Hinch, Roberts Battles Date To Old Pac-10

HOUSTON--The World Series managerial battle between the Astros’ A.J. Hinch and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts is more than just a match of wits between two decorated skippers.

For each, it carries a more personal touch.

The two have a friendly rivalry dating back to their college days in the Pac-10, when Hinch was Stanford's celebrated catcher and Roberts was UCLA's speedy leadoff hitter.

Hinch, in particular, has a trump card he enjoys playing against Roberts.

"I’m sure A.J. might have brought this up," Roberts mused prior to Game Three of the World Series. "I was part of one no-hitter, on the wrong side of a no-hitter, and he was the catcher."

The date was May 8, 1994 and Stanford was hosting UCLA for a doubleheader at Sunken Diamond. The Cardinal crushed the Bruins 14-5 in the opener. In the nightcap, righthander Jason Middlebrook, Baseball America's Preseason Freshman of the Year that season, took the mound and delivered the fifth nine-inning no-hitter (and still most recent) in Stanford baseball history. He struck out 14 in Cardinal's 3-0 victory, with Hinch guiding him start-to-finish against Roberts and the Bruins.

Roberts, who hit .353 that season, got a measure of revenge five years later against Hinch in the majors. Roberts successfully stole a base against Hinch the first chance he got in the big leagues, swiping second base for the Indians against Hinch and the Athletics on Aug. 24, 1999. It was an important steal too. It came in the eighth inning of a tie game, and Roberts promptly came home with the go-ahead run after Roberto Alomar singled him in.

"Outside of that (no-hitter) I probably stole a couple of bases off of him. I’m going to stick to that," Roberts said. "So we’re sort of even. So this is our rubber match, the World Series."