OMAHA–The weather has been a significant factor at the College World Series this year, and it looks like it might affect tonight’s game as well. Already, several rain storms have passed through the area today, and the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms all night. As I post this, a thunderstorm is hammering the area around the media hotel. All of us media types are itching to see some baseball tonight, but a postponement wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Fresno State, which could use a day to rest its pitching staff. Fresno will start righthander Justin Miller tonight against Georgia’s Nick Montgomery, and I would expect to see plenty of Holden Sprage on the Fresno side as well.
John clinched the picks title last night, and when I asked for his pick today, he smugly replied, "Does it matter? I’ve already won this thing." To spare my dignity, I’m not going to post our records at the bottom of this post. Suffice it to say John’s the winner, and congratulations to him. Looks like I owe him a steak. To the (irrelevant) picks:
John’s Pick: "I’m glad to know that I was able to even my record with Aaron after losing to him in the picks last year. I already bought him a steak this year in my first day in Omaha — of course it was at the Drover — and look forward to collecting from him next year. This has been a pretty good CWS and I suspect Georgia will wrap it up tonight, because Fresno’s pitching is just too thin. A few comments, though: (1) Fresno was no No. 4 seed, not in terms of talent. The Bulldogs have made our preseason ranking of them look good, and the fact they made this run with all their injuries is all the more impressive. It’s fun to see a team play to its complete and utter maximum capability. (2) Georgia’s improvement after a late stumble seems to be most tied to more production from the bottom of the lineup. Gordon Beckham just hit his first homer in Omaha, yet Georgia didn’t have huge problems scoring runs out there. Matt Cerione and Lyle Allen picking it up late really helped deepen Georgia’s lineup, which looked top-heavy late in the season. (3) The mystery of the Atlantic Coast Conference in Omaha continues. Florida State didn’t have enough pitching; Miami peaked too early; North Carolina’s righthanded hitters just weren’t good enough for the Tar Heels to sustain rallies. Until some ACC team wins a national title under the ACC banner, the league will keep hearing the refrain that it has no claim to being the nation’s top conference. There’s just no way to ever argue that with no national title since 1955. (4) The new CWS format, in its first year, just feels a bit too long. I don’t think one year is enough to judge the format on, but early returns aren’t too positive. If there are better TV ratings, that’s great for ESPN, but how is it great for the CWS experience and that of the players, not to mention the fans?
John’s Pick: Georgia
Aaron’s Pick: I’m a little concerned about Fresno’s ability to hold a lead with its depleted bullpen–Brandon Burke looked gassed last night and has thrown each of the last two days. Still, I think Miller can give them five solid innings, and Sprague should be able to go two or three. I love the way Fresno’s swinging the bats (though a few more hits with runners in scoring position early in the game last night would have been huge for those guys), and I really love the way that team defends. Fresno always seems to respond the game after a tough defeat, and I think it will respond again today.
Aaron’s Pick: Fresno State
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