Saturday Statements - A Saturday of Miracles

"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

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Okay, so maybe it wasn't exactly Lake Placid and the Ruskies in 1980 (my sincere apologies to Al Michaels here). But it was certainly another upset Saturday in college baseball. Make no mistake, the pressure is getting to teams all around the country. You'll see what I mean as you read on.

So here with the good and bad of today's action is our usual Three Up-Three Down list.

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THREE UP---
The good news surrounding college baseball on this Saturday.
1- The top 10 upsets of the day.
Here they are:
1-
(1) Miami - 6
Virginia Tech - 7
C'mon, it's a long season. You can't expect a No. 1 team to play at the top of its game all season. Right? But this marked the first ever win for the Hokies over the Hurricanes in their program's history. And it looks like Tech celebrated too much, because they lost game two 9-2 after getting just four hits.

2-
(13) Wichita State - 3
Evansville - 6
A languid season by the Aces gets a shot in the arm today. With just their 14th win of the season, the Aces also won in MVC play for just the 4th time. WSU's RPI, already getting dragged down this weekend, just got a little worse by suffering the unexpected loss.

3-
Pacific - 10
(10) UC Irvine - 9 (10inns)
The Anteaters get five runs in the bottom of the 9th to send the game to extras, only to allow the Tigers to score a run in the 10th and gather just their 4th win of the season in Big West play. They are now 11-36 on the season.

4-
(21) N. C. State - 2
Maryland - 6
Terps win means they are assured of their first winning season since 2002. One more W and we're talking about just the second 30-win season in school history. More on this below.

5-
Pittsburgh - 5
Notre Dame - 3
The 10th-place Panthers are giving some misery to the Irish, who entered the day a half-game back of 1st place St. John's. Starting pitcher Rob Brant and reliever Ricky Breymeir, who both came into the game with 7+ ERAs for the Panthers, combined to hold ND to just five hits.

6-
(9) San Diego - 3
San Francisco - 6
The Dons still have a chance at making this rematch in the WCC playoffs (which matches up the top two teams in the standings), so this win was really, really big. Plus, getting a W with Josh Romanski on the mound for the Toreros is pretty freakin' clutch.

7-
Tulane - 10 10
(24) East Carolina - 8 8
That the Green Wave would beat ECU isn't such a huge upset, but that they would do so in two consecutive games in one day at Clark-LeClair Stadium, is stunning. The Greenies stay boiling hot as cleanup hitter Rob Segedin garners 9RBI on the day, including a home run.

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(Anthony Scelfo and Warren McFadden did a slam dance on a fly ball at ECU today, but Scelfo was able to make the catch)


8-
Cal Poly - 11
(15) Cal State Fullerton - 4
Oh what could've been. Maybe THIS was the team that Larry Lee was expecting to have this season. With injuries and plain bad luck taken into consideration, the baseball Gods haven't been shining down on the Mustangs this year, but this was one of their better performances. This was CP's first win at Goodwin Field since 2002.

9-
(12) South Carolina - 3
Arkansas - 6
The Hogs win their second game in a row vs. the visiting Gamecocks, thus improving their stock for a berth in the SEC tournament (they're still on the outside looking in) and for an at-large berth to the NCAAs. Man, what has happened to South Carolina? They're 3-7 in the last 10 SEC matches.

10-
Auburn - 11
Ole Miss - 1
Can the Tigers actually reach the post-season? They're giving it the old college try, especially after this rout today. They still stand at 11-15, tied with Tennessee just outside the top eight in the SEC. Keep in mind the RPI is in the mid-60s for now, but this will help in gaining some RPI points, no doubt.

And now the rest of the Three Up list...

2- Georgia.
Beat Vanderbilt 4-2 by rallying for two runs in the 9th and two in the 10th.
Up until today's unlikely win, UGa had been 0-15 when trailing after eight innings. But today, the Dogs rallied in the 9th, with the help of a Pedro Alvarez error (the one weakness to his game, from what I've seen) and a Ryan Peisel game-tying RBI single. Then in the 10th, Ryan Poythress knocked in the game-winning RBI single. Georgia now has a three game lead in the SEC with four to play.

3- St. John's.
Won both ends of a double header at South Florida 8-1 and 4-3.
With Notre Dame losing to 10th-place Pitt, the Redmen, er... I mean, Red Storm (which begs the question, what IS a Red Storm?) now take a two-game lead on the Irish with just four games to play. SS Jeff Grantham went 3-for-4 in both games, hitting the game-winning homer in the 10th inning of game two. SJU is now 39-10 on the season.


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THREE DOWN---
The bad news surrounding college baseball on this Saturday.
1- Texas Tech.
Lost 13-3 at Oklahoma State.
Today's loss by the Red Raiders assures them of a losing season, the first time they've been on the South side of the ledger in a season since 1987.

2- The Sunshine Network's choice of games to televise.
Can anyone explain to me the reason why the 19-2, mercy-ruled win by Florida State over Savannah State was on TV today? OOOF!

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(Savannah pitching coach Emmanuel Wheeler shows his frustration in another big loss at FSU. Yes, that does show that it was the 3rd inning on the header above.)


3- Louisiana-Monroe
Lost at home to Troy for the second day in a row, 24-6.
The Red Hawks have now given up 35 runs in two games to the Trojans, both losses. Troy got grand slams from both Charley Williams and Brock Kelley in the white-washing. Coupled with New Orleans' win over Arkansas-Little Rock, UL-M is now tied atop the Sun Belt standings (though percentage points behind). But when you consider Monroe is 3-7 in its last 10 and UNO is 10-0, you can see that the light at the end of the UL-M tunnel is an oncoming train.

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MAYBE I CAUGHT THEM ON A BAD DAY---
N. C. State - 2
Maryland - 6
Last week, when I did my "Surprise Teams" for 2008 for the boys at College Sports Tonight, the second team I mentioned was the Wolf Pack, who at the time were sitting at No. 8 in the RPI. But I also said, "I don't know too much about them, I hope to see them down the stretch." Well, today, with the help of Fox Sports Florida, I saw them. And I evidently saw them at their worst.

Should this game reaffirm my thoughts that there is certainly something horribly, horribly wrong with the RPI if this team is near the top 10? Today, their offense was handcuffed by an inspired performance from Terp senior Kevin Biringer, who went 8.0 innings, giving up just two runs and scattering eight hits in what is his last home game at UMd.

NC State ace Clayton Shunick, on the other hand, gave up 11 hits in 6.0 innings of work and dropped to 6-5 on the season. Man, this team could really use Eric Surkamp and Eryk McConnell back to their old selves.


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WHAT I SAW ON FOX SPORTS SOUTH---
Miss. State - 4
LSU - 16
I have to admit, after seeing MSU's Grant Hogue easily steal third and then run home on the errant throw by Tiger starter Blake Martin, followed by a listless error at 3rd by Michael Hollander that allowed Tyler Moore to reach first, images of their malaise-ridden Smoke Laval days crept back in my mind.

Not only that, but three of the first six outs of LSU's lineup were out on the first swing of their at-bats and two of the first six outs came by way of looking at the third strike. I was getting bad vibes man. Bad vibes.

But from that point on, LSU went all 90s-like on the Dogs, smashing four screaming homers into the hot, humid jet stream and cruising from there to another easy W. Blake Dean hit a three-run shot to get things started in the 3rd, Leon Landry added a two-run shot and Ryan Schrimpf hit a bomb over the tall centerfield wall and another yard call later in the game.

Gotta give some props to once-struggling SS DJ LeMahieu as he made a handful of great backhand stops and did not commit an error on the day.

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BERTMAN'S FIRST REQUEST
During the game, color commentator Larry Conley asked ex-coach Skip Bertman what his first thing he wanted changed when he came to the LSU campus as head coach. Skip said, "The first thing I told the guys here was to expand and paint the women's bathrooms and add baby changing tables. They couldn't believe what I was saying but my point was 'Guys, if the women don't come to the games, the men won't be allowed to go either.'"

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THUMBS DOWN TO THE ANNOUNCER
Play by play announcer Dan Neal for opening the broadcast by saying it was a "glorious day" in Baton Rouge for the game. Then, in the first inning, after noticing the already soaked jerseys of the players and the fans behind home plate in constantly fanning themselves, Neal said, "Today's easily the hottest day of the year with temperatures well into the 90s and reaching triple digits on the field." My Scandanavian blood wouldn't find that so glorious.

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IS IT JUST ME, OR ARE THERE TRAIN TRACKS NEXT TO JUST ABOUT EVERY COLLEGE BASEBALL STADIUM?

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Here's the tracks next to Alex Box. And Dan Neal also said during the contest, "That's one thing I'm not going to miss about Alex Box, the railroad tracks going right behind the stadium." Blasphemy.


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ONE LAST CLOSING SHOT---
Just thought I'd say at this point that My Morning Jacket's performance on Saturday Night Live was pretty damn cool.

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(My Morning Jacket jamming out to "I'm Amazed" on SNL tonight)

Besides, when was the last time you saw one of those "Flying V" 80s-style guitars like the Hair Metal bands used to use? Bitchin' man.


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Okay, now I'm going to go and finish watching my Netflix rental of The Descent. Hope it's as good as this Saturday of college baseball, but I doubt it.

The Ouch List is just 24 hours away.

G'night.

Comments

Did anyone tell Dan Neal that they're moving/downgrading the stadium 200 yards to the south of it's current location? The railroad tracks will still be there.

And LSU tearing down the Box is the only real blasphemy here. It's the perfect example of what happens when an athletic department finds itself with too much money. They couldn't improve a dorm on that campus or build new lab space?

Oh, and why they were at it, they fired one of the only real heroes from the Katrina mess: Chancellor O'Keefe. Pathetic, LSU. Pathetic.

Roll Wave!

Although they won't be as close to Dan Neal and the pressbox at the new Alex Box Stadium, those same train tracks will run just beyond the outfield wall. Choo, choo!!

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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