April 15, 2007

UCLA-USC: Just getting started. Cold song on P.A.

The P.A. is cranking out the Rolling Stones' "She's So Cold." But in truth it's a brisk 60-degree day here in South Central and full of sunshine. In other words, about 30 degrees warmer than any other college baseball locale in the country this weekend.

There's one of those Nike Football camps going on behind us where the SC football team usually practices. And the ladies water polo team (mmmmm. water polo chicks) are having a big shindig at the pools behone the right field foul territory.

Big day here at USC. But as you may know, UCLA has already won this series with yesterday's three-run ninth-inning rally.

February 03, 2007

Winthrop wins

Winthrop closer Jonathan Settle picked up a save and the Eagles win 6-4 at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles. The two teams play the rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. PST.

Weisser time

UCLA right fielder Mickey Weisser gets a chance to be a hero here in the bottom of the ninth with Winthrop leading 6-4. With runners on the first and second base, Weisser is up to bat with one out.

It also looks like Winthrop is contemplating another pitching change after closer Jonathan Settle plunked UCLA first baseman Tim Stewart.

What a catch!

Winthrop made its second dynamite defensive play of the game to keep its 6-4 lead over UCLA. This time, it was first baseman Eddie Tisdale, who snagged a low line drive from UCLA pinch hitter Eddie Penniall and tagged up UCLA's Ryan Babineau for the unassisted double play.

Pair Tisdale's play with the diving catch made earlier in center field by Tommy Lentz and the Eagles have more than made up for a pair of errors earlier in the game.

One more time

UCLA pinch hitter Brady Dolan took 11 pitches on the next at-bat following Dustin Quist, but he couldn't get on base, hitting a fly out to right field.

The extended at-bats put an end to Winthrop reliever Ryan Mullins, who has been replaced by Jonathan Settle, a 6-foot-6, 237-pound senior right hander. Settle is the Eagles' closer.

Impressive at-bat

UCLA pinch hitter Dustin Quist just finished a 10-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning with a walk. Winthrop still leads 6-4.

Still on top

Winthrop still leads UCLA, 6-4, heading into the eighth inning and the Eagles can thank center fielder Tommy Lentz. Mickey Weisser roped a single that put runners on the corners with two outs in the seventh inning and pinch hitter Gabe Cohen appeared to deliver when he hammered a ball into deep center field.

But instead of the freshman delivering in his first at-bat, Lentz made a diving catch to end the inning.

Lentz making plays like that isn't a surprise, since the senior was named the Big South Conference preseason player of the year and a preseason All-America player by the National College Baseball Writers Association.

Bullpen finally gets the call

Winthrop pitcher Ryan Schwartz looked shaky at the start but the right-hander settled down and managed to keep the Eagles on top of UCLA. Winthrop coach Joe Hudak let Schwartz go 6 2/3 innings before finally going to his bullpen, calling on lefty Ryan Mullins to try and get the Eagles out of the seventh inning.

Mullins will face right fielder Mickey Weisser, who had an RBI single, RBI sacrifice fly and struck out against Schwartz. UCLA has a runner on first base as well.

Worst entrance music ever?

UCLA sophomore Eddie Murray clearly has a good sense of humor. The third baseman selected the melodramatic song, "Trapped in a Closet" by R. Kelly for his entrance music when stepping into the batter's box.

It might make for a good music video, but it's not exactly going to draw big cheers from the crowd.

Getting back into it

Brandon Crawford hit a double into to the left-center field gap that got UCLA going in the bottom of the fifth inning. Tim Stewart followed with an RBI single and Mickey Weisser hit a sacrifice fly to help UCLA cut Winthrop's lead to 6-4 in the top of the sixth inning.

Coldest place in L.A.?

Trees surrounding UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium to the north and west don't exactly give fans a chance to watch a baseball game and work on a tan at the same time.

If anything, it sort of spoils the Southern California weather, as many fans stay warm in jackets and sweatshirts. Sure, it might help batters and fielders get a better look at the ball but the crew in the press box can't imagine a colder spot in Los Angeles.

The score is still chilly for the natives as well, as Winthrop leads 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Winthrop breaks it open

The Eagles now lead UCLA 6-2 heading into the bottom of the third inning but the Bruins faithful received some good news when they the men's basketball score was announced and UCLA held a big lead over Oregon State at halftime.

Gotta love a DP

Unless you're rooting for UCLA.

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead after the first inning but it looked like it could be a lot bigger lead than that. UCLA loaded the bases with no outs but ended up with just one run after a pop fly by Casey Haerther and left fielder Cody Decker hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Both pitchers needed over 20 pitches to get out of the first so this could come down to which team has a more prepared bullpen.

Entry level journalism

Part of the crowd is a group of journalism students from UCLA, who are going to interview players after the game as part of their training to become staff writers for the Daily Bruin. Leading the way is Bill Shaikin, a veteran reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Sounds like my kind of classroom.

On the field, it's 0-0 in the bottom of the first, but UCLA has runners on the corners with no outs.

Beautiful day for baseball

The sun is shining, the umpires are at home plate chatting it up while the starting lineups are being announced for UCLA and Winthrop. It's a decent crowd - especially when you consider that the UCLA men's basketball team tips off against Oregon State in less than an hour.

OK, the national anthem has been sung, time to play some ball!

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