitewashing. (That and the fact that they got the game in before a massive snow storm was about to hit the midlands)

2- South Carolina, ready to take on the minor leaguers?
Dare I say, the Gamecocks were Sun Devilesque! They swept two from bitter rival Clemson, 10-1 on Saturday and today's count of 5-1. Yes, that's a 15-2 combo of pain on the orange, purple and white. The Cocks and Tigers will meet twice more this season, but both will be mid-week games. Reese Havens and Justin Smoak became long-ball nightmares, as expected.

3- 11,166
That's the number of fannies in seats that the Sunday getaway game between Georgia and Oregon State at PGE Park in Portland. The Beavers scraped out a 5-4 win to take the close-knit series 2-games-to-1. Could you imagine a crowd like this happening four or five years ago? Hell no. And to me, it's awesome. Can't wait for Oregon to get on board and add to the college baseball fever in the Pacific Northwest.

Great series too. Josh Fields continues to amaze.


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THREE DOWN---
1- Chillicothe, Ohio
So I went through the entire schedule of games from today on Jeremy's website (www.ncaa-baseball.com) and it looks like today's Pittsburgh vs. Youngstown State game was the only (yes, the ONLY) college baseball game today that was cancelled because of weather. And even that was because the entire weekend was called off because of the forecast. Not because it was actually raining or snowing today.

Then again, who the hell schedules a baseball game in mid-Ohio for March 2nd anyway?

2- Cal State Fullerton.
(lost at Stanford 6-5)
That loud cheer you just heard was all those Long Beach State fans. First, their team just got done sweeping the No. 10 team in the country, and then they also find out today that their bitter rival, the Titans, just lost all three games in Palo Alto, two of which were by large margins. Today's game was a back-and-forth affair, but Stanford came from behind to score single runs in the 8th and 9th inning to win.

My gawd! The Trees have now swept the Elephants three straight times at Sunken Diamond: 2004, 2006 and 2008.

3- Tennessee and Auburn.
(lost 2-0 vs. Oklahoma and 10-1 at Florida State respectively)
All that good karma that the Vols built up after the win over Texas on Friday, flew the coup with back-to-back losses to Texas Tech yesterday and OU today. Still, keep in mind, this is a young team and will have those kind of ups and downs all season long. The Tigers, on the other hand, needed to stake a claim that they were back in the national scene. In four games against the Noles, they did just the opposite, losing all four games. Granted, today's nine-run wart was the only poor showing, the other three games were decided by 2, 1 and 1 run each.


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QUICK-HIT HONORABLE MENTIONS---
- Minnesota.
Beat Pepperdine 5-2.
The Gophers recovered from horrible weekend at Ole Miss to beat Tulane and P'dine. The only loss was an extra inning game to TCU. Now this time, when the Gophers beat good teams in the post-season, will you NOT act so surprised?
- Texas-Arlington.
Beat Alabama 12-8.
Talk about rising to the occasion, the Mavericks went 2-2 in the Diamond Classic with both wins coming against the Tide. Last year, UTA won just 13 games.
- Portland.
*Only* lost to Arizona State 5-2.
Really though, the Pilots had a great weekend in Surprise. They went 3-1 with wins over Northern Illinois (9-6 in 16inns), Michigan (4-3 in 10inns) and Hawaii (15-8).
- Texas Frosh Connor Rowe.
Game-winning hit to beat Houston 8-7 in 10 innings.
Okay so this wasn't a grand slam or home run, but it was a storybook finish as this was also Connor's first ever collegiate at-bat.
- Nebraska.
Beat UC Riverside 13-1.
Today's win completes a 4-0 domination of the Highlanders for NU. Can't say I saw that coming.
- Coastal Carolina.
Beat Western Carolina 7-1 and George Mason 6-0.
Nice pitching all weekend for the Chants, as they go 4-0 while giving up just six runs. In game two today, Nick McCully, Dan Lombardozzi and Pete Andrelczyk combined on a two-hitter with 12Ks and just one walk.


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BRUINS WIN URBAN INVITATIONAL---
UCLA - 4
USC - 3

Bethune-Cookman - 10
Southern - 4
The Bruins sweep through the Urban field with a 3-0 mark. As you might expect, it was all about pitching and defense for the Bruins, giving up just five runs to the Jags, Wildcats and Trojans all weekend.

It was the Three C's at the top of the order: Curtis, Carrithers and Crawford, who combined for seven of the nine Bruin hits and three RBI

I still came away from this weekend really impressed with Bethune. They were never over-powered and went toe-to-toe with the Pac 10ers, before losing to both teams 2-0. But then the Cats punctuated a good weekend by winning today's matchup of the MEAC vs. the SWAC.

Most incredible factoid of the weekend? I find it incredibly hard to believe that these two black college powers have never faced each other on the diamond until today. Ever. THAT needs to change. Another reason why this Urban Invitational was such an important event for college baseball.


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OPINIONS WANTED---
Got a question for you guys and girls out there concerning bat girls, like the one pictured here for Wichita State:
WSUbatgirl.jpg

Do you think young, eye-catching, nubile bat girls is a good or bad thing for college baseball? Blink once for yes and twice for no.


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SEAGER HITTING LIKE A ROCK---
North Carolina 2B Kyle Seager had a wicked-good weekend, going 8-for-14 with 10 RBI in the Tarheels' four wins. In the first three games, he knocked in three RBI in each. Seager also showed great consistency, gathering two hits in each of the four games. UNC went 4-0 against Winthrop, Kent State and St. John's (twice) in the Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill this weekend.


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THESE GUYS BRING OUT THE BEST PITCHING IN EACH OTHER---
Southern Miss - 0
UL-Lafayette - 2
Two days ago, USM's Barry Bowden threw a complete game two-hitter with 10Ks to blank UL-L 6-zip. Today, the roles were reversed as the Cajuns put the clamps on the Eagles. Hunter Moody also struck out 10, giving up just four hits in 7.0 innings of work. Matt Broussard and Justin Robichaux pitched an inning each to quell any Eagle hopes. UL-L had a rough weekend though, going 1-2 after losses to USM and Miami University the first two days.


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THESE GUYS BRING OUT THE LACK OF PITCHING IN EACH OTHER---
Ball State - 26
New Mexico State - 25
For the second day in a row, someone in this matchup overcame a double-digit deficit to win the game. Today, it was the Cardinals, who overcame a 25-14 deficit after five innings. Despite all the screaming of the offenses, lets give some credit to Aaron Hammons and Kyle Heyne, who both pitched two innings for BSU and combined to give up one hit to the Aggies in innings 6-through-9, after three pitchers combined to give up 27 hits prior to.

Get this, 14 of the 18 starters in the two lineups had multiple-RBI games today.


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MYSTERY CLEATS---
Anyone recognize the brand of cleats that Southern was wearing at the Urban Invitational this weekend? Here's a quick pic of them:
Southern'sCleats.jpg

If you know, drop me a line. The wording on the bottom of the cleats read "3n2" or something like that. They're rather unique, wouldn't you say? I just can't place the logo or look to them.


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And so we bring to a close a great weekend of college baseball. Tournaments galore made this a fun cross-section of out of conference matchups all around the country.

Hope you're tired like me. But after what I saw this weekend, it's a good kind of tired.

G'night.

Comments

http://www.3n2sports.com/

Check out all their cleats here.

Keep up the great work, Eric. If you are ever in Columbia, let's tailgate!

Jeremy and Mandy...

Thanks for the info on the cleats. Jeremy, I would LOVE to get to a game out at Sarge Frye before it meets the working end of the bulldozer. There's an outside, outside chance I might later on after March Madness. Partially depends on if I get use of the CSTV Lear Jet or not.

And Mandy, you sound hot.

E.

Be careful Eric--I think I remember a Mandy named Jim Mandich who you might not want to take his temp!!

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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