Here we go. LSU obliterated Arkansas to make their way to the championship series. Texas is going with Cole Green and the Sun Devils are going with Mike Leake again. I bet Pat Murphy thinks he's a genius after saying Leake was hurt. Ooh, we never saw that one coming.
If Leake is healthy, though, he's still a great pitcher that had a bad day. We'll have our work cut out for us and I feel comfortable saying we probably don't want to fall behind 6-0 again.
Green starts out Maggi with a high fastball. Second pitch is tailing fastball on the inside corner and it's 1-1. Slider off the plate gets Maggi to chase and Green is ahead. Maggi lays off the exact same pitch to even the count. Green comes in a little bit with a 92mph fastball and Maggi chops it foul. Slider breaks into the strike zone for strike three. A nice start for Green but that last slider could get you in trouble if thrown at the wrong time to someone like Carlos Ramírez. Kipnis is started with a strike. A fastball is a little off the plate for ball one. Another and the count is 2-1. Slider in just a little bit and Green is well behind the dangerous Kipnis. Fastball is up and away and it's a walk for ASU's first baserunner. Kipnis is 27-33 in stolen bases now according to the ESPN talking heads and is the leading Pac-10 basestealer. Green gets a strike call on a slider up in the zone to Ramírez. A fastball up is hit foul in to the first base stands and it's 0-2. Great fastball on the outside black (maybe an inch or two off) gets another backwards K for the second out. Offspeed pitch goes inside to Calhoun for ball one. Lazy throw over to first for show and then another. A slider in the lower half of the zone brings the count to 1-1 on Calhoun. Time is called at the plate; Green was taking a bit on the pitch call. Another throw over on Kipnis. Slider on the outside corner gets Green ahead at 1-2. Another low slider is grounded past belt for a base hit and Kipnis makes it to third. Replay shows very poor range by Belt possibly affected by the sun. A weak swing at a slider for strike one to Rudy's Nephew. RN grounds it to Tucker and he flips it to Loy for the 4-3 putout to end the inning. No runs on no hits and one runner left on base.
Green looked pretty good there and ASU has a very middle-heavy lineup in the 2-3-4 spots. Every time we can get through there with no runs scoring is big.
Leake is on the mound and his ERA increased by over 21% after the last game. Outside fastball is followed by a heavy moving ball on the outside corner and it's 1-1. Another fastball is grounded foul and Torres is behind. High four-seamer is waved at for a strikeout. Tucker taps the first pitch, an inside fastball, foul. Another fastball just misses the outside corner at the knees, probably low. One more heater barely misses outside and it's 2-1. Another fastball at the knees is hit through the left side for a single. Belt hits the first pitch foul and I wish we would get a look at Leake as he's on short rest even if he didn't throw many pitches. A throw over on Tucker. Belt fists one to the second baseman and Tucker gets back after the soft lineout. Moldenhauer takes a tough strike call on the black at the knees. Two outside fastballs make it 2-1 before Moldenhauer is fooled on an offspeed pitch. Pitch in the dirt fills the count and Tucker will be moving on the pitch. Leake gets him swinging on an outside fastball, though, and the inning ends. No runs on no hits and one runner left on base.
Leake looked sharper there and seemed to be feeling out the ump's zone. Our guys mostly took pretty good swings but we certainly need to play more focused than we did Tuesday night.
Changeup is called a strike in the upper outer part of the zone for Green to start out the 2nd. After a taken ball we don't get the appeal on a check swing and the count is 2-1. High fastball and now Green is behind. Fastball is grounded to Tucker on the 3-1 count and there McDonald is the first out. Raoul Torrez takes strikes on the first two pitches and swings and misses a nice slider for the second out. Newman is up and takes a change for strike one. Green leaves a slider right in the heart of the zone and Newman laces it into right for a two-out single. MacPhee takes a first pitch fastball for strike one. An offspeed pitch is taken in the zone to make it 0-2. Slider out of the zone and MacPhee can't check. No runs on one hit and one runner left on.
Green has started 6 out of 8 batters with a first pitch strike so far. His slider is spending a little too much time in the zone, but he's looked good overall.
Keyes leads off for Texas. First pitch is an inner-half fastball and Keyes pulls it foul for strike one. Fastball a touch above the knees is strike two to Keyes, who was looking offspeed. And Keyes strikes out as he doesn't check his swing on a high fastball. Loy flies out to right and there are two outs pretty quickly, which we don't want. Rupp takes a pitch at the knees for strike one and Leake's command is much better than in the last game. He grounds the next pitch hard past the third baseman into left for a single to extend the inning. Preston Clark is up now with a runner on. Fastball on the corner at the knees for strike one. Clark also grounds one past Torrez at third that he maybe should have had. Leake had that one fairly low but in the middle of the plate. He's still looking much better and we have to take advantage of "mistakes" just like that. Rowe up now and takes ball one on an outside curveball. Now he swings and misses at a low breaking ball to even the count. Too anxious there with a runner in scoring position. Slider at the knees is another swing and miss and now Leake is ahead and can go to pretty much any pitch. High fastball is too much for Rowe. No runs on two hits and two runners left on base.
Leake is looking good but Rupp and Clark made him pay for only decent pitches. Have to continue doing that and extending the inning for two batters will hopefully help us later even if we didn't score. This game is looking like we thought Tuesday's would, so our defense needs to stay solid and Green needs to pitch well.
Maggi pops out just outside the line to Belt on a first pitch breaking ball. Ball one to Kipnis is followed by a foul down the first base line and it's 1-1. Inside fastball almost gets Kipnis but he turns out of the way. Changeup is taken for strike two and the count is even. Pitch is taken outside to make it 3-2. Kipnis smashes a single up the middle and a runner is on for Ramírez with one out. Throw over on Kipnis. Slider at the knees for strike one to Ramírez. Pitchout and nothing is on to make it 1-1. Grounder up the middle and Loy makes a terrible decision going to second. Ball gets away from Tucker and there are runners on the corner with one out for Calhoun. Kipnis was going to be safe all the way at second and the only chance for an out was at first. I call it a fielder's choice and E6 allowing Kipnis to get to third. The scorer agrees. Ball one to Calhoun. Slider in the dirt and Green is behind in the count. Big pitches coming up. Slider is on the inside corner for strike one. Slider in the zone is hit hard into center. Rowe botches it in center making it an easy advance to third for Ramírez and also lets Calhoun get to second. Not this shit again. Skip Johnson with a mound visit. Changeup is strike one to Nephew. Pitch is just low and it's 1-1. Slider is missed to make it 1-2. Breaking ball in the dirt is taken to even the count. Slider right there is taken for strike three. Clearly looking fastball there. McDonald is the hitter now for ASU. Changeup swung at and missed to make it 0-1. Slider gets a call at the knees (maybe a little low) on the outside corner and Green is ahead 0-2. Slider fouled back to stay alive. Second 0-2 pitch is low for ball one. Changeup misses up and out, evening the count at two balls and two strikes. Another slider is fouled off to stay alive again. Changeup misses outside to fill the count. Changeup is tapped to second and Tucker comes in to make a nice play. One run on two hits and two errors and two runners left on base.
Green didn't pitch great there but the defense certainly didn't do him any favors. The run may have scored regardless as Kipnis was always safe at second and Calhoun followed with a base hit, but with a base open Green may have been more careful with Calhoun. Have to tighten up.
Tucker takes a curve for strike one. Nice changeup is a swing and a miss for strike two. Fastball is upstairs by three feet to make it 1-2. Slider in the dirt evens the count at 2. Changeup misses just low on an excellent take by Torres and the count is full. Fastball at the belt and Torres hammers it. It's gone! So far our hitters have done an excellent job of pouncing on mistakes. Leake hasn't made many but we've got four hits and he's made maybe 5 or 6 mistakes on his pitches tonight. Leake starts out Tucker with a curveball in the zone for strike one. Tucker grounds the next curveball to short and is out 6-3. Belt gets what looks like a two-seamer on the hands and fouls it off. Tailing fastball is missed and it's quickly 0-2 to Belt. Fastball taken up and in for ball one. Fastball is piped and slammed up the middle for a single. Our execution at the plate is very good so far. One bad pitch to Belt and one base hit. Moldenhauer grounds the first pitch hard to first and the Sun Devils turn the 3-6-1 double play to get out of the inning. One run, two hits, no runners left on base.
Well, we've shown that our focus is there at the plate. Now we need to show it in the field. Rowe has started out poorly tonight with a misplay in center and a bad at-bat with runners on base. Let's hope he turns it around like Rupp did Tuesday night.
Green starts out Torrez with a slider for strike one. He's mixing up his first pitch selection nicely so far and getting a lot of first pitch strikes because of it. Fastball is taken for strike two after a bunt show. Slider is grounded hard to third but Torres makes the play nicely for the first out. Ball one to Newman is followed by a nice changeup that gets a swinging strike one. Another nice change and another miss makes it 1-2. Slider bites down hard and Newman whiffs for out number two in the top of the 4th. Green starts MacPhee out with a fastball in there for strike one. Slider outside and low for ball one, but in a good spot. Fastball misses low and well out to make the count 2-1. Inside fastball at the belt is popped up into left field and we make a mockery of another play as Clark and Loy both slip and fall and it falls to the ground out of Clark's reach. They slipped because of the misread on the ball's flight. Clearly had a lot of spin but still a play that has to be made. It would have been a quick inning for Green. Strike one to Maggi on a slider. Previous play was scored a double. Another slider is tapped foul and Green is ahead 0-2. Slider is left in the zone and ripped into center. Rowe doesn't even attempt a throw to the plate and the Sun Devils retake the lead. First of all I have no idea why Rowe was that deep on Maggi. No reason for that. Bad pitch on 0-2 from Green, though. Changeup gets Kipnis out in front and he taps it for strike one. Strike two is called on the black. Kipnis grounds a slider to Loy who steps on second. One run, two hits, one runner left on.
Green should have been out of that one easily before the misplay in left. I don't know what the hell is going on, but it needs to stop. We were supposed to be the best fielding team here and we certainly don't look like it.
Keyes to lead off against Leake. Curveball is barely tipped into the mitt and it's 0-1. Slider in the Biggio zone is waved at for strike two. Another three foot high fastball makes it 1-2. Slider is too far out for Keyes to offer at to even the count. We need many more of these 5+ pitch at bats. Fastball is just low and it's a full count. Fastball at the knees on the inner half is tapped foul and it's still 3-2. Slider is way outside and Keyes draws a leadoff walk. Will Augie bunt with the notoriously slow Keyes on first? Loy handles the bat well so we will see. Loy gets the bunt down but Keyes is thrown out at second. Not a perfect bunt but not terrible. Leake was practically running off the mound as our bunt is easy to predict. Rupp grounds a slider to third and the turn is low so Rupp is safe at first with two outs. Clark looks to atone and takes an inside corner slider for strike one. Now he swings at one in the dirt and outside by 6 inches to fall behind 0-2. Waves at another one that wasn't close to end the inning. No runs, no hits, one runner left on base.
Leadoff walk is wasted. Leake was all over the bunt based on our history and we are getting nothing out of our 7 and 8 positions on the field. Still, we're down by only one and Leake is starting to miss his spots more often. Regain our focus in the field that we haven't had since TCU and we can win this game.
Offspeed pitch misses low to Ramírez for ball one. Fastball on the outside corner evens the count at 1. Fastball is outside to make it 2-1. Slider is tapped foul and the count is even. Another slider is bounced back to Green and he throws to Belt for the first out. Calhoun takes a pitch up and in for ball one. Fastball misses just upstairs to make the count 2-0. 3-0 now after another miss. Strike one on an inner half changeup. Another change is popped up down the right field line. Tucker sprints and lays out but can't make the catch. The count is 3-2 to Calhoun now. Fastball is fouled back and it stays full. Slider misses low and Calhoun walks. Nephew is up now and takes strike one on a pitch at the knees on the outside corner. Changeup is cued over Torres into left field and that's a tough break for Green as there are now two runners on with one out. Johnson is out again to talk to Green. Dicharry and former Austin High Maroon Shinaberry are up in the 'pen but Green is left in for now. First pitch slider is flied to left by McDonald and the runners have to hold up. Two outs with runners on first and second. Slider is a strike at the belt to Torrez. Inside fastball is yanked foul and the count is now 0-2. Green hangs another 0-2 slider but it is thankfully flied to right center. Rowe and Keyes almost screw this one up, although it would have been all on Keyes. They almost collide as they're both calling it but Keyes makes the catch. Hopefully someone reminds him that the centerfield takes precedence in the outfield. No runs on one hit and two runners left on.
Green wasn't his sharpest there but got away with a hanger with a runner in scoring position. The cueball was unfortunate but it's time to get serious with the guys in the pen as Green is closing in on 100 pitches and is losing his command.
Rowe leads off here in the bottom of the 5th and hopefully he can turn his evening around. Takes a curveball up for ball one. Lower half fastball is ripped down the left field line and Rowe has a leadoff double. Good for him and hopefully good for us. Will we bunt him over to third with one out? Kind of dangerous with a tough pitcher like Leake as Tucker is a righty and there could soon be two outs. I'd let the lefty hit here. Torres doesn't show bunt and takes an outside fastball. Fastball is low and away for ball two. Leake has lost significant velocity at this point. Another outside fastball and it's 3-0. Doubtful he'll pipe one here. Gets a call on the black at the knees for strike one. Torres lays down a great bunt and Torres is barely thrown out at first. Replay shows that Torres may have beaten it. That Darren Sealy ump has missed 5 big calls now in the CWS. He's terrible, although that one was close. Tucker fouls one off then takes a ball to make it 1-1. A slider is low and now Tucker is ahead. Fastball is called a strike on the outside corner and it's now 2-2. Slider is barely tapped foul and Tucker stays alive. Leake hangs a slider and Tucker slaps it into center, driving in Rowe and the game is tied at 2 runs apiece. Leake is losing his sharpness by the pitch. One out with Tucker on first for Belt and Josh Holliday comes out to visit Leake. Outside corner fastball is a swing and a miss from Belt. Another heater is up and away to make it 1-1. Fastball outside is ball two. Offspeed pitch (or else a slow fastball) in the dirt for ball three. Leake sneaks a fastball past Belt to fill the count. Action starting in the Sun Devil bullpen. Belt swings and misses at his third outer half fastball of the at-bat and Ks. Moldenhauer up now with two down. Wow. Leake pumps one in there and gets a call off the plate further out than most of the game has seen called a strike. Moldenhauer grounds it up the middle and Maggi has him shaded that way. He makes it more exciting than it should have been but gets the out. One run on two hits and one runner left on base.
Leake is starting to scuffle. If he's back out there to start the next inning we need to somehow convince Keyes to look for his pitch only. We also really need a quick inning here on defense.
Changeup high and outside to Newman and he smacks the next pitch into right for a leadoff single. Green has now thrown 97 pitches. MacPhee squares early and Green throws over to first. Pulls it back and grounds foul past third base to make it 0-1. Green throws over on Newman a couple of times and then comes to MacPhee. The bunt is down and Green thinks about second (I think he may have had a play but it would have been close) before taking the out at first. Maggi takes a breaking ball up and is ahead 1-0. Important inning developing as Kipnis-Ramírez-Calhoun follows Maggi. Fastball is in there for a called strike. Slider is grounded right at the third base bag and Torres dives to field it, pops up, and throws out Maggi at first and Newman has to stay at second. Good solid play by Torres. Green will now intentionally walk Kipnis. Slider is ball one but probably right where Green wanted it. Inside fastball is tapped foul to even the count at 1. Fastball at the belt on the outside corner is fouled off for strike two. Green hangs a slider and Ramírez pounds it on a line into the foul stands down the left field line. Very bad pitch there. Next pitch is a fastball that is grounded hard up the middle but Tucker is able to flip to Loy for the third out. No runners on one hit and two runners left on base.
Green is pretty much done at this point. Too many mistakes and he's at 111 pitches even if 4 of them were an intentional walk last inning. I think we have to come out with someone else next inning.
Keyes takes a changeup low and it's 1-0. Leake hangs a curveball but Keyes misses it for strike one. Fastball low for ball two. Keyes smashes it off the third baseman and is safe at first even though I can't believe he was still actually running when the camera finally got over there. Loy squares and takes a ball and we are asking for Keyes to get thrown out at second again. Loy bunts it more softly this time and the sacrifice is successful. Of course we've got Sid Bream's speed on second base and it may be Arizona State but I don't think Barry Bonds' weak arm is in their outfield. Rupp takes a tough called strike one on the outside corner. A breaking ball is left in the zone but Rupp fouls it off and falls behind 0-2. Rupp misses a ball that isn't even close for the strikeout. Not a pretty at-bat. Clark is up now and he hasn't looked good so far against Leake. He hits this one on the nose, though, but it's right at Kipnis in centerfield and Leake is out of the inning. No runs on one hit and one runner left.
Got another leadoff runner on but didn't capitalize. Let's see who takes the mound for the top of the 7th.
Wood gets the call. Calhoun will lead off to start the 7th inning. Outside for ball one. Another pitch is outside for ball two. Wood pours one in there to make it 2-1. Great pitch at the knees on the outside black to even the count. Infield single in the hole between third and short. Did not hit that well but it's a hit. Ball one high to pinch-hitter Wilson and Rupp's snap throw to first doesn't get Calhoun. A couple of throws over to check on Calhoun from Wood and Wilson shows bunt right before the second one. Ball two is a little low as Wilson was still showing bunt. Ball three is outside and Wood is way behind. A fastball is in there to make it 3-1. Fastball is fouled off and the count is full. Another throw over to first and Calhoun is back easily. Grounded to Torres at third, Calhoun is safe at second as he was running on the pitch but Tucker throws out Wilson at first. Your standard 5-4-3 putout. Riccio Torrez is up now for ASU. He taps one to Torres and Torres makes another nice play to throw him out at first. Calhoun is able to advance to third with two out. Raoul Torrez up now. He bunts it and the ball hits him. The ump claims he was still in the box but the 'Horns are convinced he was out of the box. They're asking the ump to get help and he is now conferencing the umps. They're sticking with the foul call. Looked to me like he should be out but I'm not in charge. Slider low brings the count to 1-1. Fastball down and in for ball two. Slider is tapped off the ground into Rupp's mitt and the count is even at 2-2. Wood steps off the mound to regroup. A fastball is grounded foul toward the first base dugout and it stays 2-2. Offspeed pitch is popped up toward right and Keyes comes in for the catch as he calls off Tucker. No runs on one hit and one runner left.
Good defense that inning and the only baserunner is on a seeing-eye infield single. By far Wood's sharpest inning since the regional. Now let's get some stinkin' runs.
Leake is now out of the game and is replaced by Lambson. Rowe grounds out to the pitcher on the first pitch. We roll to the top of the order now and Torres fouls off a fastball on the first pitch to make it 0-1. He nubs a curveball foul to fall behind 0-2. Lays off another curve, this one in the dirt, for ball one. Takes a fastball on the outside corner for strike three and there are two down. Lambson hangs a curveball in the middle of the zone but Tucker can only serve it foul. Offspeed pitch misses low and away. Curveball in the dirt and ASU doesn't get the appeal at first so the count is 2-1. Fastball is called strike two at the knees and a little in off the plate. Fairly close, though. Another fastball on the outside half is fouled off. The count is now full as a better pitch than strike two is called a ball. I guess it was low. Or a makeup call. Fastball is fouled straight back and it's still 3-2. Curveball is fouled off and now Tucker will see his 8th pitch of the at-bat. Fastball low and inside corner for strike three. No runs on no hits and no runners left on.
First one-two-three inning of the game. The last pitch was in the same zone as strike two and ball three. You can't take that pitch and expect the call, IMO. Wood should be back out as he looked good. 8-9-1 are due up in their order so firing back with our own three up three down inning would be extremely helpful.
Fastball at the knees a hair outside to pinch-hitter Austin Barnes from Wood. Second pitch is chopped toward short, Torres cuts across and makes the play. Torres is playing well defensively tonight in addition to the home run that got us on the board. Offspeed pitch is low for ball one to MacPhee. He shows bunt and takes strike one on a fastball at the knees. Another low offspeed pitch to make it 2-1. Fastball down the middle is hit right at Torres on one hard hop and he makes the easy toss to Belt for the out. Offspeed pitch on the black outside for strike one. A fastball at the knees on the outer half for strike two. Good two strike offspeed pitch is taken for ball one by Maggi. Good pitch, good take. Slider on the outside corner is fouled away and Maggi stays alive. Changeup is low and outside and it's 2-2. Fastball is thrown past Maggi for the third out. No runs on no hits and no runners left on.
Let's scratch out a run here and take our chances with the heart of their order in the top of the 9th. Wood looks good so far.
Belt leads off against Lambson and flies out to centerfield on a first pitch fastball. Now Tant Shepherd will pinch-hit for Moldenhauer against the lefty Lambson. Ball one on a fastball followed by a fastball right in there to make it 1-1. Shepherd is too early on a curve and is behind 1-2. Lambson wastes a pitch with 60-foot curveball and the count is even at 2. A changeup is low and outside but Shepherd chases it to become the second out of the inning. Keyes takes a fastball for strike one then swings over a curve and is in a hole 0-2. A changeup and Keyes isn't even close. No runs on no hits and no runners left on.
Well, that wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Now we face their best part of the lineup in the ninth while we will send out our bottom of the order. Wood has been sharp, so he can get it done.
Fastball misses for ball one. Kipnis misses another for strike one. Wood misses again and the count is 2-1. Slider is pulled foul to even the count at 2. Kipnis hits one down the line but it hooks foul to keep the count 2-2. Fastball misses low and away to fill the count. Fastball hits Kipnis' bat as he checks his swing to keep it 3-2. Another fastball is fouled off and we will see the ninth pitch to Kipnis. He fouls a slider down the line and there will be yet another full count pitch. Fastball tipped to the backstop and the at-bat continues. Kipnis grounds it toward first and Belt tips it toward Tucker; Tucker has time but makes a terrible throw and Kipnis is now at second with nobody out. Terrible. We insist on making things hard on ourselves. Johnson visits Wood. ESPN throws up the CWS history for both schools and puts the numbers under the wrong school. Nice. Ramírez is up and Wood spins toward second. Bunt from ASU here? As you all know, I'd take my chances letting both him and Calhoun swing. No bunt shown as strike one is poured in on a fastball. Another spin from Wood. Ramírez rocks one toward left but Clark is able to make the catch for the first out. He hit that ball very hard and Wood made his first bad mistake as that ball was piped. Wood gets a somewhat generous call for strike one to Calhoun. Next pitch is low and away to make the count 1-1. Wood is working Calhoun outside but I would prefer to see the pitches in on his hands. All of his big hits in the CWS have been with his arms extended. Ball two is low and outside. But a good slider out there gets a swinging strike two. Another perfect slider gets him swinging. Great pitch from Wood and the outside plan worked. Wilson is up now and takes ball one low and outside. He hits it past Keyes in right and Kipnis scores to make it 3-2 ASU and Wilson is into third with a triple. Damn, damn, damn. Keyes may be the slowest guy I've ever seen in a Longhorn uniform in any sport. He made a good effort but he had no shot. Wilson hit that ball well toward his hands but every team gets the benefit of the metal bat. Strike one now to Riccio Torrez. He lines the next pitch right at Tucker and we head to the bottom of the ninth. One run on one hit and one error, one runner left on.
That sucked. Wood made a decent pitch and they hit it where we weren't. Nothing left to do but score here in the bottom of the ninth.
Loy will lead off against Lambson. Lambson has had two easy innings so far. Ball one on a changeup outside. Ball two is called on a curveball at the knees. Looked like a strike. 78mph fastball is down the pipe and Loy takes strike one. Another heater is fouled off and the count is 2-2. Loy swings through a fastball and is the first out of the ninth. Now Rupp comes to the plate. Takes ball one low and all of a sudden the middle of the knees isn't a strike. Can't hold up on a high fastball and it's 1-1. Our hitters are so focused on the slow stuff that he is overpowering them with low 80s fastballs. Curveball misses low for ball two. Fastball is at the knees but well inside for ball three. He pipes a fastball and Rupp CRUSHES IT! Over the secondary wall past the centerfield wall. What a blast! Lambson was asking for trouble after he did the same throw it over routine with a fastball to Loy. Rupp was waiting for it and just hammered it. Clark takes ball one then tries to end the game but misses a curveball. Now Clark takes a changeup outside for ball two. A curve is popped up and Ramírez makes the catch almost in the catcher's box. Rowe blasts it! GONE!!! HOLY SHIT!!! HOLY SHIT!!! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!
I take credit for publicly hoping that Rowe could turn around his rough start! You're welcome Texas fans!
Updated Odds Table
|Cal St. Fullerton||14.05||9.57||4.47||0.925||0.00%||0.00%|