June 22, 2005
By Eric Sorenson
Special to CSTV.com
I don't think there's a way in the world the words I write can come close to describing what took place at Rosenblatt Tuesday.
Two more down. Two more to go. And man! What a way to decide things! A pair of 8-7 classics. That
Okay, enough of the hyperbole. Let's take a quick look at what happened today as we giddily look forward to what's next.
Nebraska 000 300 004 00 - 7 12 3
Arizona State 101 010 202 01 - 8 12 0
WP: Zechry Zinicola (4-4)
LP: Brett Jensen (3-5)
In a nutshell
What a wicked cool game! No two ways about it, this was one of the best games the College World Series has seen in a few years. ASU showed once again that it is never a good idea to count them out. After Nebraska got a dramatic, Richter Scale-type home run in the top of the 9th from Andy Gerch, the Sun Devils quietly went about tying the game with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Then, with a man in scoring position, Freshman J. J. Sferra blooped a Texas-Leaguer into short right to provide the winning run.
There seemed to be ten or twenty in the last three innings alone. So let's go ahead and just say the sawed-off bloop single that Sferra, the former Sun Devil bat boy, hit in the 11th to score Joey Hooft from second.
What could've been the key moments
First it looked like the key moment would be Nebraska's misplayed foul ball in the 7th that could've ended the inning, but instead ASU scored the two go-ahead runs for a 5-3 lead. Then it looked like Andy Gerch's 9th inning, three-run bomb would be it. Then, Jeff Larish hit his third home run of the game to tie things in the bottom of the inning. But eventually, Sferra's hit took center stage.
Larish the lumberjack
ASU leadoff man Jeff Larish tied a CWS record with three home runs in the game. The last time that was accomplished was back in 2000, when Stanford's Edmund Muth turned the trifecta against Louisiana-Lafayette. It was also his fifth multi-homer game this season.
I have always maintained that every school has their great fans and every school has their bad fans. Thankfully the great fans usually well-outnumber the bad ones. But when it was announced that Jeff Larish's third home run had not only tied the game, but had tied a College World Series record for dingers in a game, even a good portion of Nebraska fans clapped in appreciation. My guess is that a large number of those were the people who have been CWS fans for a long time.
It looked like J.J. Sferra would be the goat for Arizona State. He got doubled up off of first on a pop fly by Joe Persachina, accounting for the second out of the ninth inning. But don't put all the blame on Junior. It was Sferra Sr., who was the first base coach at the time, who should've kept his boy closer to the bag. But Larish's bomb acquitted all.
Tablesetters are differencemakers
It was brought up in the post-game press conference that the Cornhuskers have had trouble with leadoff guys in this CWS. And sure as shootin', if you bunch their stats together, opposing leadoff men were 8-for-11 with two singles, three doubles, three home runs and five RBI in the three games.
ASU has now had three players suffer injuries during this College World Series. Here they are in the order they occurred--
P Seth Garrison: emergency appendectomy
UT Zechry Zinicola: chronic nosebleeds from broken blood vessels
SS Andrew Romine: busted orbital bone from a plunking today
Tulane 060 010 000 - 7 8 3
Baylor 000 000 323 - 8 12 3
WP: Abe Woody (10-3)
LP: Sean Morgan (6-1)
In a nutshell
This game appeared over in a hurry. The Green Wave threw together six runs in the second inning, with the help of two errors and a two-run home run from 8-hole hitter Mark Hamilton. But things changed drastically in the 7th. BU scored three runs there, then two more in the 8th and finally scratched, clawed, kicked, screamed, snorted, huffed and puffed and blew TU's house down with three heartbreaking runs in the 9th.
Just like in the first game, there were so many key moments I can't count them on two hands and two feet. But again, the last play was THE moment. Tulane 2B Joe Holland's throw to first as he was trying to turn the double play to end the game was the party-crasher. I know a game is never decided by a single play. Still, if there is a clean throw there, the game is over and Tulane wins.
Other key moments
When Bear RF Mark Pankratz misplayed a pop up in right field and over-ran the ball, allowing two runs to score. After that, an RBI single by Greg Dini and the aforementioned two-run yard call by Hamilton put Baylor way behind the 8-ball in a 6-0 ditch. But a huge double steal by BU in the 8th allowed two men to move into scoring position, which was followed by a Michael Griffin single. Zach Dillon's chop double down the right field line knocked in the run to cut the game to one and also allowed the two winning runs to be in scoring position.
Couple of numbers
Tulane was 51-0 in games it lead going into the 9th this season.
Baylor was 5-20 in games it trailed going into the 9th this season.
Baylor had won 12 games in their last at-bat this season.
That's the number of photographers I counted that were pointing their cameras directly into the Tulane dugout as the players sat there dejected with their heads in their hands.
That's the number of minutes that Tulane's Brian Bogusevic stayed sitting in the Tulane dugout after the game had ended as the cleaning crew cleaned up around him.
Off the slide
Tulane leadoff man Nathan Southard continued to hit in the No. 1 spot despite his recent struggles in the post-season. Tonight's game-opening hit was his first hit since Saturday, June 4th in the Regionals against Alabama.
After seeing RF Brian Bogusevic run over CF Nathan Southard as Southard made that tough running catch in the 8th inning, don't you think Tulane's moribund football program could use a 6'3, 215 lb. defensive rush end with that kind of speed who can hit that hard? Good props to Southard for actually holding on to the catch.
Tulane head coach Rick Jones concerning the comfort he felt when the Wave was up big early, "Up 7-0 and with J.R. Crowel pitching well, I felt pretty good about things."
"The last time..."
2000. That's the last time two games in one day at the College World Series were decided with 9th inning comebacks, culminating with a win in the last at-bat. That day, Louisiana-Lafayette beat Clemson 5-4 and
"The last time II..."
The last time a team came back from a deficit of seven or more runs in a CWS game, Tulane was the victim once again. Stanford came back from an 8-0 deficit to win 13-11 in the 2001 series.
"The last time III..."
The last time a team trailed going into the bottom of the 9th inning and scored three runs to win a game was Notre Dame, who trailed Rice 3-2 but scored three runs to beat the Owls.
"The last time IV..."
Tulane scored six runs in the 2nd inning tonight. The last time a team scored that many runs in an inning was Rice, which plated seven runs in the 6th inning of a 14-2 win over Stanford in the 2002 championship round.