Today was a great day to sit back and do absolutely nothing on the couch. Yep, wear your laziness with pride. Most of the teams in SoCal were on the road this weekend and there was also some good college hockey and college basketball on the tube as well.
To cap off my decision to laze on the sofa, Cal State Fullerton-TCU and the Urban Invitational were also being televised, like on actual TV and everything. I also caught a few innings of Arizona State-Tennessee on the web as well, so bully for me in my glorious state of pajamas.
Here’s how my Saturday went.
First, check out the plane I saw at Los Angeles International airport tonight:
I guess the Beavers are getting SO good and have become such a powerhouse in college baseball, they’ve got their own plane on Alaska Airlines now. And no, this wasn’t the plane I rode in‚Ä¶ unfortunately.
WHAT I SAW ON MY COUCH
The one game I was looking forward to watching more than any others was the Fullerton-TCU game two from Fort Worth. And man alive, those Fullerton freshmen‚Ä¶ they’ve got some cajones man. Friday it was Thomas Eshelman on the hill for the Titans. Today, Justin Garza pitched a solid game into the 8th inning and Jake Jefferies blasted a top-of-the-8th grand slam to keep the Titans unbeaten.
CSUF – 2 0 0 ¬† 0 0 0 ¬† 0 4 0 -¬† 6¬† 6¬† 1
T.C.U. – 0 0 0 ¬† 0 0 0 ¬† 0 2 0 -¬† 2¬† 6¬† 0
WP: Justin Garza,
LP: Preston Morrison,
- Jake Jefferies, 1-for-3, Grand Slam, 5RBI
- Michael Lorenzen, 2-for-4, RBI
- Axel Johnson, 1-for-1, RBI
- Keaton Jones, 1-for-3, RBI
Cal State Fullerton: 7-0
Last season, I was amazed that the Titans went and took two freshmen starters on the mound to Texas A&M and actually came away with a series win in College Station. Well, fast forward to today and we see that they’re up to their old tricks again.
Frosh starter Justin Garza, went three-up, three-down to start the first four innings and six of the first seven innings, establishing a presence right away and setting the Titans up for another win in Fort Worth. Garza ended up going until one out of the 8th inning, striking out five and not walking a single Frog batter on the day.
I didn’t catch who the color commentator for the game was, but he spun this yarn about the Titan youngin’s. “These freshman pitchers for Cal State Fullerton don’t look like freshman pitchers at all. They are not afraid to attack hitters and throw strikes with multiple pitches. It’s not often you find a freshman with that much command of his pitches.”
For the Frogs, All American RHP Preston Morrison got off to an unconventional start vs. the Titans, walking two batters and plunking two batters in the first inning. In fact, Michael Lorenzen’s infield single to deep short was the only hit of the inning as Fullerton took an early 2-0 lead they would not lose.
The crowning moment came in the top of the 8th inning where Jake Jefferies strode to the plate with the sacks full and cranked a lefty screamer that cleared the right field fence, scoring all four runs – obviously – and putting Fullerton ahead by an insurmountable 6-0 lead. The Purple Gang would end up scoring two runs in the bottom of the eight, but 6-2 was as close as they would get.
Fullerton has won the weekend with the two wins, and will play for the sweep in the getaway game on Sunday.
AROUND THE COUNTRY.
A few highlights and lowlights from this Saturday in college baseball which deserve a shout across the rooftops, or a little admonishment.
The best of today.
1- Florida Gulf Coast.¬†
The A-Sun giant killers don’t have Chris Sale anymore, but you could’ve fooled Florida. The No. 13-ranked Gators lost for the second day in a row to the Eagles, this time by an 8-3 count. It marked the first series loss to a mid-major program since VMI won two of three from the Gators in 2007. Junior LHP Brandon Bixler allowed one run and four hits in his 5.0 innings and now has a 1.00 ERA and .148 opponents batting average in his two starts. FGCU goes for the series sweep tomorrow on the Sun Sports channel, which is 653 on DIRECTV.
2- N.C. State’s no-hitter.
After a disastrous opening game of the season in a 6-3 loss to Appalachian State, it was good to see Carlos Rodon and the Wolf Pack come back and toss an el-zippo vs. LaSalle today by a 5-0 margin. Rodon went 7.0 innings, striking out 14 Explorer batters and walking just one. Karl Keglovits came on to get the final six outs, three-up, three-down. Now THAT’s what we were expecting to see.
3- Duncan McAlpine, Dallas Baptist.
The Patriot senior hit for the cycle in today’s 24-3 win over Mississippi Valley State. McAlpine, who I’ve seen play in person this year already, ended the day going 4-for-5 and had the cycle in cement by the 7th inning. He also knocked in four runs in the process. And after seeing him play catcher and left field in the first two games vs. Creighton last weekend, it’s interesting to note that DMA played 1st base in this game.
- Oregon State’s pitching.¬†
The Beavers improved to 7-0 with a 5-0 shutout at San Diego State. Andrew Moore pitched into the 9th inning, giving up just two hits – a double in the 2nd inning and a single in the 7th – to improve to 2-0. The Beaver arms staff now has a team ERA of 1.14, against good competition might we add.
- Notre Dame’s bullpen.¬†
Donnie Hissa, Zak Kutsulis, Christian Torres and Dan Slania combined for 4.0 innings of one-hit work as the Irish took down Tulane at Turchin Stadium once again, this time by a 3-1 score. Starter Adam Norton had a rough go of it, giving up seven hits in 5.0 innings, but only relented a single run. The Irish took a 2-1 lead into the 6th inning, where the bullpen would lock down the Green Wave the rest of the way. ND is now 4-1
With today’s 4-2 win at Florida Atlantic, the Tide Rollers are now 6-0 and assured of exacting revenge with a series win over the Owls in Boca Raton as they’ve taken the first two games of the three-game series. Freshman reliever Ray Castillo got out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam, only giving up a single run and locking down the win.
- Middle Tennessee State.¬†
Going up against Indiana State and Auburn, if you would’ve asked me to make a prediction, I would’ve guessed an 0-fer day for the Blue Raiders. Instead, the Blue Boys won both games, taking down ISU 8-1 and upsetting the Plainsmen on their home field 2-1. Starter Hunter Adkins went 8.0 innings to beat the Tigers, giving up just one run on three hits. MT is now 4-2 on the young season.
While the rest of the SEC was either taking on bad losses (more on that in a second) or escaping against weaker teams, the Vols just wiped the floor with No. 22 Arizona State, 11-2 to even the series in Knoxville. UT capitalized on four Devil errors and ended up scoring five of their runs unearned. But catcher David Houser had a great day, going 3-for-4 at the dish to pace the offense. The two teams play the rubber match on Sunday.
- Mark Davis, DH, Florida State.¬†
You know all those people that are crying about how the bats should be performance-enhanced once again? Well this dude ain’t hearing anything of it. Get that squat out of his face. The Seminole slugger went yard for the 4th time already this season as part of a 4-for-4 day in FSU’s 14-3 rout of South Florida. Davis also nailed a double to the wall as part of the ‘Noles 14-hit attack.
- Houston pitcher Austin Pruitt.¬†
First, let me apologize for just now mentioning this dude. This could very well be in the No. 1 slot on any other day. Still, the Cougar starter saved the bullpen a bunch of heartache today, going the distance in today’s 1-0 escape of Texas State in San Marcos. Pruitt threw a total of 106 pitches and accounted for 10 Ks, whiles surrendering just a single freakin’ hit. Can you believe that? One measly hit. Wow. The UofH is now 4-2 on the season and the defense chimed in by playing error-free for the first time this season.
- Mr. 900.¬†
Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux picked up with No. 900 today with the Cajuns’ 9-6 win vs. UT San Antonio.
- Vanderbilt flinger Tyler Beede.¬†
In today’s 11-1 rout of Monmouth, the Commodore starter went 7.0 innings and allowed just two hits while striking out nine Hawks batters.
- Temple chokes the Hokies.¬†
Back in October of 1998 when Virginia Tech was in its heyday of its college football beastliness, an 0-and-6 Temple Owl team came to Blacksburg as a 34-point underdog. But the lackadasical Hokies ended up trying to sleepwalk past the Owls but ended up getting stunned 28-24. Today, the suddenly-hot Hokies welcomed Temple to English Field, and, well‚Ä¶ let me let Temple baseball Sports Information Director Steve Helm describe it:
“In the 85 years of Temple baseball, no prior Owls’ team may have had a more impressive victory to begin a win-count than the one that came on Saturday. Facing the No. 24-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, the Owls proved to have rebounded from last weekend’s 0-2 start, by upsetting the nationally-ranked Hokies 7-3 at English Field.”
I’ve got chills.
The bad part about today.
1- The SEC.¬†
A tweet today from my good bud Mike Rooney, the ESPNU studio analyst and color commentator, “I’m concerned about the SEC. Particularly, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Texas A&M and Missouri.”
The monster conference continued their second straight day of some curious losses and busted egos. Here are some of the duck-your-head-and-slink-out-of-church losses from Saturday:
- BYU won at No. 2 LSU 9-4.
- FGCU won for the second day in a row at No. 17 Florida, 8-3.
- Georgia split with Belmont, losing 11-10, before escaping with a 2-1, 10-inning win.
- The aforementioned Auburn loss to Middle Tennessee, 2-1.
- Memphis took down Missouri 5-2.
Even some of the wins were white-knucklers against teams that shouldn’t have made the games so close.
2- The Big 10.
The Midwest Mid-Major didn’t have a banner day either. Though they went 7-7, some of the losses were teeth-gnashingly tough to take. Purdue and Nebraska both had legit shots at wins at ranked opponents Mississippi State and Texas, respectively. But key late-inning falters let both the big boy Bulldogs and big boy Bevos escape with one-run wins, 7-6 and 4-3 respectively. Michigan lost to Fordham 14-11 after spotting them a 9-0 lead in game two of their DH, and Michigan State blew a 5-0 lead at Furman and allowed the Paladins to score eight unanswered to take the 8-5 game.
3- Fresno State.¬†
It wasn’t a devastating loss to Stanford today, since it DID come in the 10th inning by a 7-4 count. But the Bulldogs have to be wondering what might’ve been, having committed five errors, given up two unearned runs in regulation and also plunked three batters along the way. They’ll have to beat the Trees tomorrow to avoid the dreaded sweep.
- TCU’s hill.¬†
After years of seeing the hillside on the right field line pocked with kids sliding down the grass on pieces of cardboard. But now, Lupton Stadium higher-ups apparently decided to build terraced brick walls to end this game-long practice.
- UC Santa Barbara’s attempt at best start since 1996.¬†
The Gauchos were trying to make their best start since 1996 with today’s double-header vs. San Francisco. But the Gauchos got lanced by the Dons, 4-1 in game one and 11-5 in game two, right there on the Goleta campus. UCSB drops to 3-3 as Wynter Phoenix, Michael Young and David Willis hang their heads in shame.
- The MLB Network.
You KNOW how us college baseball fans expect our announcers to have some modicum of knowledge of our game. It’s just how we’re wired. So when the MLB Network comes around and chooses to televise the Urban Invitational we take it personally when we hear the announcers call head coach Roger Cador the “Manager” of the Southern Jaguars. Or when they bring in an ex-major leaguer as a guess in the booth and they totally ignore what’s going on in the game. Today, Alabama State picked a Southern runner off at 2nd base – a rarity in our sport – for the third out of the inning and Frank Robinson kept talking over the play and the announcer had to hurriedly say what just happened before they went to a commercial break.
C’mon MLB Network, at least give the college dudes not he field some attention and keep up with the game you’re televising.
The Trojans suffered their first loss of the season, a 13-8 black eye to Connecticut. The thing that sticks in the craw of the Trojans is the fact that the pitch staff issued eight walks, plunked three batters and also committed two errors which led to five unearned runs for the Huskies. Yikes, but that is bad.
- The Caravelle Resort Tournament.¬†
No, I’m not giving this fine tournament the black mark here because the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina park they’re playing this tourney in is called “TicketReturn.com Field”. Really? We have to put up with THIS embarrassment. The only thing that might top that in the horrible name department is that old GalleryFurniture.com Bowl that used to be played in Houston.
Hmmm? It’s STILL played there? I had no idea. I don’t pay attention to those crappy bowl games in college football which match up a battle of 6-6 teams.
Okay, that’s it. If that doesn’t satiate you for a college baseball Saturday, I don’t know what will. Okay, other than candid pictures of girls at UCLA baseball games, I’m not sure what else I could post here for your ravenous appetite.
So I’ll say G’night.