Marathon, Upsets & No-No Highlight Wednesday Conference Tourney Action

May 26, 2011
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A Rundown Of The Day’s Highlights…

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What a day (and then some) Wednesday turned-out to be on the first full day of college baseball conference tournament play.

The day started at 9 a.m. Central Time with top-seeded Creighton‘s win over Bradley at the Missouri Valley Tournament in Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Stadium. The game was moved from Tuesday night due to rain. Wednesday’s action actually ended at 3 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday morning at the Southern Conference Tournament in Charleston, SC with Georgia Southern‘s 4-2 win over the College of Charleston.

Ross Heffley

Why did that game end so late? Because of the 20-inning game between Western Carolina and Elon that proceeded it. The eighth seeded Catamounts won that game 10-7 over the top-seeded Phoenix.

College Baseball 360′s Pete LaFleur was up working the Twitter feed most of the night (and into the morning). Here are some highlights, courtesy of him and team and conference SIDs from around the country.

  • Following the nearly 400-minute game between WCU and Elon, Georgia Southern vs. College of Charleston started 12:30 a.m. (end 3:01 a.m.).
  • Ross Heffley’s two-run home run in the top of the 20th inning provided the winning margin. Heffley’s home run came on his 10th at-bat of the game.
  • Western Carolina starter Matt Benedict logged 8.0 innings, less than half of the 20-inning game vs. Elon (5R/3ER-6H-5BB-3K).
  • Official game time of the WCU-Elon eternity was six hours and 33 minutes … Elon used 23 players (15 in the field, 8 pitchers), WCU 19.
  • WCU most ABs without a out hit: Macon Smith 0-for-8 … Elon’s Garrett Koster 0-for-8; 3- & 4-hole hitters Sebastian Gomez & Ryan Kinsella both 0-for-7.
  • WCU 1B/6-hole Tyler White lined-out to right field in 2nd inn. vs. Elon … but then he reached 9 straight times! (6-for-7, 2BB-HBP; 1 RBI). White’s six hits are a new SoCon Tournament record.
  • Elon used eight pitchers who threw 307 total pitches. WCU used five pitchers who threw 332 total pitches. Benedict (131) and Johnson (113) both over 100. 639 total pitches combined were thrown in the marathon.
  • The two teams combined for 34 strikeouts. Elon batters fanned 20 times. WCU pitcher Brandon Johnson notched a career-best 10 Ks.
  • WCU left 20 runners on base, Elon stranded 13.
  • The game is the longest in SoCon Tournament history. The previous record was 18 innings, originally set in 1996 and tied in 2009 by Elon and Wofford.
  • Here’s the Box Score from the epic game.

Anthony Meo

Earlier in the day, Coastal Carolina pitcher Anthony Meo made history of his own. Meo fired the first no-hitter in Big South Tournament history to lead the top-seeded Chanticleers to a 5-0 win over Radford. Meo retired the first 16 batters he faced until Blake Sipe reached base on an error in the top of the sixth inning. The junior walked just one batter and fired 103 pitches to up his record to 9-3. Here’s the final box score.

The aforementioned Creighton was one of a handful of top seeds to lose a conference tournament game on Tuesday. After winning that 9 a.m. game against Bradley, the Blue Jays were back in action at 9:40 p.m. against Missouri State. The fourth-seeded Bears knocked-off Creighton 10-3 in the Blue Jays’ newly minted home park. The game finished after midnight in Omaha, and Creighton now comes back at 12:30 p.m. for an elimination game against Southern Illinois.

Matt Purke

TCU’s Matt Purke made his first start in more than a month in the Horned Frogs’ Mountain West opener vs. New Mexico. The sophomore has been out since mid April with shoulder issues. He looked anything but his old self in the sixth seeded Lobos’ 4-3 upset win over top-seeded TCU. Purke pitched just 4.0 innings and gave-up a run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in the no-decision. TCU will now have fans of bubble teams around the country the rest of the week.

Vanderbilt pounded Georgia 10-0 in the first round of the SEC Tournament to drop the Bulldogs to 28-29 overall and put a big hit in their NCAA hopes. In order to meet the NCAA requirement of finishing with a record above .500 to receive an at-large bid Georgia now needs to win three straight games.

No. 1 seed Texas and No. 3 seed Oklahoma both lost on the first day of the Big 12 Tournament. The Longhorns fell 6-4 to surging Missouri, while the Sooners lost 5-4 to Kansas State. In the past an opening-round loss wouldn’t have been a big deal in a tournament that featured a round-robin format, but the Big 12 switched to double-elimination this year. At 25-30, Mizzou has to win the tournament to receive an NCAA bid, but they are the team nobody wants to play this week in Oklahoma City. Texas now has work to do (starting with today’s elimination game vs. Baylor) to assure itself a top eight national seed. The Longhorns came into the week with an RPI of 12.

Eight seed Nicholls State upset #1 Texas State 6-0 in the first round of the Southland Tournament. No. 2 seed was the lone higher seed to win a first round game at that tournament.

Other notable Wednesday conference tournament upset victims: Florida State (7-0 to NC State), Rice (9-8 to UAB), Arkansas (7-4 to Alabama), East Carolina (8-5 to Houston), Troy (4-2 to Arkansas-Little Rock), and Stetson (15-3 to Belmont), Belmont has now beaten the A-Sun’s top seed three straight times in the last six days. The Hatters are likely to be a bubble team favorite as well.

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