Sorenson: Saturday’s Three-Up, Three-DownAt The Ballpark
MALIBU, Calif. — As you StitchHeads know, it NEVER rains in California, but boy don’t they warn ya’, when it pours man, it pours.
Because of that, it was a double-header day in Malibu between Columbia and Pepperdine at Eddie D. Field Stadium, which beautifully overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
In case you didn’t know, the Lions are once again expected to be the cream of the crop in the Ivy League for 2016. But no matter what comes in May, not a lot went right for Columbia today. The visitors from the Big Apple were caught in a rip tide called the Pepperdine Waves, who pasted them with 15-6 and 12-2 losses today on the mountainside in Malibu.
Staff ace George Thanopoulos only lasted 3.1 innings in game one before being replaced by Zack Bahm. By that time the Waves had already built up a 5-0 lead. Then Ben Rodriguez, the Waves DH, made things even worse with a fourth inning grand slam.
“That thing might’ve reached the ocean,” said Pepperdine’s webcast announcer (sorry, I didn’t catch his name) of Rodriguez’s four-RBI sonic boom that sailed toward the Pacific and into the palm trees beyond the left field fence. That was part of a six-run fourth inning that turned game one into a no-doubter from that point on.
Game Two was much of the same, only the Pepperdine boat race started earlier due to another six-run inning. This time it was the second inning and saw a two-run homer from Chris Fornaci turn a 1-0 lead into a 3-0 lead. An RBI single from Matt Kanfer was followed by a two-run single by Mr. Rodriguez, making it a 6-0 lead.
Obviously, by the score, the Lions would never threaten again and the Waves earned a pair of wins. The Waves improve to 6-8 as the Lions drop down to 2-4. Ready for the odd stat of the day? As you know, the RPI shouldn’t be given much credence at the time of the season, but the Lions came into today’s doubleheader with a No. 7 ranking. The Waves entered the day at No. 137. Go figure.
But keep in mind, this is a yearly occurrence for the Lions. They go down South or out West and play their spring trip against a bunch of teams that have been practicing and playing for month, take their lumps and learn from the experience.
If you recall, last June the Lions beat East Carolina, FIU and Miami on their way to the championship round of the Coral Gables Regional before falling in a winner-take-all seventh game to the homestanding Hurricanes. They’re not a great team right now, certainly not today, but check back with me in May and we’ll see where they are.
Meanwhile the Waves obviously looked like the team that took down Texas A&M – well, at least once – as their offense was unstoppable with 27 runs on 26 hits. Good pitching and defense were also part of the game plan that worked out perfectly today.
Columbia U – 000 000 240 – 6 7 2
Pepperdine – 030 600 15x- 15 12 2
WP: A.J. Puckett (2-2)
LP: George Thanopoulos (0-2)
Columbia U – 000 200 000 – 2 9 0
Pepperdine – 160 002 30x – 12 14 0
WP: Kiko Garcia (2-1)
LP: Adam Cline (0-2)
– Ben Rodriguez, 3-for-5, HR, 7RBI, 2BBs
– Matthew Kanfer, 4-for-11, 7RBI
– Shane Adams, 3-for-6, 2RBI
Now let’s take a quick swing around the country in our traditional way. Enjoy…
The best of the day in college baseball
1- Them Dogs… again.
Mississippi State picked up a pretty impressive series win with today’s 9-3 pasting of visiting Oregon. The thing that made it even more impressive were the Bulldog pitchers bulldogging the Ducks into 15 strikeouts on the day. The Dogs jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first inning by, get this, four bases-loaded walks and a bases-loaded plunking.
2- Seabold Puts Up A Sea Wall
Cal State Fullerton continued its mastery of the Wichita State bats, as Connor Seabold went six innings, giving up just one hit and striking out six in his 6.0 innings. He also showed his pinpoint accuracy by tossing 55 of his 71 pitches into the strike zone. Relievers Dylan Prohoroff and Chad Hockin combined for 3.0 innings of no-hit ball. The three Titan arms also did not issue a single walk
3- Oregon State and North Carolina.
Sounds like a rematch of 2006 and 2007 in Omaha, right? Well both of these programs are competing in another way right now; both teams are tied for the national lead with an 11-game win streak.
OSU pitchers Jake Thompson, Luke Heimlich and Mitch Hickey combined for a five-hitter in their 4-0 win over San Francisco today.
North Carolina downed Pitt 4-0 behind J.B. Bukauskas and his 11K, five-hit performance on the mound. Tyler Ramirez went 2-for-4 with three RBI, including a home run.
– His Day In Kort.
UCLA beat Texas 5-4 on the strength of Kort Peterson’s screaming home run to right field on the second pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning. Peterson’s yard call was the cap to a great back-and-forth game between the two teams as each team scored a single run in the eighth and ninth innings. Peterson went two for three on the day with three runs batted in to lead the Bruins and tie the series at a game each.
– The Dirtbags Beach the Sooners. Twice.
Long Beach State put a dominant stamp on their legitimacy today with a pair of wins at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, 7-3 and 6-3. In the two games, the Dirtbags trailed for only half an inning and out-hit the Sooners 22-14.
– Southern Misses Ws.
The Eagles of Southern Miss improved to 12-3 today with an 8-2 win over Samford, marking this their third-best start in program history. The 1995 team was 14-1 after 15 games and the 2004 team was 13-2. Cord Cockrell, Cody Livingston and Clay Pageant combined to allow just four hits and two walks to a Bulldog team that came in averaging .319 and 8.7 runs per game. This continued a string of great pitching performances from the Eagles, who had posted a 1.83 ERA while striking out an average of 9.8 batters in their previous six games.
– A Near Perfect Game
Southeastern Louisiana pitching put the total clamps on Incarnate Word in an 11-0 skunking. Senior hurler Kyle Cedotal carried a perfect game into the eighth inning, retiring the first 22 batters he faced. He lost the perfect game/no-hit bid after one out in the eighth inning. Cedotal exited after the eighth was done, striking out 13 batters along the way. Corey Gaconi threw a perfect ninth inning.
– The Doubles Nuts.
The Buckeyes of Ohio State hit nine doubles in their 20-3 plastering of UNLV in Sin City today. Seven of the nine starters had multi-hit days, led by Brady Cherry’s three-hit, four RBI performance. Leadoff man Troy Montgomery led the hit parade with four hits, including two doubles. OSU improved to 7-5-1.
– Another Cougar Mound Gem
For the second day in a row Houston got a really cool pitching performance to key another big win at Alabama. This time it was Seth Romero, who fanned a career-high 11 Crimson Tide batters in just six innings of work. Romero scattered five hits and two walks and got solid relief from Bubba Maxwell and Nick Hernandez, who gave up two hits in the final three innings. The Coogs won 3-2 in another tight battle and clinched the high-profile non-conference series.
The worst of the day in college baseball
1- Fresno State, ouch. Just… ouch.
On Friday the Bulldogs lost 3-2 at Texas A&M despite out-hitting the Aggies by a resounding 10-to-5 mark. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs lost game two today in College Station by a 4-3 count. This time it was downright painful, as Fresno scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, only to turn around and give up two runs, which both got on base via a walk, in the bottom of the frame to drop yet another one-run game. They’ve played well, I tell ya’, but they haven’t played lucky.
2- The Pac 12 Blues
Friday wasn’t a great day for the occidental monster. Today was a continuation of that frustration.
– USC lost at TCU 12-11 in 11 innings.
This was the second straight loss in Ft. Worth for the Trojans and fourth straight loss overall. Winning run was scored on a bases-loaded walk. Yuck.
– Cal lost at home to Texas Tech 11-8
Not only did the Bears blow an 8-5 lead, they also allowed Tech to score eight unearned runs.
– Oregon lost at Mississippi State 9-3.
The Ducks have now lost both games in Starkville by a combined 19-7. As mentioned above, four bases-loaded walks and a bases-loaded plunking put MSU up 5-0 in the first inning.
– Washington lost at Pacific 6-3 in 10 innings.
The Huskies defense committed four errors and gave up three runs in the top of the 10th inning.
3- Bethune-Cookman’s Woes.
The tide has definitely turned in the MEAC. Long gone are the days where the Wildcats dominated and would get the auto-bid to the NCAA tournament time and time again. Now, Jamey Shoope’s Florida A&M Rattlers are the team to beat. Today, FAMU took a pair of games from B-C, by 15-3 and 2-1 scores. Game one saw the Rattlers score in each frame of the game. The game was stopped in the seventh inning by the 10-run rule. Believe it or not, this marked the first time in Bethune-Cookman history where the Cats fell by the mercy rule. FAMU is now 10-5, 2-0 and Bethune drops to 5-9, 0-2.
– Hanson struggles continue.
The projected first round draft choice pitcher for Oklahoma fell to 0-3 with today’s 7-3 loss to Long Beach State in game one of the doubleheader. Hansen lasted just 4.2 innings and gave up five runs on five hits and also had control issues the entire stint, handing out four walks. In his four starts, Hansen has gone 1.0 innings, 3.0 innings, 6.1 innings and today’s 4.2 innings. He has also given up 12 runs in those 15 innings of work.
– The Rambling Wrecked.
For the second day in a row, Georgia Tech succumbed to Florida State in Tallahassee, this time by a football-like 14-9 score. Tech raced out to a 5-0 lead but the pitching just wasn’t there for the Engineers. A six-run fifth inning was keyed by Dylan Busby two-run home run, a balk, two errors and a wild pitch. FSU scored three runs in the seventh inning and five more in the eighth inning to add to the Tech misery. Five of the Seminole runs were unearned.