Sunday Summations- 42 down. 22 to go.
I'm one of the lucky ones. There aren't many of you out there in Stitch-ball Nation that get to have two different regionals within driving distance of each other.
That's just what I did tonight, catching the San Diego win over Long Beach at Blair Field, then making the 22 minute drive over to Fullerton to see the Titans end Virginia's season with a 4-1 win.
With gas up in the $4.58 range here in SoCal (probably double what you're paying, right?), maybe it wasn't the smartest idea. But I'm a junkie, so I couldn't help myself. Across the L.A. basin I went in the name of stitch-ball's post-season. I'm sure there were plenty of people with similar frames of mind today at other regionals as well. We're all addicts.
(How important is college baseball? Even Roy Williams stuck out a rain delay to take in the North Carolina game in Cary today)
So after seeing what I saw today, what's my synopsis as these two regionals head to Monday finales? I like the momentum and depth of both San Diego and Cal State Fullerton, who both had to come back from the loser's bracket and now will play one of six regional game sevens.
Here's the slate for Monday:
Pepperdine at Stanford, 4pm
Georgia Tech at Georgia, 7pm
Tulane at Florida State, 7pm
Houston at Texas A&M, 7:30pm
Fresno State vs. San Diego (at Long Beach), 9pm
UCLA at Cal State Fullerton, 11pm
All times Eastern.
Now, here's what happened on Sunday, along with a few thoughts and notes:
Missouri - 6
Ole Miss - 9
Rebs come back from a 4-0 deficit to eliminate the Tigers. Got to see Ole Miss closer Scott Bittle for the first time this year as he struck out just about everybody that Mizzou dared to bring to bat. Logan Power-ered grand slam does the trick in the 8th. A no-doubter.
(Ole Miss stud hurler Scott Bittle shows us how he holds "The Thing" pitch. But I'm not so certain that Kurt Russell would approve... nor would it survive in the Antarctic)
Miami - 11
Ole Miss - 2
No surprise here. Sure, there were some hairy moments in the three game sweep, but today wasn't one of them. Ole Miss had to be totally out of energy. That heat and the pressure made it look like they were mailing it in here. Three errors really killed the Reb chances as the U raced out to a 7-2 lead after three innings. Eric Erickson, Kyle Bellamy and Carlos Gutierrez combined on the seven-hitter for the Canes.
Michigan - 6
Kentucky - 12
Bat Cats exact some revenge on the slightly weakened Wolverines from Friday's 2-run loss. UK blitzed out to a 7-1 lead after an inning and never really looked back after that. Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill scored five of the 12 runs and knocked in four RBI between them. Michigan can only kick itself for leaving 17 men on base during the game.
Arizona - 5
Kentucky - 3
I predicted the Wildcats would win!... wait, you already knew that. My bad. But UofA did come out and 3-zip the field in Ann Arbor. Shades of the 2004 outfit that stunned its way to Omaha. The Cats were far and away the best team. Eric Berger picked up win No. 8 on the year. But UK tried to counter with using eight different pitchers today, but to no avail. Bobby Coyle's first home run of the year put Arizona up to stay at 2-0 in the 2nd inning.
James Madison - 5
South Carolina - 7
The Dukes weren't content with just showing up here. But the Gamecocks, who have been stymied a tad (that is of course, if you consider seven runs being stymied) had just enough offense to outlast JMU.
No. Carolina State - 2
South Carolina - 1
Guess what? And be ready to put this in big 72-point type headlines... Good pitching beats good hitting. The Pack ends the Cocks' season in a pitcher's duel. Yes, the words "pitcher's duel" and "Gamecocks" in the same sentence. But it was the Pack that lived up to its billing here, holding SC to three hits on the night. State has now gone 15.1 innings without having its bullpen give up a run.
Georgia - 14
Lipscomb - 3
Again, the Bison fall victim to one of those one-hit wonder type of things. No way the Dogs were going to lose this game. They get all the scoring they need with four runs in the first, with Gordon Beckham starting things with an RBI single and Rich Poythress knocking in two more runs on another single. Kind of wonder why Nathan Moreau was kept in the game all the way until the 7th. After a 6-0 lead after two, that lead was safe.
Georgia Tech - 0
Georgia - 8
Bulldogs don't just rebound. They rebound with a menace tougher than anything Glenn Danzig could throw out there. Nick Montgomery, a not-so-well-known senior arm, threw his first complete game on the mound, holding the Techsters to four hits and striking out nine along the way. This means the two rivals are tied in their season series at two games a piece. Tie-breaker comes tomorrow. Who's your money on?
Virginia - 1
Cal State Fullerton - 4
A tough season for UVa ends in a tough fashion. I'm not saying that this would've won the game for the Cavs, but in the 6th inning, and with the bases loaded and NO outs, the Wahoos hit into a potential 4-6-3 double play, but Greg Miclat was ruled out at second base AND a runner's interference for "rolling into the fielder." So instead, the Cavs had two outs, and the man on third had to return to his base.
Obviously, Wahoo coach Brian O'Connor was livid. It wasn't a blatant call. It wasn't even a "roll" by the runner. As you guys probably saw on TV, it was just slight contact. Bad call. And despite what Coach O'Connor says, it easily cost UVa a chance at picking up a W tonight. Huge call. Huge wrong call.
(Virginia coach Brian O'Connor had good reason to be hacked at 2nd base umpire Marc Lewis since it was his "runner's interference" call that shot the Cavs chances at a comeback.)
UCLA - 8
CSUF - 11
You heard ESPN announcers Clay Matvick and Kyle Peterson say it, UCLA was its own worst enemy tonight. Walks, HBP's, fielding gaffes, mental errors, etc. Unfortunately, the Bruins did it all tonight. Can you believe how different of a team this was from the one that beat the Titans the night before? That's why there will be a seventh and deciding game in the cool air of Fullerton tomorrow night.
The Titans played like the post-season veterans they are. Stealing bases, sacrificing, taking the extra base, playing good defense, making few mental errors and supplying the pressure. Let's see how that shakes out tomorrow. My money is on the Titans.
Stanford - 8
UC Davis - 4
See. The Cardinal just wanted to wait until it was REALLY important before they beat the Aggies. But it was also the WAY they did it that hurts. The Trees score five runs in the top of the 9th, two on a Brett Milleville home run and RBI singles from Zach Jones, Jake Schlander and Cord Phelps. Good season for Rex Peters and UCD. At 35-23, the Ags surpassed any and all expectations.
Pepperdine - 1
Stanford - 13
Ouch. The Cardinal came back with a mean demeanor tonight. And they never took the foot off the neck of the Waves. Cord Phelps and Toby Gerhart, the top two bats in the lineup, both went yard and combined for six hits, six runs and four RBI. Mound starter Danny Sandbrink threw a complete-game six hitter. And considering he had LONG waits between mound duties while the offense went off on PU, that's doing yeoman's work.
TCU - 8
Oklahoma State - 9
Little surprised the Pokes laid an L on Andrew Cashner, who is a really good reliever with nasty stuff. But then again, the IS Gary Ward U. Great back-and-forth game I wish I was at. TCU scores five in the 8th and one in the 9th to tie the game at eight. But Jordy Mercer jacked the first offering of the 9th from Cashner over the center field wall.
Wichita State - 11
Oklahoma State - 7
For the Shockers, it was pretty easy: just rely on your talented arms, right? Well, somehow that plan backfired to an extent, as tonight it took WSU's potent bats to score two runs in the 9th and four in the 10th to account for the regional-sealing win in Stillwater. clinton McKeever smashed a grand slam to account for the four run margin. That's so like the Shockers of the 90s if you ask me.
Florida State - 24
Bucknell - 9
You knew this would happen. I mean, nobody gets revenge quite like Mike Martin when he has the horses.
Tulane - 8
Florida State - 17
Buster Posey slams four home runs on the day as the 'Noles keep putting up football-like numbers since that inexplicable loss to Bucknell.. Ho-hum. Now... who here is going to bet against the Seminoles in tomorrow's second championship game? I didn't think there were any takers to that one. Good luck Greenies. I'm not sure if anyone here thinks you can do it.
UNC-Wilmington - 15
Elon - 11
At first I was impressed with Elon's six-run 6th inning. But that was the kidding pool compared to the Seahawks' tidal wave of a 9th inning which saw them score 11 runs. Eleven!! (And I don't use exclamation points often). Right fielder Bobby Leaper went 4-for-5 with three ribs to pace a 14-hit attack. Then again, the winner here was just fodder for the Heels to toy with. Right?
UNC-Wilmington - 3
North Carolina - 7
Hmmm. Did we really expect anything different? UNC rolls fairly easily in this regional. A very dangerous Coastal Carolina team comes calling this coming weekend. Be careful UNC. Or better yet, be concerned.
(Back-up catcher Mark Fleury was a triple short of hitting for the cycle and had three RBI on the day to help beat the Seahawks)
East Carolina - 16
Alabama - 1
Guess the Pirates didn't like the rude treatment they got from the Tide on Friday. Too many offensive stars to mention, but Justin Bristow goes 7.0 innings, giving up just four hits and two walks. Improves to 9-2. Like they have most of the season, Bama ran out of quality arms.
Coastal Carolina - 24
East Carolina - 10
Jeez. Looks like Gorilla Ball doesn't just live in Baton Rouge. A 13-run 2nd inning put things out of reach and take all the drama out of it. But it didn't mean the fireworks were done with. CCU hit five dingers, including a pair by David Anderson, who also knocked in five Chanticleer runs. With the win, Coastal ends the regional round with a record of 50-12. Sweet!
Nebraska - 0
Oral Roberts - 8
Well, tickets for the College World Series just got a whole lot easier for those going to The O without them (like me and my buds). Can't say I'm shocked by this one, I saw ORU play at Pepperdine earlier this season and they looked legit to me. But even with the light-hitting Huskers I wouldn't have guessed a two-hit shutout. Kelly Minisale went 8.1, giving up the two hits and Michael Jarman getting the final two outs (C'mon coach, you're up by eight. Just let Minisale polish things off. He wasn't going to give up two grand slams.)
UC Irvine - 8
Oral Roberts - 0
Tonight, Bryce Stowell struck out a career-high 13 Eagle hitters and Sean Madigan had a career-high five RPI to pace the Anteaters to a breezy rout of ORU. Think of the notches of victims in the UCI bullet belt: Texas, Wichita State and now, Nebraska. They've won in some tough places the last two years. With the W, Irvine moves on to Baton Rouge. Is this a great Super matchup or what?
Special props to Oral Roberts. If not for a team that is fundamentally sound and pitching strong like the Anteaters, it would be their second Super Regional in three years.
Southern Miss - 8
New Orleans - 2
Merely fodder for the Tiger cage.
LSU - 11
USM - 4
Again, the Tigers keep plastering people all over the yard. It wasn't the home run this time, though Leon Landry did go yard to put LSU up 3-0 in the 2nd inning. But Blake Dean had the big blow with a bases-loaded triple in the 6th inning to make this a no-brainer. This marks LSU's 17th regional title in program history.
Texas - 4
St. John's - 3
Credit the Horns for hanging one and moving to another regional title round. But also give some props to a game bunch of Johnnies. They came to play this weekend and showed well for the Big East, beating the Horns and playing Rice close until the bottom dropped out.
Rice - 7
Texas - 4
After committing two errors on one play in the 6th inning, the Owls found themselves in a 4-4 tie with their arch-nemesis Longhorns. But Wayne Graham got 2.1 innings of scoreless relief pitching from Bobby Bell and a three-run 7th inning to help put the Longhorns away and bring his Owls to their fourth consecutive Super Regional round.
Illinois-Chicago - 11
Houston - 14 (11inns.)
For the second year, the Flames just wanted to cause more trouble in the post-season (like last year's win over Long Beach). They got two walks and a wild pitch to help them score a game-tying four runs in the 9th inning to send the game to extras. But UofH got a crushing double from catcher Chris Wallace to account for the winning runs.
Texas A&M - 3
Houston - 4
The rabbit's foot is firmly in the Cougar pockets today as UofH completes the Flames-Aggies sweep and force another day of action. Another round of late-game heroics helped the Cougars pull out this win as well. Jake Stewart singled up the middle to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning at Olsen Field. Frosh Jared Ray threw a complete-game five hitter to get the win. it was Ray's first career complete game, the kind of performance a coach needs in the post-season to extend the season.
Long Beach State - 1
San Diego - 5
Great game. Heavy emphasis on strategy and situational hitting and fundamental pllays all the way around. In the end San Diego made one or two more solid plays and got a great effort from starting pitcher Ricardo Pecina, who went 7.0 innings with six Ks and relief ace A.J. Griffin, who picked up his 14th save of the year, a new single season record for saves.
(USD's Logan Gelbrich tags Dirtbag leadoff man Jordan Casas on a play at the plate in the 6th inning)
San Diego - 15
Fresno State - 1
Aye-yaye! Old 'Mo is wearing Torero powder blue (actually, I didn't go to this game, so I have no idea if they wore the same light blue jerseys like they wore in afternoon win over Long Beach). Without the injured stud that is Tanner Scheppers, you have to like the pitching depth of San Diego in this one. That's just life. Cruel, I know. But another freshman arm, Kyle Blair, stepped up, going 7.0 innings, giving up four hits and striking out nine to improve to 8-4 on the year.
(Rich Hill says one of the important factors of his team's success is to keep the dugout loose and energetic. I s'pose this is one way to do that, bringing new meaning to the words "rally caps")
Vanderbilt - 10
Oklahoma - 11
Oh my. You kiddin' me on this one? What a game this was (where the hell was my lear jet when I needed it?). VU and OU trade runs left and right and the Sooners get the last laugh with a pair in the bottom of the 9th on a dinger that supplied the dagger. So do you consider this game a microcosm of the NCAA selections? Judging by the two wins for OU over the Commodores, guess the Sooners desrved the at-large bid after all and that the SEC is weaker than the committee thought. You surprised? Or not?
Arizona State - 12
Oklahoma - 0
Oh really. Like you're going to act surprised over this? Josh Satow improved to 9-3 on the year with 7.1 innings of three-hit work. Nice.
Only 22 teams still alive in this college baseball season. Hope yours is one of them. We'll pare it down to 16 after tomorrow. I'll see what I can do about getting out to see the two nearby regionals. Though, to be honest with you, I wish I was in Tallahassee or in Athens for one of those rivalry games for all the marbles.
Happy Monday boys.