June 10, 2006

Tuscaloosa: Flack ends it with a bomb

Chad Flack will remember this night as long as he lives. He hit two home runs in two innings driving in five runs including a walkoff shot in the bottom of the ninth to send them to Omaha.

North Carolina got a one out walk by Reid Fronk. Pinch-runner Matt Spencer took second on a David Robertson wild pitch. Robertson struck out UNC 3-hole hitter Josh Horton on a nasty slider. That brought up Chad Flack, whose three run home run in the eighth gave North Carolina the lead. Flack did it again, this time an opposite field shot to right.

And the crowd chants A-C-C, A-C-C, A-C-C.

Tuscaloosa: I was saying

Thanks to Dionne Warwick's psychic friends' network, I knew freshman Alex Avila was going to hit an opposite field three run bomb to give Alabama a 7-6 lead. The shot just slipped over the wall setting off an incredible celebration on the field, in the stands, and in the Alabama radio booth next door.

Tuscaloosa: High drama

North Carolina leads by two but here comes Bama. Two on and no outs with 4-5-6 coming up.

Should be memorable.

Tuscaloosa: Flack Attack

Chad Flack just sent a three-run home run to left to propel North Carolina into a 5-4 lead. For North Carolina, it is their first lead of the game. The Tar Heels are three outs away from Omaha.

Tuscaloosa: Tide adds a run

UNC reliever Matt Danford entered in the third was very effective throwing four-plus innings and allowing just one hit - the Downs’ home run. He did walk three and struck out three.

He left after walking Downs in the seventh and was replaced by Jonathan Hovis. Hovis was greeted by a Kody Valverde single. After Hovis fanned Evan Bush, he walked Alex Avila to load the bases for pinch-hitter Matt Bentley. On a 3-2 pitch, the .200 hitter Bentley lifted a fly ball to left allowing Downs to tag and score.

Alabama fans now lead the nation in mocking balk chants. The fans are playing way over their head though so that lead is tenuous.

Alabama leads 4-2 as we stretch.

Tuscaloosa: Crowd into it

Nothing gets the crowd into a game like a disputed call. Disputed balk calls are especially hair-raising since only four people in the world understand the balk rules. Alabama's Hunter picked off Jay Cox but was called for a balk bringing Coach Jim Wells out to argue and giving the crowd something to cheer for. Hunter didn't rebound quickly as he'd like throwing three straight balls to walk the next hitter.

With the tying run at second, Hunter coaxed a grounded to the hot corner and Downs raced Cox to the bag for the force.

We got us a fun one - 3-2 Crimson headed to the 7th.

Tuscaloosa: Real Men's weather

I spent the first three innings of the game in the stands soaking up the baseball atmosphere. Unlike in Fullerton, where I hear the weather is in the high 60s, it is in the 90s and sticky here. This is weather for real men, not those tofu eaters from the left coast (shot across the bow to Sorenson).

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Tuscaloosa: Wild Bard

Well, Daniel Bard throws really hard. You can ask any of the three Alabama batters he hit in his 2+ innings in game two Saturday. Those hit batters, along with two walks and three hits ended Bard's outing early. It could have been much worse since Alabama left six men on base in the first three innings and had two nailed at the plate.

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June 09, 2006

Tuscaloosa: Tar Heels take game one

Well, we didn't expect to see sixteen runs in this game. Miller was as good as advertised notching 11 Ks and giving up just five hits. LeBlanc wasn't sharp at all as North Carolina pounded out 17 hits - ten off of him.

Both teams kicked the ball around and really struggled on some plays that were not ruled errors. For a game with such hype, it was a disappointment. Of course, North Carolina's bats were very impressive and showed they are more than just a pitching-rich team.

North Carolina won 11-5

Tuscaloosa: Tar Heels get charitable

North Carolina made three seventh inning errors to allow Alabama to score a pair of runs. One that was especially troubling was first baseman Chad Flack's inability to catch the throw from second with his foot on base. Flack's footwork at the bag has been interesting as he has caught the ball and then stepped on the bag numerous times. This time he missed his toe-dance and allowed another run to score.

8-2 Heels in the 8th

Tuscaloosa: Heels chase LeBlanc

LeBlanc’s day ended after five and two-third innings and ten hits. He allowed a career high eight runs including two unearned runs. He struck out four and walked one.

Meanwhile Miller has allowed just two hits through five. He already has nine strikeouts. It is 8-0 UNC in the bottom of the sixth.

Tuscaloosa: So much for the 4-pitch inning

Wade LeBlanc was cruising through the fifth and was on his way to a 4-pitch inning. Jay Cox's easy ground ball to first somehow evaded Spencer Pennington extending the inning. The next hitter Tim "FedX" Federowicz slammed a two-run bomb to put UNC up 5-0. With the way Miller is pitching, they are in great shape.

Tuscaloosa: Just ain't fair

Andrew Miller finally gave up a hit. He has been masterful thus far. With his slider dipping down and away to lefties, he has stopped Alabama's three lefthanded hitters cold. Emeel Salem, Spencer Pennington, and Brandon Belcher are a combined 0-5 with 4 strikeouts.

Tuscaloosa: Cavasinni gets 3rd hit in 4 innings

There are Tar Heels and their are Heel spurs. Mike Cavasinni is a spur in Wade LeBlanc's cleat right now. Cavasinni has singled and scored twice and just got his third single of the game in the fourth. When the lights are brightest, sometimes the unsung guys emerge.

Tuscaloosa: Is not having range an error?

North Carolina added another run in the third thanks to a PFP (pitcher fielding play) error and a ball hit near second baseman Evan Bush that he couldn't get to. That's the downside of playing a corner infielder in the middle; it can really hurt defensively.

3-0 UNC at 2 1/2.

Tuscaloosa: Something to watch for

Wade LeBlanc is at 30 pitches through two innings. Andrew Miller is at 33. We'll see if either are around in the ninth. Also, Cavasinni just got another hit. Just goes to show you don't have to be 6'5 220 to play this game.

Tuscaloosa: Don't rub it

Alabama's Matt Downs just took a pitch off the lower leg from Miller. He hopped up and ran to first. Me, I'd probably be on the second IV bag by now.

Hitting Downs seemed to rattle Miller, as he has thrown six straight balls since and is in a mound visit from Scott Forbes now.

Tuscaloosa: Pitching, smitching

Josh Horton tired of hearing all this pitching talk. He promptly smacked the first pitch he saw from LeBlanc for a two-run bomb to right. Of course, the Alabama fan who got the ball threw it back, one of the dumbest sports traditions ever. Make a kid's day, don't throw it back.

2-0 Heels as Miller takes the hill.

Tuscaloosa: underway

The fans are pouring into Sewell-Thomas Stadium and the buzz is about watching the Crimson Tide ace Wade LeBlanc duel with Tar Heel ace Andrew Miller.

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Tuscaloosa: Behind the Scenes

Here's some inside info on what some are calling the marquee series of the weekend.

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June 08, 2006

North Carolina: Ram Tough

Both North Carolina and Alabama enter this weekend's best-of-three Super Regional series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with pristine 3-0 marks in the NCAA Tournament.

Continue reading "North Carolina: Ram Tough" »

June 07, 2006

Alabama: Here come the arms

The most competitive SuperRegional matchup of the weekend could very well be in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Both North Carolina and Alabama feature talented pitching staffs and dangerous offenses.

Continue reading "Alabama: Here come the arms" »

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