Monday, June 16, 2008

Play Ball

Play Ball…
As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, college baseball, the red-headed stepchild of college sports, is heating up as the College World Series is underway. While the tournament does not receive the same fervor of devotion from most of the country as basketball in March and football in the fall ending in the grand Bowl weeks during the holidays, the College World Series has the fast action of college sports, and the hunger that only a student athlete can posses.

The double elimination tournament started on Saturday, and will continue for the next two weeks, ending with a three game tournament to crown the best team in college baseball.

This year we see the south dominating the tournament much like in years past. Three ACC teams, Florida State
(4) and North Carolina(2) and number one ranked Miami, are both in the competition while the SEC has LSU(7) and Georgia(8) dogging it out for the title. The Rice Owls (6) are the only team from Texas and it is representing Conference USA in the series, something the school is accustom to the series, appearing in the past 7 out of 12 College World Series.

Florida isn’t the only state with two teams competing for the title. California is being represented by two schools, Fresno Stateand Stanford. Fresno Stateis making its first appearance since 1991 in the CWS while Stanfordhas two back-to-back CWS titles (1987 and 1988), and has been in the series six times in the past 10 years.

So far in the Series, Stanfordbeat Florida State16 to 5 with a record breaking 11 runs being scored by Stanfordin the 9th. Georgiapulled off a win against Miami7 to 4, Fresno Statedominated Rice 16 to 5, and North Carolinapulled off a hard win against LSU, winning 8 to 4. Miamiand Florida Statewill play on June 16 (Game 5), as the cross state rivals will bat it out with similar ferocity as the nationally known football rivalry has. Also on the 16, Stanfordwill slug it out with Georgia(Game 6), with the loser playing the winner of the Florida State/Miamimatchup in Game 9. Rice will face LSUon June 17 (Game 7), and the winner will face the loser of the day’s other match between UNC and Fresno State(Game 8) in Game 10.

The winners of Games 6 and 8 will face off against the winners of Game 9 and 10, meaning that the winners of the second round may play against a team they already beat in Games 11 and 12.

All this is a build-up to the Championship Series in Omaha, which is host to the best of college baseball slugging it out for the title.

So crack open a beer, sit back, and watch the underappreciated sport of college baseball on ESPN and ESPN 2 for the next two weeks. Watch the balls fly and the aluminum ping as the college boys of summer duke it out for the top spot and bragging rights for the next year.

--Boomer E-mail:

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