The first weekend of Division I college baseball in 2008 is in the books. The uniform start date might not be until Feb. 22, but Hawaii and Hawaii-Hilo were allowed to start one week early because of their remote location, and though the Rainbows won the series, the Vulcans snapped their 15-game losing streak against their in-state rivals with a 4-3 win Sunday. The series was much more competitive than the usual set between these two clubs–even Friday, it took Hawaii 11 innings to pull out a 5-4 win.
"We played about as bad as we can play–we haven’t had a practice that bad," Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso said of his team’s performance on the weekend. "That was about as bad as we’ll play offensively. We just didn’t have any rhythm offensively, and it’s not like it was against really good pitching. When you lose a game to UH-Hilo, you had better wake up and learn to respect all of your opponents. [...] Continue Reading »
The first pitch of the Division I college baseball season will be thrown tonight by Hawaii ace Matt Daly at 11:35 p.m. ET. The rest of D-I doesn’t get started for another week, but Hawaii and Hawaii-Hilo were granted a one-week reprieve from the uniform start date because of the difficulty they have in scheduling due to their remote location. The Rainbows have beaten the Vulcans 13 consecutive times, and Daly gives them a strong chance to make it 14 tonight–the last time he faced Hilo, Daly threw a one-hit shutout. The Rainbows’ righthander is coming off a strong summer in the Cape Cod League that included a no-hitter; his final pitch in that game was a 95 mph fastball.
Hawaii-Hilo struggled to a 12-35 record a year ago, but the Vulcans actually have a more experienced pitching staff than Hawaii, giving them a chance in the second and third games of this series. The Rainbows will give the ball to newcomers Jared Alexander and Alex Capaul on Saturday and Sunday, but Hilo welcomes back five starting pitchers, led by junior righthander Clayton Uyechi (2-3, 4.70 a year ago). Other returning starters like Joe Davis and Jeffrey Germain will need to take major steps forward in 2008.
No school in the country is quite like Brigham Young, which is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the Mormon church). Students don’t have to be Mormon, but BYU requires all incoming and continuing students to receive an ecclesiastical endorsement from their religious leaders.
Earlier this week, BYU’s top offensive returning player, second baseman/outfielder Kent Walton, lost his ecclesiastical endorsement and was subsequently kicked out of BYU, and of course off the baseball team as well. Coach Vance Law, a BYU alum and former big leaguer, refused to comment on the matter, and various Salt Lake media had surmised that the reason for Walton’s dismissal was that he didn’t attend church frequently enough. Walton’s father Ken spoke out in the media that his son was being made an example of unfairly and that he had legitimate reasons for missing church services.
College marketing departments, take note. San Diego coach Rich Hill had the right idea to properly promote college baseball’s new common start date, which forced teams to wait for their first practice until today.
"It’s finally here," Hill said on my voicemail this morning. "February 1. We were thinking of having a Midnight Madness practice, but decided to take the more traditional route."
Around the nation, there are probably dozens of coaches who were similarly tempted to start practice as soon as the clock struck midnight Friday. The long offseason is finally over, and Division I teams can begin full practices today for the first time since the end of fall practices. For warm-weather schools in particular, Feb. 1 couldn’t have come soon enough. [...] Continue Reading »
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