The Mike Rooney Opus

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on July 21st, 2014 in National stuff Comments: 3

  THE JOURNEY TO OMAHA (vol 2) July 21, 2014 by Mike Rooney   At the end of every season, college baseball coaches inventory their program.  What are the areas where we need to improve?  It is player acquisition, player development, facility upgrades, staff changes, or fundraising?  The typical target list is quite large so [...]

 
 

The Distillers’ Dozen: Our Man Roons & the Post Omaha Buzz

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on July 8th, 2014 in National stuff Comments: 3

Knowing him as I do, THIS is the championship trophy that Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin wishes he was really holding in his hands.

Knowing him as I do, THIS is the championship trophy that Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin wishes he was really holding in his hands.

Okay StitchHeads, this seems like a yearly occurrence for me… I come home from the College World Series and intend to write a wrap-up column of sorts. Then, lethargy sets in and I can’t seem to write a thing for a week.

 

So here you go – a week late at that – my CWS wrap-up and season commentary. But to kick off our Distillers’ Dozen, the “Inside” of our “high and Inside” baldcasts has decided to enter the written word in our college baseball world. Here are Mike Rooney’s Journey To Omaha notes:

 
 

The ‘Dores of Perception – Break on Through to the Other Side

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 25th, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 4

 

CWS2014_ONLYONE_V3

 

And it’s the Vanderbilt Commodores…

CWS-VandyChamps

You might’ve heard it in the post-game press conference. Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said that he almost wishes he WASN’T from Omaha because he feels that fact puts so much attention on him and takes attention away from his players. Tim Corbin echoed those sentiments about how big this was for his players and how much it meant to him to see his players succeed and win the title. You heard it back on Saturday after his team beat Texas and he just sat on the bench watching his players celebrate and saying, “It like watching your kids open their presents at Christmas. You don’t grab a present of your own and start opening it, you watch your kids and the joy they get from opening theirs.”

 
 

Having A Cavalier Attitude

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 24th, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 2

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Virginia didn’t let themselves get in their own way this time. They also didn’t trip over their lip. It was a no-nonsense, nose-to-grindstone type of performance for the Wahoos, and it showed.

 

No wild number of walks. No hit batsmen. No flinging the ball into the stands on routine plays – okay, maybe that happened once, but you get my drift. This is the Virginia team that we saw in the final six innings last night and the team that has been near the top of the polls all season long, playing at an Appalachian-like high, man.

 

Tonight’s 7-2 win for the blue & orange sets up a winner-take-all College World Series finale on Wednesday night. As it should be, right? This is good stuff.

 
 

The Commodores Are Easy Like Sunday Mornin’.

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 23rd, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 0

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For eight of the nine innings, Virginia looked far and away the better team. I mean, if this was a boxing match, the Cavaliers win by decision… a major decision. But for that one inning that they weren’t the better team? Whew! That was a doozy. Nathan Kirby looked so sharp in his three-up, three-down innings in the 1st and 2nd. Then all the sudden, it all went to hell in a hand basket with a meltdown like the CWS hadn’t seen since the days of LSU All American Ben McDonald. One inning. One damn, nasty, ugly, fugly inning.

 

And as you guys know, in our sport that’s all it takes to win a game… or in this case, to lose a game.

 
 

V for Vendetta.

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 23rd, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 0

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Okay dudes and dudettes.

 

We’re at that magical point in the season. 300 teams have hung up the cleats or packed them away for the summer leagues spread out around the country. Two teams are still alive, vying for that uber-elusive national title. The sad part is, both Virginia and Vanderbilt have been through so much this season, they both deserve a championship here in Omaha. But… there can only be one.

 

Here’s a little ditty that Mitch Sherman and I knocked out after the Vandy-Texas game was done. (Please feel free to ignore the fact that I said the game ended in the 11th inning, instead of the 10th… eh, it happens from time to time.) Here’s the link for the video. Enjoy.

And if you wanna check out a piece that Mitch wrote for the MotherShip on Virginia’s version of Dingerville, Click your mouse here.

 

Also, the venerable Ryan McGee added this column to the site as well, concerning the ACC’s national title drought: Click here to check it out.

 

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JEREMY’S NOTES. 

Some need-to-know stuff about the CWS finals:

2014 College World Series Finals Vanderbilt (49-20) vs (3) Virginia (52-14)
TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha, NE
Game 1   Monday, June 23        8 ET on ESPN
Game 2   Tuesday, June 24       8 ET on ESPN
Game 3   Wednesday, June 25     8 ET on ESPN (if necessary)
Virginia will be the home team for Game 1.
Vanderbilt will be the home team for Game 2.
If necessary, a coin flip will determine the home team for Game 3.
- DEFENDING CHAMPION
UCLA won its first baseball title last year, but the Bruins did not make the NCAA Tournament this year.
 
- SERIES HISTORY
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 2-0, with the first meeting taking place in 1892!
The teams most recently met in 2004, with Vanderbilt beating Virginia 7-3 in the championship game of the Charlottesville to advance to Super Regionals for the first time.
- Vanderbilt-Virginia All-Time Meetings
2004   Vanderbilt 7, Virginia 3 <<
1892   Vanderbilt 5, Virginia 4
>> NCAA Tournament
 
- NCAA RANKING COMPARISON (out of 296 teams)
               Vanderbilt       Virginia
BA             .281 (73rd)      .279 (84th)
Runs PG        5.7  (68th)      5.5  (90th)
HR             21   (t-125th)   33   (t-48th)
ERA            2.79 (20th)      2.24 (3rd)
Fielding Pct   .975 (T-24th)    .982 (3rd)

- CWS FINALS STORYLINES
1. Vanderbilt and Virginia are both seeking their first title in baseball. Vanderbilt has one national championship – women’s bowling in 2007 – while Virginia has won 20 NCAA titles.

2. After last year’s College World Series set a new record with only 6.1 runs per game, we’re on pace to go even lower this season. Entering the CWS Finals, the average game has seen 5.4 runs. Only three teams have reached five runs in a game; since the CWS expanded to eight teams, there has never been a year when fewer than six hit that mark.

3. With Vanderbilt still alive, the SEC has a team competing in the CWS Finals for the seventh straight season. The Commodores are the sixth different SEC school to play for the title since 2008 and could become the fourth different SEC school to win a title (LSU has six, South Carolina two, Georgia one).

4. Virginia has a chance to snap one of the longest droughts in college baseball. The ACC hasn’t won a title since 1955, when Wake Forest won the College World Series in the conference’s second year of existence.

5. Both teams are still alive due to their bullpens. Vanderbilt has not had a quality start in any of its four CWS games, but its relievers are 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA. Virginia’s bullpen has been even better, not allowing a run in 14 innings in Omaha.

6. There have been four walk-off wins in this year’s College World Series, tied with 1960 for the most in a single year. Vanderbilt reached the CWS Finals after a walk-off against Texas, while Virginia is one of eight teams with two walk-off wins in a single CWS.

General Information
 
- Vanderbilt and Virginia are both seeking their first title in baseball. The Commodores only have one national title in any sport – women’s bowling in 2007; Virginia has won 20 NCAA championships, most recently men’s tennis in 2013.
- NCAA Championships
Virginia      20
Vanderbilt     1 <<
>> Seeking 1st men’s title
- Ten years ago, it would have been hard to believe that these two teams were meeting in the CWS Finals. But Tim Corbin and Brian O’Connor have turned around their respective programs.
- Vanderbilt Baseball History
            Before Corbin    Under Corbin
Seasons     114              12
Win pct     .509             .674
Regionals   3                10
CWS         0                2
- Virginia Baseball History
            Before O’Connor    Under O’Connor
Seasons     115                11
Win pct     .527               .744
Regionals   3                  11
CWS         0                  3
* This is the fourth time in the last nine years that both teams in the CWS Finals are seeking their first baseball title. Before that, you have to go back all the way to 1982 to find both finalists seeking their first title.
 

 

I spent my past 36 hours or so driving around Iowa and seeing the sights, including John Wayne’s birthplace and the Bridges of Madison Country. But the highlight of my trek was getting a tour of the Templeton Rye Whiskey distillery. It has been around since the 1910s and during Prohibition, Al Capone had it delivered to him in Chicago in hugh-hush fashion.

The tiny distillery in the tiny town of Templeton

The tiny distillery in the tiny town of Templeton

 

 

 

 
 

Live By the Sword, Die By the Sword.

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 21st, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 3

UT:VU-Mobbed

Before I get to the two games that decided our CWS Championship Finalists in Virginia and Vanderbilt, two programs whose mascots are sword-wielding Swashbucklers, I’ve got a short rant to vent about here first.

 
 

Thornhill & Lightning: Two Forces of Nature

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 20th, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 1

CWS-June20thStorm

Day Seven of the College World Series was quite eventful. Two very strong forces of nature wielded their unmatchable power: Nathan Thornhill and Mother Nature.

 
 

The Final Four-Leaved Clovers of June Madness

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 20th, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 0

The Rebels are one of the last four teams still dancing... or jumping in unison seven-at-a-time.

The Rebels are one of the last four teams still standing… or jumping in unison seven-at-a-time.

 

We’re down to the Final Four.

 

If you started the season and was told that the Final Four in June Madness was going to be Vanderbilt, Virginia, Texas and Ole Miss, would you have been surprised? Well, okay you Mississippi State fans, I’m SURE you didn’t have the Rebels making it here, but how about the rest of you?

 

I don’t think this year’s post-season is all that shocking in the end. Sure there were a bunch of stunners through the Regionals and Super Regionals. And yes, the seeding was pretty crappy as you can attest by there now being seven of the eight national seeds landing on their canastas.

 
 

Horns Go Long to Eliminate the Anteaters

By Eric Sorenson . Posted on June 18th, 2014 in College World Series Comments: 0

The Texas Longhorns celebrate their nip-and-tuck 1-0 win over UC Irvine in a battle of small-ball offenses which was decided by a long ball.

The Texas Longhorns celebrate their nip-and-tuck 1-0 win over UC Irvine in a battle of small-ball offenses which was decided by a long ball.

 

Oh boy. Gorilla Ball is officially back.

 

Hide the women and children. Gorilla Ball returned to Omaha again tonight as the Texas Longhorns beat the UC Irvine Anteaters 1-0 on a big yard call from C.J. Hinojosa in the seventh Inning… you know, one of those 340-foot hits that used to clear the outfield fence just like in the old days? Welcome back to it rock-n-rollers.