Sunday, June 8, 2008

College World Series Nuggets...

Some thoughts/nuggets as the super regionals are finishing up and the CWS field is set...

Isn't it about time FSU wins a national title? They hold the record for most CWS wins (25) and appearances (19) without winning the title. Clemson is 2nd in appearances without a title (11), but when you consider the ACC hasn't won a CWS title since Wake Forest in 1955 - you expect them to be on the list. The school with the 3rd most CWS appearances without a title is Northern Colorado with 10. They were the Gonzaga of college baseball from 1952-1962 crashing the party 9 times but never winning it all.

The SEC has had a pretty good recent history in the CWS, sending 8 different schools to Omaha since 1996 - including 4 in 1997 - however, the only 2 that have ever won it all are the 2 remaining schools in this year's tournament, LSU and UGA.

What a site it was at Foley Field today that culminated in a 17-8 UGA victory - but it was not without fireworks. Lyle Allen was plunked after Starr's Mill's own Joey Lewis hit his 2nd homer of the series. Both sides were warned, but throwing at batters (especially close to the head) is not part of the college game. Professional baseball sees a lot of this (see CoCo Crisp and friends) but they (for the most part) know how to do it without it being dangerous. What if Drew Taylor's pitch hit Allen in the head and caused terminal damage? These are student athletes and all the NCSU fans that think the beaning was deserved and that the Wolfpack should have hit other players (Beckham) as well are insane.

It is good, though to see UGA make the CWS again - this makes 4 times in the last 8 years. I don't think the Dawgs are good enough to win in all (my $$$ is on the ASU/UNC winner), but making it to Omaha is something you can never take away.

An interesting story that will probably be told time and time again this week on ESPN as they preview the CWS is the national home run chase. Right now the standings look like this:

1) Michael Harrington - CofC 26
2) Buster Posey - FSU 26
3) Gordon Beckham - UGA 26
4) Jeremy Tice - CofC 25
5) Matt Clark - LSU 25

Clark has Game 3 of his super regional tomorrow and can tie or pass the leaders, but at least 2 of the leaders will be playing at least 2 more games in Omaha. If LSU can advance, we could have quite the race. But even if LSU qualifies, none of these guys will have a chance at the all-time record of home runs in a season in which your team made it to the CWS.

The year was 1985, and Pete Incaviglia hit 48 HR's in 75 games for Oklahoma State. I think Pete's record is safe for this year. What a stud he was in college...

However, there was a year - even more so than this year - where some big time HR hitters all made it to the CWS. The year was 1997 - and Rice was just beginning to emerge as a national power and had Lance Berkman and his 41 homers leading the way for the Owls. LSU had Brandon Larson and his 40 HR's and Pac-10 power UCLA boasted future MLB all-star Troy Glaus and his 37 HR's. All 3 of these guys seasons rank in the top 7 all-time in homers in a season - and all played in the CWS that year.

Go Dawgs!!!


Walt said...

Great Blog.
Where does your boy - prejuiced Barry Bonds rank on the CWS homerun list?
Just wondering.

Jeff said...

Barry had 2 good CWS appearances, making the all-tournament team as a freshman and a sophomore - I am not sure how many HR's he hit in Omaha, but I do know it was fewer than 4. He also never had a single season with more than 30 HR's while at ASU.