Miami First Team Out of CWS; Oklahoma State wins Second 1-0 Game; Remembering Eddie Lopat

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday.

Following yesterday’s 5-3 loss to UC Santa Barbara, we won’t have Miami to kick around anymore in this year’s College World Series.  The Hurricanes lost their only two games and are thus eliminated. Meanwhile in the winner’s bracket Tyler Buffett pitched the Oklahoma State Cowboys to their second 1-0 win after they beat UCSB by the same score Saturday.

Both games in Omaha were plagued by rain. The Miami game was delayed during the sixth inning for more than an hour. Before the delay  Miami scored their first run as Zack Collins homered in the visiting first inning.  But UCSB tied it before Mother Nature took over.    When the game  resumed, tied 1-1, Miami coach Jim Morris made a controversial decision to bring back his starter Danny Garcia.  Before you could say Jack Robinson, UCSB had 4 runs across for a lead Miami would never reclaim. With a man on, J.J. Muno who had singled home the Gauchos’ first run doubled with the runner holding on third. The new pitcher Frankie Bartow walked Dempsey Grover to set up a double play. Next up was Ryan Cumberland pinch-hitting for Kyle Plantier (nephew of former ball player Phil Plantier. Cumberland, a .194 hitter even with a metal wand managed a long two-run single to break the tie.  The next two runs both scored on bunts, one of which was assisted by an errant throw from Miami first baseman Chris Barr to second baseman Johnny Ruiz covering first. Though Miami scored two runs later on the game and the day belonged to the Gauchos.

Meantime, the late game that should have started at 7 PM Eastern started much closer to 9 PM Eastern because of more rain. When it did, the only run crossed in the fourth.  Donnie Walton doubled and Garrett Benge singled him home.  They were the only Cowboys doing any hitting in the UCSB game Saturday as well. Arizona’s Bobby Dalbec tied a CWS record by striking out a dozen men but it was all in vain. The Wildcats of Arizona will now play the Gauchos tomorrow night at 7 PM Eastern, and the loser goes home. As for today’s action, for television reasons the games start surprisingly late.  The first game, at 5 PM pits Florida, the top ranked team in the country when the series began against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. At 9 PM Eastern, Coastal Carolina who pulled the monumental upset beating Florida Sunday now faces the Horned Frogs of TCU. Some famous TCU players now in the bigs include Jake Arrieta of the Cubs, the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter and the Reds’ Brandon Finnegan. In the 1930’s Byram Saam, future Hall of Fame announcer and Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, the future quarterback of the Redskins were teammates in basketball on the TCU squad. Tiny Coastal Carolina, from Conway, SC just past Myrtle Beach has never been to Omaha. MLB players from there include Mickey Brantley, Kirt Manwaring, Tommy La Stella and Keith Hessler.  Their broadcaster Garry Griffith and I went to the same church in Myrtle Beach before I was injured and moved to where I am now.

Just the fact that there have been two 1-0 games and a 2-1 game in the CWS tells you all you need to know-something is very wrong about the new ball park in Omaha.  College games are meant to be higher scoring affairs than pro games.  That’s the nature of the beast.  People poured into Rosenblatt Stadium, the old park to see teams battle it out.  The Miami radio station, which was_ on the air this time as opposed to their first game, told their listeners there was basically nobody at the park to watch them play UCSB. The dimensions seem_ fair enough.  Only center field at 408 is deeper than usual in today’s game.  The gaps are 375 feet which should easily be reachable with metal bats. And down the foul lines the distance is a reasonable 335 feet. But for some reason the scoring is very much lower than it ever was at Rosenblatt Stadium which was closed in 2010 and demolished two years later. The distances are supposedly the same as at the old ball park but it’s a different game downtown than it was even a decade ago.

In the majors, the Rockies and Marlins all wanted to take solos.  The two teams hit 8 home runs, all solo blasts as the Rockies won 5-3.  No game had ended with 8 runs scored all on solo home runs. There have been 2 NL games in the past with 8 solo home runs but they didn’t account for all the scoring. One American League game, the Tigers and White Sox in May 1995 had 10 solo blasts as the Tigers won 14-12. No game has had 8 home runs at Marlins Park which opened in 2012.  With an atmosphere you can practically see, it’s hard to hit a ball through it. Mark Reynolds of the Rockies and Marcel Ozuna of the Fish each had a pair of dingers to their name.

A solo home run provided the climax of Detroit’s 8-7 win in 12 over the Mariners.  Justin Upton launched one to send the Detroit faithful home happy. It was his second of the night.  Miguel Cabrera destroyed one that went over the Tigers’ bull pen to the wondering eyes of Tigers’ pitchers and out of the park onto the street. 13 years earlier, in 2003 he made his MLB debut with a home run for the then Florida Marlins. Last night’s titanic blast  was number 423 against  292 victims.

Rick Sutcliffe is 60 today. In 1974 he was the Dodgers’ first-round draft choice. He was a high schooler who amazingly reached the bigs in just a little over two years. Before he was done in 1994 he had a 171-139 record. He was NL Rookie of the Year in 1979, an All-Star 3 times and the 1984 Cy Young winner.  He was with the Cubs by then and started game 1 of their NLCS with the Padres.  With their pitcher launching a home run The Cubs  destroyed the visitors 13-0 and had a 2 games to none lead as the series shifted to San Diego where the Padres won all 3. Amazingly Sutcliffe stole home in a game with the Phillies in 1988. A fading Sutcliffe got the first start when Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992. He has done a great deal of broadcasting since 1997 and is seen worldwide on the international_ broadcasts of MLB games which are seen on Fox and the major networks in America.

Former Yankee pitcher Eddie Lopat (pronounced LowPat) was born on this day in 1918 and died on June 15, 1992. He put up a terrific 166-112 record particularly for a “junk baller.”While he was on 5 World Series winners he was only an All-Star once. His name was shortened from Lopatynski, not an unusual practice when baseball was still a regional game, and things like that could be done quietly.  He, Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi were the main 3 Yankee starters from 1948 to 1953. Lopat stayed until 1955 when he was briefly sent to Baltimore. After managing the Yankees’ Richmond minor league team he was Yankees’ pitching coach in 1960, the final year of Casey Stengel.  Lopat left when Stengel did, coached a year each in Minnesota and Kansas City, then managed the Kansas City Athletics in 1963-64. He worked as an aide to owner Charles O. Finley until the team went to Oakland. He became a scout for the Montreal Expos in their Garry Park days.

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