CWS Recap: Day 3
I was out of town for both of the games on Monday, so I don’t have too much to say. I did watch the replay of the UNC/Texas game (thanks ESPN3.com!) and saw the beginning of the Florida/Vandy game, so I have a couple of insights, but nothing as detailed as normal.
UNC/Texas: The difference in this game was UNC’s pitcher, Kent Emmanuel. The freshman threw a complete game shutout, and only allowed four hits. From what I saw, Texas never quite managed to figure out Emmanuel. Even their trademark small ball couldn’t push a run across. A few base running errors certainly didn’t help their cause. UNC’s offense wasn’t anything spectacular, scattering 9 hits, but managing to do just enough to put up 3 runs. Turns out that that was all they needed. Well, that and the left arm of Kent Emmanuel. Final Score: UNC 3, Texas 0. Texas eliminated.
Florida/Vandy: Poor Vandy. The one team they’ve struggled against all year is Florida, and here they are, having to play the Gators for a shot at a CWS title. This game should have been an incredible pitching matchup – Florida just has great starters, and Vandy was putting Grayson Garvin, SEC pitcher of the year (although how he beat Michael Roth out for this honor, I will never understand), on the mound. And for the first few innings, it was all about the pitching. Florida didn’t get anything going until the 4th inning, with a walk, a single, and then Preston Tucker put one over the fence, putting Florida ahead 3-0. That was really it for the Florida offense – they scattered a couple more hits over the course of the game – but that was all they needed. Vandy managed to push across a run in the 5th, but couldn’t do more than that. And then came the rain. This game was suspended due to the weather, and resumed on Tuesday morning in the 6th inning. A 14 hour delay did nothing to help Vandy regroup. Florida reliever Steven Rodriguez came out and pitched almost flawlessly (he did issue a walk) until the game ended. There was just nothing to be done. Vandy now has to play UNC in an elimination game on Wednesday night (7 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN3.com). Hopefully they can get it together. Final Score: Florida 3, Vanderbilt 1.
A few random observations: I really thought UNC would be the first one out. Sad to see the Longhorns go, but after that pitching performance by Emmanuel, UNC definitely deserved that win.
I totally picked Florida to beat Vandy. I also picked Vandy to win the elimination game, beat Florida, and then lose to the Gators in the final game before the championship series. I stand by that prediction. I don’t think UNC will be able to keep up with the Commodores. But we’ll see.
The pitching in this CWS, on both sides of the bracket, has been something special to watch. Even the aces who have melted down have paved the way for relievers to have a shot at stemming the bleeding.
Wednesday’s (today’s) game: UNC and Vandy at 7 p.m. Winner has to play Florida. Loser goes home. Do or die time for both teams. I still like Vandy to win. I’ll be live tweeting the game (at least until I fall asleep), so follow along at @ThoughtfulCock. Send me questions or observations – I’d love some interaction. And I promise that I’m not nearly as annoying as the ESPN commentators.