Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires with some thoughts on Friday’s LSU-Arkansas and Texas-Arizona State games…
- So much for Cinderella this year. LSU beats Arkansas 14-5 while Texas edges Arizona State 4-3 to each advance to this year’s CWS Chamionship Series. That means teams with five and six national championships, respectively, will play for the title.
- LSU’s thumping of the Razorbacks not only keeps it as the only team not to lose during the NCAA Tournament (8-0), but the Tigers have also outscored opponents 72-31 in those games. They’ve won their three CWS games by a combined 32-11 margin.
- Back to the jungle…the days of “Gorilla Ball” aren’t done for LSU. Seven different Tigers have hit nine home runs in their three College World Series games in the last week.
- The Road to Omaha less traveled…Arkansas pitcher T.J. Forrest actually started his college career at LSU, but transferred to Bossier Parish Community College. He’s now a junior and pitched for the Razorbacks against LSU Friday. There’s no mention of his time at LSU in his bio on the Arkanas web site.
- Good career choice…LSU pitching coach Dave “Red” Grewe left his head coaching position at Michigan State after last season to rejoin Paul Mainieri’s staff. Grewe led the Spartans for three seasons after working for Mainieri for three years at Notre Dame from 2003-2005.
- LSU pitchers did not allow a run in their first 15 innings vs. Arkansas in two College World Series games prior to Brett Eibner’s seventh inning home run Friday.
- Mainieri has a handful of former players and assistants who are now head coaches, including UCF skipper, Terry Rooney, who was his pitching coach last year in Omaha. Don’t be surprised if LSU assistant Javi Sanchez leads a team to Omaha himself one day. Sanchez is a natural leader who takes leadership seriously, but at the same time he has an easy way about him that draws players to him. He also knows the game and teaches it well.
- Ever heard the saying “he’s talking about how the sausage is made”? Orel Hersheiser did a bit of that during the LSU-Arkansas game when he bored viewers with the “difficulty” of his job, because of all the producers and directors talking into his earpiece during a game. Some of it was tongue and cheek, but Orel should stick to the game, because when he talks it he shows he talks it well.
- A tip of the hat to the Hogs…Arkansas had 17 comeback wins this season, including Wednesday’s dramatic elimination game victory over Virginia. The Razorback’s magic ran out though with Friday’s loss to LSU. You gotta give it up though for a team that brought a .272 team batting average and 4.50 ERA to Omaha. Like Virginia, Arkansas had to first win a Regional on the road against a top eight national seed and then go on the road again to win a Super Regional just to get to Omaha.
- Murph’s Milestone…I forgot to mention this in yesterday’s blog. Arizona State head coach Pat Murphy picked-up his 1,000th career win when the Sun Devils beat North Carolina in Thursday’s elimination game. North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams was there to see it.
- Great to hear Sean McDonough has his voice back. The ESPN play-by-play man labored earlier this week when his normally dulcet tones were strained by what he said were allergies, but he had the cords back for Friday’s ASU-Texas game. McDonough kind of gets lost in the shuffle in the myriad of TV sportscasters these days, but I’ve heard he’s one of the nicest guys in the business. I’ll always remember him for his “Bream to the plate” call as Sid Bream chugged home when Altanta beat Pittsburgh in game seven of the 1992 NLCS. My college roomate, Randy Rosetta, and I were watching that game together in a Lawrence, KS sports bar. Last week Randy and I sat together covering the College World Series (he covers LSU for the Baton Rouge Advocate) while McDonough sat about 60 feet away in the Rosenblatt press box calling the action for viewers on ESPN.
- Arizona State pitcher Mike Leake gave-up two home runs in 132 IP during the regular season, but the Pac 10 Pitcher of the Year surrendered two long balls in two starts vs. Texas this week in Omaha.
- Rudy, really…Have you heard!?! Arizona State freshman Johnny Ruettiger is the nephew of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. Oh, of course you have, because ESPN only mentioned the connection every time he stepped to the plate in Omaha. So, here are a few things they could have mentioned, but didn’t so they could mention “Rudy” one more time, during any of his 17 trips to the plate during his first CWS: Johnny was Joliet Catholic Acadamey’s starting quarterback on the team’s 2007 Illinois State Championship team, he was the captain of both his baseball and football teams during his junior and senior seasons, as a senior in high school Johnny hit .450 and went 11-2 on the mound, he was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 35th round of last year’s MLB draft and his father, John, was a pretty good athlete himself-he wrestled at Nebraska in 1977-’78.
I’ve got a feeling those Jaguars are going to beat Visigoth State sometime soon!