All posts by Shotgun Spratling

Shotgun Spratling covers the Southern California area. He has attended more than 125 games the last two seasons. Spratling attended graduate school at USC where he covered USC sports for a variety of publications. He has previously worked in the minor leagues, written for daily and weekly newspapers and done freelance work for publications such as ESPN, NBC Los Angeles and the SC Playbook magazine. After being a 3-sport letterman in high school, Spratling was a 4-year letterman at Division III Maryville College. The final pitch of his collegiate career resulted in a groundout to end the 2007 Great South Athletic Conference Tournament, giving the Scots the GSAC championship.

College World Series One-On-One: Texas SS C.J. Hinojosa

OMAHA, Neb. — Texas (45-20) kept its season alive with one gigantic hit to beat UC irvine (41-25) Wednesday night, 1-0, eliminating the ‘Eaters from the 2014 College World Series.

Chad Hollingsworth pitched 8.1 scoreless innings in his second start of the season to outduel Evan Manarino (6.1 IP, 5 H, ER, 7 K), but Manarino made one big mistake, leaving up a 2-0 fastball to start the seventh inning.

Sophomore shortstop C.J. Hinojosa jumped all over the pitch and powered it out to left field for a home run — the first homer hit at TD Ameritrade Park in the 2014 College World Series.

After the game, Hinojosa talked about his solo shot, which proved to be the only run in the Longhorns’ 1-0 victory in a ‘winner-stays-loser-goes-home’ game against UC Irvine.

Hinojosa also discussed playing on the dirt infield compared to the Longhorns’ FieldTurf surface and making up for a defensive error in his next at bat. He also told what was going through his mind as he rounded the bases.

Check out the full one-on-one interview with Hinojosa: Continue reading College World Series One-On-One: Texas SS C.J. Hinojosa

CBD Photo Gallery: Virginia Goes to Well for 15th Inning Win

OMAHA, Neb. — In Virginia’s opening game of the 2014 College World Series, Mike Papi blasted a walk-off double to score pinch runner Thomas Woodruff with the game-winning run and gave reliever Artie Lewicki the win.

Virginia (51-14) did nearly the same on Tuesday night to finish off a marathon 15-inning battle and knock off TCU, 3-2. Thomas Woodruff came on to pinch run and scored the game-winning run on a walk-off. This time it was a sacrifice fly from Daniel Pinero that ended the game, but again reliever Artie Lewicki was the beneficiary, picking up his eighth win of the season.

Both times the rallies started with Nate Irving. Irving blasted a double to left field, one hopping the fence, for the Cavaliers first hit in extra innings. And Woodruff came on to pinch run for him just like he did on Sunday.

Branden Cogswell, who had an impressive 3-for-5 game with two runs, two doubles and a walk, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Woodruff to third base. Pinero twice tried to lay down a squeeze bunt, but twice fouled it off. But with a 2-2 count, he stayed on a breaking ball and hit it deep enough to centerfield to allow Woodruff to score easily and give Virginia its second straight walk-off College World Series victory.

Here’s a slideshow of the walk-off hit (full game gallery below):

Continue reading CBD Photo Gallery: Virginia Goes to Well for 15th Inning Win

College World Series One-On-One: Virginia C Nate Irving

OMAHA, Neb. — Virginia (51-14) scored a walk-off victory in 15 innings, beating TCU (48-17) Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, 3-2, in a game that tied the College World Series record for longest game played at 15 frames.

In nearly a carbon copy of the final inning of Virginia’s walk-off win against Ole Miss on Sunday, Nate Irving started the rally, was pinch run for by Thomas Woodruff, who scored the winning run, and reliever Artie Lewicki benefitted picking up the win.

Irving led off the 15th inning, blasting a double over the head of TCU left fielder Boomer White.

After the game, Irving talks about his big hit in the 15th inning and answers whether the Cavaliers are a team of destiny.

Nate Irving also discussed his “amazing” experience in the College World Series and how everyone is a part of the Virginia wins. He also talked about the pitching staff he gets to catch.

Check out the full one-on-one interview with Irving: Continue reading College World Series One-On-One: Virginia C Nate Irving

CBD Photo Gallery: Unlikely Heros Keep Ole Miss Alive

OMAHA, Neb. — John Gatlin came off the bench for only his 29th at bat of the season and knocked a walk-off single to keep Ole Miss alive in the 2014 College World Series.

After Texas Tech tied the game with a run in the ninth inning, pinch hitter Blake Bortles walked and went to third base when pinch hitter Brantley Bell‘s chopper back to the mound was thrown away. Continue reading CBD Photo Gallery: Unlikely Heros Keep Ole Miss Alive

College World Series One-On-One: Ole Miss IF John Gatlin

OMAHA, Neb. — Ole Miss (47-20) scored a walk-off victory defeating Texas Tech, 2-1, Tuesday afternoon in an elimination game of the 2014 College World Series.

Texas Tech (45-21) tied the game in the ninth inning, but the Rebels ended the Red Raiders season when pinch hitter John Gatlin, who had 28 at bats on the season, singled over the drawn in, five-man infield to score Aaron Greenwood.

After the game, Gatlin talked about his at bat, the difficulty of coming off the bench to pinch hit and what the big hit meant to him after a couple of difficult seasons dealing with injuries and a lack of playing time.

John Gatlin also discussed his decision to stay in Omaha with his teammates, despite his grandmother’s death back in Mississippi two nights ago.

Check out the full one-on-one interview with Gatlin: Continue reading College World Series One-On-One: Ole Miss IF John Gatlin

Vanderbilt’s Embarrassment of Riches Gives Decided Advantage

OMAHA, Neb. — Scott Brown may have the best college baseball job the country.

As the Vanderbilt pitching coach, Brown gets to pull the strings on the deepest staff in the country — a staff that runs out talented arm after talented arm.

Vanderbilt features junior right-hander Tyler Beede, the No. 14 overall draft pick this year, as well as three sophomore right-handers that could all be first-day draft picks in next year’s draft. Then there’s the four relievers that each have an ERA under 2.00 and lefty Jared Miller, who is 6-2 on the year after starting the season in the rotation prior to Carson Fulmer‘s conversion from closer to starter.

“Any time you have that kind of caliber of arms in the stable, you do have a pretty good job,” Brown said. “I know that every day. I’m fortunate.”

Continue reading Vanderbilt’s Embarrassment of Riches Gives Decided Advantage

Remembering San Diego State HC Tony Gwynn

Yesterday, Tony Gwynn died at age 54. Gwynn finally lost his battle with cancer stemming from smokeless tobacco usage.

I wasn’t surprised. During my last couple of trips to San Diego to cover the University of San Diego and Gwynn’s San Diego State team, I had been told Tony was struggling and getting worse rather than better.

Since he left the San Diego State team in March, he had been in and out of the hospital and one player said the team hadn’t seen Gwynn since his departure.

But Tony was a fighter, so for the first time, I hoped my sources were wrong. I hoped the stories from San Diego State were the truth — that Tony was doing better and hoping to rejoin the team soon. I knew better, but I still hoped for the school updates to be more than a mask to protect the Gwynn family’s privacy.

Continue reading Remembering San Diego State HC Tony Gwynn

College World Series One-On-One: Vanderbilt 2B Dansby Swanson

OMAHA, Neb. — Vanderbilt (48-19) came back from a 4-2 deficit to take a 6-4 win over UC Irvine (41-24) Monday night to advance to the championship series in its bracket of the 2014 College World Series.

Vanderbilt sophomore Walker Buehler came on for an ineffective Tyler Beede and threw up zero after zero. Buehler improved to 12-2 with 5.1 innings of no-hit baseball that featured seven strikeouts.

On the offensive side of the ball, second baseman Dansby Swanson continued his hot hitting in Omaha. Swansby reached base four times and started the three-run fifth inning rally that gave the Commodores the lead.

After the game, Swansby talked about his hot hitting in the College World Series and how it stretches back to before Regionals when he discovered a way to keep himself relaxed at the plate.

Dansby Swanson also discussed the experience he gained last season when he was unable to play much due to injuries and how both he and the pitching staff are offensive table setters.

Check out the full one-on-one interview with Swansby: Continue reading College World Series One-On-One: Vanderbilt 2B Dansby Swanson

CBD Photo Gallery: Buehler Bullies Eaters Out of Bullpen

OMAHA, Neb. — Behind Walker Buehler’s dominance out of the bullpen, Vanderbilt defeated UC Irvine, 6-4, Monday night at TD Ameritrade Park.

The Commodores (48-19) scored three runs in the fifth inning to overcome Tyler Beede‘s shaky start that put them in a 4-2 hole, but then never looked back.

Buehler was unhittable on the mound. The right-hander pitched 5.1 innings and only allowed three baserunners — none via hits. UC Irvine (41-24) had no answer for Buehler’s mid-90s fastball and power breaking ball.

Continue reading CBD Photo Gallery: Buehler Bullies Eaters Out of Bullpen

CBD Photo Gallery: Mistakes Cost Louisville Against Texas

OMAHA, Neb. — Texas took advantage of four Louisville errors to take a 4-1 victory Monday afternoon at TD Ameritrade Park. The Longhorns kept their season alive while Louisville’s 2014 College World Series tour is over.

Texas (44-20) scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a commanding 3-0 lead behind the arm of Parker French, who allowed one run on four hits in 7.1 innings to improve to 7-5.

Continue reading CBD Photo Gallery: Mistakes Cost Louisville Against Texas