College World Series
Rosenblatt Stadium opens its doors again, and tommorrow we'll have another showdown for the baseball title. There probably isn't a sporting event in the country I enjoy more than the CWS. It's held every year in Omaha, and college baseball flies far enough under the sports radar that everyone going the games is a true fan. It's tough to find people there who are there "to be seen." There's just a tremendous vibe at Rosenblatt, like you are among the few people who understand the excitement of college baseball. I've only been once, and it was the greatest sporting event I've ever attended, even though my team lost in two games.
The important thing to remember is that this isn't an eight-team tournament. It's two seperate four-team tournaments, and the winners of those mini-tourneys will face off (in a three game series for the first time!). So each bracket has its own character, the left side this year is the Texas Bracket with Rice and UT as huge favorites over Miami and SMS. The right side is the SEC vs. the West Coast as CSF and Stanford are prohibitive favorites over USC (the one in Carolina) and LSU. Overall, it's the old friends CWS, check out these programs overall experience.
CSF- 3 titles, 12 CWS appearances
LSU- 5 titles, 12 CWS
Rice- 4 CWS
Stanford- 2 titles, 15 CWS
Miami- 4 titles, 20 CWS
USC- 7 CWS, last year's runner-up
Texas- 5 titles, 30 CWS, defending champ
SMS- first ever appearance
That's 19 titles and 100 appearances between seven schools. This is college baseball's royalty. So let's break it down.
The highest seed remaining, but no one's really pencilling them in as the favorite. That's mainly because this team has been downright decimated by injuries, and on paper, had no business doing as well as they have. They lost their captain to a heart attack before the season even began, and this is a team that gets by on heart and grit. Oh, and a little bit of hitting. They lead the field with 82 home runs, and SEC Player of the Year Aaron Hill can do just about anything with the bat. Their pitching is suspect, but they did lose two starters to injury. The real problem is that their bullpen is truly awful, and bad bullpens tend to get exposed in Omaha. LSU relies on the big inning, and they are sure to put up one or two before their time expires, but without an ace on the staff or in the pen, the Tigers can't be considered favorites.
Their worst pitcher has an ERA of 3.82. They boast five pitchers with ERA's below 3. Simply put, they can pitch. and it's not just the frontline starters of Windsor (1.82), Schreppel (2.45), and Miller (3.03). It's the whole staff. They also have 10 hitting regulars with averages above .300. They lack power, but they get on base and can run like hell. As a team, they stole 111 bases on 153 attempts. This is the classic little ball team with pitching and defense. They get LSU in their first game, which is actually their worst possible draw. No one can pitch like Fullerton except Rice, but LSU always seems to get big innings. Against the other pitching-oriented teams in their bracket, Fullerton has the extreme advantage. They are the favorites to reach the finals.
Stanford got swept by CSF earlier in the year, and don't think they don't know that. It's hard to explain just how good the combination of Garko and Quentin are in the order. They can flat out hit. And Putnam's also got a big bat. The pitching isn't as jaw-droppingly good as the Titans, but the team 3.98 ERA is impressive. Hudgins is the ace and he needs to win all of his starts. Personally, I'd save him for a Game Two, gambling on USC's limited offense. But that's quite a gamble. They hit better than CSF, but don't pitch nearly as well. They are very similar teams, though Stanford has more home run potentital.
USC's getting lost in this loaded bracket. Stanford and CSF are already thinking about a rematch, but it may be in the loser's bracket if they aren't careful. USC's 3.27 ERA is even more impressive when you realize they play in the SEC, conference of huge offense. Buscher leads a pretty good offense, though they don't get on base much. Their lineup is the weakest of any of the team's on the right side of the bracket, but their pitching might be only a notch below CSF's. This is a tremendously underrated team, and if they can keep the big bats of the SEC in check, they can certainly keep the less potent offenses of the West down. The problem will be scoring runs. The longest shot just because of their draw, on the other side of the bracket, USC would look like one of the powers.
Speaking of the powers, Rice can pitch. Niemann, Townsend, Humber, and Baker make a terrifying quartet. And then there's bullpen ace Aardsma. They don't have many potent hitters, though a lot rests on Sinisi and Cruz. They can steal bases and hope their best two hitters drive them in. The problem is that Rice has seemed unfocused throughout the tournament. They've dropped their first game in each round, and you cannot afford to lose your first game in Omaha. Even a team with extraordinary pitching depth like Rice needs to avoid the extra games of the losers bracket. They look like the front-runner, but they need to start acting like it.
They sure are plucky. They are the most overmatched team in Omaha, and they aren't just an unknown team, they are an underdog because outside of Zimmerman and Mulholland on the hill, they lack any star power. It's a decent team that got hot at the right time. They lack power or really the ability to get on base. They steal a lot, but they can't play little ball and rely on their pitching. They arejust hoping Rice has their patented first day brain cramp, get into the winners bracket and then get lucky. It's worked so far.
They are the seeded team, but you wouldn't know it. Texas is getting all of the attention. They boast the worst pitching of any team in Omaha, but they do have a prolific offense keyed by Braun. They don't hit homers like LSU, but they get on base a little more, so they score slightly more runs. Their pitching has held together over the tournmanet, but it hasn't wowed anybody, except for Valdes in the bullpen. It's a good team, and it's never a good idea to bet against Miami, but they look like a two-day kind of team.
Majewski is the best hitter making the trip to Omaha. Huston Street is the best closer in college. Augie is winningnest coach ever. They are the defending champs. The starting pitching past their ace, Howell, sin't what they would like it to be, but the pen is reliable, a rarity in college. And the offense can do it all. They steal even more bases than CSF, taking 117 on 151 attempts. They have seven hitters at .300, so they don't give you easy outs. This is a tough, solid team. But they aren't as good as Rice. They need the Owls to burn through their pitching, so they can throw their ace at them, and not have to use their #2 or 3 guy. Rice has a way of falling apart in Omaha, and Texas is the team best equipped to pick up the slack.
The BartCopSports Prediction
Rice and Fullerton make the championship series, with CSF winning their fourth title.
posted by Poseur 6/12/2003 03:13:00 PM
Big day in European soccer
Euro 2004 qualifying is in full swing, and yesterday gave us a full slate of action. There's not going to be any more qulaifying matches for over a month, so let's see how each group is faring.
It would take a miracle for France to lose this group. They have a 5 point lead over second place Slovenia, so the real race is for runner up. Slovenia had a chance to stake out an equally impressive lead over Israel, but played a 0-0 draw with the Israelis. They still have a narrow two-point lead.
Denmark's 2-0 win over Luxembourg puts them back in the group lead with 13 points. But this one is far from over. Norway managed a 1-1 home draw against Romania on a late penalty. That's crucial to at least get the point at home, and Norway's 11 points keeps them in 2nd place on the table, but Romania is only a point behind. The big match left on the schedule is in September, when Romania visits Denamrk.
The Czechs piled on Moldova, scoring 4 goals in the final 20 minutes to post a 5-0 win. They didn't do that out of spite, they did it for the goal differential, as the Czech Republic took the lead over the idle Dutch by virtue of a 13 GD to the Netherland's 9. Both have 13 points and games in hand over third place Austria. So its a two-team group now. One will qualify, the other will go to a playoff to qualify for Euro 2004. September 10th- that's when the Orange will visit the Czechs in what will essentially be a game for a place in the Cup.
Hungary's 5-0 win over San Marino was expected, but Sweden poured it on at home against Poland, 3-0. This is one of the most competitive groups, with Sweden leading with 11 points in 5 games. Hungary also has 11 points, but has played 6. Latvia has 10 points, and still has home matches against Hungary and Poland before closing on a road trip to Sweden. Poland's loss keep them at 7 points, and they have the same nations left on their schedule as Latvia. The clock is ticking, but they still have an outside shot.
0-0 with 2 minutes to play, Germany almost suffered the ignoble tragedy of failing to score against the Faroe Islands. Then, they netted two in the last two minutes, keeping the population from rioting. Meanwhile, Iceland dismantled Lithuania 3-0. Germany maintains their lead at 11 points, with Iceland just behind at 9. Scotland's still in the running with 8, but Lithuania is probably done, with 7 points and only two games left. Germany still has home matches against Iceland and Scotland looming in September and October. There's a long way to go.
Spain went into the week with a comfortable lead. Then they dropped a 1-0 game to Greece. No big deal, they would just beat up on Northern Ireland when they returned home. But they couldn't score and only managed a 0-0 draw. Greece followed up their first upset with a 1-0 win against Ukraine on a goal in the 87th minute. Now Greece is on top of the table with 12 points, Spain is at 11, and Ukraine at 9. All three teams have only two games remaining, only one amongst themselves: Ukraine at Spain. The door is open for the Grecian upset, all they have to do is beat Northern Ireland and Armenia.
The two leaders, Turkey and England are running away with the group. They both had to overcome second half deficits to win yesterday, but both managed a one-goal advantage. So Turkey has 15 points, England has 13 and a game in hand. Third place Slovakia has 6. So England and Tukey will advance, the question is just who has to go to another round of qualifying. We won't know until October 11, the last day of the group qualifying, when England travels to Turkey.
Croatia's 1-0 win at Estonia restores some semblence of order to this group. Bulgaria still leads with 11 points in 5 games with Croatia closing at 10 in 5. But Belgium also has 10 only its through 6 games. And Estonia is still in it, with 8 points through 6. The game in hand Croatia and Bulgaria hold is against Andorra, a team with only one goal and no points to its credit. So maybe its not as close as it seems.
Italy's 2-0 win over Finland is absolutely huge. Finland's now in a distant third with 6 points through 6 games. Italy has a game in hand and 10 points. Who is winning? Wales, who has gone a perfect 4-0 for 12 points. They have two games in hand and look like they might be on one of the most improbable runs in recent soccer history. Wales has no business dominating this group, but here they are. Well ahead, and with only game left against Italy and Finland respectively. If they can just get one point out of those games combined, all they need to do is sweep Serbia, and they'll have 19 points, the maximum number Italy can now get if they win every game left. It's very close.
Switzerland at 9 points, Russia and Ireland at 7. That's close, people. and it's bnecause no one can beat up on the patsies of the group, Albania and Georgia. The Swiss and Irish both got big wins against the bottom feeders yesterday, but the top teams inability to put away the bottom half of this group is keeping the whole thing close. Everyone's got three games left. It's impossible to call at this point.
posted by Poseur 6/12/2003 12:06:00 PM
Six pitchers get a no-hitter
For the first time in 45 years, the Yankees were no-hit last night. Six Astros pitchers combined for the historic, 8-0 embarrassment, in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 29,905.
After the game, a furious Joe Torre addressed his players in a meeting. Not only did the Yankees get no hits and play poor fundamental baseball behind Jeff Weaver (3-5) and three relievers, but thanks to Boston's 13-1 victory over St. Louis, they fell back into second place in the American League East, a half-game behind the Red Sox.
"It was terrible," said Torre, who called this the low point of his eight-year term as Yankees manager. "That was one of the worst games I've ever been involved in. I have no explanation. I can't find a reason for what happened tonight."
Think about that. The Yankees hadn't been no-hit since 1958. 1958! And the last guy to do it, Hoyt Wilhelm, is in the Hall of Fame. That's 45 years without once getting no-hit. That's amazing.
The strange thing is that there was only one memorable defensive play, Berkman in the 6th. Other than that, it was pretty routine. The Yankees didn't even come close to breaking up the no-no. The 6 pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts and only 3 walks, all by Munro. Dotel actually struck out the side plus one in his only inning the eighth. A wild pitch on the third strike forced him to face four batters. So he tied the Major League record by striking out four batters in one inning.
It was that kind of night.
So what does this mean? Not a whole lot, really. It means the Astros have a really good bullpen, but we already knew that. It means the Yankees are capable of having a bad night, but we knew that as well. If anyone thought the Yankees were going to cakewalk to the playoffs hasn't been paying attention this month, as they have been downright mortal, and even fell behind the BoSox. In the end, it's just one game out of 162.
But what a game.
posted by Poseur 6/12/2003 11:19:00 AM
The worst game ever
The Nets won. Woo hoo. Let's just try and quantify how horrible this game was.
The Spurs shot 29%. The Nets shot 36% and won. The Spurs only managed to score 20 points in one quarter. The Nets, who did manage that feat twice, scored 11 points in the third. ELEVEN. The teams combined to shoot 5-27 from behind the arc. People, this isn't defense, this is putrid offense.
This game was claw your eyes out ugly. And just think, we have at least two more of these to look forward to! If this series was a horse, we'd have to shoot it.
posted by Poseur 6/12/2003 11:07:00 AM
What was this about?
In the seventh inning, one fan went into right field to make his statement, kneeling about 50 yards from Sosa, taking off his orange shirt, and then tossing two corks toward the man with 505 career home runs.
"In today's atmosphere, for me it was real scary," Hargrove said. "I don't know the mentality, I guess, when people do that. I think they ought to lock him up for years, and throw away the key."
OK, people. Last time.
Running on the field isn't cute. It's not funny. It's going to get you on SportsCenter, but in that Mike Tyson perp walk kind of way. Stop it. Now. After the Gamboa incident, would any of us had blamed Sosa if he had just beaten the guy with his bat?
posted by Poseur 6/11/2003 03:30:00 PM
Beyer tells us how great Spectacular Bid was
Until his death from a heart attack on Monday, Spectacular Bid was the last link to the so-called decade of champions, the 1970s, which produced the most extraordinary concentration of great thoroughbreds in American racing history.
The names of some of them -- Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed -- have been in the news lately because they are the last three winners of the Triple Crown. When Funny Cide lost the Belmont Stakes and missed his chance to join the elite, he verified that the Triple Crown always manages to thwart horses who aren't among the greats of all time.
Beyer knows more about horse racing than anyone else on the planet. And it's not really close. So if he says Spectacular Bid was the greatest horse not named Secretariat, I'm inclined to believe him.
So, horse racing doesn't get its triple crown that it so desperately wants. However, I don't think this is a bad thing. The last five years, we've seen a serious threat to break the drought four times. Every time, the horse falls short, but even casual fans watch. Without Funny Cide's possible triple crown, do you watch the Belmont? Probably not.
Horse racing is the one sport where the talent level is declining. In every other sport, athletes are getting bigger and stronger, but in horse racing, the horses are getting slower and less durable. A Triple Crown winner every year wouldn't change that.
posted by Poseur 6/11/2003 03:26:00 PM
ACC expansion on hold for a day
ACC expansion took its first discernible step backward Tuesday when Commissioner John Swofford ended a two-hour conference call with the nine chancellors without seeking a vote to invite Miami, Boston College and Syracuse.
Postponing the vote was an unspoken concession that he doesn't have the seven votes needed to go forward with expansion -- votes Swofford had as recently as Friday morning.
OK, Duke and UNC are against expansion. Always have been, always will be. So this whole thing hinges on UVa. They are under pressure to veto so they could instead vote in Virginia Tech, but that's not in their Athletic Department's best interests. Why make your cross state rivals more competitive?
So, the Big East is preventing teams from leaving by suing them. Do they honestly think this is a longterm strategy for survival? It may keep the ACC at bay right now, but every school in that conference should be looking for the best deal they can find and quick.
posted by Poseur 6/11/2003 03:18:00 PM
Neuheisel on way out
I've already ranted about Neuheisel before, but let me re-iterate. He should never have been hired. He's a scumbag who has always played fast and loose with the rules. Why a school familiar with the Hammer of NCAA violations would even consider a guy like Neuheisel, I will never figure out. Be happy Husky fnas, your program is in better hands at this very second. Nobody's.
posted by Poseur 6/11/2003 03:09:00 PM
Woo hoo! Tulane's not dead!
Tulane voted today not to axe its football program. They did this in light of a recent push to sell 12,000 season ticket packages. That's right, the 67th winningnest program in college football history almost hung up their cleats. The earth moved.
Actually, it points out the problem with Division I football. Tulane's been playing football since 1893, and in 1933 they were a charter member of the SEC. They've been playing football for about as long as we've been keeping records.
But Tulane's hit hard times. Football ain't cheap, and locked out of the big BCS paydays, the athletic department claims it is losing over $7 million a year. That's a little inflated, but they are certainly losing a lot. And in the last 50 years, Tulane has posted a winning record 13 times (4 in the last 6 years, a veritable rennaisance). So here is the Green Wave, a team with a rich history barely clinging to their 1-A life. And this is during their most successful period of play in 20 years (no winning seasons between 1982-1996).
Why is this happening? Because the top schools control the BCS. Ever hear the statistic that only 60% of D-1 football teams make money? There's 117 teams, so that means about 70 turn a profit. And there are 62 teams in the BCS conferences. Everyone else is losing money hand over fist while the big boys are sitting pretty on fat TV contracts and merchandising deals. This is wrong.
Either Tulane is Division I or it isn't. Either they should get a cut of the BCS and have a shot to win the title, or else they shouldn't be Division 1. I hate this two-tier. Give the little guys a chance. Even the basketball tourney gives a little bit to the little guys. Football doesn't even pretend.
And it almost cost Tulane a football team. It may eventually will.
posted by Poseur 6/10/2003 06:17:00 PM
Mets Promote Jose Reyes
As most regular readers know, I'm a sucker for front office transactions. And I'm a sucker for prospects. But I'm really mystified by this move. OK, Reyes can't hit worse than Ordonez, but he's not exactly tearing up Triple A. In fact, that 333 OBP and 363 SLG are downright scary. So if this guy can't hit AAA pitching, how's he going to do in the majors?
Reyes is a fabulous prospect. One of the best in the majors, and obviously the jewel of the Mets system. So why rush the kid when he can't help the team right now? How does this move make any sense?
posted by Poseur 6/10/2003 05:59:00 PM
Nothing is cooler than the Stanley Cup. Nothing.
Hockey is in a bad way right now. The style of play is slow and thuggish. There are no stars on the horizon. Ratings are down. Prices are up. Gary Bettman channels Bud Selig. Labor unrest is high and we're headed for another lockout. Hell, even the beer at the game sucks.
But it doesn't matter when the Cup comes out. They are like little kids during that moment. And it's the coolest moment in sports when a guy gets to touch the Cup for the first time. It's truly magical.
Oh, and Jason's right. Devils fans need to get a grip. Giguere deserved the Conn Smythe. You look like a bunch of whiners when you boo a guy who has played so well over the last month.
posted by Poseur 6/10/2003 12:20:00 PM
Ode to Giguere
I damn near cried with J. S. Giguere when the cameraman was fixiated on his face after the Devils won the Cup. It's not like I was pulling for Anaheim, but anyone who ever played any game and lost, and thought it hurt, could feel a tiny bit of what Giguere was going through. I'm sure players and coaches on both teams were telling him he's the reason the Ducks got to the Finals, that he's the reason the Ducks got to game 7. That didn't appear to comfot him.
As he held back tears I thought I understood him. If only he could play the game again. He carried the team so far. He knew they depended on him. He knew he had it within him to win the Cup for Anaheim. And he didn't. Three pucks were scored on him. The Ducks get to watch another team celebrate and hoist the Cup.
Giguere is obviously the MVP of the playoffs, and I won't hear anyone else say otherwise! He may never play this well again in his life. Nothing anyone says will help him feel better, but for those who watched, we saw a man play his best for the biggest event in his sport. We saw him carry a mediocre team to the brink of a championship, and we saw him suffer when he fell short. Awesome!
As to the asshole fans in New Jersey who booed when Giguere won the Conn Smythe trophy, get a life. Your team just won the Cup, yet you're such a bunch of surly nimrods that you can't even acknowledge what Giguere has done in the playoffs. Hopefully, the Ducks keyed your cars on their way out. I hope your team moves to Canada. Shove it!
Dolphins sign Brian Griese
Months ago I wrote about the Broncos being boneheads for giving Brian Griese the door so they could grab Jake Plummer. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Miami gets Griese. Though he's second on the depth chart, no one will be surprised to see him get the starting job sometime next season.
If any team fits the classic "one player away from a championship" cliche, it's the Dolphins. How they missed the playoffs is a mystery to me (OK, they did tank one against Minnesota down the stretch). But if you remember anything about last year, it was that the Dolphins ran into trouble with Jay Fiedler's injury. Forget about it. They just picked up a guy who is a VERY proficient passer when he's on his game. As his stats show, even when he's not on his game, he's still pretty good. Fiedler's pretty good, but he doesn't play great. Griese has played great, and it's reasonable to believe he can play great again.
So, let's recap what the Dolphins have--two legit & proven NFL starters, Rickey Williams, the leading rusher of 2002, and a top notch defense. Plus they signed Junior Seau. I think my mom could coach this team to the playoffs.
posted by uberschuck 6/10/2003 01:17:00 AM
Go back to the beginning of the season, some eight months ago now, and most reputable oddsmakers had the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at 80 to 1 or so to win the Stanley Cup. Or, expressed in words rather than numbers: When hell freezes over.
Yet here they are tonight in the Devils' own smouldering dungeon, adjacent to the swamplands of New Jersey, one win removed from hockey heaven.
I want to come up with some cogent analysis. Tell you who is going to win and why. All of that good opinionated, analyst stuff. Heck, I even thought about busting out a chart or something like that. You guys know how much I enjoy a good chart.
But I can't. It comes down to one simple fact: whichever goalie plays better is going to win the game, the Cup, and probably the Conn Smythe Trophy. Hey, no pressure or anything.
OK, they both took the last two games off. Let us enjoy some offense, some open ice. We really got into the wide open play. But forget it. One goalie is going to win this thing tonight, and one is going to go home with nothing. And we know the reason both teams are here is because of their golatending.
The best GAA? Giguere's 1.56 followed by Brodeur's 1.72. Save %? Giguere leads again, with 948. Brodeur is second among playoff goalies, at 931. Shutouts? One-two again, this time with Brodeur ahead, 6-5. No one else has two. It's a two-man show. Sit back, grab the remote, and enjoy.
What the hell, Devils win in OT.
posted by Poseur 6/09/2003 02:13:00 PM
BACK TO OMAHA
Going through this weekend's action in order of the seed...
#1 Florida State vs. Texas
The defending champs aren't going to go down without a fight. Because of a scheduling quirk and a lot of rain, by the time they thre the first pitch of this series, four teams had already advanced to Omaha. By the time the game ended, another two had qualified. So the marquee series gets the stage all to itself. JP Howell absolutely shut down the powerful FSU bats, and then Howell slammed the door. So FSU is down 1-0, does this mean the end? not neccessarily. Texas had the advantage in #1 starters, but the pitching should even out over the next games, and I'm still trying to figure out why they let their ace reliever go 3 innings in a 5-run game. Thos are the kind of thigs that can come back and haunt you. Howell needs to be sharp for the Horns to advance.
#2 LSU vs. Baylor
Baylor thought they had it, but then the ghost of Wally Pontiff struck. Baylor dominated Game One and won 4-1. In Game Two, LSU staked out an early 4-0 lead, but the Bears slowly came back and by the 7th, they took a 5-4 lead, just 6 outs away from Omaha. Then, the quiet bats of LSU woke up. Back-to-back homers in the 8th gave LSU the lead, and a Durbin fly ball to centerfield suddenly died on the track in the 9th, giving the Tigers the 6-5 win. So, the big offensive series hadn't developed, and everyone went into Game Three thinking it would be another close game. And it was, until the 6th inning, when Clay Harris' grand slam triggered an 11-run inning. By the time the dust settled, LSU had won 20-5 and the Tiger faithful were chanting "Wally! Wally!" in honor of their captain who tragically died in the offseason.
#5 Rice vs. Houston
The Battle of Houston. Hosuton had lost 5 straight to Rice, but a 5-run sixth gave them a win in Game One. Rice bounced back in Game Two, beating out Houston's ace pitcher, Sullivan, who the Cougars saved for Game Two. It didn't matter, as the Rice bats woke up and they went on to a 10-2 win. Given the depth of their rotation, Rice is an overwhelming favorite today.
#6 Stanford vs. Long Beach
Another one of the marquee series, but it just never materialized. The games were close, but Stanford won them both. Game Two hinged on a fielding error by SS Tulowitzki. With two outs and no one on in the 7th, he flubbed a ground ball. What happened next will torture Becah fans: Stolen base. RBI single. Stolen base. Single. Walk. 2 RBI bases-laded single. 4-2 Stanford, and there's your ball game.
#7 Cal State Fullerton vs. Arizona St
Fullerton won Game One in a walk. Game Two looked to be the opposite, as ASU went out to an early lead, but the Titans kept chipping away and chipping away. By the 7th, it was 7-6 and ASU brought in their closer Ryan Schroer. He was unhittable over two and a third, and the Sund Devils forced Game Three. By the thrid inning, it was 7-0 Titans and ASU just never got in the game. ASU scored one in the 4th, but they were so dominated after that they only would leave three runners on for the rest of the game.
#8 Miami vs. NC State
Joey Devine's going to have nightmares about this one. One of the nations top relievers, he only allowed two runs in almost four innings of work. but what a two runs. One was a walk off home run, capping off an NC State implosion from a 9-3 lead to a 10-9 loss. The second was in the 10th, allowing Miami to take the lead. The Pack rallied back in the bootm of the inning, but it all came crashing down in the 11th, when Erick San Pedro hit a grand slam on a ball that I'm not sure has landed yet. Miami's back in the CWS.
South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Game One was a classic. The Gamecocks took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, and then the two teams just couldn't score for the rest of the game. Every inning was just a clinic on dominant pitching, as the Heels just couldn't get across the equalizer. They would regret that, as Game Two was not a classic. USC just beat the stuffing out of the other Carolina and danced their way to another trip to Omaha.
Ohio St vs. SW Missouri St
Cinderella is dead. Long live Cinderella. One of the 3-seeds was going to go to Omaha. SMS scored 13 runs in Game One, every single one of them with two outs. They staked out an early 8-2 lead, and OSU spent the entire game coming back. After getting the game tied in the 8th, SMS responded with 5 runs, all on singles or walks, all with two outs. That's the kind of game that just rips your heart out. The Buckeyes rallied back in Game Two, and had a 6-2 lead going into the 6th inning. OSU committed an error with one out, but quickly got the second out. Then the roof caved in. 8 runs on 5 hits, keyed by Piazza's grand slam. Put the kids to bed, it was over. SMS is going to Omaha for the first time in their history.
posted by Poseur 6/09/2003 12:24:00 PM