The four finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy are Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, Texas outfielder Kyle Russell, Rice pitcher-first baseman-designated hitter Joe Savery, and Florida State second baseman Tony Thomas Jr.
One member of this quartet will be named the winner at a national news conference on Friday, June 15, at 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Omaha Press Club, 22nd Floor, 16th & Dodge Streets (the old First National Bank Building), as the 21st recipient of the prestigious award, given annually since 1987.
The Anteaters won the Austin TX Regional by knocking off Texas 9-6 in the championship game. The Longhorns loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with one out but Irvine brought in Wes Etheridge who ended up getting the final two outs without letting any runs score. Irvine will make their first appearance in a Super Regional this weekend against Wichita State.
Converted reliever Ben Hunter continued his brilliance as a starter for Wake Forest, pitching the Demon Deacons past Brown, 4-2, in the NCAA Regional Tournament Saturday afternoon at The Dell Diamond.
Hunter (8-6) led the Deacons to victory, allowing just one run in a career-long eight innings of work. The righthander tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts in his eighth start of the season.
Wake Forest spotted Hunter two runs in the first inning but didn’t score again until the ninth. Hunter made the runs hold up, though, as he allowed just a run in the third inning before giving way to relievers Eric Niesen and Josh Ellis in the ninth.
The win advances the Deacs (34-28) in the loser’s bracket and eliminates Ivy League champion Brown (27-21). Wake will now face the loser of tonight’s game between top-seeded Texas and second-seeded UC Irvine on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT. The winner of that game will advance to the Regional championship on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. If the Deacons advance that far, they would need to win on Sunday evening and then again on Monday afternoon to make the Super Regionals.
They have better hitting. They have better defense. They have a better attitude.
The Texas Longhorns have sworn all year that 2007 is not 2006. But one year later, they’re in the same place, the same scary situation.
A flat Longhorns team was taken out of its game Saturday, frustrated by strong pitching by Scott Gorgen and an aggressive UC Irvine team, which sent Texas to the loser’s bracket with a 3-1 victory in the Round Rock Regional at Dell Diamond.
It was in the second game of regional play last year that Stanford shocked Texas 12-8, sending the Longhorns into the loser’s bracket and headed toward elimination.
The Horns swear this is not a repeat of last year.
“It’s not,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “This team has a different attitude. I see it in the way they carry themselves, in the way they approach the game and in the way they stay focused no matter what.”
The Longhorns are going to need to stay focused for three straight games to advance. It starts at noon today when Texas (45-16), the top seed in the regional, takes on third-seeded Wake Forest at Dell Diamond in an elimination game. The winner will take on UC Irvine at 6 p.m.
The Anteaters (42-15-1) made it look easy Saturday. They made the plays defensively. They made the pitches.
UC Irvine opened the game with a triple by Taylor Holiday and an RBI single by Ben Orloff to take a 1-0 lead.
In Texas’ first at-bat, the Longhorns were robbed of an RBI double off the bat of Russell Moldenhauer, as Anteaters center fielder Ollie Linton, who began the year on the bench but was inserted for his speed, made a beautiful catch in right-center field.
He took away another RBI double off Moldenhauer’s bat in the sixth inning.
“The separation oddly enough was in the outfielder,” Garrido said. “The two plays by the center fielder off of Moldenhauer’s bat took away runs. It was all of their defense. Basically they did not give us an extra base or an extra out the entire game.”
The Longhorns made three errors, including two by shortstop Chais Fuller. One of those miscues led to a run and a 2-0 deficit in the third inning.
“They put a lot of pressure on you with their guys in motion and the bunting, but I don’t think that we were playing tight defensively,” Fuller said. “I just made a couple of bad plays. It happens. I feel horrible about it.”
The Longhorns got a run back in the bottom of the third, when Bradley Suttle hit his 11th home run of the season, a smash to left field, but that was it.
Gorgen pitched his third complete game of the season, fooling the Texas hitters with a changeup-fastball combination.
After Suttle’s home run, the Longhorns failed to get a runner past second base.
“I’m feeling great. I feel like it’s the middle of March again,” Gorgen said. “I’m feeling stronger than ever. We’re going to have to stay mentally tough.”
So will Texas, which has a big hill to climb. Left-hander Austin Wood will start against Wake Forest for a pitching staff that will be extremely thin for the next three games. And the Longhorns’ bats have to come around.
“Our pitching staff is solid, and we have a much better offense than we had last year,” Suttle said. “We’re just going to have to come out and do what we’ve been doing all year.”
They might need more.
“We’re going to have to have a hero,” Garrido said. “We get in this position and somebody is going to have to step up and be the hero. Here’s everybody’s chance to make history at the University of Texas.
“It’s going to be done around the country in the 16 regionals. Multiple teams are going to come out of the loser’s bracket. It happens all the time, every year.”
Nick Peoples’ arm. Chais Fuller’s strength.
Say hello to both of them.
It’s OK if you haven’t noticed them before. They haven’t really been used.
The two seniors used two assets that haven’t been displayed much this season to propel Texas to an 8-2 victory over Brown on Friday in the opening round of the Round Rock Regional at Dell Diamond.
With the fourth-seeded Bears leading 2-1 in the sixth inning Fuller, one of four shortstops used by the Longhorns this season, showed some pop, sending an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run home run.
It was Fuller’s second home run of the season. The first came Feb. 16 against Stanford. Both homers came at Dell Diamond.
“I didn’t think it was out, so I was running full speed around the bases,” Fuller said. “I saw the left fielder run into the wall, so I thought the ball was off the wall.”
Fuller’s blast loosened up top-seeded Texas (45-15), the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“Chais Fuller changed the momentum in the game,” Texas coach Augie Garrido said.
The Longhorns will take on UC Irvine at 6 p.m. today with a spot in the regional championship game on the line. The Anteaters routed Wake Forest 13-0.
Texas needed to scratch and claw Friday in front of 9,230 fans.
“So much for being the (regional’s) top seed and getting an easy game to begin with,” Garrido said.
The Longhorns, who took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Kyle Russell’s home run, found themselves trailing 2-1 after the Bears put together five consecutive two-out hits in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead.
It could have been worse.
Brown had Robert Papenhouse on second and Dan Shapiro on first with two outs when Brian Kelaher singled to center field. Papenhouse tried to score on the hit.
That’s when Peoples, who doubled off a runner at first base in the second inning and almost threw out a second batter at home, showed his arm strength, throwing the ball on the fly to catcher Brett Lewis in time to get a sliding Papenhouse.
It was one of the few times all season Peoples has had a chance to make a play at the plate.
“It’s kind of weird, throughout the year I haven’t had a play throwing-wise from center field,” Peoples said. “Jordan (Danks) and Kyle (Russell) have had so many chances, and I can’t remember any.”
Peoples showed off his arm a few times Friday, skipping the cutoff man and hitting his targets on the fly.
“That’s not always a good thing,” Peoples said, “but today I really wanted to get those guys. Every run you get now is a big run. Luckily I was able to put a couple of them out tonight.”
Brown (27-20) didn’t have many scoring opportunities after the fourth inning because relievers Joseph Krebs and Randy Boone came in and shut the Bears down. They combined to pitch five scoreless innings, and they struck out seven consecutive batters at one point. The final nine outs by the Bears, who were playing in their first regional game, were strikeouts.
The Longhorns added to their lead with a run in the seventh inning, when Brown starter Jeff Dietz, who threw 131 pitches, started to wear down.
“He’s a great pitcher,” said Longhorn Travis Tucker, who was 4 for 4. “He hit his spots.”
Texas broke it open in the eighth when the Bears went to the bullpen.
Tucker singled, and Jordan Danks and Russell followed with walks. Chance Wheeless ripped a two-run double to right center before Russell scored on a wild pitch. Wheeless then scored on Russell Moldenhauer’s grounder to first base.
Some were surprised that four seniors — Peoples, Fuller, Krebs and Boone — pulled the Longhorns through their postseason opener. They shouldn’t have been.
“Experience matters,” Peoples said. “Guys who have been in situations like this before tend to be a little more comfortable than the other guys. You can see that. This team is pretty deep and everybody has experience.
“Hopefully this team can draw from the winning teams of the past.”
Senior Cody Cipriano and freshman Jeff Cusick drove in three runs apiece and starter Wes Etheridge pitched eight shutout innings to lead second-seeded UC Irvine to a 13-0 win over third seed Wake Forest Friday at The Dell Diamond to open NCAA regional action. The win gave UCI its first regional victory in the program’s Division I history as the Anteaters climbed to 41-15-1 and will face the winner of the Texas-Brown match-up Saturday at 5:00 p.m. (PT).
The Longhorns are again right where they’ve been for much of this decade, sitting at home for regional play with a national seed in their back pocket following a stellar regular season. The 2007 campaign saw UT claim first place in the Big XII after putting together a 21-6 league mark and 44-15 overall record.
You may not know much about the Big West Conference, but the Anteaters will attest that it’s no easy task with the likes of Cal State-Fullerton, Long Beach State, and UC Riverside on the schedule from week to week. Irvine survived quite nicely though, going 15-6 in conference play and 40-15 overall to earn the at-large berth.
Though the Demon Deacons finished a pair of games below .500 in ACC play and actually just six games above the break-even mark overall, they were awarded one of the final at-large berths to this year’s NCAA tournament after losing to UNC in the ACC Tournamnet title game.
A 27-19 overall record and 14-6 mark in Ivy League play was enough to earn the Bears a matchup with Penn in the conference playoffs. Brown took that series 2-0 to earn the only automatic berth in this regional. Southerncollegesports.com
A late season surge has given Missouri the opportunity to host at least one weekend of NCAA postseason play. The Tigers will be welcoming second-seeded Miami, on a roll themselves, as well as both Louisville and Kent State. That survivor will then take on the winner from Fayetteville next weekend. Arkansas, the top seed at home and the seventh overall national seed, will see Creighton, Oklahoma State, and Albany make their way to town this weekend. Are the Tigers and Hogs on a collision course, or will someone else break up the party?
It’s been a great season for the Tigers, who finished a surprising second in the Big 12 at 19-8. Despite a 1-2 showing in the Big 12 tournament, they were still chosen to host a regional for the first time since 1965.Miami was penciled in as a potential title contender, but finished in the middle of the pack in the ACC. This is the second straight year the Hurricanes go to a Big 12 school for the postseason, having gone to Nebraska a year ago.The 2007 season has been a historic one for Louisville. The Cardinals, under first-year coach Dan McConnell, have won a school-record 40 games, and make only their second regional appearance in school history. The Cards finished third in the Big East with a 19-8 record, one game behind St. John‘s and Rutgers, and went 2-2 in the Big East tourney.The Golden Flashes captured the Mid-American‘s Eastern Division title with a 19-8 record, then won four in a row to win the automatic bid, knocking off #1 seed Eastern Michigan twice in the process. The Golden Flashes enter their first postseason appearance since 2004 on a hot streak, having won 16 of their last 17 games. Missouri Tigers
The Sun Devils (43-13) have one of the best offenses in the country with a team batting average of .349. They have 11 players who are batting over .300 on the year. Brett Wallace leads the team in average at .426 including 15 homers and 73 RBI. Josh Satow has become the ace of the staff as he has an 11-3 record with a 2.23 ERA. They open the tournament at 7 pm PDT against Monmouth.
Arizona State Tourney Notes
The UC-Riverside (37-19) Baseball squad is led by one of the top pitchers in the country in James Simmons. He leads the team with a 10-3 record and a 2.32 ERA. He recently was named the Big West pitcher of the year. The offense is led by Joey Gonzales who is hitting .360 on the season. They will open up against Nebraska at 2 pm PDT.
The Cornhuskers (30-25) are in the midst of a rebuilding year. They are led by Jeff Tedak who leads the team with a .331 average. The Huskers will be without starting catcher Mitch Abeita who is out for the Regionals with a broken leg. The Husker pitching staff is headlined by Tony Watson who is 6-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Nebraska opens up against UC-Riverside at 2pm PDT.
Monmouth (36-22-1) enters this weekend as the automatic bid out of the Northeast Conference after defeating Central Connecticut State in the championship game 7-1 in which the CBB attended. The full article is available by clicking here. They are led by Kyle Messineo who is hitting .346 on the season and leads the team in stolen bases with an outstanding 41 on the season. Ryan Buch and Brad Brach both went 9-2 on the year to lead the pitching staff. Monmouth opens against Arizona State at 7 pm PDT.
The CBB predicts that Arizona State will win the Regional fairly easily.
1. Missouri (40-16)
2. Miami (Fla.) (36-22)
3. Louisville (40-20)
4. Kent State (33-24)
|The Favorite: Missouri
When looking at Missouri from a statistical standpoint, it’s easy to come away unimpressed. But a closer look at the Tigers reveals a team that always finds a way to win games. While sophomore right-hander Aaron Crow leads the charge on the mound, the Tigers are led at the plate by junior outfielder Evan Frey. He’s hitting a team-leading .346 with four home runs and 33 RBIs. Jacob Priday is a power producer for the Tigers, while Brock Bond has shown consistency with his .319 batting average. The Tigers have a tough field with Miami and Louisville. But as they’ve shown, they’re not a team that likes to be doubted.
|Dark horse candidate: Miami, Fla.
If you want to see consistency, look no further than the Miami baseball program. With a bid to the Columbia Regional, the Hurricanes are attending their 35th straight NCAA Regional. Color me impressed. While hometown Missouri is the favorite over the Hurricanes, that won’t get this team down. The Hurricanes have an impressive offense with Yonder Alonso and freshman third baseman Mark Sobolewski leading the charge. Second baseman Jemile Weeks is another versatile player to watch, while Roger Tomas routinely makes opposing pitchers pay for their mistakes. The Canes can win this Regional.
|Best hitter: Miami 1B Yonder Alonso
In his second season with the Hurricanes, Alonso has blossomed into one of the top hitters in college baseball. The sophomore enters the Columbia Regional hitting a team-leading .378 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs. He’s also slugging .724 and has a .519 on-base percentage. In addition, Alonso has stolen 13 bases and has 12 doubles in 196 at bats.
|Best pitcher: Missouri RHP Aaron Crow
There are several talented pitchers in this Regional, but the guy that stands out to me the most is Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow. After losing Max Scherzer and Nathan Culp last season, many critics thought the Mizzou pitching staff would take a giant step back. That assumption was wrong. Crow enters the weekend with an 8-3 record and a 3.17 ERA in 108 innings. He has also struck out 81 batters.
Missouri has a tough opening round matchup with four-seed Kent State, but if they can hold off the Golden Flashes, it will likely shake off any potential postseason jitters. The Tigers have a good one-two punch in the weekend rotation, while Evan Frey and Jacob Priday lead the way at the plate. As the host team, it’s important for the Tigers to keep the fans involved in the action … Miami might have a better chance of winning this Regional than some might think. The Hurricanes have the most talented team in the field of four and have the postseason experience necessary to make it to the College World Series. For Miami, the key to the weekend is consistency across the board … Louisville is another team that could surprise this weekend. Roger Williams has done a phenomenal job with the Cards pitching staff, while Logan Johnson, Isaiah Howes and Boomer Whiting provide the offensive fireworks … Kent State enters the tournament just 6-13 against teams in the top 100.Rivals.com
Ranked as the number four national seed coming into regional play, the Texas Longhorns will host their weekend regional in neighboring Round Rock. Traveling to take on the ‘Horns will be second-seeded UC Irvine and third-seeded Wake Forest, as well as Ivy League champ Brown. The winner of that bracket will take on the winner from Wichita next week. The Shockers, like all other hosts this spring, are the top seed at home, and they welcome in a tough number two seed in Arizona, as well as both Oral Roberts and New Orleans.
(1) Texas [#5]
The Longhorns are again right where they’ve been for much of this decade, sitting at home for regional play with a national seed in their back pocket following a stellar regular season. The 2007 campaign saw UT claim first place in the Big XII after putting together a 21-6 league mark and 44-15 overall record.You may not know much about the Big West Conference, but the Anteaters will attest that it’s no easy task with the likes of Cal State-Fullerton, Long Beach State, and UC Riverside on the schedule from week to week. Irvine survived quite nicely though, going 15-6 in conference play and 40-15 overall to earn the at-large berth.Though the Demon Deacons finished a pair of games below .500 in ACC play and actually just six games above the break-even mark overall, they were awarded one of the final at-large berths to this year’s NCAA tournament after losing to UNC in the ACC Tournamnet title game.