Thoughts on some of the comings and goings in college baseball in the last week…
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By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires
- South Carolina got the Presidential treatment last week. College baseball’s reigning national champions were one of several teams that made the trip to the White House to be recognized by President Obama. Head coach Ray Tanner’s Gamecocks were among more than 30 teams the President commended for championships and community service at the ceremony.
- You’ve gotta give Stanford head coach Mark Marquess a ton of credit for his 2011 schedule. Not only will Stanford play Rice, Vanderbilt and Texas over the course of the first three weeks of the season, but they’ll also go on the road for all three of those three game sets. In case you’re counting that’s two 2010 Super Regional teams (Vandy & Texas) as well as an Owl squad that’s been to Omaha seven times in the last 13 years. In addition to those three series the Cardinal also plays 2010 CWS teams UCLA and Arizona State in Pac 10 play.
- Not to be outdone, New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham isn’t resting on his laurels after earning his school’s first NCAA berth in nearly 50 years. Remember last February when the Lobos made a statement by taking two of three games from ’09 CWS runner-up Texas? They have a chance to make another big statement when they open the 2011 campaign with four games at Arizona State, which of course is coming off another Omaha appearance. Those games along with six games against Mountain West rival TCU and a four-game series at Oklahoma give the Lobos 14 games against 2010 CWS opponents. Birmingham and Marquess need to get together…soon.
- Cal State Fullerton has seven games on its 2011 schedule against this year’s CWS teams. The Titans play three games at TCU the second weekend of the season. They also host two games against Arizona State and play a two game home and home with UCLA. That’s not to mention a three game series at 2009 national champion LSU.
- Southern Mississippi has a solid non-conference schedule. The Golden Eagles play Ole Miss at home as well as at Trustmark Park (home of the Double-A Mississippi Braves) in Pearl, MS. USM plays a home and home with Super Regional team Alabama, faces LSU at Zephyr Field (Triple-A stadium) in New Orleans and they also play Mississippi State at Trustmark.
- Michigan State hosted Notre Dame in a fall exhibition game prior to Saturday night’s football game between the two schools in East Lansing. I talked to both coaches last week about the pitch clock that will be employed in college baseball next season. ND’s Mik Aoki is in favor of the clock, but says it’s not an emphasis for his team, because he preaches a fast tempo to his team and pitchers anyway. Spartan skipper Jake Boss, Jr. doesn’t mind the pitch clock, but says teams in the north tend to play at a fast pace anyway. CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast with Boss.
- The Ontario Blue Jays are getting ready to make their swing through the states for a series of fall exhibitions against college teams. The Blue Jays 18U team will travel to Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Michigan, Kent State, Virginia, East Carolina, St. Joseph’s, Oakland, Notre Dame, St. Louis, Missouri State, Arkansas, Western Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Jacksonville State, Georgia State, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and a host of smaller schools as well. They’ll play those games over the course of the next month beginning this week.