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.
(2) UC Irvine
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.
(3) Wake Forest
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.
The College Baseball Blog headed down to Providence to check out the Ivy League Championship between the Pennsylvania and Brown.
In Game 1, The story of the game was the starting pitching. Penn freshman ace Todd Roth pitched a complete game by letting up an unearned run in the eighth inning but Brown starter Jeff Dietz was better by pitching a complete game shutout while only giving up three Quaker hits to give the Bears the 1-0 victory. Dietz also drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth by hitting a sacrifice fly to second baseman Steve Gable in foul territory but Gable made a poor throw to the plate allowing Steve Daniels to score the winning run. This was the CBB first time seeing each team and came away impressed by freshman Todd Roth who has a plus curveball but an average fastball. Dietz kept the Quaker hitters on the defensive by throwing a solid slider that was getting the outside corner from home plate umpire Joe Cacciatore. Penn coach John Cole also got into a heated argument around the sixth inning with second base umpire Nick Zebilli over an issue that was not obvious to the fans or myself.
In Game 2, The Brown Bears jumped all over Penn starter Jim Birmingham for five runs in the first inning including a grand slam from Robert Papenhause. He would finish the day with three hits and six RBI. The second inning did not get better for Birmingham as the Brown Bears picked up another four runs on a Devin Thomas grand slam. Thomas finished the day with four hits in seven at-bats and seven RBI. The Bears would cruise to the 20-6 victory to win the Ivy League Championship for the first time in the school’s history. Brown is now scheduled to have a few weeks off until they head to the NCAA Tourney.
The Penn Quakers will head to Providence RI to take on the Brown University Bears in the Ivy League Championship series (Best of three). The winner of the series will punch the first ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers won the Gehrig Division title last weekend after Princeton lost their final game of the year against Cornell in extra innings. Penn is led by second year head coach John Cole. He led the Quakers to a second place finish in 2006 in the Gehrig Division and won the Division title in only his second season. He had a ton of success at the Division 3 level at Rowan College where he compiled a 229-73 record. Cole has been receiving outstanding pitching from freshman pitcher Todd Roth who enters the weekend with a outstanding 6-1 record and an ERA of 2.25. He has thrown six consecutive complete game compiling a 1.50 ERA and 32 strikeouts while only walking six batters. Roth picked up a 5-3 victory over Brown on April 9th. He is expected to start Game 1 for the Quakers on Saturday. In Game 2, Penn is expected to send another freshman to the hill in Jim Birmingham who has a 4-1 record and a 3.30 ERA. The top hitter for the Quakers is Kyle Armeny who leads the team with a .326 average and eight homers.
The Brown Bears will be taking part in their first Ivy League playoff series in the 15 years of the playoff format. The Bears are led by Jeff Dietz who is tied in wins at 6 with Todd Roth of Penn. Dietz has had some outstanding performances throughout the season on the mound with a 6-3 overall record and an ERA of 3.57. He is expected to start Game 1 against Roth in a battle of aces. Dietz is also a solid hitter for the Bears as he plays first base when he is not pitching and has a .352 average with seven homers and 48 RBI in 39 games. Devin Thomas who is the starting catch for Brown has a very strong average of .372 and has hit 14 homers on the season.
The College Baseball Blog will be making the road trip down to Providence to check out the first two games of the series on Saturday and will provide a full report on Saturday evening.
Brown Game Notes
Penn Game Notes
John Cole Preseason interview with CBB
Baseball America Preview of series
The UConn Huskies edged Brown on Wednesday 6-5 in a game which was moved from Providence to Storrs with tough weather in Providence over the last few days. Mark Burnett hit an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive home the winning run in Ted O’Reilly. Freshman pitcher Robert Van Woert picked up his fifth win of the season by going four innings while allowing two runs on two hits. Brown used six different pitchers as this was the first mid-week game in three weeks so some pitchers needed some work before their key weekend series against Harvard. Paul Costa ended up getting the loss for the Bears to drop his record to 1-2 on the season.
The Penn Quakers finished off a four game weekend by splitting a doubleheader on Monday afternoon with Brown. The Quakers took Game 1 by a score of 5-3 and lost Game 2 in a shootout by a score of 15-12.
The Quakers in Game 1 received a seven inning complete game from Todd Roth in which he only gave up three runs. His record now is 4-1 on the season. William Gordon led the Quakers offense by recording three RBIs in the victory. Brown starter Will Weidig picked up the loss in his 6.2 innings while giving up five runs. The loss drops his record to 2-2 on the season.
The Brown Bears used a 16 hit attack to handle the Quakers in a 15-12 game. The Brown Bears were led on offense by Bryan Tews who went 4-5 including a home run and three RBI in the win. Devin Thomas also chipped in with a 2-4 day with a homer and four RBIs. Brown starter Alex Silverman picked up his first win of the year by working the first five innings. Rob Hallberg picked up a rocky save by working the final 2.0 innings while giving up five runs. Doug Brown got the loss for the Quakers by giving up eight runs in 2.2 innings of work. The loss drops his overall record to a tough 2-4.
The Citadel Bulldogs were able to slip by the Brown Bears to split their brief two game set with a 6-5 victory on Wednesday. Sid Fallow had an RBI single in the eighth inning which proved to be the game winner. The Citadel will be back in action on Friday when they head to Western Carolina for a three game set.
The Citadel Recap
Brown scored four runs in the top of the ninth to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-4 win. Steve Daniels hit a bases clearing triple with two outs to provide the game winning RBI and insurance runs to the Brown Bears. Zach Brown of The Citadel and Devin Thomas hit solo home runs in the game to lead each other’s offenses. They will face off on Wednesday in finale of their quick two game set.
The Citadel Recap
Jeff Dietz was honored by the Collegiate Baseball as their pick for the Ivy League pitcher of the year. Jeff went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA last season in the Ivy League and is expected to contribute more this season. The full release is available here.