Coastal Carolina Wins Best CWS Game Thus Far; Mets Humbled again by Lowly Braves

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, June 24.

It’s doubtful that Coastal Carolina pitcher Mike Morrison has heard of Tug McGraw or Sparky Lyle. In the early ’70s when they pitched,  teams expected  a relief  pitcher to extend himself and work more than an inning or two.   Morrison  took a page out of their books throwing 4.1 innings of relief as Coastal Carolina held off elimination by beating Texas Tech 7-5. The Red Raiders are done now, and Coastal has the daunting task of beating TCU twice to make the championship round. But they have already beaten NC State, LSU twice and top-ranked Florida, so facing TCU tonight is just another game for the school from just outside Myrtle Beach, SC.

A capacity crowd of 24,000 saw the best game by far in this year’s College World Series in Omaha. Both team’s starters were on a short leash and neither finished  the third inning. Both were freshmen. Jason Bilous got the call for Coastal. His team tried to help by giving him a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Billy Cook walked, stole second and was driven home on a single by catcher David Parrett.  But Bilous didn’t have a thing against the Red Raiders. They scored 3 and it could have been more. Eric Gutierrez and Hunter Hargrove singled to start the rally.  On a Michael Davis single that followed, future Mets’ prospect Michael Paez made a diving stop and threw out runner Gutierrez at the plate. Tyler Floyd walked, and Stephen Smith cleared them with a 3-run double. But unlike most games in this series, the Chanticleers of Coastal had an answer after the Red Raiders’ rally. In the top of the third, Zach Remillard singled and went to third on a double by Connor Owings, his first hit of the tournament. G. K. Young hit a grounder to third, with Remillard scoring on a throwing error. Both trailing runners ended up in scoring position and scored on another error when Kevin Woodall JR. bounced one into right which neither the first or second baseman caught. Starter Bilous gave up a double and a walk to start the bottom of the third, and desperate to hold the lead and save the season, head coach Gary Gilmore turned to his All-American from the bull pen, Mike Morrison. He walked the first man he saw, loading the bases but struck out the next two, ending the rally. CCU put up 3 more runs in the fifth with the help of another error by Texas Tech. This time the error started the trouble.  G.K. Young reached on that error, Cook and Woodall walked, Tyler Chadwick hit a long scoring fly ball and Parrett doubled the other two men home.  Tech put up two in the 7th, chasing Morrison after 83 pitches but could do nothing with Bobby Holmes who got the save. As the CWS continues, Oklahoma State faces Arizona in the early game today.  Arizona would have to beat the Cowboys twice to advance, as Coastal would have to do against TCU.

Somehow, the Atlanta Braves-arguably baseball’s worst team-have beaten the Mets 4 times in the last week.  They swept the Flushing 9 last weekend at Citi Field, and took a 4-3 win from the Mets last night in Atlanta. Matt Harvey did his job, leaving with the Mets ahead 3-2.  Michael Conforto prevented the home team from tying the game in the 7th by throwing out runner Emilio Bonifacio at the plate.  Naturally, the play was challenged by Braves’ interim manager Brian Snitker, and when he lost, the ensuing snit got Snitker tossed out of the game.  Sadly for Mets’ supporters everywhere,  in the 8th Addison Reed came in with a man on and gave up a home run to Adonis Garcia that would win the game.  Reed is notorious for being unable to pitch effectively if he comes in with men on base.  So as far as possible, he starts innings with a clean slate. Normally, with Reed and Jeurys Familia closing games, after 7 innings you can “Put it in the books,” as Mets’ radio broadcaster Howie Rose says.  They were 34-1 when leading after 7 until Garcia’s shot last night.

There’s a full slate of games under the lights tonight around the bigs. The Pirates hope novice Jameson Taillon, in his 4th big league start can break their current losing streak. He faces Nick Tepesch, who has never pitched for the Dodgers.  What little MLB experience the righty  has came with the Rangers, who cut him loose in the spring. The Indians send one of their best, Danny Salazar to the hill in Detroit.  His counterpart Jordan Zimmerman is a guy the Tigers counted on who has underachieved until his last outing on Sunday when he gave up just a run in 8 innings against the Royals. The Mets hope last year’s phenom Steven Matz can help them bounce back from last night’s bad loss to the Braves. He’ll face Aaron Blair who has had the difficulties of most rookie starters in the bigs.

Former Yankee and current Twins pitcher Phil Hughes is 30 today. The native of Mission Viejo, CA was the first choice the Yankees made in the 2004 draft and made the show by April 2007. He was a part of their last World Series championship team in 2009 and an All-Star a year later. He won 18 that year and 16 in 2012, but was unloaded after a 4-14 mark in 2013. He promptly won 16 for the Twins in 2014. He can be seen sporting glasses on the hill, as he is somewhat nearsighted. As we go to press he will be out 6-8 weeks with a bruise to his left knee.

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