Checking In With the College Baseball Regionals (Holy Texas!)
by Ryan Hudson
We're still 12 days away from college baseball's best eight teams arriving in Omaha for the World Series, but that doesn't mean the insanity hasn't begun already.
As you no doubt heard by now, Florida State beat Ohio State on Sunday, 37-6. 37-6. Remember, this was baseball, and not the latest Buckeye blowout in a college football bowl game. In all, FSU set four new school records, including 38 hits and 15 doubles. Shortstop Stephen Cardullo went 7-for-9, tying the school record for hits and at-bats. On the other side of it all was Andrew Armstrong, who allowed 11 runs (all earned) in just 1/3 of an inning; 13 of the 14 batters he faced reached base.
In general, Ohio St.'s trip to the NCAA Regionals was less than impressive. They went 2-2, but in the two losses, they were outscored 61-14 (Georgia rolled over OSU in the opening game, 24-8). I imagine that was not an enjoyable bus ride home for the Buckeyes.
As disappointing and anticlimactic as Ohio State's tournament was, Texas's has been equally exhilarating and dramatic. First was their epic battle with Boston College Saturday night that lasted 25 innings, setting a new NCAA record for the longest game ever. The Longhorns eventually won, 3-2, when Travis Tucker singled home the winning run, at 2:05am on the East Coast. But the real hero of the marathon game was pitcher Austin Wood, who entered the game in the 7th inning, expecting to face a few batters, and get a few outs. 13 innings later, Wood was finally being relieved, after tossing 12 1/3 innings of no-hit ball, and a total of 169 pitches (just one day after throwing two innings against Army for the save).
As you'd imagine, in a baseball game like that, there is a litany of peculiar stats that would make Tim Kurkjian squeak with joy, like the fact "Texas scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning, then not again until the 25th. So it took them 23 innings to score another run."
What could the Longhorns possibly do for an encore? Easy: score eight runs in the bottom of the 9th on Sunday to beat Army, 14-10, with the winning run coming on a walk-off grand slam. OK, enough words. Bring on the video.
Thank you for your time. You may resume not paying attention to NCAA Baseball until Omaha rolls around.