OMAHA — South Carolina is not known for its fast starts in the College World Series.
That’s why the most notable event in the Gamecocks’ 4-3 loss to Oklahoma on Sunday—other than 6 hours, 16 minutes of weather delays — was Christian Walker’s leadoff homer in the second inning. That broke a 46-inning South Carolina scoreless streak in openers dating back to 1982.
Three of the South Carolina shutouts were during the Ray Tanner era, coming for 2002-04. Tanner has a simple explanation.
“I’m always a bad coach in the first game,” he said. "It’s hard to explain. But, you know, the thing about this team in particular, and some of the teams I’ve had, they’re very resilient. They bounce back.” [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—Lost, or at least buried, amid TCU's eight-run rally in Wednesday night's thrilling 11-7 win over Florida State was a close play at second base. Had it gone against the Horned Frogs, the uprising would have ended before another exciting chapter in College World Series history could be written.
TCU catcher Bryan Holaday stepped to the plate with two outs and runners at the corners in the eighth inning and slugged a pitch from Florida State's Mike McGee that carried to the left-field wall. Teammate Brance Rivera could have walked home from third base. Jerome Pena easily made it from first to third. And then there was Holaday. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—For the second time in two days, an eight-run inning proved decisive at the College World Series. But this one was considerably more dramatic than South Carolina's eight-run second against Arizona State yesterday.
Texas Christian stormed back from a four-run deficit with eight runs in the eighth to stun Florida State on Wednesday night. The big blow was Matt Curry's two-out grand slam over the batter's eye in center field, turning a 7-5 deficit into a 9-7 lead. Jantzen Witte punctuated the inning with a two-run homer two batters later, giving TCU its final 11-7 margin of victory.
Plenty more to come after postgame.
OMAHA—John Manuel's cheeks were wet when he said his final goodbye to Rosenblatt Stadium last night. That might have been because we were standing on the field in the pouring rain, but then, anyone who knows John is aware of his penchant for getting verklempt at those sorts of moments.
In any case, Manuel has completed his 12th and final trip to Rosenblatt—he flew back to Durham early this morning. He called me this afternoon to make his Thursday picks and tried to pull a fast one by taking Clemson in the resumption of last night's suspended game. Sorry; just as Clemson says it has a policy against announcing mid-game changes (meaning we still don't know who will take the mound for the Tigers when play resumes today, though lefty Will Lamb is the smart bet), we've got a policy against changing picks mid-game. So John is stuck with Oklahoma, which trails 6-1 heading into ths sixth. I've got Clemson in that game, and I need the Tigers to hold on to pull me even with John in our picks competition. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—The College World Series game between Clemson and Oklahoma was suspended Tuesday night after five innings with the Tigers leading 6-1. The game will resume Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Central at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The suspension seems more advantageous to Oklahoma, because Clemson righthander Scott Weismann was pitching well, having thrown 90 pitches through five solid innings. He'd given up just three hits and a run while walking two and striking out four. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—South Carolina rapped out eight hits in an eight-run second inning and coasted to an 11-4 win against Arizona State in Tuesday's College World Series elimination game. The Gamecocks survive to face the loser of tonight's Clemson-Oklahoma game on Thursday, while top-seeded Arizona State is eliminated after an 0-2 showing. The Sun Devils are the first No. 1 national seed to go 0-2 in Omaha since the 64-team format was implemented in 1999.
Sophomore center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs to lead the South Carolina offense. The red-hot Bradley is 5-for-8 in Omaha and is hitting .457 during his current 18-game hitting streak. Junior righthander Sam Dyson earned the win, allowing four earned runs over 7 1/3 strong innings.
More to come after postgame.
OMAHA—The national No. 1 curse continues.
Arizona State’s abrupt ouster from the College World Series with Tuesday's 11-4 loss to South Carolina means we will go another year without the national No. 1 seed living up to the expectations of the NCAA selection committee. And, in fact, the Sun Devils became the first No. 1 to go 0-2 here under the new format. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—Inspired by John Manuel's blog post last night—Cole Talks Yankees—I decided to throw together a few leftover quotes into a post about the other unsigned first-round pick here in Omaha, Texas Christian's Matt Purke.
The No. 14 overall pick by the Rangers last year, Purke actually wanted and expected to sign before last August's deadline, unlike Cole, who had mostly made up his mind to attend UCLA. When the Rangers' financial problems prevented the club from making the offer it knew would be required to sign Purke, he was hit hard. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—The first College World Series tripleheader in 30 years was a success Monday, as the stormy weather held off until after midnight when all the games were completed, helping us get back on schedule. On top of that, we were treated to a terrific game in the nightcap between UCLA and Texas Christian. I have a feeling I'll remember Gerrit Cole's 13-strikeout gem against that tough TCU club for a long time.
Sadly, UCLA's victory capped off an 0-3 day for me in the picks, spoiling my solid start from the weekend. Now I find myself in familiar territory: below .500. Let's get to the Tuesday picks.
John: It would be amazing hubris to keep picking if I were 1-5. I have the fig leaf of being 2-4, though I believe the only two games I've picked correctly so far involved UCLA. I picked the Bruins to win the bracket and I probably would have jumped ship had I known at the time I made the prediction that second baseman Tyler Rahmatulla was hurt. Lucky for me, I made the pick early and I've stuck with it, because I'm 0-for-the-rest-of-Omaha. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway has two players from California on the team—second baseman Danny Black and righthander Bobby Shore.
Golloway says neither player realizes his potential and Shore, in particular, needed several reminders during the season. "I tell him all the time," said Golloway, " 'If you really knew how good you were you'd be pounding the zone like crazy instead of nibbling on the outside.' "
But when asked who would start Tuesday night's game against Clemson, Golloway did not hesitate.
Bobby Shore. [...] Continue Reading »
What Gerrit Cole did Monday night at Rosenblatt Stadium was college baseball in its best light. It was obvious why Cole was a first-round pick in 2008; he ranked No. 17 on Baseball America's Top 200 Draft Prospects that year, and after two years at UCLA, he's even better than he was in high school.
He didn't sign with the Yankees that year as the No. 28 pick in the draft. Naturally, Cole says, he heard about it from Yankees fans at first. "I didn't seek it out," he said, "but right off the bat I heard from them. But it's no big deal."
Cole said Monday that he holds no animosity toward the Yankees whatsoever; in fact, it's quite the opposite. [...] Continue Reading »
Gerrit Cole struck out 13 in eight innings, dominating for the most part as UCLA beat TCU 6-3. Beau Amaral went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI to lead the offense.
Much more to come postgame.
OMAHA—Everyone has an opinion on Tyler Holt, Florida State's center fielder and offensive leader since Buster Posey left town on the way to the majors back in 2008.
Geoff Parker, the Seminoles' reliever, formed one in high school, when he faced Holt in a showcase tournament at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla. He knew they were both Seminoles signees, but that didn't stop Holt from getting under his skin.
"He told me later how he hated facing me because it was 90-91 (mph) at 8 in the morning," Parker said. "But once he woke up, he started with all his antics that get in a pitcher's head—taking pitches, talking, getting hits.
"When I played in the Cape last summer at Harwich, guys would ask me what kind of guy Holt was, and I just said the same thing: He's the kind of guy you love if he's on your team and you hate if he's not. He feeds off his own anger, I guess, and we feed off of him." [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—Florida State cruised through eight innings before Florida finally broke through for three runs in the ninth. But the Seminoles held off the late comeback bid to win 8-5 and send the No. 3 national seed packing.
The Gators had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, and catcher Mike Zunino came to the plate as the go-ahead run. But he lined a Mike McGee pitch to shortstop, where Stephen Cardullo snared it and flipped to second to double off Austin Maddox, ending the game and Florida's season.
The Seminoles, who improved to 4-1 this season against the rival Gators, survive to play the Texas Christian-UCLA loser on Wednesday. More to come after postgame.
OMAHA—Florida State has built a 5-2 lead against Florida through 4 1/2 innings, and its junior All-Americans have done the heavy lifting.
In Saturday's loss to Texas Christian, leadoff man Tyler Holt and No. 3 hitter Mike McGee combined to go 2-for-8 with no RBIs and one run scored. Today, Holt has sparked the Florida State offense, leading off the game with a big solo homer to center field, and getting on base with one out to start rallies in the third and fourth. He walked and scored in the third, then singled and scored in the fourth. McGee, meanwhile, has driven in four runs—three of them on a home run to left in the third, and another with a perfect squeeze bunt in the fourth, scoring Holt.
We've talked a lot in the podcast and elsewhere this season about how Holt, McGee and other Seminoles like Stephen Cardullo are simply winning ballplayers, and that explains so much of Florida State's success this year. You'd expect those types of players to show up on the big stage of the College World Series, and they have (albeit after a slow start on Saturday).
OMAHA—Bullpens were key storylines for both Clemson and Arizona State this season. The Sun Devils used theirs to help jump to a 24-0 start, win the Pacific-10 Conference for the fourth straight season and be the only team to reach the College World Series both in 2009 and 2010.
Clemson (44-23), meanwhile, never found a closer. No Tiger has more than three saves this season, and the Tigers nearly blew an 8-1 lead in the Super Regional finale against Alabama, a meltdown on national television that would have stuck with the program for a while.
So Monday's role reversal at Rosenblatt Stadium was a welcome change for Clemson, which earned a 6-3 victory against the tournament's No. 1 seed. The Tigers jumped out to a 6-1 lead behind starter Casey Harman, and reliever Alex Frederick shut down a bases-loaded, no-outs jam to end a seventh-inning threat en route to a three-inning save. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—The lone regional No. 2 seed at the College World Series knocked off the No. 1 national seed in the first game of Monday's weather-induced tripleheader.
Clemson jumped on an erratic Arizona State starter Seth Blair for two runs in the second and padded its lead with three more in the fifth, en route to a 6-3 win against the Sun Devils. Tigers lefthander Casey Harman earned the win, allowing just three runs over six solid innings before handing off to righty Alex Frederick, who worked three scoreless, one-hit innings for his third save.
Clemson rapped out 14 hits—all singles—in the game and drew five walks against Blair. The ASU bullpen kept the Tigers scoreless over the final three innings, but the damage was already done. Clemson will face Oklahoma in the winners' bracket game Tuesday, while Arizona State will play Tuesday's elimination game against South Carolina.
The next line by the Cult in the song "Rain" is, "Here comes the rain," and later it changes to, "I love the rain."
The same cannot be said here in Omaha, where the surprise isn't the rain, it's the sustained rain, the sustained wind and the sustained lightning. It seemed to rain all night, it's raining again this morning, and those of us staying at the media hotel, the Sleep Inn near the airport, woke up to a downed tree on top of four cars in the parking lot. [...] Continue Reading »
From the NCAA staff:
• Monday's tripleheader will be the first at a College World Series since June 2, 1980.
• Oklahoma has 102 home runs, most of any 2010 CWS team and the most since the Sooners hit 114 in 1998, the last year of the old minus-five bat standard. OU has 12 home runs in seven NCAA tournament games and has hit 20 homers in the eighth inning or later this season. [...] Continue Reading »
OMAHA—In a game that took more than 6 hours to play thanks to two lengthy rain delays, Oklahoma held on to beat South Carolina 4-3 in the first College World Series game for both teams.
Oklahoma (50-16) got six strong innings from starter Michael Rocha (8-2), and relievers Jeremy Erben and Ryan Duke finished up for the victory, but it wasn't easy. Erben and Duke combined to walk four batters in the last two innings, and the Gamecocks left the bases loaded in both the eighth and the ninth while scoring one lone run.
In between the lightning flashes and strikes and rainfall, the teams combined for four solo home runs, two by each club. South Carolina got homers in the second and fourth innings by first baseman Christian Walker and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., while Oklahoma had a second-inning shot by shortstop Caleb Bushyhead and a majestic eighth-inning blast by third baseman Garrett Buechele.
The 17th homer of the season by Buechele, off reliever Jose Mata, proved to be a crucial insurance run and the difference in the game.
Much more to come after the postgame media availability.
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