College Baseball 360 Fall Notebook #10

November 15, 2010

By Editor Sean Stires

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The Lights Are Bright In Prime Time…

Garrett Wittels

Garrett Wittels became the story of the 2010 college baseball season and his pursuit of history will be at the forefront when the 2011 season begins. The Florida International outfielder will put his 56-game hitting streak on the line when FIU hosts Southeastern Louisiana to begin the new season and the ESPN family of stations will be there. Wittels needs hits in each of FIU’s three games to break former Oklahoma State star Robin Ventura’s 24-year-old Division One record 58-game hit streak. The first two games of the series will be on, while Sunday’s possibly historic series finale will be televised at 7:30 p.m. ET by ESPNU. If I were a baseball betting man I would say it’s a pretty safe guess that Ventura will be in the broadcast booth working as an analyst for those games.

Speaking Of TV…

We received a Tweet this week from a college baseball fans who is trying to drum-up interest in getting more college baseball games on TV. He wanted us to ask this basic question on our site: “Would you watch a college baseball game of the week on TV”? ESPNU does a great job of putting SEC games on during the season and you can typically find games on Fox Sports Regional channels as well, but what about other national games?  CLICK HERE to send us an e-mail on the subject or Tweet us @CB360updates.

Get A Big Hat And Pass It Around…

The latest update on the on-going effort to save the Cal baseball program looks promising. According to a message from Doug Nickle, who runs the Save Cal Baseball Facebook page, the group had a “productive” meeting with Cal Chancellor Robert Birgeneau last week. Of that meeting, Nickle says “While he (Birgeneau) maintains that we have an uphill battle, he was eager to learn of our significant efforts thus far. He can’t give us a specific number or a time frame, but he did in fact say the door to reinstatement is open!” The Save Cal Baseball official pledge drive is about to start, and they already have roughly $3.5 million in pledges. They hope to have $10 million by the previously announced January 1, 2011 deadline.

Hooping And Hurling…

Patrick Connaughton

College baseball’s early signing period started last week and college basketball players can sign letters of intent in the same window. Turns out Patrick Connaughton plans to play both sports at Notre Dame. Connaughton stands 6’5″ and plans to play forward for Mike Brey on the basketball court and pitch for Mik Aoki as well. The Irish have had several football/baseball players in recent years like Jeff Samardzija, Golden Tate, Evan Sharpley, and Eric Maust, but Connaughton will be the first in a long time to hit the hardwood and the diamond under the Golden Dome. Look for Connaughton in future Two-Sport Reports here on Current reports include current college baseball players who also play sports like football, soccer, swimming, and squash. We still haven’t found any wrestlers though.

Nomar Better Late Than Never…

The Cape Cod League will induct 10 players plus one into its Hall of Fame this weekend. Nomar Garciaparra was actually inducted in 2002, but he was not able to attend the ceremony due to a scheduling conflict. The five-time All-Star will be there this Saturday (Nov. 20) to receive his plaque at the Chatham Bars Inn. Garciaparra’s former Boston Red Sox teammate, Lou Merloni, is among this year’s inductees. The others are Tom Grieve (Chatham), David Aardsma (Falmouth), Wayne Granger (Sagamore), Peter Ford (Harwich), Casey Close (Harwich), Michael Loggins (Harwich), Jack Cressend (Cotuit), Tom Weir (Chatham), and Steve Robbins (Wareham).

It’s Not Heaven, It’s Iowa…

For the first time in three decades Iowa will have a completely new field when its new season begins. Iowa’s Duane Banks Field recently received a new Kentucky Bluegrass playing surface, with some other “tweaks” to the field. They also moved home plate up five feet, so the new distance to center field will go from 400 to 395 feet. The move was made to help with the grading and drainage of the field. Head coach Jack Dahm also told that they will have new batting cages and turf down the left field line.

North Carolina's Chase Jones

King For A Day…

North Carolina bullpen catcher Chase Jones was recently named his school’s 2010 Homecoming King. Jones was diagnosed with brain cancer in the fall of 2006 and has survived to not only be a contributor to the Tar Heel baseball team, but he also founded the UNC BaseBald For A Cure Foundation. Proceeds have helped children’s cancer patients.

Inside The Webb…

If you missed it last week, we have a new addition to the web site. Inside The Webb made its debut last Friday with Chris Webb. Chris is a great advocate for college baseball and we’re excited to have him share his thoughts in this weekly column and we hope you enjoy his insights as well!

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