Some Thoughts/Notes After A Super Day 3…
Five Alive: Five More teams clinched spots in the College World Series by clinching Super Regional series on Sunday. Florida State beat Vanderbilt, UCLA downed Cal State Fullerton, TCU toppled Texas, South Carolina erased Coastal Carolina, and #1 national seed Arizona State outlasted Arkansas to join Florida in Omaha. The Gators had clinched their spot with Saturday’s win over Miami.
24 = 2: It goes down as a sweep, but what a series between Arizona State and Arkansas. The Sun Devils won a pair of 12 inning games to advance to the CWS for the 22ndt time. ASU won 7-5 Sunday night thanks to Drew Maggi’s home run in the top of the 9th, but the game only got that far because of Brett Eibner’s two-strike, two-out home run for the Hogs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Great clutch hitting all the way around. it’s just a shame the series didn’t go to what was sure to have been an epic third game.
Austin Shocker: TCU beat #2 national seed Texas 4-1 Sunday to clinch the first CWS appearance in Horned Frogs history. Texas outscored TCU 16-8, but lost the series 2-1. Unearned runs led to Saturday’s 14-1 laugher, which was the Longhorn’s only win in the series, but it turns out TCU has a pretty good pitching staff of its own. Games one and three starters Matt Purke and Kyle Winkler combined for 15 1/3 IP with 17 Ks while allowing just one run.
Bruins On The Brink: UCLA was down to its last out against Cal State Fullerton Saturday night before Tyler Rahmatulla’s home run put the Bruins in front in a game they would eventually win in extra innings. UCLA #3 starter Rob Rasmussen then fired his first career complete game to help UCLA win 8-1 in Sunday’s finale.
Good Point: UCLA is in just its third College World Series, while Fullerton was biding for its 17th trip to Omaha. As Robin Ventura pointed out during Sunday’s broadcast, the Bruins lack Omaha appearances in part because the Titans have owned them over the years, including in NCAA play. Fullerton had won 19 of 22 games vs. UCLA over the last six years prior to losing Saturday and Sunday. They’ve also still won 39 of the last 50 meetings between the two teams.
Match (up) Points: There was a lot of talk about the unfairness of some of the Super Regional match-ups, which are largely made due to geography. To many TCU vs. Texas didn’t seem fair, neither did South Carlina vs. Coastal, UCLA-Fullerton, or ASU-Arkansas, which pitted two teams from last year’s CWS field. Fans, players, coaches, and analysts looking at those match-ups argued that any of those teams were Omaha worthy, and they were right. However, Arkansas vs. UCLA, Arizona State vs. Cal State Fullerton, TCU vs. South Carolina, or Coastal Carolina vs. Texas would have been brutal match-ups as well. It’s not a great system, but with so many very good teams somebody’s gotta go home…
On A Mission: That said, if the NCAA really “Puts its money where its mission is” (you know, like all those commercials during the games say) shouldn’t they just seed the #1 seeds 1-16 (to match the Regional sites) rather than just the top eight national seeds? Should saving a few bucks on air fares trump at the least the perception of fairness in seeding the field?
Lack Of Legacies: Texas, Miami, USC, and LSU have combined to make 91 College World Series appearances, but none of them will be in Omaha for Rosenblatt Stadium’s swan song. How rare is that? Since the CWS moved to Rosenblatt in 1950 this season marks just the eighth time that at least one of those four teams has not been a part of the eight team College World Series field.
I’m Mobile: I’m still getting used to my new tricked-out cell phone, but it came in handy again on Sunday. I was able to watch part of the Virginia-Oklahoma game on my phone while I was at my daughter’s game. I’m still not giving-up the name of my provider, but it’s definitely a cool perk.
Omaha Bound: The eight CWS teams will be heading to Omaha this week and so will we. I’ll be in Omaha Friday for open practice and pre-series press conference day. We will post several videos with player and coach interviews that day, and we will have extensive coverage from Omaha during the entire series. Among our coverage: Daily video & audio, daily CWS scoreboard pages and a daily Notebook/blog. Collegebaseball360.com will have someone in Omaha from start to finish for the 2010 College World Series!
Goaaaalllll: Soccer, seriously? When there’s college baseball on?