Tennessee has scheduled an 11 a.m. press conference Thursday, presumably to announce its next head coach. Yesterday the Vols flew to Atlanta to meet with Michigan coach Rich Maloney, but Maloney agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Wolverines today, taking him out of the running for the Volunteers job. Reports out of Knoxville are now indicating that the Vols will hire Western Carolina coach Todd Raleigh. He might not be a big name that will knock anyone’s socks off, but Raleigh is a good coach who did a tremendous job with the Catamounts this season, guiding them to the finals of the Chapel Hill regional. WCU uses an SEC style of play, relying on offense and home runs, so he should fit right in in his new conference.
That story also reports that Tennessee shortstop/second baseman Tony Delmonico, the son of deposed coach Rod Delmonico, will transfer to Florida State. That move makes plenty of sense, as the elder Delmonico used to be an assistant under FSU coach Mike Martin, and the Seminoles will need someone to replace All-American shortstop Tony Thomas.
OMAHA–The official attendance was just announced here in the Rosenblatt Stadium press box, and the 29, 921 on hand surpasses last night’s game as the second-largest crowd in College World Series history. The only larger crowd came a year ago in this same session 10 game. That game was also started by Oregon State righthander Daniel Turpen, tonight’s starter for OSU.
That’s right, the two largest crowds in CWS history have both shown up to see Daniel Turpen pitch. The way he’s pitching tonight, you can see why. The Anteaters have just one run on five hits through the first seven innings.
The NCAA has clarified its position on blogging during games . . . sort of. The NCAA released a statement today that reaffirmed what we already knew, that “Any transmission of live play-by-play information by any entity other than a media rights holder is prohibited.” But then the statement backs down from the NCAA’s prohibition on blogging score updates, saying, “In fact, in-game updates to include score and time remaining in competition are permissible by any media entity whether credentialed or not.” [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–The last two days have been about redemption and validation for North Carolina. UNC’s rotation had drawn ridicule from fans and media here at the College World Series after a string of poor outings, but the Tar Heels silenced their critics with consecutive stellar performances in elimination games. A day after Luke Putkonen shut down Louisville’s potent offense, Robert Woodard allowed just a run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in UNC’s 6-1 victory against Rice on Wednesday. The Tar Heels staved off elimination for the second straight day, setting up a Thursday rematch with the Owls to decide a trip to the CWS championship series. [...] Continue Reading »
Just a few loose ends from a terrific Tuesday, and looking ahead . . .
OMAHA–It’s already been a wild, wonderful College World Series, and we’ve got two more very intriguing games on the schedule today. It’s funny, I heard a waitress say the other day that Oregon State is like the home team this week, because they’re here every year now. Who ever thought we’d arrive at that point? It seems like the Beavers have been usurped as Omaha’s favorite sons by those plucky UC Irvine Anteaters, who remind me a lot of the 2006 Beavers. Both teams lost their first games and had to make improbable runs through the loser’s bracket, and just when you thought the Beavers were out of pitching, they got huge performances from inexperienced arms like Dan Turpen and Joe Paterson, who are now their rotation mainstays. Dave Serrano is taking the right attitude about tonight’s game, saying this is a great opportunity for the Anteaters to get a look at some of the young pitchers who will be the future of their program. To the picks . . . [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–A day after UC Irvine won a College World Series game for the ages against Cal State Fullerton, the Anteaters might have outdone themselves in the encore.
The ‘Eaters overcame a four-run eighth-inning deficit Tuesday night to beat Arizona State on Ollie Linton’s walk-off bases-loaded single in the 10th. Irvine became the first team ever to win extra-inning CWS games on consecutive days. As intense as UCI’s 13-inning win against Fullerton was on Monday, this one left the 29,034 fans in Rosenblatt Stadium breathless. [...] Continue Reading »
An interesting candidate has emerged for the vacant head coaching job at Tennessee. Michigan athletic director Bill Martin has confirmed the Wolverines granted the Volunteers permission to interview coach Rich Maloney for the job. Maloney would be a great hire if Tennessee can get him to leave Ann Arbor, but that won’t be easy. Michigan is clearly a program on the rise, with a major stadium upgrade on the way and a returning group of players capable of reaching the College World Series. Maloney has a chance to build a substantial legacy all his own at Michigan, and the Wolverines would be wise to do everything they can to keep him.
OMAHA–North Carolina knew it would eventually need some quality starting pitching in order to make a deep run in the College World Series. After its first two CWS starters, Robert Woodard and Alex White, allowed 10 total runs in a combined three innings, junior righthander Luke Putkonen delivered the first quality start by a UNC pitcher since its NCAA tournament opener against Jacksonville. Putkonen stymied Louisville’s previously high-flying offense for seven innings in Tuesday’s first elimination game, allowing just a run on three hits over seven innings in UNC’s 3-1 win.
It’s a good thing Putkonen (8-1) was sharp, because the Tar Heels mustered a season-low three hits in victory. All three UNC runs came in the second inning, starting with Seth Williams’ RBI single to right field. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–I was thinking about that epic first game yesterday between UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, and I wanted to single out a crucial moment that got lost in the pandemonium of that 13th inning. If not for Cody Cipriano’s 14-pitch at-bat in the seventh, all of that extra-inning drama might never have occurred. UCI trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, when Cipriano fouled off eight straight payoff pitches and finally deposited a Jeff Kaplan offering over the right-field fence. The opposite-field home run was Cipriano’s 13th long ball of the year, setting a new school record. He is Irvine’s best hitter, but he had been struggling of late. It was nice to see him come through when the Anteaters needed an equalizer. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–If you weren’t paying close attention, you might have mistaken the guys in the white, baggy uniforms for the guys in the gray, baggy uniforms on Monday night, and not just because Oregon State’s retro-style white unis were inspired by Arizona State’s similar togs. The Beavers might be known for their pitching and defense, but on this night they turned the tables on the nation’s highest-scoring team, pounding out 18 hits in a 12-6 thumping of the Sun Devils.
“I’ve been saying all year long we needed to get punched in the mouth, and I think it’s clear we got punched in the mouth tonight,” ASU coach Pat Murphy said. “I don’t want to discredit Oregon State at all, but that’s as bad of baseball as we’ve played all year, for six innings. I’m disappointed it happened today.” [...] Continue Reading »
This was my ninth trip to Omaha, and what a trip it has been. All the old favorites, from the Omaha World-Herald crew to Zesto’s and the Drover, to the same security guards who are here every year, and even the same women who distribute the microphones at the postgame news conference.
And yet there are new favorites. I could get used to Runza being in the ballpark; as Aaron Fitt says, if you like cabbage, you’ll like Runza. And I came to the end of the ’05 Series and missed last year’s event, so this was my first experience with Beaver Nation in Oregon. While as I write this the Sun Devils are attempting to rally, Oregon State was in the process of rolling past Arizona State to its second victory in the tournament.
The last defending national champion to return to Omaha and get off to a 2-0 start is . . . Louisiana State in 1998. In other words, the Beavers are starting to edge from lovable underdog to Big Dog status. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Watching Cal State Fullerton’s Clark Hardman lay out to make a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the fifth today–the play of the CWS in my mind until Josh Fellhauer’s throw in the 13th–it occurred to me just how much I enjoy watching Hardman play. Of course, the more I watch his UC Irvine counterpart in center field, Ollie Linton, the more I appreciate his smooth, fluid actions, his superb range and his impeccable instincts. I also enjoy his Mortal Kombat-style handshakes and all-around lovable goofiness.
Anyway, I joked to John Manuel that Hardman and Linton would have quite a battle for a spot on the All-Fitt team, and he suggested the team would make a nice blog post. So I now present to you the first ever All-Fitt team, composed of players I have most enjoyed watching and/or talking to in 2007 [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Can five hours and 40 minutes of college baseball be riveting? What if it includes six errors–all by the winning team–eight hit batsmen, and five late innings of both teams pressing, trying too hard to come up with that winning hit?
Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine proved such a game can engross the baseball purist, the fan who appreciates what West Coast baseball truly is about. The Anteaters were the better team in the regular season and won the head-to-head series, and Monday–in the longest game in College World Series history–they were better than the Titans again, winning 5-4 in 13 innings on a run-scoring, walk-off single by Bryan Petersen. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–Arizona State coach Pat Murphy threw us a bit of a curveball today, opting to start lefthander Brian Flores over usual No. 2 Josh Satow. Flores probably has better pure stuff than Satow, and he dominated in his last start against Oregon State, allowing just one hit in a complete-game victory.
One other note: the wind has shifted since yesterday, and now seems to be blowing out a bit to right field. That would seem to favor Arizona State’s power lefthanded bats.
UC Irvine’s Bryan Petersen singled home Cody Cipriano in the bottom of the 13th inning to end the longest game in College World Series history, as the Anteaters beat Cal State Fullerton 5-4 to stay alive. The Titans stayed alive in the wild 13th a batter earlier when freshman left fielder Josh Fellhauer gunned down Taylor Holiday at the plate, but Petersen followed with a flare to center against new pitcher Dustin Birosak to drive in the winning run. We’ll have much more on this game shortly.
Aaron and I don’t know who won our first pick of the day because the first game of the day has yet to end. The UC Irvine-Cal State Fullerton elimination game is challenging for the longest game in College World Series history . . . and it just went to 5 hours, 1 minute, longest CWS game ever. Old record: 1981, Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State.
OMAHA–Dark clouds have gathered around Rosenblatt Stadium, and there could be some rain in our forecast. Fortunately, we already got one game in today, as the 20th annual CWS media softball game took place at Creighton’s softball field at 9 a.m. My team lost, as NCAA anti-blogging super-villain Jeramy Michiaels went deep twice for the bad guys, including a grand slam. I went 4-for-5 at the plate with a double and an RBI while playing a solid shortstop, although I did misplay a ground ball into a nice bruise below my knee–my footwork leaves something to be desired.
The guys at 1620 The Zone said they spoke with a meteorologist and they’re optimistic we’ll get both games in, so keep your fingers crossed. On to Monday’s picks . . . [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–North Carolina’s comeback streak came to a screeching halt Sunday when it ran into a red-hot Rice offense and Joe Savery.
The Owls’ lefthander held the Tar Heels in check for six innings on the mound, and was one of the nine Owls starters (of course, that makes all of them) who had a hit, a run scored and an RBI as Rice routed North Carolina 14-4. Rice improved to 2-0 and took control of this bracket, while the Tar Heels face an elimination game against Louisville on Tuesday. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA–I took advantage of today’s second consecutive blowout to leave the press box for a few innings and soak in some of the color of the bleachers here at Rosenblatt Stadium. I took my notebook along and dug up some answers to a few burning questions.
With the wind howling out all weekend, we’ve seen some mammoth home runs already, but which one was the longest? According to various concessions workers I surveyed in the grill area behind the center-field hitter’s eye, Mississippi State’s Mitch Moreland and Louisville’s Chris Dominguez will have to share the honor. Moreland’s blast against North Carolina on Friday landed near a grate in the concourse to the right of the hitter’s eye. Dominguez’ first home run against the Bulldogs today landed about two feet shy of a grate located in the exact same spot on the left side of the hitter’s eye. If Moreland’s homer was longer, it was only by a foot or two–we’ll call it a draw. Louisville’s Logan Johnson also hit one that warrants consideration today, but it landed in the narrow gap between the hitter’s eye and the concourse. [...] Continue Reading »
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