I Love It When You Call Me Big Poppa
A little more than a month ago, we were at Nebraska talking with some of the Cornhuskers' moms about how nice it was for them to get to watch their sons play on Mother's Day.
Well, sorry moms, but a bunch of dads got an even better treat: Watching their sons play in the College World Series on Father's Day. And even with the pressure of elimination facing the first two teams of the day -- Louisville and Mississippi State -- it sounded like the players still remembered to give a card or at least a phone call to Dad before the game.
Obviously, these proud baseball dads couldn't have asked for a better present than being in Omaha.
The wind was blowing out hard, and the Cardinals didn't waste any time taking advantage of it. A pair of early home runs -- both of which landed approximately somewhere in South Dakota -- helped Louisville take a quick 3-0 lead on Mississippi State.
In the third, Louisville's Isaiah Howes blasted a ball over the center fielder's head for a two-run double to make it 5-0. Then first baseman Daniel Burton hit another bomb in the fourth, a three-run shot that made it 8-0.
The Bulldogs eventually put up three runs of their own, but L'ville wasn't done bashing. Third baseman Chris Dominguez (whose dad was fired up to be here) cranked a two-run homer to left field (his second of the game) that almost hit the scoreboard behind the bleachers. In the end, the Cardinals came away with a 12-4 win as MSU became the first team to bow out of the 2007 CWS.
There was a ton of anticipation for the nightcap, which featured North Carolina and Rice. Rosenblatt Stadium was absolutely packed, and the Tar Heels' fan contingent included UNC basketball coach Roy Williams, who made the trip to Omaha last year as well. We caught up with him before the game for a couple of minutes to talk baseball and milkshakes.
Unfortunately for Ol' Roy and the rest of the Tar Heel faithful, there wasn't a whole lot to cheer about. For the second straight game in the CWS, Carolina's starter didn't make it out of the second inning, as the Owls hung six runs on freshman Alex White.
And it only got worse from there. Carolina's propensity for falling behind early and then charging back for the victory was only halfway complete tonight. The Heels gave up the runs but never made the comeback. In fact, UNC set a CWS record by using eight pitchers in the game, the last of which was catcher Tim Federowicz, who also pitches part-time (and gave up a two-run homer in the ninth).
Needless to say, the game didn't have much drama, and Rice walked away with a 14-4 win.
On this Father's Day, there was not much question in either game who was who's daddy.
The city sure felt like it belonged to Rice tonight.