Because of the heavy dose of rain we got in the L.A. area today, this is about as close as I got to a college baseball game today…
Before I get started on the day’s highs and lows, I wanted to take a second to tell you guys about the Santa Clara baseball video I got sent to me by assistant coach Gabe Ribas the other day. I totally meant to include it in my Baker’s Dozen of things from Thursday, but I had a brain fart and forgot about it until it was too late. My bad.
Anyway, check out this really well-shot and well-written piece on the Broncos baseball team. I love the camera angles and use of slo-motion for effect here. Very cool:
Okay, now that I’ve made amends for that, here is how the goods and the bads shook out in the college game today.
The best of the day in college baseball.
1- All the Extra Inning Drama.
Nine innings wasn’t enough to satisfy a lot of games across the country tonight. In fact, five games featuring teams in the NCBWA’s top 30 played extras on the day. While all the winners deserve kudos, these teams went on the road and gutted out big wins by working overtime.
- Big props to Oregon, who maintain their green-hot status with a huge 4-2 win in 10 innings at Stanford. Damn! Somebody pour a pale of water on these boys. UO has now won six of their last seven Pac 12 games. Gang Way for the Ducks!
- Are we seeing a resurgence at Oklahoma State? The Pokes went down to Austin and gutted out a 3-1, 11-inning win. You know, the kind of win this team hasn’t been pulling off yet this season. Considering the Cowboys came into this game with a 2-9 road record, this might even be a season-turner. OSU is now 18-14 overall and 5-5 in the Big 12.
- It almost would’ve been a shame if North Carolina had lost to Virginia, considering they out-hit the Cavs 10-to-3 and got a 8.0 inning, three-hit effort from starter Kent Emanuel. But it wasn’t until catcher Jacob Stallings hit a solo shot home run in the top of the 10th inning before the Heels were able to salt away the game.
2- Davidson’s Henry Sisson
There were a lot of great pitching efforts on this throw-your-ace Friday, but Sisson is the one who gets special mention for tossing a complete game no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Wofford. The freshman lefty had nine strikeouts, three walks and did commit one error which allowed his fourth base runner of the evening. It was the sixth no-hitter in school history and the first since 2001.
3- Purdue ace Joe Haase.
It’s getting to be a broken record, man. The dude went out and recorded his second straight scoreless outing, blanking Illinois and giving up just five hits in his 7.2 innings of work. He gave up no walks and struck out five as he improved to 6-0 on the season. Illini starter Kevin Johnson wasn’t too shabby either, going the distance and giving up eight hits with the three earned runs. Neither pitcher issued a walk and the game lasted a brisk 1:41 in time. The Boilers are now 26-5, 8-2 but are a perfect 9-0 in games that Haase has started this season.
- Indiana’s jog-off habit.
For the third time this week the Hoosiers have won a game on the final play of the game. In a 3-2 win over Michigan State, Michael Basil scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th inning. So yes, instead of a walk-off or a jog-off, you could call this a sprint-off. Earlier this week, the Hoosiers beat Ball State in the bottom of the 15th inning and also took down Indiana State with a bunt single in the 9th inning.
- Southern Utah’s Justin Neubauer.
The Thunderbirds are having a crap season so far, but today got a complete-game one-hitter from the left-handed junior to take down Summit League bully Oral Roberts by a 6-0 score. ORU had won the first two games in the series, 6-0 and 8-4.
- Love is “zero score” in tennis.
The Liberty Flames enjoy handing out zeroes. In fact, with today’s 7-0 win over Winthrop, they accounted for their 9th shutout of the season. John Niggli threw 8.0 scoreless innings, giving up just five hits and five Ks to improve to 7-0 on the season.
- Wacha, Wacha, Wacha
This just in: The Texas A&M ace is officially back to being brilliant again. Michael Wacha threw a complete-game four-hitter with six Ks to help the Maroons down Kansas 8-0 at Hoglund Park in Lawrence. Now, let’s see if he can keep that momentum going consistently.
- Fontana mania
Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana went 4-for-4 with two doubles to help the Gators rebound with a 3-1 win at Tennessee. Jonathan Crawford, who I saw start vs. LSU last week in their shutout win, had a decent outing once again, going 5.0 innings and giving up six hits and improving to 3-0 in SEC play.
- Van Sorensonâ€¦ er, Van Spronson that is, does it again.
For the second straight week Wagner’s Friday ace threw a complete game, this time collecting a career-high nine Ks as the Eagles beat LIU 2-1. The most impressive part was that he got stronger as the game went on, going three-up, three-down in the final three innings and struck out the side in the 9th inning.
- East Carolina says thank you.
Today couldn’t have worked out better for the Pirates, as they took down Memphis 5-2, due to the tenacious pitching of starter Kevin Brandt and most notably because of reliever Tanner Merritt, who picked up his 6th save with 2.2 innings of one-hit work. But also, ECU has now pirated its way to 1st place in the CUSA standings since Southern Miss took down UCF 1-0 in 14 innings.
- Arizona’s fans.
The Wildcats took down UCLA 4-3 thanks to an unearned run in the bottom of the 8th inning and Kurt Heyer’s complete-game eight-hitter. But even more impressive was the 4,080 fans that filed into Hi Corbett Field to see the Desert Cats win this huge showdown. When you couple their 10-3 Pac 12 record and their newly-infused fan base (thanks to moving their home games to the former spring home of the Rockies), you have to believe the NCAA Selection Committee is paying attention.
The worst of the day in college baseball.
1- The Stupid Rain
Am I seeing this correctly? Just as I was about to leave for the Portland-Pepperdine game, a strong line of thunderstorms overwhelms the entirety of Smog City. I’ve lived in Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas and Levinworth Correctional and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard thunder that freaking’ loud. Loud enough to scare the shit out of my dog. In SoCal, no less!
Anyway, as you can tell from today’s total cancellation of all the Big West games and half the games in the WCC and the WAC, it was a crap day weather wise on the lower left coast.
At Sunken Diamond tonight, the Cardinal lost to Oregon 4-2 in 10 innings to drop to 4-6 in Pac 12 games. But they earn this designation even moreso on the strength of keeping All American ace Mark Appel out on the mound for 149 pitches (he left after the 9th inning was done) and also for allowing all four of the Ducks runs to be of the unearned variety.
3- Michigan State.
It was a double-whammy Friday for the Spartans. Not only did they lose the game to Indiana on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th, they also blew a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the top half of the final frame. The two outs came on a flyout to left, followed by a Will Nolden precision strike to the plate, which nabbed Anthony Cheky. The loss dropped Sparty to 20-12 overall and 3-4 in the Big 10.
These are the Heartbreak Kids. The Tigers lost a heartbreaker of a game one at Oklahoma, dropping a 6-5 decision in 10 innings. This marked the sixth loss in their seven Big 12 conference losses where they’d lost by a run or two. Poor dudes. And not only that, but the Tigers took a 5-4 win in the top of the 10th inning, only to give the game away with a pair of runs to the Sooners in the bottom part of the frame.
- Troy’s Tyler Ray.
First off, I feel bad for the dude. Hard to believe this is the same guy who went 12-0 last season. Tonight, T-Ray gave up 12 hits and eight runs in 6.0 innings of work as the Trojans continued their season-long struggles with a 12-10 loss to Middle Tennessee State. Ray falls to 2-4 on the season, just in case you were wondering.
- Kent State.
The leaders of the MAC took on their first conference loss of the year by allowing 2-7 Bowling Green to score four runs in the final two innings of regulation to tie the game, then lost it in the 14th inning on a bases-loaded plunking. The final tally was the Falcons pulling off a 6-5 win.
- Ole Miss.
The Rebels lost for the second day in a row at Georgia, this time by a 6-3 count. Once again, starting pitching was the culprit. Yesterday saw ace Bobby Wahl have an un-Wahl-like performance. Today it was R.J. Hively giving up seven hits and five runs in his 4.0 short stint. The two losses have dropped the Rebels below the Mendoza Line in SEC play at 6-8, having now lost five of their last seven conference games.