CWS: Anticipation Day

By Glenn Tanner - June 21, 2006

Today's my favorite day of CWS week. Today's the day that even if you haven't had a real rooting interest, you have at least one huge rooting interest today.

North Carolina and Fullerton play at 4 pm, followed by Rice and Oregon State.

If North Carolina and Rice win today, there will be no baseball tomorrow. That's a bad thing. And since the NCAA changed the format a couple of years ago and added an off-day on Friday, wins by UNC and Rice would mean no baseball two days in a row. That's a terrible thing.

So in today's first game, the few hundred UNC fans who made the trip will be rooting for the Tar Heels, and everyone else in the stadium will act like long-time Fullerton fans. Given the way the Titans have persevered this week, you can't blame them.

Fullerton lost that heart-breaking 13-inning game to UNC to open the week, a game where about five different Titans could have blamed themselves for the loss, most particularly Cory Vanderhook. If their next game against Georgia Tech was a game of Horse, the Titans had H-O-R-S and needed a blind-folded, backwards, granny-style heave from half-court to avoid E. And they got it, in the form of Vanderhook's redeeming 100-foot bizarre-hop miracle two-run infield single. They looked close to dead yesterday, too, as they kept trotting out pitchers with stomach ailments. But those guys showed their guts by battling rather than by barfing, and they're here to play another day. And hopefully another day after that.

Things look bad again, though, as they were forced to use ace Wes Roemer last night in relief. He'll start tonight's game, too, and will need to show the guts the Titans have shown since Sunday and then some to pull this one off. One thing's for sure -- he'll have plenty of support from the stands.

Rice has been the overwhelming favorite of the locals this week, but you can bet that if UNC does beat Fullerton, the locals will turn into Beaver backers for at least a day. Rice is in the odd situation of arguably having a pitching deficit in the game even though they've only played two games. I told someone that I thought Miami would beat Rice Monday because I didn't like Rice's starters after Degerman. Wayne Graham apparently didn't either, as he started his closer Cole St. Clair and used him five innings against the Canes. Bryce Cox, the new closer, also pitched 2.2 innings that game, so Rice will have to rely on a group of pitchers that they obviously don't have a great deal of confidence in.

If NBA Commissioner David Stern were running the CWS, he'd have Dick Bavetta and Bennett Salvatore calling balls and strikes tonight, and there would be no doubt that there would be games tomorrow. But he's not, and we're sweating out today in nervous anticipation.

So it's root, root, root for the loser's bracket, if they don't win it's a shame.

Posted by Glenn Tanner at 12:32 PM on June 21, 2006
Comments (2)


Great comments, Glenn. As an Owl fan, unfortunately for you in Omaha, I am rooting for no baseball in bracket #2 tomorrow.

Speaking of state secrets, any clue who is pitching in the Rice-OSU game? Savery for the Owls, someone very, very tired for the Beavers, hopefully?

Thanks, Daryl.

Savery's arm is hurt, and I think he's done for the year.

Degerman should go tomorrow on four days of rest. You have to like the Owls' chances with him.

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