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 . . .
Game Seven: Cal State Fullerton vs. UC Irvine
John and I agree that Irvine is the better team, with more power, more speed, better pitching, better defense, and a better ability to execute. But as much as I admire the job that Dave Serrano has done, I just can’t shake the feeling that his mentor has something up his sleeve. I heard Fullerton play-by-play man Justin Alderson refer to George Horton as “Yoda” today, and I think that’s an apt moniker. I’ll take Yoda over Obi-Wan today. A couple of other notes: Evan McArthur played through tendinitis in his ankle on Saturday, but Horton said the pain was the worst it has been all year, and he has been replaced in the CSF lineup by Joel Weeks today. Weeks is making his first start since March 14. These two teams have played a three-game series already this year, and though UCI took two out of three, Fullerton’s one win came in a matchup between CSF’s Jeff Kaplan and UCI’s Wes Etheridge. That is the same matchup we will see today. John’s taking the Anteaters after picking against the first-timers, Louisville, yesterday. As the Who sang, we won’t be fooled again.
Aaron: Cal State Fullerton
John: UC Irvine
Game Eight: Arizona State vs. Oregon State
Once again, John and I agree on the better team–Arizona State. But the Beavers are playing with an awful lot of confidence right now–they seem to have recaptured that swagger they possessed when starting the season 22-3. Mike Stutes has pitched in big games before, and I think he’ll rise to the challenge of containing the nation’s best offense. Also, as good as ASU lefty Josh Satow is, he does not possess overpowering stuff, working with a mid-80s fastball and a changeup. The Beavers seem to have trouble against power arms (see: Zach Putnam), but I like their chances against a command-and-control lefty. I still think Arizona State is capable of slugging its way back through this bracket even if it loses today. John likes the Beavers’ savvy and spunk, but can’t shake the image of Jason Jarvis shutting things down at the end of games, a perfect foil to Satow’s precise, finesse approach.
It’s John’s last in-person chance to make up ground as our picks are different for both games. A steak back in the Triangle is on the line, so while it won’t be a Drover Whiskey Fillet, it will have to do for the winner. Maybe we’ll make it a large plate of Q Shack brisket . . .
Aaron: Oregon State
John: Arizona State
(Couldn’t quite get this posted before the game started–the first pitch was a ball. Take that, anti-blogging super-villains!)