Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, June 25.
Both Arizona and Coastal Carolina had to win yesterday to force a winner-take-all game today. They both beat teams that were unbeaten in this year’s College World Series. Early on, Arizona survived a team’s worst nightmare-an injured starting pitcher-and beat Oklahoma 9-3. In the late game, Coastal got an early lead and beat TCU 4-1. The same teams meet today. Arizona again plays Oklahoma State at 3 PM, Coastal faces TCU again at 8 PM. The winners meet Monday in the first game of the championship round.
The Arizona Wildcats were leaning on starter Nathan Bannister to help them climb the golden stairs to a game today. But Bannister crumbled early-not from bad pitching but from an injured pitching arm. They had put up a 3-0 lead early on. JJ Matijevic singled home a run in the first inning. They put up two more an inning later, thanks to an RBI double by Louis Boyd and a run-scoring single from Zach Gibbons. But for pitcher Bannister, disaster struck after 8 batters had come up and gone down. He walked the 9th hitter and felt discomfort in his money-maker, his pitching arm. He called for help and coach Jay Johnson and the team trainer ran out like there was a fire. He tried a few warmup pitches but he was just goosing them up there and he knew he was through. Kevin Ginkel was given all the time he needed to warm up, and held off the Cowboys. A scoring fly ball in the visiting 4th made it 4-0 Wildcats. The Cowboys’ one real rally came in their half of the same inning. The Cowboys’ DH Conor Costello blasted a tripple driving in a run, and scored when the very next pitch went wild. Cameron Ming started the fifth for the Wildcats, who put up 3 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to give him a comfortable 9-2 cushion. Ming was running on fumes in the 9th and gave up an RBI double. The last thing Coach Johnson wanted to do was burn another pitcher, knowing the Wildcats have to play today, so he left Ming out there and prayed. Ming got a fly ball out to end the game.
While Bobby Dalbec seems the logical man to start today’s game, coach Johnson wasn’t talking after the win yesterday. With Bannister off the table for the championship round, if Dalbec goes today the $64.00 question is, who would start the championship round. Thing is, if they don’t win today, when the championship round starts they won’t be there to take part.
The late game was a rematch from Tuesday, when TCU thumped Coastal Carolina 6-1. This time, the CCU Chanticleers had Andrew Beckwith and he threw a complete game at the Horned Frogs from Fort Worth in a 4-1 victory. He had done the same to the nation’s top-ranked team, the Florida Gators on Sunday night, and is one of only 4 pitchers in 3 decades to throw 2 complete games in the CWS. It took 137 pitches, the most the junior has ever thrown or probably ever will throw. 101 were strikes. He needed a double play to get out of the first and a pickoff to end the second, but in the third Coastal got him the run support he would need. Billy Cook was hit by a pitch from six-foot-seven starter Mitchell Traver. After a sacrifice and a single, Anthony Marx beat out a bunt to bring Cook home. An error by the TCU shortstop loaded the bases. Connor Owings hit a scoring fly to center making it 2-0. It hardly mattered that Marx was thrown out trying to take third on the play. Beckwith kept putting up donuts on the scoreboard. In the 7th, Billy Cook launched a scoring fly ball making it 3-0 as Kevin Woodall JR. scored. David Parrett then drove home Tyler Chadwick on a ground-rule double. Dane Steinhagen, whose name bedeviled the Coastal announcers all night long, provided the only TCU offense with an 8th-inning home run. The two teams meet again at 8 PM, winner to face either Arizona or Oklahoma State Monday night. Whatever happens, the scouts who didn’t suggest Beckwith to be drafted earlier this month have cause to put trips to Myrtle Beach on their expense accounts next spring.
As the big league season began , I assumed (hopefully) that the Red Sox would continue to be as miserable as they’ve been the past two seasons, and even though I knew the Yankees would be pathetic I hoped somebody would leave the Red Sox in the dust. It isn’t happening and it may not. This team’s got something. Thursday night, they won an extra-inning back-and-forth game from the White Sox 8-7 at Fenway. Last night, in Texas they came from 6 runs down for an 8-7 win. David Price gave up 6 runs on a dozen hits and only got 7 guys out. Though the Red Sox tried to make a fight of it, they were still behind 7-4 as the top of the 9th came around. But neither Jake Diekman nor Matt Bush could stop them as they put up a four-spot in their last atbat. A leadoff walk started the trouble, as it so often does. This time Diekman walked Jackie Bradley JR. He seemed to get a grip then, getting the next two men out. However, pinch-hitter Sandy Leon doubled home Bradley. He’s now hitting .545, 12 out of 22 since coming up from AAA. Exit Diekman, enter Bush. He had never saved a game and didn’t save this one. Instead, Mookie Betts crushed a tying two-run home run. As if this wasn’t enough, Bush walked Dustin Pedroia, gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts, then fired a wild pitch with David Ortiz up to let the tie-breaking run score.
It was just another day for you and me at Coors Canaveral. The visiting D-Backs put up 6 runsin the 7th to make it 8-2. The Rockies got 2 in the 7th and 4 in the last of the 8th featuring a pinch-hit rbi-double by Carlos Gonzalez to make it 9-8, but the D-Backs put up 2 in the 9th for the win. Yasmani Tomas hit his second long ball of the evening to level the game at 9, and after a double by Jean Segura which was his third hit of the night, Michael Bourn established his Bourn supremacy for the night with the game-winning RBI single. It was the league’s longest 9-inning game ever at four and a half hours. The old record of 4:27 had stood for almost 15 years.
Kind reader, please look up your own baseball birthdays today. I have just been informed that a very good friend of 32 years standing has died after a battle with cancer. He wasn’t a baseball man, I’ll write about him in more detail in my boxing group Don’s Boxing Corner on Facebook. His name was Jack Obermayer. R I P