By Doug Kroll - February 28, 2008
Maybe some teams should think twice before scheduling non-Division I opponents thinking they are going to be easy wins early in the year. Wednesday saw a host of wins from the NAIA, D-III and D-II levels over Division I programs. That's never good, but it also saw a couple of memorable early season comebacks and games played in places where the temperatures reached into the low-30's and in some cases, the snow was falling.
The Biggest Embarrassments:
Millsaps (Division III) 17, Jacksonville State 3
Wow. I mean, wow. I know Millsaps is a perennial winner at the D-III level, but wow. 17-3? Jacksonville State is slated by some to win the Ohio Valley Conference. After beating Millsaps the night before, the Gamecocks dropped to 1-4 after falling behind 17-1 in the 6th inning. Luckily only 125 fans saw it. Maybe they can claim it never happened.
Mercyhurst (Division II) 9, St. Bonaventure 3
Do you see a pattern with these first two? These games weren't even close. The Lakers jumped out to an 8-2 lead after 6 innings and never looked back in a win at West Palm Beach. The loss drops the Bonnies to 2-2 while the Hurst improves to 5-3. Not the Spring Break trip they had in mind.
West Chester (Division II) at La Salle (Postponed due to cold)
That's what happens when you try to play baseball in Philadelphia on February 27, but maybe it was a good thing for the Explorers the way things panned out elsewhere in these matchups.
Lewis-Clark State (NAIA) 8, Washington 6
This one's not that embarrassing. Okay, a little bit, but not a lot. The Warriors have won the last two NAIA national championships and are ranked No. 1 in the latest NAIA poll. Thanks to three home runs in the final 3 innings, LCSC is now 17-17 against Division I opponents, and 11-2 overall on the season. They should do it more often.
Mobile (NAIA) 13, Southeastern Louisiana 1
Yikes, another blowout. Mobile is the No. 16 team in the NAIA and is now 15-3, but come on. 13-1? Jeez. No box score on this one, but it wasn't pretty. After starting the year with a 3-game sweep of Eastern Illinois and falling 4-3 to Tulane, this one hurts.
Wednesday's Biggest Slugfest:
Rice 12, Houston 11
Speaking of games that will hurt, tough one for the Cougars to swallow. Playing a non-Conference USA game in a Battle of Houston, the Coogs put a 6-spot up in the top of the 1st, and held leads of 9-3 and 11-5, only to see the Owls score the final 7 runs of the ball game, including 3 in the bottom of the 9th. The teams combined for 23 runs on 27 hits and 5 errors in a game that took 3:48 to complete. There was also an 18-minute glare delay at 5:51pm. Something that Rice is used to. Rice 1B J.P. Padron and C Adam Zornes combined to drive in 9 runs.
Best Game of the Day:
UCLA 5, UCSB 4 (13 Innings)
So it looks like the Bruins are going to be the Cardiac Kids of 2008. They beat Oklahoma 7-5 in the season opener on a blast in the 9th, fell 3-2 in 12 innings the next day and now come back to beat the Gauchos in a game that took 5:35 to complete. Yikes. I wonder how many of the 437 fans were left at Jackie Robinson Stadium at 11:40pm when the final out was made. Good thing they started at 6pm.
Biggest Disappointments Between Two D-I Schools:
With the focus earlier on the D-I schools that lost to non-D-I schools, we have to look at a couple of losses by programs that were head-scratching on Wednesday that took place against other Division I programs. Let's start in Miami.
Florida Gulf Coast 13, Florida International 1
Coach Turtle Thomas picked up his first career win on Tuesday night when FIU hung tough to beat Division II foe Barry in a see-saw affair, but that good feeling didn't last too long with this rout to Division I newbie FGCU. Don't look now but the Eagles are 4-0 with the lopsided win, while the Golden Panthers fall to 1-4. FIU managed only 2 hits while committing 3 errors on the night, while FGCU pounded out 18 hits. Look out A-Sun. I know they aren't postseason eligible, but they are going to wreck some havoc. I know Eric Sorenson won't be too happy if the Eagles are on top of the A-Sun and don't get to go to the conference tournament.
Appalachian State 18, Wake Forest 8
Wake Forest has been one of the under-the-radar teams in recent years. Just on the cusp of being one of the better teams in the ACC. But so far in 2008, the same can't be said. The Deacs dropped 2-of-3 at Pepperdine to start the season and now they're greeted with a lopsided loss in the home opener. The final loss out west was a 22-3 shellacking, which for your math majors, means WF has been outscored 40-11 in their last two ball games. They head to Dothan, Ala. for the Screentech Wiregrass Classic this weekend against Kennesaw State, Troy and Penn State. Hopefully for their sake they get some warm, dry weather.
Posted by Doug Kroll at 09:13 AM on February 28, 2008