Tonight the finals of the College World Series begin with game 1, as the North Carolina Tar heels will seek to avenge last year’s loss to the Oregon State Beavers in the 2006 Finals. For a preview of the Series, see my preview on Digital Headbutt or Brian Foley’s College Baseball Blog.
The size disparity of the pictures is on purpose. It represents their respective places in my heart.
7:10 pm: I hate it when we put on those alternate black uniforms.
7:15 pm: UNC is the road team, with Oregon State as the home team.
Reid Fronk hits a double on the very first pitch. That hit nearly became a home run, but bounced off the wall.
7:17 pm: Tim Fedroff hits the very next pitch deep into left field, but the OSU right fielder is there to make the catch. One out.
7:19 pm: Josh Horton strikes out swinging. Reyes has a good fastball.
7:22 pm: It wouldn’t be announcing on ESPN without some very awkward references. World Series rings on sale at MySpace? What the hell?
Federowicz strikes out to end the inning. Fronk is left on base, and the game is scoreless heading to the bottom of the first.
7:25 pm: Alex White is the starter tonight for the Heels. His stuff is good early; his fastball is in the low to mid-90s.
7:26 pm: Chris Hopkins hits a short grounder to third, but Chad Flack can’t get the throw to first in time. Runner on first, no outs.
7:28 pm: Right now, Alex White is worrying too much about Hopkins at first. He needs to worry about getting out the guy at the plate.
7:30 pm: Joey Wong gets a line drive base hit into right field. Runners on first and second, nobody out. White is off to a bad start, not just because of the base hits, but also because he’s throwing a lot of pitches early.
7:31 pm: Ohhh! What a catch by White! Lissman, Oregon State’s power hitter, tries to bunt but the ball flies in the air, and White races to makes the catch in foul territory.
7:33 pm: Mitch Canham grounds the ball right to White, who throws Hopkins out at third, and Flack throws to first for a great inning ending double play, the first DP for the Beavers in the CWS. We are scoreless after the first inning. Alex White may not be our best pitcher, but he has done a great job of fielding so far tonight.
7:37 pm: Second inning. Dustin Ackley hits a grounder down the middle for an easy base hit.
Dustin Ackley is an unbelievable player. Not only is he our best hitter (.403 batting average), but he is our best baserunner.
7:41 pm: Chad Flack lines out to left field. One out, Ackley still at first. Reyes is worrying a lot about Dustin.
7:44 pm: More awkward references by announcing staff. Meat? YouTube? Makeup? What happened to the game, guys?
7:46 pm: Ackley is picked off at first base, and Seager flies out to end the inning. The Tar Heel offense continues to struggle early in games.
7:49 pm: Beaver Darwin Barney is up to bat. Heh heh, Darwin Barney. Alex White strikes him out.
7:51 pm: John Wallace strikes out swinging. Alex is throwing a really good fastball right now.
7:53 pm: White walks Scott Santchi. Runner on first, two outs.
Seriously, ESPN, now you’re talking about holistic therapy? Good lord.
7:54 pm: Scott Lennarton swings at Aex’s fastball and sends it into Iowa for a HOME RUN. Oregon state draws first blood, leading 2-0. Not again…
7:56 pm: The next batter grounds out to end the inning, but Oregon State leads 2-0 after 2. The story is starting to get really old for Carolina.
7:58 pm: …and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from that new win probability statistic. Amen.
7:59 pm: Seth Williams flies out to right field. One away to begin the third.
8:03 pm: Gore and Fronk are retired easily, and Oregon State still leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third. Reyes is really pitching well right now.
8:06 pm: Bottom of the third. Chris Hopkins flies out to right foul territory for the first out.
8:07 pm: Wong gets a great bunt to get to first and best the throw from Flack.
I’m going to be honest with you: watching college baseball is a lot more fun in person than it is on TV.
8:10 pm: Lissman hits a great line drive into right field, betwenn the first and second basemen. Wong easily reaches third.
8:11 pm: UNC gets really lucky. Canham hits a deep ball into center field, but Seth Williams makes the catch, and because Lissman was running at full speed all the way from first, Williams easily converts the double play at first to end the inning. However, Wong’s run home is officially tallied. 3-0, Oregon State.
I am under the distinct impression that the run does not count for a fly ball, inning-ending double play. Even if it’s legal, that call is bull.
8:16 pm: Fedroof gets a leadoff double. He had to really hurry to beat the throw at second. Horton is now at the plate.
8:17 pm: Horton hits a deep flyout to center, but Fedroff tags up and beats the throw to third.
8:18 pm: Fedrowicz flies outto center, and Fedroff cannot run home.
8:19 pm: Dustin Ackley caps off three straight flyouts to end the third inning. Oregon State leads, 3-0, as UNC is now .195 in the CWS with runners in scoring position.
8:22 pm: Fedroff catches the fly ball for the first out of the fourth inning.
According to Kyle Peterson, the play allowing Wong to score at the top of the 3rd inning is legal, because it was an “appeal play” instead of a force play. Okay, it’s in the rulebook. However, the call is still crap.
8:27 pm: If there’s one thing that the Heels have done well in the CWS, it’s their fielding. Oregon State had not hit into any double plays so far in Omaha. Tonight, UNC has already converted three. The fourth inning ends with UNC still trailing by three. But all the fielding in the world won;t matter if we can’t hit tonight.
8:31 pm: Flack grounds out to lead off the 5th inning, ans the Tar Heel bats continue to struggle.
8:34 pm: Seth Williams is jammed by the pitcher, but still manages to hit a blooper base hit just out of Wong’s reach. Two outs, man on first.
If I heard the stat correctly, Reyes has only had to throw 34 pitches to retire 14 batters. That is scary.
8:36 pm: Gore hits a line to the right field line, easily getting a double and putting Williams on third. Two outs, and Reid Fronk is up.
8:40 pm: Frink finally gives UNC the big hit they needed. He hits a deep ball into the left-center gap for a double. Williams and Gore score easily, and UNC has cut the deficit to 3-2. Fedroff is now up. I simply cannot tell you how many runs we got against South Carolina in this exact situation. Down late in the game, two outs, and UNC’s offense comes up big. Still, I never expect it when it happens.
8:44 pm: Fedroff flies out to end the top of the fifth, but Oregeon State’s lead is now 3-2 thanks to a big 2-run double by Fronk.
8:47 pm: I don;t care what the win probability stat says, were in a pretty good situation. Were at the exact midway point of the game, we’re only down one run, and our starting pitcher is still on the mound. We’ve come back from much worse.
8:48 pm: After Lennarton grounds out, Lonnie Lechelt hits a line drive double down the left field line. Oregon State now goes back to the top of the order.
8:49 pm: Hopkins hits a line drive that trickles into the outfield. Lechelt scores easily, and the Beavers now lead 4-2. The baseball gods must be punishing my previous statement.
8:51 pm: Wong hits a grounder, and UNC converts its fourth inning-ending double play. After 5 innings, Oregon State has a 4-2 lead. How much longer will Alex be able to pitch?
8:54 pm: Horton leads off in the sixth, and he juuuuuuuuust beats the throw to first by Lennarton. One on, nobody out.
8:57 pm: Federowicz nearly grounds out into a double play. Horton is out at second, but Tim beats the throw at first.
It’s still hard to get over the 3rd inning call that gave Wong the run to give Oregon State their 3 run lead. According to commenter Tom Anderson:
Page 99 paragraph 9 of the NCAA rules says that with two outs on an appealed play “no runners PRECEEDING [sic] or following the appealed out shall score.” If this is the correct section of the rule book, the run should not have counted.
Good work, Tom. I may need to do some more research, but this rule seconds what I and the ESPN announcers believe: that the umpires made the wrong call. However, I will say that they have otherwise done a good job tonight.
9:00 pm: Ackley strikes out. Two away, Federowicz at first, and Reyes is still pitching well.
9:02 pm: Flack lines out to third to end the inning. Oregon State leads in the middle of the 6th as UNC’s offense is till struggling.
9:05 pm: Bottom of the 6th. White is still pitching, but is he going to run out of gas?
9:06 pm: Ackley makes a great play to stop the grounder, and throws to White at first. One away.
9:07 pm: Mitch Canham has a really, really long rod. Fishing rod, that is.
9:08 pm: Alex White may have injured himself in the forceout at first. He got a blister on his middle throwing finger from his pitching, forcing him to get pulled from the game. Matt Danford is called in to pitch in relief. Overall, White did a pretty good job today, but Reyes has been extraordinary.
9:11 pm: “Barney is a dinosaur in our imaginaaaa-tionn…” Please, tell me that he’s a figment of my imagination. Another hit for the Beavers, who now have runners on the corners.
9:13 pm: John Wallace hits a deep ball to center field. Williams makes the catch, but Canham scores from first, Barney advances to second, and Oregon State now leads 5-2.
9:15 pm: Santchi gets a hit into left field, and Barney beats the throw from Reid Fronk. Oregon State now leads 6-2, and Danford has to come out. Things are looking really bad for the Heels now.
9:18 pm: In pitching for the Tar heels is someone named Rob Catapano, whom I have never heard of before. You know our pitching’s in trouble when we have to dig this deep into our bullpen, pulling out complete unknowns.
9:19 pm: Fortunately, Catapano gets the final out to end the 6th inning, but Oregon State continues to expand their lead, which is now 6-2. If not for the double by Fronk this would be an embarrassment.
9:23 pm: Top of the seventh. Kyle Seager grounds out directly to the second baseman.
9:24 pm: Seth Williams get an easy base hit to right field. In the stands, the UNC constituency still hopes for a comeback. “TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…”
9:26 pm: Gore is walked, and with the top of UNC’s order looming, Reyes finally comes out of the game. He did an excellent job of pitching, but UNC has been able to come back once they begin batting against the opposing bullpen. Let’s hope it happens again tonight.
9:28 pm: Runners on first and second, one out. The new pitcher: Oregon State’s fourth starter, Joe Paterson. Uh-oh.
9:30 pm: Paterson uses a side-arm pitch, and it doesn’t seem to be working. He walks Fronk to load the bases for Tim Fedroff.
9:32 pm: Fedroff flies out to right field, but Williams scores from third. The score is now 6-3, OSU. Two outs, runners on first and second, Horton at the plate.
9:34 pm: Horton strikes out swinging to end the top of the 7th and leave two runners stranded. The Beavers still have a commanding 6-3 lead heading into the 7th inning stretch.
9:36 pm: If we want any chance of winning this game, UNC needs shutout innings from their bullpen. Again.
9:43 pm: Tyler Trice is in for Catapano, and things aren’t going well. He makes two bad throws to first, and the second one sails over Ackley, easily scoring two runs. Oregon State now leads 8-3, and the way that the beaver pitching staff is playing, I have to say that this game is pretty much over.
9:49 pm: Matt Cox now comes in to pitch.
9:53 pm: Cox walks Canham to load the bases. This is not good.
9:55 pm: The Heels walk in a run, and OSU extends the lead to 9-3. In a word, our performance in this game has been sickening.
9:59 pm: Cox is pulled for yet another pitcher. Oregon State scores again on a sacrifice fly to make it 10-3, Oregon State.
If you’re looking for an excuse, blame Alex White’s blister. if he didn;t have to be pulled so early, this might still be a one run game. Our bullpen has failed us…miserably.
10:01 pm: UNC gets another inning-ending double play, but not before everything possible went wrong for the Tar Heels. Oregon State now has a 7 run lead.
10:05 pm: Top of the eighth. Benji Johnson comes in to pinch hit for Federowicz, and it pays off. Johnson hits a home run, cutting the lead to 10-4. Still, I wouldn’t get any hopes up just yet.
10:06 pm: After Ackley grounds out, Chad Flack gets an easy base hit. Kyle Shelton comes in for Kyle Seager.
10:08 pm: Shleton gets another base hit for the Tar Heels, and we now have runners on first and second with one out.
Oregon State has two pitchers warming up in the bullpen, ready to crush any comeback attempt.
10:10 pm: Just when it looks like UNC might come back, Seth Williams grounds into the inning ending double play from third base. Oregon State leads 10-4, and it looks like UNC is officially done in this game.
10:24 pm: Our bullpen is finding all new kinds of ways to suck. With the bases loaded, Oregon State scores on a HBP. After 8 innings, Oregon State leads 11-4.
10:30 pm: You know you’re in trouble when your hopes rest on Bryan Steed.
10:32 pm: Amazingly, Steed beats the throw to first, but Horton strikes out to end the game. Oregon State wins 11-4, and are now within one game of repeating. Let’s hope that Luke Putkonen has a big day tomorrow, and that our bats will finally wake up.