Other than the UC Irvine upset of Oklahoma State tonight, this was a rather uneventful first day of the Super Regionals. Home teams Texas, Vanderbilt and Louisville all took game one over Houston, Stanford and Kennesaw State, respectively. But given the way the Anteaters played up at Oregon State, I s’pose it’s not TOO unexpected that the Anteaters took down OSU, the only home team to lose on Friday. But there is a lot more interesting stuff coming on Saturday, when all 16 remaining teams get their hoe-down on.
Yes StitchHeads, as I tweeted out earlier, ESPN has given me the added responsibility of running the ESPNU Twitter Feed for the entire post-season once again this year. So while you guys are out at out there seeing great games in person and tailgaiting and having fun, I’m stuck on my couch, sitting in my underwear and sipping depressing amounts of whiskey while I comment and crack wise on games I see on ESPNU and ESPN3.
As for today’s first day of the Regionals, for the first time ever we’ve seen three National Seeds fall on opening day of the tournament. At 1:20am Eastern Time, College of Charleston put the finishing touches on the 3-2 win over Florida. Before that, we saw No. 5 seed Florida State get blown out by Georgia Southern, 7-0, and a stunning loss for No. 6 National Seed Louisiana, who was skunked by Jackson State 1-0. That was the biggest story of day one.
Okay Red Sox Nation, who out there doesn’t like a good “worst-to-first” story? C’mon, raise your hand. I see about three to four million hands going up right now. THAT’s Boston Strong. Well guess what, that’s what I got today at the Summit League championship game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. North Dakota State, who finished in a tie for last in the regular season with a league mark of 10-12, entered this week as the No. 4 seed in the four-team Summit League Tournament.
Well StitchHeads, three guesses as to who came out on top today and the first two guesses don’t count.
The state of Michigan was admitted into the union in 1837, but it took 177 years for both Michigan and Michigan State to each win a baseball game on the same day inside the Big Tiddy in downtown Omaha. Michigan State opened the day with an 11-2 win over NCAA at-large hopeful Illinois, then Michigan took down Iowa 7-1 in a pair of – wait for the shock – NON-pitching duels, which is all we’ve seen in Omaha the last few days.
I left Lafayette this morning and headed back to the Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans to check in on the SWAC tournament, which was in its third day. I didn’t have a lot of time because I had to head to Louis Armstrong Airport to fly back to Smogtown. But I got a chance to see Jackson State and Prairie View before I had to step on the gas for MSY.
Since I’m trying as hard as I can to be as heavily-biased toward the SEC as possible (since they don’t get enough credit from any national writers anywhere), I decided to make the trip from Knoxville down to Tuscaloosa to check out the battle of the division leaders, Florida at Alabama. No. 1 East vs. No. 1 West. It was my first visit to Sewell-Thomas Stadium and it was good to finally strike that stadium off my wish list.
Now, I’m sure the Tide would rather have had more of a wish-list-worthy performance, as they were taken down by a very sound and patient Florida team at The Joe tonight.
Thought I’d finally go out and watch the No. 1 ranked team in the country tonight. About time, right? Or maybe I should just come out and say, “Hey StitchHeads, I got to see the No. 1 team in the country play in person for the second week in a row.” In fact, now that I think of it, how many DAMN No. 1 teams are there in college baseball? As I’ve said a million times, there are WAAAAAY too many rankings in our sport. And yes, I’m including my own Power Rankings to that.
Actually, just ‘tween you and me, if I wasn’t getting paid so much money, I wouldn’t be adding another ranking to the landscape. But as you know, money talks.
The No. 1 team may not have won a back-slapping, white-flag waving blowout tonight. But they did enough to impress me, especially with their whiff-inducing pitching and spotless defense. If their offense gets a little more shot of adrenaline, playing in the second week in Omaha is completely within reason.
This is my second trek to Davenport Field, a place I find insanely impressive. I came here to see the campus once back in 2000, before the cathedral that is here now was ever built. And what a difference this place is. As many have commented on numerous times in the early 2000s, this was indeed a “sleeping giant” in college baseball. Well, put extra emphasis on the WAS part. Now former Creighton pitcher Brian O’Connor has this program humming at the top of college baseball. And tonight was another indication that this UVa team isn’t going away anytime soon.