Feb. 24, 2012
The Oscars of College Baseball
Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday evening, with nine
films vying for the Oscar for Best Picture. These movie titles
could also apply to college baseball this season.
UCLA is one of the top art schools in the
country. Head coach John Savage and the Bruins lost a superb
pair of performers from a year ago in starting pitchers Gerrit
Cole and Trevor Bauer, two guys who could paint the corners and
produce masterpieces from the mound. Adam Plutko looks to be a
solid Friday starter. Will the Bruins solid their other starting
spots as well as the bullpen? Will UCLA rebound from a series
loss to Maryland to open the season?
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri (pictured above) is
the son of a very successful baseball coach. Can he not only get
the Tigers back into the NCAA Tournament, can LSU return to
Omaha for the College World Series? The Tigers rolled last
weekend with two wins over Air Force and one against Alcorn
State. Appalachian State invades Alex Box Stadium this weekend.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly
I was going to make a reference to head coaches
and umpires, but that’s really more of an issue in the big
leagues than in college. I will reference the fans in the SEC,
who were loud and close this past weekend. LSU averaged 10,532,
with South Carolina (7,751), Arkansas (6,958) and Mississippi
State (6,073) all in the top five nationally for average
attendance last weekend.
Texas has had excellent starting pitching in
recent years and it helps to have a tremendous closer to finish
off those wins. Corey Knebel had an All-American season as a
freshman in 2011, posting 19 saves. He already has two in 2012
and should have numerous opportunities this season.
Hurricane Hugo was one of the most destructive
storms in U.S. history, striking in September of 1989. The Miami
Hurricanes are hoping to storm through the ACC and through the
NCAA Tournament. Hurricane Peter, Catcher Peter O’Brien, has
started strong. The transfer from Bethune-Cookman is hitting
.579 (11 for 19) with two doubles, two homers, six runs and
three RBI in four games.
Midnight in Paris
If it’s midnight in Paris, it’s 6 p.m. in the
East. And speaking of six, that is how many players from Stony
Brook played in the Cape Cod League this past summer. The
Seawolves had two players on the postseason All-Star team, the
only program in the country with more than one. Outfielder
Travis Jankowski was the Cape Cod MVP. Stony Brook has a lot of
experience back and opens this weekend against Alabama State and
Nicholls in the Colonel Round Robin.
One of the key stats in Moneyball is
on-base percentage. Purdue was one of the top programs a season
ago with an on-base percentage of .402. The Boilermakers were
the only Big Ten team to go 3-0 against the Big East this past
weekend in Florida and posted an on-base percentage of .448.
The Tree of Life
This, of course, refers to the Stanford mascot.
Can the Cardinal live up to the preseason hype with the plethora
of talent on the team? Stanford was extremely impressive this
past weekend with its demolition of Vanderbilt. Texas will visit
this weekend in an intriguing three-game series.
Michael Roth logged 145 innings a year ago in
helping South Carolina win its second consecutive national
championship. He will assume the role of Friday starter again in
2012. Roth allowed a run on four hits in a six-inning
no-decision against VMI on Opening Day with six strikeouts.
(photo courtesy of LSU Media Relations Office)