Collegebaseball360.com Editor Sean Stires shares some thoughts from another day at the College World Series…
- Does Arizona State’s Kole Calhoun remind anyone else of the character ‘Ham” Porter from the movie Sandlot? Calhoun (pictured right) and his teammate, Carlos Ramirez, are built more like beer league softball players than college baseball players, but they play the part well. Neither strikes out a lot for power guys, and they both know how to work a count. Calhoun’s OPS is .981, while Ramirez’s is 1.126. After Thursday’s win over North Carolina, Calhoun now has 3 home runs and 10 RBIs in Omaha, including a grand slam vs. the Tar Heels. Meanwhile, Ramirez has caught all 64 of the Sun Devils’ games this season. Like Oakland’s Billy Beane has said “We’re not selling blue jeans”.
- Speaking of movie characters…ASU’s Pat Murphy reminds me of Mickey Rourke’s “Marv” in Sin City. Murph was born in New York, and he brings that east coast toughness to the desert & the Pac 10. The confidence his players exude often borders on, if not crosses into, cockiness, but given the results (3 CWS in the last five years) that’s not a bad thing.
- The ebb and the flow…Arizona State jumped-out to a 6-0 lead in Tuesday’s game vs. Texas, only to see the Longhorns score the last ten runs of the game. North Carolina opened Thursday’s game with the first four runs of the game, to bring ASU’s total to 14 straight combined unanswered runs. The Sun Devils then used an 8-run seventh inning en-route to 12 unanswered runs of their own before UNC finally got a run in the 9th in ASU’s 12-5 win.
- North Carolina’s Garrett Gore played in the 21st and final College World Series game of his career Thursday night. He’s played in more CWS games than anyone in the history of the event.
- Gore’s teammate, Dustin Ackley, collected a ninth inning double Thursday to extend his record NCAA Tournament hitting streak to 21 games. It was his 28th career CWS base hit, a CWS record.
- Robin Ventura is just a dude who knows baseball. When he talks baseball during a game as an ESPN analyst he makes me listen intently to what he has to say. Ventura speaks and explains the mechanics of the game, both pitching and hitting, in a manner that’s easily understood. His breakdown of Ackley’s swing during Thursday night was eye opening.
Is it just a coincidence? Since 2000 the winner of bracket 2 has gone on to win the College World Series. Texas and Arizona State are the remaining teams from bracket 2 this year, while LSU and Arkansas reside in bracket 1.