Canes and Cards Collide In CoMo

By Jay Dryburgh - June 01, 2007

It's a beautiful day at Taylor Stadium here in Columbia, Mo., where hopefully the rain will hold off. It was hot and humid this morning, but the cloud cover has moved off for now.

LHP Scott Maine will take the hill for Miami, and his counterpart will be Big East Pitcher of the Year RHP Zack Pitts. The line-up cards are all printed out, and as always, both teams have some interesting storylines to follow.

Taylor Stadium is a nice little brick park right between the Mizzou track and the fieldhouse. The dimensions are 340 down the lines, 370 to both alleys and 400 to straightaway center. However, the hitter's eye is attached to the wall, so it's got to be a shot to go yard in that part of the field.

Both lineup cards are out, and there aren't any real surprise for Louisville. CF Boomer Whiting, who leads the NCAA in stolen bases with 69, will hit first for the Cards. At the bottom of the lineup is the NCAA's smallest player. SS Chris Cates is 5'3" but I'm told he's looked "Jeter-esque" in the field at times this year. He has also only missed one game in his collegiate career (the second game of a double-header his freshman year) and has played in 222 straight since.

Batters five through seven are all Miami natives, including two Gulliver Prep alums. Gulliver has produced some solid players for the Canes over the years, but today 3B Chris Dominguez and DH Jorge Castillo will try to knock off their hometown team. RF Pete Rodriguez went to St. Thomas. They'll take on r-Jr. LHP Scott Maine.

For the Canes, Columbia, Mo. native CF Blake Tekotte will be the first Miami hitter to get a crack at Big East Pitcher of the Year Zack Pitts. I ran into Blake's dad a moment ago, Blake Sr., and he confessed that he is a Mizzou fan as well as a Canes fan, so it will be bittersweet for the Tekotte family no matter the outcome this weekend. 2B Jemile Weeks will bat clean-up, which is a little strange considering the switch-hitting Weeks has better power from the right.

My fearless prediction is that this game will be a bit of a pitcher's duel despite how successful both offenses have been. Maine has nasty stuff, and is near unhittable when he's locating his curveball. Maine struggled early on, but he's pitched much better than his 5-5 record would suggest. He's also had Tommy John surgery, and recovered from a life-threatening car accident that forced him to wear a protective mask all last season.

Pitts throws a straight fastball that will clock between 87-90 MPH, a 12-6 overhand curve, and a cut fastball. Pitts threw only 36 innings in his first two years of his collegiate career, and much of his recent success can be attributed to pitching coach Roger Williams who has coached multiple first round draft picks including Andrew Miller who has already been called by the Detroit Tigers. The Canes however have some big left-handed bats including 1B Yonder Alonso and RF Dennis Raben.

I'll post again when we are underway in Columbia.

Posted by Jay Dryburgh at 12:30 PM on June 01, 2007

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