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Texas vs. Southern Miss - CWS - Game Thread

Thoughts here. I'll keep up as best I can. Bo Davis leads off against Cole Green.

Davis puts a good swing on the first pitch, but it's a 395-foot out to dead centerfield. Green gets a fairly liberal inside strike call to start out the second batter. Could be good for our pitching staff. Green puts a breaking ball on the outside edge for strike two - his control looks sharp early on. Ewing works the count full, now, though. Green hangs a breaking ball right down the pipe on 3-2 but it's another hard out to centerfield. Third hard hit ball - now Green is leaving balls up and hittable - is a single to left. Runner on 1st with two out for Corey Stevens. Two good sliders from Green and it's 0-2 after a taken strike one and a foul ball in the 1st base stands. Green hangs another slider but Stevens swings through it. No runs on one hit, one runner left.

Maybe Green just needs to settle down. May have been overthrowing, but after a few good pitches to start the inning he was leaving the ball well up for the rest of the frame.

Torres leads off against McInnis. Line drive single up the middle on the second pitch. Tucker squares but takes ball one. The pitch would have been a strike in the ASU/UNC game today. So far the ump looks like he's giving more off the inside than the outside edge, which is a tad unusual. Foul bunt, 1-1 now. Takes strike two on a nice looking curveball. We'll see if the bunt stays on now. A slider a little up and/or out, 2-2. Strikes out looking on another curve. McInnis has what looks like a nice 12-to-6 curve. Replay shows a red dot on his curve, though, obviously easier to see on slo-mo replay. Belt up now with one out. A take and two swings and misses and it's 1-2. McInnis throws over a billion times to check on Torres. Ball two outside. A billion and one times. Belt flies out to center. Moldenhauer works the count to 3-1. McInnis goes back to his curve to fill the count. Another curve and Moldenhauer pulls it foul. Torres will be moving again. 90mph fastball and all Moldenhauer can do is fight it off with a very late swing. Fastball low will bring Keyes up with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 down. McInnis starts with a curve and it's taken for strike one. Keyes was trying to get time but didn't get it from the ump. Another curve is left up and it's 1-1. Keyes swings at a low outside breaking ball and he's down now. Another curve and Keyes puts it off the top of the wall. Both runners score and it's 2-0 Texas. Great hitting from Keyes and McInnis went to the curve one time too many. Low outside breaking ball and he hit it 380 to the right-center gap. Loy up and I wonder what the pitch count is for McInnis at this point. McInnis goes to 2-0 on Loy and he seems to be having trouble spotting his fastball. 3-0 now...fastball is piped and Loy was taking all the way. Groundout to second and the inning is over. Two runs on two hits and one runner left.

McInnis is clearly going to depend on his curveball at this point. His fastball is hitting 90 but he doesn't have much confidence in it. We got two runs despite essentially giving up an out with the bunt call that Tucker didn't execute. Of course the bunt wouldn't have mattered thanks to the double, but who's counting?

Green starts out with another slider in the middle of the plate but at least it was more down. Called strike followed by a two-seamer at the knees and he's ahead 0-2. Wastes a slider and then throws a close one that Archer takes for ball two. High fastball (87mph) is fouled back. Two-seamer on the outside black is grounded to second for the first out. Fastball low for ball one to Michael Ewing, who is a native Texan apparently. Swings through a slider to even the count. Cole's two-seamer (I'm assuming that's what it is) is nasty so far. Swing and a miss for strike two. Slider tapped foul backwards and it stays 1-2. Ewing with a nice hit up the middle on a good pitch from Green. Just poked it. Low outside slider for ball one. Vollmuth grounds the 1-0 fastball right at Loy and it's a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. No runs on one hit and no runners left.

Green had a much better inning in the second with his location. If he can get just a little more command of the slider it could be a long night for the Golden Eagles.

McInnis starts the second with another curveball and Rupp flies out to center for the first out. Clark up now takes a fastball for ball one. Another miss by McInnis with the fastball and it's 2-0. At some point you have to go against baseball orthodoxy and sit on the curveball and adjust to the heater. Clark fouls off the fastball and it's 2-1. Curveball and Clark grounds out up the middle to the second baseman off the pitcher's glove. They had Clark played well up the middle with the second baseman Ewing. He hit it solid but into the ground. First pitch fastball is flied out to left by Rowe.

Both teams are hitting the ball fairly solidly despite some decent pitching so far. That was a very quick inning for McInnis at only six pitches which was important after a high-pitch opening frame. I estimate 28 pitches in the first inning for him.

Green starts with a fastball up that is grounded foul down the third base line by Travis Graves. He rifles the next fastball to centerfield for a leadoff single. Taylor Walker up now. It's 1-1 after a fouled inside fastball. Green throws over to first for the third time. Another hung breaking ball but it's taken for strike two. Finally a well-placed slider for Green and it's a swinging strike three for the first out. Bo Davis, their best hitter, comes up for the second time. Green starts him with a slider this time for ball one. Another slider up but it must have good movement because Davis turns it over to Torres at third that starts the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Two straight innings ended by double play. No runs on one hit, no runners left.

Green is looking good and the Southern Miss hitters look a heck of a lot better than their season-long numbers would indicate. Lots of good swings, even on some tough pitches. This team certainly belongs in Omaha. Makes you wonder what they were doing all year before the tournament, I guess. They were pounded 15-2, 11-6, 11-3 by Fullerton at home early in the season. They're a heck of a lot better than that now.

Back to the top of the order with Torres. Two takes and it's now 1-1. 1-2 after a nice changeup(?) that I hadn't seen before. Torres slaps a curveball in the air to left for out number one. Tucker takes ball one low on a curveball. Can't check his swing for strike one on another curve. Two fastballs later and now it's 2-2. Fights off a low curve to stay alive. Takes a curve for strike three. Looked like it might have been up and/or outside but there are two outs now. Two close to take with two strikes. Ump calls strike one on an outside fastball and his zone appears to be expanding a hair as the game progresses. Belt works a walk on a full count fastball to put a runner on with two outs for Moldenhauer. Ravech and Hershiser are winding down a pitch count discussion that started with Austin Wood, of course. Two strikes to Moldenhauer and the strike zone is definitely bigger right now. Neither ball got any of the plate and the second one was probably 4 inches outside. Green needs to take notice. We can definitely deal with a big strike zone with our staff. A ball up and away now and it's 1-2. Pitch gets away and Belt is in scoring position with a 2-2 count on Moldenhauer. Another 20+ pitch inning for McInnis now. Moldenhauer fights off the 2-2 pitch. He fouls a curve off and it's still 2-2. Ground out to second base on a nice play from the 1B. No runs on no hits and a runner left.

McInnis at 57 pitches give or take...that 6-pitch inning is his saving grace right now. We would like nothing more than to get deep into the Southern Miss bullpen.

Green still with the slider up in the zone for strike one. Just misses with one low and outside but in a much better spot moving forward. Fastball on the outside edge makes it 1-2. A very nice breaking ball off the outside edge induces a swinging strike three. Those last two pitches back-to-back were just nasty. Changeup misses outside to Kameron Brunty and then he swings through a heater. 1-1 followed by a foul tap makes it 1-2. Fastball way out taken for ball two. Nice breaking ball that went more straight down and another K for Green. Stevens hits a first pitch fastball hard on the ground but right to Loy. Nice quick inning for Green. No runs on no hits, no runners left.

Green is starting to get the breaking pitch command, he's gotten through 4 scoreless innings and looks like he's hitting his stride right now. Let's hope he can keep it up. Get some runs, keep up with the quick innings and save the bullpen if possible.

Keyes leads off and grounds up the middle to the second baseman on a first pitch fastball. One down. First pitch curve taken for strike one by Loy. Another generous call for strike two. Not liking what is looking like a quick inning. The Southern Miss catcher tries to "frame" a fastball that was 8 inches outside and I'm almost surprised it's called a ball. A curve in the dirt later and it's 2-2. Another dirty curveball and the count is full to Loy. Fastball low and Loy works a walk after falling down 0-2. Low outside fastball to Rupp. High fastball is popped up to right and there are two outs. Fastball fouled off for strike one by Clark. Loy is picked off of first for the third out. No runs, no hits, no runners left.

Loy was caught leaning on a good move by McInnis. Not a balk like Alex White was doing all day for UNC. Only 12 pitches that inning. Our staff or battery really need to take heed of the strike zone right now. Green should be able to pound fastballs off the plate outside and get the calls.

Fastball for strike one on the inside half to start the 5th. Misses a little too far outside to even the count. Green misses twice more and it's 3-1 to the leadoff man in the inning. Fastball misses up and in and it's a leadoff walk. First pitch fastball is piped by Green and crushed by Michael Ewing who ties it with a homer. 2-2 score. Green misses with a fastball down and then hits the outside half with a slider and it's 1-1 to the next man up. A fastball up is grounded through the hole and the first three men have reached in the 5th inning for Southern Miss. Johnson visits the mound. Sac bunt and the Eagles give us an out when Green is struggling. Thank you. Green may have had a chance at second but takes the sure out. Slider in the dirt for ball one. Slider down is fouled off and it's 1-1. Loy makes a ridiculous play in the hole for the second out and now there are two down. I can't possibly do it justice in print so if you're not watching it now then find yourself a highlight. Slider for strike one to the next man Davis - a dangerous hitter. A slider and Green gets the call on a ball that was outside. He needs to stay out there. Another one and Davis swings and misses. Two runs on two hits, one runner left on. Game is tied at 2.

Southern Miss gave us a gift with the bunt in that inning. They were squaring the ball up well and Green was struggling with control. Then Loy rescued us with a sparkling play. Damage was fairly well minimized considering how the inning was playing out.

Clark leads off the bottom half of the 5th. McInnis hangs a curve but Clark pulls it foul. Fastball in the dirt makes it 1-1. Clark misses a fastball on the outer half for the second strike. Fights off a curve to stay alive. 59-foot curveball evens the count at 2-2. Clark fouls another curve off his instep and it's still 2-2. Fights off a fastball into the first base stands at it's still 2-2. Another curve and Clark pulls it foul again. He's hit two of those well so far, but pulled both foul. Another curve and he singles to right field. Weird at bat as Clark's only good swings were on curves and McInnis kept throwing them and Clark reached on the 9th pitch of the at-bat. Rowe squares up and takes ball one. A mound visit by Southern Miss. Fastball taken for strike one. Pickoff throw not in time. Bunt is laid down nicely and Clark moves to second. Torres up now. Changeup taken for strike one at the knees on the outer edge. Torres lines out to left and Clark is doubled off of second. Seems like he never picked up the ball. He wasn't moving on the pitch. Bad baserunning error. No runs on one hit, no runners left.

On to the sixth inning. Green should be fine if he stays calm and starts working the outside black. There's no reason to be over the plate with this ump right now.

Green misses with a fastball in to James Ewing to start the inning. Breaking ball on the inside corner is lifted to left and there's one out. Brunty lines out to Loy on a 2-1 count. Next batter is started with a slider that seems like it could have been a strike today but isn't. Strike one is followed by a flared ball that just misses the right field line. 1-2 count now. Slider in is tapped foul and it remains 1-2. Breaking ball misses out to even the count. Fastball is fouled back and it's still 2-2. Stevens can't check his swing on another slider and the strikeout ends the inning. No runs on no hits and no runners left.

Green looked a little better that inning but isn't quite able to hit his spots off the outside edge like he wants to. The plan is there now, though.

Texas up now starting with Tucker. We've got three hits through 5 frames and obviously need to get the bats going. First pitch fastball is piped but Tucker can only chop it to the first baseman who flips to McInnis. We need to do more with that kind of pitch. Belt takes ball one on another pitch that was a strike earlier. This ump can't decide on a strike zone. Half swing is strike one. 1-1 pitch is flied to left for the second out. Ball one to Moldenhauer, ball two follows also low. Another low fastball and Moldenhauer drives it 12 rows deep the opposite way. The way the wind is blowing today that is a shot. You know that kind of ability is in Moldenhauer and he picks a great time to unleash it. Keyes takes a curve inside for ball one. He gets a fastball to hit and lashes at it but fouls it off. Fooled on a slider(?) and an ugly swing makes it 1-2. A curveball in the dirt that he takes for ball two. Hershiser reports that McInnis is now at 92 pitches. A slider gets Keyes out. One run on one hit, no runners left.

What a great time for Moldenhauer to bust out. We need to pull this one out but if he can get hot it would be huge for this team. 3-2 lead going into the 7th.

Strike one from Green on a slider and a fastball is fouled off to make it 0-2. Breaking ball taken for ball one. Strike three on an attempted check swing and the batter just stands there. The ball was way low and was actually stopped by Rupp's throwing arm, the runner never moved making the tag an easy play. Michael Ewing is back up now for the first time after the two run bomb. Count moves to 2-2. Breaking ball on the inner half is fouled off. Low inside fastball, a good pitch, is ripped foul down the first base line. Michael Ewing is putting good swings on Green's offerings. Good slider is hit back to Green and he flips to Belt for the second out. Good pitch there. Green follows it with a strikeout to end the inning on another great slider. He has that pitch figured out right now. No runs on no hits, no runners left.

Need to make McInnis work here to get into the Golden Eagle bullpen. He's at 93 pitches and we haven't even made him work. I'd like to see the lower half of the order be very patient right here in the bottom of the 7th.

Loy takes ball one outside on a fastball. McInnis has lost 4-5 mph as his heater is now at 85-86. Strike one and then Loy fouls off an 84mph fastball. McInnis hangs a curveball, Loy hits it to center and takes a huge turn but stays at first with a leadoff single. Clark up now. I know the bunt is coming but I'd like to see a hit-and-run instead if we're going to do something. Don't know if the Southern Miss catcher has a gun but McInnis is losing velocity and likes the curveball low. No matter, Clark executes the sacrifice. Let's see if it pays off if we get exactly one single for the rest of the inning. Rupp is at the plate. Check swing foul on a high fastball. McInnis tried to pump that one in there and is now at 88mph when he really tries to fire one. He's at 100 pitches now. Low outside fastball is ball one and it was only 80. He seems like he's out of gas - didn't look like a changeup. Now a fastball is taken for strike two (no gun reading). Clark strikes out swinging on a fastball at the knees on the outer half. It was 85 but in a good spot. Rowe is up and first pitch is a curve in the dirt. Southern Miss doesn't get the appeal on the check swing. Another curve and another ugly half swing and it's 1-1. Fastball outside makes it 2-1. Curveball is singled to left. Yes, the sac worked (assuming no hits moving forward and that Clark wouldn't have reached, otherwise it becomes a wasted out...ha). It's now 4-2 Texas and Corky Palmer (about whom I now know more than I really needed to know, although he seems like a decent guy) is out to change pitchers. McInnis is done. The reliever they bring in, Scott Copeland, has a 6.28 ERA. He gets a chopper to short for the third out on one pitch from Torres, though. One run on two hits and one runner left on base.

Going to the 8th Texas now has a two run lead. Green should certainly be back out for this inning and if he can throw like he did in the last frame we are obviously in great position.

Maitland replaces Clark in left field for the top of the 8th. Green starts out pinch-hitter Adam Doleac with a breaking ball for ball one. An inside fastball is ripped to right for a leadoff double. Southern Miss brings in Nick Smith to pinch-run for Doleac. Now Skip Johnson is out to remove Green and Austin Wood is coming in. 82mph fastball down the pipe for strike one. Infield single in the hole for Taylor Walker makes it 1st and 3rd with no outs. Bo Davis is up now at the top of the order. Wild pitch plates the pinch runner and it's 4-3 with a runner on second and nobody out. That breaking ball went about 59 feet and Rupp couldn't make the great stop. Davis tries to bunt a ball at his ankles and it's 1-1. Let's hope they bunt their best hitter. He fouls off the next attempt and it's 0-2. Davis has 3 sac bunts on the season. He swings and misses at an outside offspeed pitch. One out now and they put Davis in a hole with the two strikes on bunt attempts. Thanks again. Offspeed outside makes it 1-0 to James Ewing. Breaking ball down and it's 2-0. Another is off the outside edge (close, though - was a strike earlier today) for ball three. Ball four is way outside and there are runners on first and second with one out which means the winning run is on base. Brian Dozier is going to pinch hit. He's got a .394 average before an injury with a .491 OBP. It feels all Kirk Gibson-y (anti-jinx?). Johnson comes out to talk to Wood. Takes ball one low and outside on another offspeed pitch from Dozier. Gets a call on an 80 mph fastball up in the zone on the outside black. Maybe on the black. Next pitch is catcher interference as Dozier's bat hit Rupp's glove. Unbelievable. Bases are loaded with one out now and the lead-taking run is in scoring position. Wood fires an 85mph fastball that is fouled off and it's 0-1 to Stevens. Ball one low and a hair outside. Next pitch is also fouled back and it's 1-2 to Stevens. Fastball well up and away evens the count at two balls and two strikes. Fouls off the two strike pitch to stay alive. Taps a low breaking ball foul and it's still 2-2. It's now a full count after Wood misses outside. Wood misses outside again and walks in the game-tying run. Still only one out with the bases loaded. Joey Archer squares around and fouls off a bunt attempt. Announcers make it sound like no squeeze action was shown, which makes that decision odd. Ball is grounded to third and Torres throws it in the dirt to Rupp who can't scoop it. The Golden Eagles take the lead 5-4. Have to make a solid throw for the sure out there. Has to be an E5. Michael Ewing up now and takes strike one from Wood. Fastball misses outside and it's 1-1. Breaking ball gets a swing and a miss for strike two. Gets the K on a nasty pitch low and away for the second out. Good pitch gets strike one on the call at the knees on the outside corner. A little further outside and it's a ball to move the count to 1-1. Wood gets a call well off the plate there to make it 1-2. Wood gets him swinging to end the inning. Damage is done as Southern Miss takes the 5-4 lead. Three runs on two hits with two errors (one on the catcher interference) and three runners left on base.

Well, now we have to have the offense pull through. A terrible inning any way you look at it. Wood wasn't sharp at all but we still might have gotten out of it with the lead without the error.

Tucker leads off for Texas in the bottom of the 8th. Takes strike one then fouls off strike two. Really want a run here with Belt, Moldenhauer, and possibly Keyes to follow. Takes a ball to make it 1-2 then fouls off a pitch. Ball low and outside evens the count at 2. Ball three low and away fills the count. Grounds the next pitch foul outside third base. Tucker taps it to short to the third baseman who can't make the play. Probably an infield single. Looked like he would have beaten a good throw. Belt up now, will probably bunt. Belt doesn't show bunt and takes ball one. Skies the next pitch to centerfield and there's one out. Tucker shows tag but can't advance, of course. Southern Miss with another pitching change. It's their closer Cargill. Moldenhauer is up and takes strike one. Fouls off the next pitch and it's 0-2. Fouls off another and stays alive. And another. And another. Still 0-2 after five pitches. Moldehauer pounds one to the wall in left-center. Tucker has to hold up at third, no way he would have made it. Runners on second and third with one out. Moldenhauer (is Moldy his nickname? If not, it shouuld be) is crushing the ball tonight. Keyes up now. Tant Shepherd pinch runs for Moldenhauer. USM will intentionally walk Keyes to load the bases for Loy. Ball one is taken well outside. Ball two high, 2-0. Ball three up and away. Strike one middle of the plate at the knees. Ball four inside ties the game. Bases still loaded with one out and Rupp at the plate. Ball one low and outside. Cargill's control isn't there. With only one pitch and no control it's time to pick a spot and make him throw it there. Rupp now up 2-0 after another bad miss. Palmer out now to change pitchers in the middle of the at-bat. Josh Fields, the Golden Eagles' last pitcher with an ERA under 4.40 other than their second starter, is now out to pitch. He'll inherit a 2-0 count with the bases loaded and one out. Gets a call for strike one on the inside corner. Rupp didn't like the call. Jammed on another inside fastball and it's 2-2 now. Called strike three on a, uh, questionable call. Two outs now. Kevin Lusson on to pinch hit for Clark. Kyle Lusson is pinch running on second base, I believe. Takes ball one. Ball two way outside. Ball three low and I'm assuming he'll take all the way. Strike one on the outside corner and it's 3-1. I think you still pick a spot here and swing at your pitch only. Ball four and Texas has the lead with three outs left to get. Rowe takes strike one. Rowe flies one to center and the inning is over. Two runs on two hits and three runners left on base.

Wood is heading back out for the ninth. I think you have to have somebody else ready. Wood hasn't been sharp in his two more than one out outings since the BC game. Whether that's because of the pitch count or because of rust from the rest doesn't matter. It's simply a fact that he hasn't been the same and we have to be prepared.

Southern Miss leads off with a single to right. Successful sacrifice and there's a runner on second with one out. Now the top of their order is up with their best hitter Bo Davis. Johnson visits the mound and they're bringing in Jungmann to replace Wood. Gets the ground out to third on the first pitch. Wasn't hit hard and Torres made a strong throw. Two outs. Breaking ball for strike one to James Ewing. Ball one outside. Fastball is called ball two in a spot that has been a strike all night. Single to right and it's tied at 6. Good pitch, really, but a nice hit the other way. Ball one to the next batter. Now the runner advances and the count is 2-0. Now the batter will be intentionally walked to set up the force plays. Strike one to Stevens. Ball one taken on a low outside breaking ball. Nasty sinking fastball and it's 1-2. Ball two well outside. Foul tip off the umpire's mask and everyone's happy. Curveball called ball three off the outside edge. Definitely off the plate but in the area for tonight's ump. Full count. Fouls off a fastball and the runners will move again. Gets the groundout to short to end the inning. One run on two hits, two runners left on.

To the bottom of the ninth and the game is tied. We're into their bullpen now and we need to work the counts. Stay aggressive if they pipe a pitch early in the count but don't help them out.

Top of the order for Texas with Torres leading off. Ball one low and away. Ball two high and this ump is so inconsistent I'll call him anti-Joe Morgan. Strike one taken and it's 2-1. Ball three low and outside. Good patience as requested. Torres swings at a belt high fastball and flies out to center. Might have been called a ball this time but I'm not terribly upset at that swing. Put a good swing on a hittable pitch. Tucker is hit by the first pitch. Tucker made no move whatsoever to get out of the way but he is given the base. One out with Belt at the plate now. Ball one low. Ball two outside. A mound visit from their assistant. Ball three inside at the knees. Ball four low and in. Runners on first and second for Tant Shepherd who pinch ran for Moldenhauer earlier with one out. They bring in another sidewinder - Jonathan Johnston. Ball one way in to Shepherd so far inside Shepherd could have taken one for the team. Ball two low. Strike one taken. Ball three high. Strike two taken and it's a full count. Ball fouled off into his leg and there will be another full count. Swinging strike three and there are two outs now. Ball one up and out to Kyle Lusson who pinch ran for Keyes (don't ask, I have no idea). Ball two low and in. Ball three also low and in. Lusson has to be taking two pitches here. Strike one taken. Ball four a little in at the belt. Bases loaded and two down for Brandon Loy. Ball one low to Loy. Ball two low and neither have been that close. Lots of pressure to throw a strike now. Does Loy have the green light? I don't know, I usually like to give guys freedom to swing when a meatball is on the way, but this guy isn't close. Ball three low. Once again, have to take two pitches. Don't be too proud to win with a walk. And there it is.

I'm sure ESPN will call it a walk-off walk.

As I said earlier we had to get into their bullpen. We survive but we have our work cut out for us, to say the least, against Leake and Arizona State on Tuesday. Ruffin absolutely has to be on his game and Wood needs to, uh, rest.

Updated Odds Table

Team Power Offense Defense EWP Finals Champs
Arizona St. 14.23 9.06 5.17 0.940 70.49% 51.42%
LSU 12.56 9.50 3.07 0.893 80.01% 28.20%
Texas 11.83 8.13 3.70 0.890 26.19% 13.16%
Virginia 12.35 9.25 3.10 0.882 12.57% 3.99%
Arkansas 11.45 8.13 3.32 0.853 7.42% 1.82%
North Carolina 11.86 8.93 2.93 0.868 3.06% 1.31%
Southern Miss 10.61 8.42 2.19 0.780 0.45% 0.10%
Cal St. Fullerton 14.06 9.58 4.48 0.926 0.00% 0.00%