USA Baseball has named Vanderbilt lefthander David Price–Baseball America’s
College Player of the Year–as winner of its Golden Spikes Award, the greatest honor an amateur baseball player can get in this country.
Price joins an elite group that includes active big leaguers such as Jason Varitek, Mark Kotsay, Rickie Weeks and Mark Prior. In fact, only two Golden Spikes winners have never reached the majors since its inception in 1978–Augie Schmidt (1982) and Kip Bouknight (2000). [...] Continue Reading »
Less than a week after announcing he was leaving Alabama’s head coaching post, Jim Wells changed his mind.
In a press conference Wednesday evening in Tuscaloosa, Wells said he “personally rushed myself into that decision, that I didnâ€™t allow myself the time needed to really consider everything I needed to.” [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–While Oregon State was celebrating its second straight national title with the dogpile it had been saving all season long, North Carolina coach Mike Fox walked back through the dugout tunnel into the locker room. UNC junior outfielder Reid Fronk was already there.
“Reid didn’t want to watch the celebration, and neither did I–I’d seen that before,” Fox said. “It’s just difficult, so I went in the locker room. I told him I was going to miss him, he said, ‘I’ll miss you too.’ That’s the great thing about coaching that if you’re not in it, it’s hard to understand. But that’s the wonderful thing about coaching is the relationships. That’s the part that’s going to carry on.” [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Darwin Barney emerged from the gaggle of Oregon State players draped in white “National Champions” T-shirts, took a few steps toward home plate, then wheeled around and yelled, “Mitch! Mitch! Let’s go!”
A moment later, Mitch Canham forced his way through the throng. Barney put his left arm around Canham’s shoulders, and the duo approached the makeshift platform set up near the plate. Together the two juniors hoisted the massive national championship trophy over their heads and posed for pictures. Then they turned to their teammates, calling, “Hey everybody, get in here!”
It wasn’t the first time Barney and Canham have led their teammates during the past three years, but it might be the last. The pair put the finishing touches on one of the great three-year runs in college baseball history on Sunday night, leading the Beavers to a 9-3 win against North Carolina and their second consecutive national title, capping off their third straight trip to the College World Series. Appropriately, Barney’s two-run homer in the second inning–with Canham on first base–gave Oregon State the lead for good. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Oregon State won its second consecutive national title with a 9-3 win against North Carolina on Sunday night. The Beavers became just the fifth team to repeat as national champion, and the first since Louisiana State in 1996-97. [...] Continue Reading »
Those Clemson-South Carolina recruiting battles might not be quite as intense from now on. About a week after Florida hired Clemson recruiting coordinator Kevin O’Sullivan as its head coach, Liberty has hired South Carolina recruiting coordinator Jim Toman as its new coach. Toman and O’Sullivan are regarded as two of the nation’s hardest-working recruiters, and both have demonstrated a keen eye for talent. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–There’s something in the air here in the Rosenblatt Stadium press box, and I don’t mean Beaver Fever. I and no fewer than six other media members have come down with some kind of nasty flu-like bug, after we all felt just fine as recently as Friday. I decided to combat the disease by sleeping in all morning, emerging for lunch, then heading back to the hotel for another hour of shut eye before Game Two of the CWS finals tonight. I’m feeling somewhat refreshed now–but if you see me in the street, give me a wide berth.
A few thoughts before we get to Sunday’s picks: [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–North Carolina and Oregon State picked up Saturday night right where they left off a year ago.
Just as in Game Three of the 2006 College World Series championship series, the team that played sounder defense and came up with more timely hitting was the team that won the first game of the 2007 CWS finals. Just like a year ago, that team was wearing white and orange.
Oregon State broke open a close game with eight runs over the final four innings en route to an 11-4 win over UNC in front of 26,887 fans, the largest crowd ever for a CWS finals game. [...] Continue Reading »
Oregon State scored eight runs over the final four innings to bury North Carolina 11-4 in the first game of the 2007 College World Series finals. Freshman Jorge Reyes picked up the win with six-plus strong innings, allowing just three runs, and Joe Paterson closed it out with three strong innings of relief. The Beavers took the lead on Jordan Lennerton’s two-run homer in the second, and they never looked back. I’ll have much more after the postgame.
OMAHA–One of our keys to victory for North Carolina was getting some timely hitting. It’s worth noting that the Tar Heels are 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position through four innings. Part of that is a testament to the poise of Oregon State freshman Jorge Reyes, who has made good pitches with runners on base. His fastball has shown good life early on, and he’s commanding it well. But UNC should be encouraged by the generally solid start for its own freshman righthander, Alex White. He’s made a couple of mistakes, and Oregon State has built a 3-0 lead, but he’s already lasted longer than he did in his first CWS start last weekend.
One other note: the wind is blowing in pretty strongly right now, which could neutralize the long ball–we’ve already seen a couple of hard-hit balls get knocked down by the wind. Of course, North Carolina hardly needs to hit home runs to score, as evidenced by its run through most of the postseason without the benefit of a single homer. The Tar Heels can string hits together and put runs on the board in a hurry. This game is still wide open.
OMAHA–Perhaps ornery from a Friday without baseball, the Rosenblatt Stadium crowd was even more harsh than usual when the ball girl behind home plate misplayed back-to-back foul balls off the screen. The second one picked up speed as it rolled down the screen from the press box, and the ball girl misread it, allowing it to kick over her head and toward home plate. The crowd showered her with boos, but she got a shot at redemption a few pitches later. Once again, she misread the ball, but she recovered with an acrobatic barehanded grab reminiscent of Kevin Mitchell’s barehanded catch on a foul ball years ago. This time, the crowd rewarded her with a hearty ovation.
(Hopefully this doesn’t count as play-by-play–I’d hate to be ejected from the press box during the CWS Finals . . . )
The North Carolina-Oregon State rematch is generating quite a bit of interest, and not just in college baseball circles. Even the respective heads of state are getting into it–take a look at the press release issued by the office of North Carolina governor Mike Easley: [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–After three years of coming the College World Series, I finally got to check out the Henry Doorly Zoo yesterday afternoon, thanks to a rare off day without a baseball game on the schedule. It was an impressive zoo–I especially enjoyed the giant Desert Dome that you can see beyond the right-field fence at Rosenblatt Stadium. And the gorillas put on a nice show, banging their chests and then startling spectators by slamming their fists against the glass. But seeing all the exotic animals got me thinking: sports teams really don’t take advantage of all the opportunities for creative nicknames. They bombard us with Bulldogs and Wildcats, but why doesn’t anyone have the gumption to name themselves the Klipspringers, the Coatimundis, the Fossa, the Tawny Frogmouths or the Naked Mole Rats? Such a waste of good material . . . [...] Continue Reading »
(Through 6 games)
OF Ben Guez, William & Mary: .370/.471/.481, 10 H, 6 SB, 5 BB
3B Kevin Hoef, Iowa: .455/.586/.455, 10 H, 4 RBIs, 3 SB, 6 HBP
SS/2B Danny Lima, Tennessee: .455/.500/.545, 10 H, 2 2Bs
RHP Ryan Cook, Southern California: 0.00 ERA, 11 K, 6 IP [...] Continue Reading »
See also: Box Score
OMAHA–North Carolina’s march through the 2007 postseason has been accompanied by an air of unfinished business.
No matter what kind of adverse circumstances the Tar Heels found themselves in, nothing could deter them from their mission to get another crack at the national championship that barely escaped their grasp a year ago. Even after losing to Rice in their second College World Series game Sunday, the Tar Heels were confident they could win three straight games and find their way back to the finals.
They completed that mission with a 7-4 win against Rice on Thursday night, leaving just one more goal yet to be checked off. Fittingly, UNC will get another crack at defending national champion Oregon State in the best-of-three CWS finals this weekend, starting with Saturday’s opener at 7 p.m. ET. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–The College World Series finals are set. North Carolina beat Rice 7-4 this evening to clinch its second consecutive trip to the finals. They’ll face a familiar opponent in defending national champion Oregon State.
The Tar Heels got four home runs to build a 7-2 lead through five innings, and starter Adam Warren pitched very well into the seventh, finishing with three runs on three hits. Closer Andrew Carignan pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to pick up his 18th save of the year. I’ll have much more on Rice-UNC after the postgame.
Suddenly, the Southeastern Conference has turned into Thunderdome: Two men enter, one man leaves.
Former BA intern Josh Cooper, a reporter in Alabama for the Decatur Daily, is reporting that Alabama head coach Jim Wells has retired, just a week after Florida named a new head coach in Kevin O’Sullivan, and the same day that Tennessee announced the hiring of Todd Raleigh as its new head coach. Alabama has now sent out a press release confirming the coach’s retirement. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Before I get to today’s picks, I need to correct an error from yesterday’s picks blog. I got an indignant phone call from John Manuel this morning after I accidentally wrote that he picked Rice yesterday–he actually picked the Tar Heels, as the text indicated. But John lost some ground in the nightcap, and I’m sitting pretty with a two-game lead with a maximum of four games left to play. Let’s get to today’s picks. [...] Continue Reading »
New Mexico hired Ray Birmingham to replace Rich Alday as its head coach. The Lobos didn’t have to look far to find Birmingham–he’s had the state’s best baseball program for years. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–When Oregon State beat Michigan in the Corvallis super-regional and earned its third straight trip to the College World Series, there was no dogpile, just a calm, quiet celebration like you’d see after any other win. Catcher Mitch Canham said afterward that the Beavers were only going to dogpile once this year, and they weren’t about to waste it so early in the postseason.
After Oregon State dissected a depleted UC Irvine team 7-1 on Wednesday night to earn a second straight trip to the CWS championship series, there was another calm, quiet celebration just like you’d see after any other win.
“The whole team believes there’s only room for that one dogpile,” Canham said. “That’s all we’ve been working on all year. We didn’t work toward the Pac-10 championship, that was no concern to us. It’s all about getting another ring. That started the day after we won last year–we woke up and started thinking, ‘Man, I can’t wait until next year when we do it again.’ [...] Continue Reading »
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