June 2, 2012

CBI Live: #3 Appalachian State 5, #2 Oklahoma 4

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Rider Coach Barry Davis at Charlottesville Regional


For the second year in a row, Rider coach Barry Davis (left) will supply thoughts during the Charlottesville Regional. Davis, who grew up in Charlottesville and starred at Bridgewater (Va.) College, is 212-215 in eight years with the Broncs and 783-382 overall.


Game 1 – Virginia 9, Army 1

A game that has two starting pitchers returning day after throwing one inning (Virginia's Branden Kline) and one batter (Army's Chris Rowley), the concern may have been, how will their bodies respond?


Kline pitched into the sixth, giving way to the bullpen. Kline did a great job holding Army's potent running game in check. Quick to the plate combining with numerous picks to first.


Army's Rowley struggled with command at times. Five walks and four hit batsmen, but he battled. A Branden Cogswell two-out, bases-clearing double gave Virginia the cushion it needed. Going from 3-1 to 6-1 in one swing in the sixth was huge.

Virginia has always been a great two-out scoring machine. The first three runs came with two outs as well. Following a bases-loaded hit batsmen, Stephen Bruno's two-out single gave the Cavs a 3-0 lead. The interesting thing here, it was a 3-0 count. I am not sure I would have done it, but it worked. Bruno, Virginia's leading hitter and second in RBI showed why he hits third. He ended with three RBI on the day.

By extending the lead to 6-1 then 9-1, the Cavaliers allowed coach Brian O’Connor to save his pen. That is a major factor in these tournaments. Especially when you have this region condensed due to the weather.


Army played well. As with most games, there are always three to five plays that make a difference. To me, the 3-0 green light and the bases-clearing double were the obvious plays.


Another that may go unnoticed was the successful hit and run by Brandon Downes (3 for 4, 2 R) to spark the three-run sixth.

Army must regroup for Sunday’s game vs. Oklahoma at 11 a.m. Rowley gave them a solid performance, leaving the Black Knights rested in the pen. They should be ready to go.

Game 2 – Appalachian State 5, Oklahoma 4

This is a classic game that pits up-and-coming Appalachian State dnd perennial power Oklahoma.


Outside of the obvious fact that App State outplayed the Sooners in every phase, it was a game where one swing by Oklahoma's No. 3 hitter Max White could have won the game. How did that happen?

Ryan Arrowood pitched a terrific game, taking a no hitter into seventh, but ran into trouble in the eighth. Leading 3-0, pitch-count climbing, you could clearly see he was losing his command.

As a coach what do you do? Bring in the situation righty or lefty to get you to the closer? Bring in the closer knowing you may burn him so he cannot pitch tomorrow? Stick with the starter?

Here are a few rules I try to follow late in the game. 1) Don’t let the starter lose a game he deserves to win because you left him in. 2) Is the starter better than the guys in the pen? Why bring in a guy that is not as good as the starter? 3) Bring the closer in a must-win game. And all tournament games are must win. 4) Go with your best guy...I sleep better knowing I did that. Win or lose.

Of course, all of this is based on your knowledge of your team. AND who knows better?

Coach Chris Pollard gave Arrowood a chance to finish. Two two-out walks and a single plated one. Enter Nathan Hyatt (15 saves).

Maybe a batter too late, but a Coach Pollard knows his personnel. Hyatt gets the fly out.

After adding two insurance runs, a 5-1 lead seemed to be enough. Well, it wasn't. Two walks, a hit batter and a balk brought the score to 5-2. Enter lefty Ryan Frankoff. Zero saves, but solid numbers. He gets a ground out, a strike out and fly out. Mixed in between all of that was a passed ball and wild pitch. Tying run at second when the final out was made by White, Oklahoma’s best bat.

Tournaments are about winning and advancing. Ugly or pretty, doesn't matter. So what! Virginia and App State  did just that. Bullpens rested and ready.


Army and Oklahoma will rebound. Teams making it this far are resilient.


(photo courtesy of Rider Media Relations Office)