Thoughts and Notes From Day One Super Regional Play
By Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires
A Slow Start: I couldn’t be in front of the TV for most of the day on Friday, but I was using my new cell phone and cell phone provider to keep track of the action. I was in a doctor’s office while most of the Vanderbilt-Florida State game was going on, and I was keeping track of most of it on our live stats link on the Tallahassee Super Regional page. That’s how I “saw” Mike McGee’s walk-off home run to give FSU the game one victory (his third game-winner this year). Things would get better…
(Cover photo of McGee courtesy Larry Novey-FSU)
A New Discovery: Turns out live stats were not the only option I had to follow games on this new phone of mine. My son (who was also out and about) filled me in on the best part of my new gizmo: I could actually watch the game live!
(I’m not going to mention the name of my phone provider, because c’mon this isn’t a product placement blimp.) Anyway, I got to watch most of the last three innings of the Texas-TCU game on my phone while dining…and while my wife was driving. I say “most”, because my phone ran out of juice with one out to go in the game. I guess I still need to make the extra investment for a car charger.
Purked: How about the performance by TCU freshman Matt Purke in the 3-1 upset of #2 national seed Texas? The lefty retired the first eight batters he faced and then 11 of the next 12 after allowing a hit in the third inning. He struckout 11 and is now 14-0.
Backs To The Wall: Give Vanderbilt credit for rallying from a 6-0 deficit in the first three innings of the game. The Commodores actually rallied back to tie the game and then take 7-6 and 8-7 leads before McGee’s heroics. One Vandy loss now sends Florida State to Omaha and the Commodores back to Nashville. Don’t count Tim Corbin’s guys out though. They were 3-0 in elimination games to win last week’s Louisville Regional, including two wins over the #7 national seeded Cardinals.
Credit Where It’s Due: I was critical of the newly retired Eric Byrnes when he was making his debut as a college baseball analyst last week for his apparent lack of preparation. Byrnes noted during Friday’s Florida-Miami telecast that he stayed in Florida all week to do his research rather than return home to the west coast. Byrnes came with good stuff Friday, including locker room material Miami provided Florida, like Hurricane head coach Jim Morris calling his team the New York Yankees of college baseball. Byrnes, Kyle Peterson and play-by-play man Clay Matvick seem a lot more comfortable together in the booth this week, and Byrnes’ care free attitude seems to bring out a lot more of Peterson’s personality. More “Oppo Tacos” please.
Costly Miscue: It wasn’t scored as an error, but a big mistake by Miami shortstop Stephen Perez led to Florida’s first three runs of the Gainesville Super Regional. With two outs and the bases loaded Perez thought he caught a sinking line drive off the bat of Brian Johnson to apparently end the inning. However, it was ruled the he took it on a short hop, and since Perez never threw to first base it was ruled a hit and a run scored. Florida’s next batter, Mike Zunino, then lined a single to left to score two more & make the score 3-0.
Upon Further Review: Instant replay of Perez’s non catch appeared to show he had actually caught the ball. Byrnes asked about using instant replay in college baseball like it’s used in college football and to some extent in MLB games. “If you have the technology use it,” Byrnes said. I agree with that to an extent. I do think the big leagues need more replay, but I’m not in favor of it in the college game. The biggest reason is with 301 Division One teams the Super Regionals and the College World Series are the only games guaranteed to be on TV. Even the Regionals don’t have full television coverage. The argument can be made that post season games are the most important, so available technology should be used when it’s there. But what about those last three games of the regular season? They were just as important to teams like Tennessee and Kentucky and several others who were trying to get into their post season tournaments, but TV isn’t uniformly in play like it is for the MLB. When every college game’s on TV I’ll go for it (and by the way, that would be a pretty big day if every game is on TV), but until then no replay is the way to go.
Johnny Pants: A big time effort from Florida pitcher Alex Panteliodis. The sophomore fanned 12 in a career-best nine innings to help the Gators down the Hurricanes 7-2. It’s not just the first complete game of the season for Florida, it’s the staff’s first since 2008. Pitching isn’t quite the same precious commodity in Super Regional play as it is in Regionals, but it’s always big to save every arm possible in the first game of a big series. While Panteliodis went the distance for Florida, David Guiterrez and Jason Santana each worked four innings for Miami.
Miscues II: Miami had two errors which lead to five unearned runs in the five-run loss. The Hurricanes have now committed 10 errors in their six NCAA Tournament games this year, while Florida is yet to commit an error in its four NCAA games.
Son Of A Robby: Florida’s Tyler Thompson is the son of 11-year MLB veteran Robby Thompson. He was named to our Regional Prime Time Performer Honor Roll this week for his three home run game in last week’s Regional title game win over FAU. Thompson homered again in Friday’s win over Miami to give him four HR in his last two games after hitting just two during the regular season.
Special K Day: Friday was a big strikeout day for starting pitchers. Cal State Fullerton’s Noe Ramirez (12-1) had 13 Ks in 7 IP in a 4-3 win over #6 national seed UCLA. Bruin starter Gerrit Cole had 7 Ks in 6 2/3 IP in the loss to move his season total to 138, which is the third best in Bruins history.
On The Clock: Don’t be surprised if the subject of the length of games comes up during and after the College World Series. Last night’s Cal State Fullerton-UCLA game lasted 3:35. Remember that experimental 20 second clock at the SEC Tournament? It kept most 9-inning games at around three hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s implemented in the NCAA post season soon.
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