Former Loyola Marymount coach Frank Cruz is back in college baseball, and back at Southern California. Cruz, who spent four years as an assistant under then-USC coach Mike Gillespie from 1993-96, was hired by Trojans coach Chad Kreuter as a volunteer assistant coach this week. Cruz had spent the last 12 years as the head coach at Loyola Marymount before being abruptly fired this summer.
The 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament will be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Triple-A Bulls. The tournament was originally scheduled for Fenway Park, but the Fenway Sports Group had to postpone until 2010 after discovering an in-house scheduling conflict in August. The Bulls were able to accommodate the ACC on short notice.
"We feel fortunate to know that our teams will compete for an ACC title in a top-rate stadium that is regarded as one of the best in all of minor league baseball," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. [...] Continue Reading »
After its highly regarded recruiting class was ravaged by the draft, North Carolina has found a creative way to soften the blow. ImpactBaseball.com reported yesterday that infielder Levi Michael, one of the top prospects in the state of North Carolina’s 2009 class, will enroll early at UNC. Michael will graduate from North Davidson High in January and start classes at UNC in time to play this spring. He’ll step immediately into the mix in a Tar Heel infield that was hit hard when Garrison Lassiter signed with the Yankees as a 27th-round pick right before the Aug. 15 signing deadline.
Here’s Matt Blood’s scouting report on Michael from the World Wood Bat championship in July:
At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, Michael is a seemingly undersized middle infielder. However, the switch-hitter is solidly built and athletic and does everything well on the baseball field. Defensively, Michael is a smooth fielding shortstop, with advanced instincts, soft hands and a strong arm. He moves well in the middle of the diamond and uses proper routes and footwork to range from left to right. At the plate, Michael has the typical lefthander’s sweet swing with a level bat path and bat speed. He does not hit for much power but does make consistent hard contact and can drive the ball to all fields. He is a slightly above-average runner and swinging from the left side, has the ability to beat out slow ground balls.
The nation’s top two cold-weather conferences have devised a novel way to kick off the season. The inaugural Big East/Big Ten Baseball Challenge will feature 18 teams from the two leagues going head to head in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area in Florida.
Teams from the Northeast and upper Midwest have traditionally opened their seasons on Sun Belt road trips against teams that have been practicing outdoors for weeks and therefore have a major leg up. The Challenge will allow these cold-weather teams to open up in warm weather against opponents at the same stage of preparation for the season.
The inaugural Challenge will feature 27 games from Feb. 20-22 at various spring training venues in the Tampa Bay area. All 10 baseball-playing teams from the Big Ten will participate, as will eight teams from the Big East. Each day will feature eight inter-conference games, highlighted by nightly doubleheaders of marquee matchups. The two extra Big Ten teams will compete against each other in a non-league game. [...] Continue Reading »
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