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Saturday - May 31, 2008

Regionals - Day 2 summary

Texas played a bit of gorilla ball today and won the first game of the afternoon beating Sam Houston State 13-3. Chance Ruffin went 6 innings and says he's ready to play tomorrow. Heh.

Sam Houston State's loss eliminates them from the tournament.

Texas meets St. John's again tomorrow afternoon in another elimination game since the Owls won the evening game 11-2.

In the College Station Regional, Illinois-Chicago eliminated Dallas Baptist 9-5 and the Aggies beat Houston 22-4. Wow! The Aggies were ahead 9-4 and scored 12 (!) in the 7th and another in the 8th. The Aggies won the first two games of their Regional by a combined score of 37-5. Yikes.

And the rest of the Big 12? Oklahoma State lost 3-5 to Wichita State. Nebraska lost 2-3 to UC-Irvine. Missouri lost 5-6 to Miami. I'm sensing a common theme here suddenly. Oklahoma is losing 2-10 to Arizona State in the 6th as I type. All of the Big 12 teams are still alive but the Aggies are the only team that's 2-0 going into tomorrow's action.

As for our old SWC foes: Houston lost (as reported above), TCU beat Western Kentucky and now faces Oklahoma State, and Arkansas lost to Stanford 1-5 (and are now eliminated from the Stanford Regional).

All of the #1 seeds that lost yesterday (Georgia, Stanford, Florida State, and Long Beach State) won today and are still alive. Oklahoma State and Nebraska are the only #1 seeds that won yesterday but lost today. Although, as I type this Cal State Fullerton is losing 0-2 to UCLA (but they're only in the 2nd inning) and, as I mentioned, the Arizona State game is also still in progress (ASU seems to be well on their way to a win).

Posted by Joanna at 10:59 PM | Permalink

Game 59: Texas at Sam Houston State (Houston Regional)

Texas played visitor today to Sam Houston State in the Houston Regional. Chance Ruffin started for the Horns and Ryan Tepera was on the mound for the Bearkats. I watched the CSTV stream online. CSTV used the KVET radio broadcast so I was mostly able to hear Craig Way and Keith Moreland as the game streamed. The audio, cut out a few times and when that happened, I'd switch back to the radio and listen to it...running 2 or 3 pitches ahead of the video during those periods (which was a bit disconcerting).

Texas lineup: (1) Michael Torres, dh, (2) Jordan Danks, cf, (3) Kyle Russell, rf, (4) Brandon Belt, 1b, (5) Russell Moldenhauer, lf, (6) Preston Clark, 3b, (7) David Hernandez, ss, (8) Cameron Rupp, c, and (9) Travis Tucker, 2b.

And, the game played out like so:

Texas wins 13-3. Amazingly, the game lasted about 3 hours and 5 minutes. After those first 2 innings, I was sure it would go at least 4. Whew.

After the Horns jumped out in front and then made that mistake on the pop-up in the bottom of the inning, I have to say I was a bit nervous. But, the offense got the job done in a big way in those first 2 innings.

The line from GameTracker:

[Final line score]

The offensive highlights:

So, now we wait to see who the Horns will be playing tomorrow afternoon. Coach Garrido said in the post-game press conference that Austin Wood will very likely start in the first game tomorrow. He added that, to his mind, they might be able to use Chance again on Monday. Chance assured everyone that he'll be ready to pitch tomorrow. He said he did it in the high school play-offs last year and he's more than willing to repeat now. He's a bull-dog. No doubt about it.

Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 6:11 PM | Permalink

Friday - May 30, 2008

Regionals - Day 1 summary

The Texas bats struggled against St. John's starter Scott Barnes today as the Horns fell 1-2 to the Red Storm. Later in the evening, Sam Houston State gave Rice a bit of a scare by scoring 1 in the 1st inning and keeping things close. The Bearkats did go on to lose 2-3 and now face the Longhorns in the loser's bracket game tomorrow at 2. Rice and St. Johns play at 6.

Texas was the only Big 12 team to lose today. Texas A&M Stomped Illinois-Chicago 15-1, Oklahoma State beat Western Kentucky 5-3, Nebraska beat Eastern Illinois 13-10, Missouri beat Mississippi 7-0, and Oklahoma beat Vanderbilt 8-5. I know OU barely squeaked into the tournament but they certainly aren't the worst team in the field. I'm glad they won their game today. It'll be interesting if they go far in the Tournament, eh?

Our old SWC rivals went like so: Houston beat Dallas Baptist 9-5, TCU lost to Wichita State 5-9, and Arkansas lost to Pepperdine 3-4.

Weather is affecting play in Michigan. The Wolverines were up 5-1 in the bottom of the 5th when the game was called due to heavy rain. The game will resume tomorrow at 11:00. As I type this, the Fullerton Regional is the only one still in action. Cal State Fullerton leads Rider 9-0 in the 6th.

The NCAA and CSTV have parnterned up to create a very nice GameTracker feature this year. Check out the CWS Bracket for a handy list of all the Regionals. Very slick.

I took a quick tour through the Regionals and discovered that four #1 seeds lost their opening games today: Georgia (#8 National Seed) lost to Lipscomb 7-10, Stanford lost to UC-Davis 2-4, Florida State (#4 National Seed) lost to Bucknell 0-7 (!), and Long Beach State lost to Fresno State 3-7 ('guess I was right about the Dirtbags and their Regional).

I'll be back with more tomorrow. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 11:23 PM | Permalink

Game 58: St. John's at Texas (Houston Regional)

I wanted to take the afternoon off and watch the CSTV stream of the game but things are too busy at work. So, I listened to Craig Way and Keith Moreland on the radio.

The Texas line-up: (1) Michael Torres, dh, (2) Jordan Danks, cf, (3) Kyle Russell, rf, (4) Preston Clark, c, (5) Brandon Belt, 1b, (6) Russell Moldenhauer, lf, (7) David Hernandez, ss, (8) Cameron Rupp, c, and (9) Travis Tucker, 2b.

Kenn Kasparek got the start today. Texas played "home" team and scored first with a solo run in the bottom of the 2nd: Brandon Belt reached on a 1-out ground-rule double; he moved to 3b on a ground out to the pitcher, and scored on a single by David Hernandez.

St. John's answered in the top of the 3rd. Morris and Kemp reached on back-to-back 4-pitch walks. Ouch. They advanced on a sac bunt down the 3b line (nice play by Preston Clark to scoop the ball bare-handed and throw down to 1b). Morris scored on a ground out to 2b. The next batter grounded out to the pitcher for the 3rd out.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Michael Torres reached on a 1-out single, advanced to 2b on a wild pitch after Jordan Danks flew out to lf, and was then caught stealing 3b.

St. John's threatened in the top of the 4th (1-out double followed by 1-out single to put runners at the corners). After a quick visit to the mound by Skip Johnson, Kenn got the next batter to hit into a 6-4-3 double play! Whew. Game still tied at 1.

In the bottom of the 4th, Kyle Russell started things off with a single to rf. After Preston Clark flew out to rf, Brandon Belt reached on an error by cf. On the play, the center fielder initially misplayed the ball, and then when he recovered, still managed to miss the ball. Runners at 2b and 3b on the error. Russell Moldenhauer, sadly, followed with a pop out to 2b. David Hernandez fought off a couple of pitches but was called out on strikes. Game still tied.

The Red Storm (yes, really) got a runner aboard (2-out walk) in the top of the 5th but he was stranded at 1b.

In the bottom of the 5th, Cameron Rupp worked the count full and then singled to cf. Travis Tucker flew out to lf. Michael Torres tried to surprise St. John's with a bunt but he hit the ball a bit too hard. The pitcher fielded and got the lead runner out at 2b. Jordan Danks went on to strike out.

In the top of the 6th, St. John's put on another 2-out threat. The runner reached on a walk and stole 2b but was stranded there when the next batter grounded out to ss. Alas, the Horns went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Game still tied at 1.

Cole Green went to the mound for the Horns to start the 7th. After his recent struggles, I have to say: I hope he's back in "mow 'em down" mode today! Sigh. He walked the lead-off batter (full count, 7 pitches). The next batter hit a sac bunt down the 1b line to move the runner to 2b. He struck the third batter out! 7 pitches again. The 4th batter swung at (and missed) three successive pitches! Yippee!

In the bottom of the 7th, sadly, the Horns went down in order. In the top of the 8th, the Red Storm, once again, got a 2-out batter aboard (on a single this time) but he was stranded at 1b.

In the bottom of the 8th, Travis Tucker singled to rf on the first pitch. Michael Torres then bunted (1-unassisted, sac) down the 1b line to move Travis to 2b. The pitcher fielded the ball and his only play was to tag Michael out. Jordan Danks walked to put runners at 1b and 2b. Keith thought Jordan got a break on the play, thinking Jordan's check swing went around. Kyle Russell hit a ball to 2b and just beat out the relay throw from the ss to avoid a double play. Runners at the corners, 2 out. Which promted the first pitching change of the day for St. John's. The Red Storm closer Colin Lynch went to the mound, replacing Scott Barnes. Preston Clark, sadly, popped out to ss. Game still tied at 1 going into the 9th. Wow.

The first batter of the 9th for St. John's reached on an error by 1b. I was not in my office so did not hear the details. Ack. The next batter flew out to cf. The third batter singled into lf, moving the runner from 1b to 3b. Runners at the corners with 1 out. The next batter hit a high chopper to ss. David fielded, threw to 2b for the first out and the relay was just late. So, the go-ahead (unearned) run scored. The final batter popped out to 1b (foul). Texas trailing 1-2 going into the bottom of the 9th. Ugh.

Now the Horns need their 2nd come-behind-in-the-9th-inning win of the year. They did it last weekend. Here's hoping they can do it again this year!

Brandon Belt grounded out to 2b to lead things off. Russell Moldenhauer worked the count full and grounded out to 3b. The third baseman made a great play to knock the ball down and throw Russell out at 1b. David Hernandez lined out to 3b. Another great play by the St. John's third baseman. Damn.

Texas loses 1-2.

The line (from GameTracker):

[Final line score]

Comments from the post-game press conference:

To the loser's bracket we go...

Posted by Joanna at 5:24 PM | Permalink

Tuesday - May 27, 2008

Quick clarification

In my Regional musings post, I wrote:

Six teams from the Big 12 got in...the top 5 at the end of the regular season: Texas A&M (hosting), Oklahoma State (hosting), Nebraska (hosting), Missouri (headed to Miami), and Texas (headed to Rice). And, then Oklahoma (headed to Arizona State). I can't explain the Oklahoma thing. Shrug.

I got an irate email message from an Oregon State fan saying:

Well, OK, sure, you're not a West Coast fan. No problem. But that 'shrug' implied a whole lotta diss in Oregon State's face. Even OU fans think that Oregon State wuz robbed.

I'm writing to clarify: I did not mean to "diss" the Beavers. I cannot explain how Oklahoma gets in while Oregon State sits at home. 'Makes no sense at all. My "shrug" comment was shorthand for: "What the hell were they smoking?" I do not buy the explanation given by the committee. I could almost buy it if Oklahoma had made it to the Championship game. But, they didn't. Of course, had they won the Championship game, there'd be no question. Lots of teams get in by virtue of winning their Conference tournament. Sam Houston State, anyone? But, they didn't get to the Championship game; Texas and Kansas State were there on Sunday. Letting Oklahoma in while leaving Oregon State at home? The Beavers won the whole thing two years in a row! The most recent two years! I have no explanation. And, the committee is doing a very poor job of trying to justify a bad decision.

All it does is make you wonder what someone in Oklahoma has promised to someone on or near that committee. Doesn't it? Just a little bit? It's just weird. They do all kinds of wringing and convoluting to put a Regional in Michigan. And, they can't figure out how to get Oregon State into the Field of 64? But, Oklahoma's there? Is this some sort of bizarre pay-back for that football mess from a couple of years ago? 'Cause, to the best of my recollectin' powers, it was actually that other school in Oregon involved in that mishap.

So, to all my friends in Oregon (and, I actually do have a few friends in Oregon): my most sincere apologies for being unclear and, perhaps, a bit too flippant.

Posted by Joanna at 11:16 PM | Permalink

Monday - May 26, 2008

Regional musings

The four teams that'll be meeting at the Houston/Rice Regional:

  1. Rice (42-13, 21-3 C-USA, official site)
  2. Texas (37-20, 15-12 Big 12, official site)
  3. St. John's (41-14, 20-7 Big East, official site)
  4. Sam Houston State (37-23, 18-12 Southland, official site)

From a Baseball America blog post:

[NCAA selection committee chairman Larry] Templeton said the committee strongly considered Texas as a host, but geographic considerations proved the Longhorns' undoing. Three Big 12 teams (Texas A&M, Nebraska and Oklahoma State) were locks to host on the strength of their body of work, and Rice was a fourth sure-fire host in the same geographic footprint. "Well, I think the committee looked at (Texas as a host) long and hard, and at the end of the day geographic locations in some other parts of the country probably hurt Texas a little bit," Templeton said. "We certainly felt that we had rewarded the Big 12 Conference with three sites."

Huh. Sure. I don't understand why the committee keeps sending teams to regional tournaments to face teams they've already faced during the year. I understand that once you get out of the Regional round and into the Super Regional round, it's next-to-impossible to avoid re-matches. But, in the first round? Bah. I decided to look around the tournament to see which hosts have already faced teams they'll be hosting (and their records in those meetings):

  1. Miami (ACC): 2-0 vs. Bethune Cookman
  2. North Carolina (ACC): 0-1 vs. Elon
  3. Arizona State (Pac 10): 1-0 vs. Vanderbilt
  4. Florida State (ACC): 2-1 vs. Florida
  5. Cal State Fullerton (Big West): 3-0 vs. UCLA
  6. Rice (C-USA): 2-1 vs. Texas; 1-1 vs. Sam Houston State
  7. LSU (SEC): 1-0 vs. Southern Miss; 1-2 vs. New Orleans
  8. Georgia (SEC): 1-2 vs. Georgia Tech
  9. North Carolina State (ACC): no prior meetings
  10. Nebraska (Big 12): no prior meetings
  11. Texas A&M (Big 12): 2-1 vs. Dallas Baptist; 1-0 vs. Houston
  12. Stanford (Pac 10): 0-2 vs. UC-Davis
  13. Oklahoma State (Big 12): 1-0 vs. Wichita State
  14. Long Beach State (Big West): 0-2 vs. San Diego; 0-3 vs. California; 1-1 vs. Fresno State
  15. Coastal Carolina (Big South): no prior meetings
  16. Michigan (Big 10): 2-0 vs. Eastern Michigan

Wow. Look at that Long Beach field. Long Beach's "price to pay" for getting a Regional that should've probably gone to Arizona? A field against which they are 1-6 on the year. They've played everyone in their regional. Rice, LSU, and the Aggies have all met two of the teams in their fields. My druthers would definitely be more regionals like NCSU, Nebraska, and Coastal Carolina. I bet the committee could've done that pretty easily...if that had been a priority. It's clearly not a priority, though.

Anyway...

The winner of the Houston/Rice Regional will meet up with the winner of the College Station/Texas A&M Regional:

  1. Texas A&M (43-16, 19-8 Big 12, official site)
  2. Dallas Baptist (37-17, unaffiliated, official site)
  3. U. of Houston (39-22, 14-10 C-USA, official site)
  4. U. of Illinois-Chicago (34-20, 17-6 Horizon, official site)

If Texas can win the Rice Regional, they'll likely have to play the Aggies again. How stupid is that? I really dislike this whole "we don't want teams to have to travel far" nonsense. Rice should not be paired up with A&M at the Super Regional level. Likewise, Stanford and Cal State Fullerton shouldn't be paired up. Switch the Aggies with Stanford and you solve both problems.

Six teams from the Big 12 got in...the top 5 at the end of the regular season: Texas A&M (hosting), Oklahoma State (hosting), Nebraska (hosting), Missouri (headed to Miami), and Texas (headed to Rice). And, then Oklahoma (headed to Arizona State). I can't explain the Oklahoma thing. Shrug.

Old Southwest Conference teams making the field: Houston (going to A&M), TCU (going to Oklahoma State), and Arkansas (going to Stanford).

Ah well...I guess I'll post this and get on with the day.

By the way, I will not be going to Houston. My folks will be there, though. Texas faces St. John's at 2 o'clock on Friday. Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 2:37 PM | Permalink

Texas headed to Rice

The field has been set and Texas is headed to Rice as the #2 seed. Sigh...

I'll be back with more later.

Posted by Joanna at 12:01 PM | Permalink

Sunday - May 25, 2008

Coming from behind

In his story about yesterday's game, Alan Trubow (from the Statesman) said that the Horns hadn't had a 9th-inning come-from-behind victory since March of 2006. That gave me pause. So, I went looking. And, sure enough, the last time the Horns did that was in a game against Long Beach State on March 10, 2006. There had been a few games in the interim where the game was tied going into the 9th and the Horns scored a run to win. But, none where they were behind and won it in the 9th.

Perhaps that history of being behind in the 9th and going on to lose explains my lack of hope going into the bottom of the 9th on Saturday, eh? Could be.

Posted by Joanna at 11:33 PM | Permalink

NCAA Regional Sites Announced

The NCAA Regional Host Sites were announced at 6 p.m. today. Alas, the Horns were not selected to host. We'll find out where they're headed tomorrow at 11:30. Sigh...

The Host sites (Host City - Host Institution and current record):

By conference, the host sites play out like so:

The top 16 schools based on RPI as of May 20, 2008 (those are the most recent numbers on the NCAA site as I post) are:

  1. North Carolina - check
  2. Miami - check
  3. Florida State - check
  4. Rice - check
  5. Arizona State - check
  6. Georgia Tech - not hosting
  7. Coastal Carolina - check
  8. Nebraska - check
  9. Cal State Fullerton - check
  10. North Carolina State - check
  11. Texas A&M - check
  12. Georgia - check
  13. Florida - not hosting
  14. Oklahoma State - check
  15. Arizona - not hosting
  16. LSU - check

So, looking solely at RPI, you might wonder why Arizona, Florida, and Georgia Tech don't get to host while Michigan (RPI: 37), Cal State Long Beach (RPI: 27), and Stanford (RPI: 19) do. (Texas had an RPI rating of 23 on May 20th, by the way.) Looking at the top 16 in the polls (as of May 19), we see:

Rank Collegiate Baseball Baseball America NCBWA USA Today/ESPN
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
North Carolina
Miami
Arizona State
Florida State
Rice
Georgia
San Diego
Louisiana State
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State
Cal State Fullerton
Missouri
Nebraska
Michigan
California
Stanford
North Carolina
Arizona State
Miami
Florida State
Rice
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma State
Georgia
Missouri
Louisiana State
San Diego
Nebraska
Texas A&M
UC-Irvine
California
Stanford
North Carolina
Miami
Arizona State
Florida State
Rice
Oklahoma State
Cal State Fullerton
San Diego
UC-Irvine
Nebraska
Texas A&M
Missouri
Coastal Carolina
Georgia
Arizona
(tie) California &
Louisiana State
North Carolina
Miami
Florida State
Arizona State
Rice
Oklahoma State
Nebraska
Cal State Fullerton
Georgia
Texas A&M
San Diego
UC-Irvine
Louisiana State
Wichita State
Missouri
Coastal Carolina

So, Stanford shows up in two of the polls while Michigan shows up in one of them. Georgia Tech does not show up in any poll. Neither does Long Beach. Why does Long Beach get to host over Texas? The Long Beach numbers are similar to the Texas numbers. Long Beach is 37-19 (16-8 in conference). Texas is 37-20 (15-12 in conference). They seem to have had eerily similar seasons. However, Long Beach did do something Texas did not do: they won the regular season conference race. The Big West, by the way, doesn't play a conference tournament. So, giving a Regional to Long Beach means the Big West hosts 2 Regionals (going to the top two teams in the Big West). And, the Big 12 hosts 3 (going to the top three regular-season finishers).

I guess we need to just face it: if Texas had done a better job of taking care of business in the middle part of the season and won another series or two, it's extremely likely, we'd be watching a Regional in Austin in a few days. Alas...

Looking at the Top 16 in the polls, there are a few other teams that might be wondering, even more than Texas, why they aren't hosting. San Diego (RPI: 34) and Missouri (RPI: 32) show up in all 4 polls but aren't hosting. And, UC-Irvine (RPI: 22, who we all remember quite well, I'm sure) shows up in 3 of the polls and they aren't hosting either.

I don't know what any of it means. I'm just rambling. Thank you for your indulgence.

Posted by Joanna at 11:06 PM | Permalink

Big 12 Tournament - Day 5 summary

Texas came out on top and beat Kansas State 15-7 to take the Big 12 Tournament Championship this afternoon. It was a pretty well-played game, for the most part. The Horns did give up 5 runs in the 5th but scored 3 in answer in the 6th and 3 more in the 8th to put things out-of-reach for the Wildcats.

The all-tournament team:

Yes...I'm just killing time waiting for the Regional Host Site announcements.

Posted by Joanna at 5:20 PM | Permalink

Game 57: Texas at Kansas State (Big 12 Tournament)

Texas lost the coin flip so played visitor in today's Championship game. The Horns struggled a bit in the 5th but otherwise played very good baseball and won the Championship Game of the Big 12 Tournament 15-7. The line (as reported on GameTracker):

[Final line score]

And, play went like so:

Texas wins the game 15-7 to earn the Big 12 Tournament Championship crown. Austin Wood got the win.

Interestingly, on the offensive side of things, the middle infielders were the only batters in the lineup who failed to score a run. They both did drive one in, though. Going down the lineup, here's how things played out:

The team did about as much as they could as they finished off the regular season and played out the Big 12 Tournament to make their case to the NCAA that they should be rewarded with a Regional host bid. I guess we'll know very shortly if their efforts were successful. Or it it was all a bit too little, too late.

Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 4:57 PM | Permalink

Saturday - May 24, 2008

Big 12 Tournament - Day 4 summary

The Horns pulled off a very exciting win this morning, beating the Sooners 11-10. The Horns were coasting along with a 6-1 lead going into the 7th when all hell broke loose. The Sooners took a 1-run lead in the 7th, gave up the tying run in the bottom of the 7th, and then gave up the presumed winning run in the 8th. But, the Horns let 'em back into the game, giving up 3 runs in the top of the 9th! Ack! Amazingly, the Horns then scored 3 of their own in the bottom of the inning to win the game. And, wait to see if the Aggies could beat the Tigers.

And, the Aggies did it! Texas A&M beat Missouri 6-2 in the 2nd game of the day. Nicely done. And, then we had to wait around for the conclusion of the 4th game to find out who the Horns would be facing on Sunday.

Oklahoma State won the third game of the day handily, beating Nebraska 11-5. So, going into the final game of the day we knew that if Baylor were to win, we'd be playing OSU. But, if Kansas State beat Baylor, we'd be seeing the Wildcats. I was unable to follow the Baylor/KSU game at all. I tuned into GameTracker just in time to watch the last out or two of the game. Kansas State beat Baylor 3-2. A nail-biter.

So, it's the #5 and #7 seeds (Texas and Kansas State) in the Championship game tomorrow. Hook 'em, Horns!

Posted by Joanna at 11:54 PM | Permalink

Game 56: Oklahoma at Texas (Big 12 Tournament)

Texas jumped out to a nice early lead and seemed to be coasting along with Kenn Kasparek on the mound. Kenn got into trouble in the 7th, though. The Horns ended up giving up 6 runs in said 7th, allowing the Sooners to go ahead by 1. The Horns tied things back up in the bottom of the 7th. Whew. The Horns then scraped another run across in the bottom of the 8th to go ahead 8-7. 'Thought that would be the game. But, no.

The top of the 9th went, distressingly, like so:

I freely admit that my hopes were rather low at this point. Going into the 9th, all the Horns had to do was hold 'em. Ack!

And, then the bottom of the 9th:

Horns win!!! Final score 11-10. Oh. My. What fun. Keith Shinaberry, by the way, got the win. Heh.

Now, we just had to wait and see if the Aggies could do good by us and beat Missouri. And, guess what? They did it. Now we wait on the results of Pool 2 to see who the Horns will be playing in the Championship game. Hook 'em!!!

Posted by Joanna at 8:23 PM | Permalink

Friday - May 23, 2008

Big 12 Tournament - Day 3 summary

Nebraska beat Kansas State 5-2 in the first game of the day, putting both teams at 1-1 in the tournament.

In the late game, Oklahoma State run-ruled Baylor 14-3 in 7 innings. Also, putting both of those teams at 1-1 in the tournament.

Which means that there will be two teams with 2-1 records in Pool 2 (#2 OSU, #3 Nebraska, #6 Baylor, and #7 KSU) by the end of the day tomorrow. One of those teams will have a win over the other earlier in the tournament. And, that team is the one that will advance.

In Pool 1: OU is 2-0, Texas and Missouri are 1-1, and Texas A&M is 0-2. The Aggies are the only team that has no chance of advancing to the Championship game on Sunday.

So, going into the penultimate day of the tournament, OU (with a record of 2-0 in the tourney) is the only team that controls its own destiny. How ironic is that? OU barely made it into the tournament. And, now they're in the driver's seat. As Coach Garrido likes to say: that's why they play the games. If you knew what was going to happen, what would be the point of suiting up?

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's games. I will be hanging out with my parents who are having some folks over for an early Memorial Day celebration, though. Fair warning: most likely, I probably won't be posting until rather late in the evening.

Posted by Joanna at 11:03 PM | Permalink

Thursday - May 22, 2008

Big 12 Tournament - Day 2 summary

Texas jumped out to a big lead, got a bit of a scare, and went on to beat the Aggies 15-9 late this afternoon.

And, then...much later...Oklahoma came from behind in the bottom of the 9th to beat Missouri. Oh. My. Goodness. It was very exciting. The Tigers scored single runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th. The Sooners scored single runs in the 2nd and 5th. In the 9th, the Tigers went down in order. With Kyle Gibson on the mound for the Tigers, the bottom of the 9th went like so:

What an end to the game. The Tigers committed 4 errors on the day.

The Horns are still alive! If Texas beats OU (!) and A&M beats Mizzou (!) the Horns advance. Texas has to win, though. And, Mizzou has to lose. If Texas loses, OU advances...'cause they'll be 3-0. If Texas wins and Mizzou wins, the Tigers advance. 'Must thank the Sooners for keeping our hopes alive. Wow.

Posted by Joanna at 11:40 PM | Permalink

Game 55: Texas A&M at Texas (Big 12 Tournament)

I left work a bit early today so I could "watch" the game. I borrowed a Windows laptop so I actually could watch the CSTV video stream. I did not listen to it, though. I listened to Craig Way and Keith Moreland on KVET. It was a bit disconcerting, though, since the audio was usually about 2 pitches or so ahead of the video. But, I got used to it. I mostly listened and then would watch to see a particular play unfold. It worked pretty well. And, this report is based mostly on the radio broadcast with occasional details provided by what I could see on the video stream.

The Horns jumped on the Aggies early, scoring 7 in the 1st, 3 in the 2nd, and 2 in the 3rd...all unanswered. But, the Aggies did not go down without a fight. They scored 6 (3 unearned) in the 6th to make things interesting. The Horns responded with 2 more in the the bottom of the inning and held on to win 15-9. Austin Wood went 5.1 and got the win. Brooks Raley took the loss for the Aggies.

Texas offensive summaries:

The final line (as displayed on GameTracker):

[Final line score]

And, here's how things played out:

Texas won 15-9!! Who woulda thunk it would be that close after the first couple of innings? Wow.

And, now we have to root for the Sooners to beat the Tigers. The Tigers need to lose two (tonight to OU and Saturday to the Aggies) for Texas to advance to the Championship game on Sunday.

Paraphrased comments from Coach Garrido in the post-game interview:

He was pleased with the start and the way the team capitalized on opportunities. He thought Austin Woods did very well. He was proud of the guys for putting 3 more runs on the board after the Aggies scored in the 6th. In recent games, the team is showing a lot more instinctive responses to the other teams. The team has shown a lot of defensive improvement in recent games and they recovered nicely after having problems in the 6th. He was pleased with the way Walker pitched the 8th and Thomas the 9th...he thought it was very encouraging.

Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 8:02 PM | Permalink

Wednesday - May 21, 2008

Big 12 Tournament - Day 1 summary

In the first game of the day, the Horns lost 2-3 in 10 innings...sadly.

The Aggies, amazingly, kept their losing streak alive in the second game. They lost to OU 1-4. They've now lost 7 games in a row. What in the world is going on with that team? Too weird.

Baylor upset Nebraska 10-4 in the third game.

And, Kansas State upset Oklahoma State 3-2 in the final game of the day.

Three upsets. My guess: if at the start of the day, you'd asked random folks in the crowd to predict outcomes in today's games, most of 'em would've predicted pretty much the opposite of what actually happened. They would've picked Texas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State to have markers in the winner's column. Doncha think?

FYI, as usual, I've set up a postseason info page for 2008. It's a catch-all for postseason info. Check it out.

Posted by Joanna at 11:21 PM | Permalink

Game 54: Texas at Missouri (Big 12 Tournament)

I was driving to work this morning listening to a CD when I decided to tune into 1300 to see what Bob and Bucky were talking about this morning. And, they seemed to be talking to Craig Way. And, then I realized that Craig seemed to be broadcasting a game. Hmmmm...I wondered...are they replaying a game? What a bizarre thing to be doing. And, then I realized it was the Big 12 tournament! 9 o'clock on Wednesday already? Wow. How did that happen? Sigh...sometimes, it's hard being me.

Needless to say, no full report today. I'm at work. But, I can listen to the game while I set up a new computer for one of the labs. And, jot down a note or two as things go along. My mother called to say that the game is being streamed by cstv.com but I didn't go looking for it. It'll be too late for you by the time I post this but you might try looking for the next couple of games if you're interested. And, I don't know if it's free or not. KVET did announce that they'd be streaming their broadcast of all the Texas games for free.

Chance Ruffin on the mound for Texas; Rick Zagone on the mound for the Tigers. Line-up for the Horns: Michael Torres (dh), Travis Tucker (2b), Jordan Danks (cf), Preston Clark (3b), Kyle Russell (rf), Russell Moldenhauer (lf), Brandon Belt (1b), Cameron Rupp (c), and David Hernandez (ss). Look familiar? Yep.

Texas (visitor) scored first in the 2nd. Kyle Russell reached on a 1-out double to the lf/cf gap, moved to 3b on a single by Russell Moldenhauer, and then scored on a ground out by Brandon Belt.

In the 5th, Russell Moldenhauer reached on a walk and moved to 2b on a sac bunt by Brandon Belt. Cameron Rupp singled to put runners at the corners. David Hernandez reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Russell. Horns up 2-0. Yes.

Hmmmm...I left my office for about 30 minutes and came back to find things tied 2-2. Damn. Missouri scored 2 in the bottom of the 6th to tie things up (with 2 out, Seene singled and Priday hit a 2-run homer). The Horns went down in order in the top of the 7th. The first batter (Gray) of the 7th reached on a walk prompting a pitching change by the Horns. Cole Green went in for Chance Ruffin. Thigpen moved Gray to 2b on a sac bunt and then Gray advanced to 3b on a wild pitch. Yikes. Mach then grounded out on a slow-roller down the 1b line. No way for Gray to score. Folgia then struck out looking. Whew. Game still tied 2-2.

In the top of the 8th, David Hernandez reached on an error by ss. Keith felt the first baseman could've made more of an effort to catch the high throw...he might not have made the out but would've kept the runner at 1b. After failing to get a bunt down, Michael Torres hit a fly ball to cf. David tagged and moved to 3b on the play. Again, Keith criticized the Missouri fielder. He felt if the fielder had positioned himself correctly, he might've had a chance to throw David out at 3b. Missouri changed pitchers...sending Gibson to the mound. Travis Tucker, sadly, popped out to 3b. Jordan Danks fell behind 0-2, worked the count full, and then struck out swinging. Shucks. Game still tied 2-2.

GameTracker, by the way, froze for more than an inning two or three times. Very frustrating for those of us that had to be in and out. Sigh...

In the bottom of the 8th, Senne reached (I didn't hear how - update: GameTracker unfroze and it appears Senne singled to cf) with one out. Priday then walked to put runners at 1b and 2b with 1 out. Coleman struck out swinging. 2 out. Schmidt grounded out to 2b. Whew. Game still tied 2-2.

Sadly, the Horns went down in order in the top of the 9th. In the bottom, Thigpen reached on a 1-out single. Fischer went in to pinch run for Thigpen. Mach flew out to cf. Nice play by Jordan Danks. Fischer managed to steal 2b with Folgia at the plate. Runner at 2b with 2 out. Folgia went down swinging, however. Yes!

And, we go to extra innings. On the one hand, nobody's happy to be playing baseball at 9 in the morning. On the other hand, who knows when that 4th game of the day, scheduled to start at 7:30, will actually get started now that the first game is going into extra innings. That always seems to be happening at the Big 12 tournament. It's hard to get 4 games in. They did schedule more time for each game this year. In years past, they only scheduled 3 hours per game. This year, they've added an extra 30 minutes. We'll see how things are going come 7:30 tonight.

In the top of the 10th, Brandon Belt led things off with his first hit of the game. Cameron Rupp failed to get the bunt down and then went down swinging. David Hernandez singled through the left side, moving Brandon to 2b. Michael Torres flew out to shallow lf. And, Travis Tucker flew out to cf. Sigh.

In the bottom of the 10th, Lollis singled past Preston Clark (who was inching in, thinking Lollis might try to bunt his way aboard) into lf. Senne flew out to rf. Kyle Russell almost lost the ball but managed to make the catch. Priday singled to rf, moving Senne to 3b. Runners at the corners, 1 out. Deep breath. Skip Johnson made a trip to the mound. With not much going on in the bullpen, he left Cole on the mound. Craig did comment that Austin Wood had been warming up earlier and might be ready to go in. Sadly, Coleman singled to rf, scoring Lollis. Horns lose 2-3. Damn.

Posted by Joanna at 11:51 AM | Permalink

Sunday - May 18, 2008

Game 53: Texas at Texas A&M

Today's game was broadcast on FSN Southwest and this game report is based on that broadcast. The airing was a bit unusual. FSN used the in-stadium video feed and the Aggie radio announcers. I ended up watching the FSN video while listening to Craig Way and Keith Moreland on the radio. The radio broadcast was about 1/2-second ahead of the video but despite their little idiosyncrasies, I had to go with what's comfortable. Nothing against the Aggie radio guys, by the way. They seemed fine. Just not what I'm used to hearing.

The line-ups:

Texas Texas A&M
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
-
Michael Torres, dh
Travis Tucker, 2b
Jordan Danks, cf
Kyle Russell, rf
Brandon Belt, 1b
Russell Moldenhauer, lf
Preston Clark, 3b
Cameron Rupp, c
David Hernandez, ss
Kenn Kasparek, p
Kyle Colligan, cf
Blake Stouffer, 2b
Dane Carter, 3b
Jose Duran, ss
Luke Anders, dh
Darby Brown, 1b
Brian Ruggiano, rf
Daman Aaron, lf
Kevin Gonzalez, c
Clayton Ehlert, p

Here's how things played out...

Texas wins 6-3!! And, sweeps the Aggies. Oh, my. Who woulda thunk it a month ago? Fantastic. How much fun was that? Whew.

The box...from GameTracker:

[Final score]

And, now the Horns move on to the Big 12 tournament. And, we all wait to see if the Horns do well there. And, how these late season heroics affect the folks who will decide post-season Regional sites. You know...the renovated stadium will play into the decision as well. I'm sure there are some folks in the NCAA who want to reward schools for facilities improvements. Hmmmm...

Hook 'em!!!

Posted by Joanna at 3:59 PM | Permalink

Saturday - May 17, 2008

Can Texas host a Regional?

Late in tonight's game, Craig and Keith started talking about the possibility of Texas getting to host a Regional after all. I was wondering about that very thing almost a month ago. At the time, I said that the Horns' best hope of hosting was to get a lot of wins as they played out the season. Frankly, I have to admit that I didn't think that was very possible when I posted. Since then, though, the Horns have gone 10-3. With two quality wins over the Aggies (ranked 7th in all the polls) it's starting to look like a real possibility. What if the Horns sweep the Aggies tomorrow? And, then do well in the Big 12 tournament? Yikes. What a thought. I'm getting a little excited over here!

Posted by Joanna at 9:32 PM | Permalink

Game 52: Texas at Texas A&M

This game report is based on the radio broadcast with Craig Way and Keith Moreland on the air. My mom called to tell me that the game was being streamed free on CSTV. I tried it out but it froze up on me (as it seems to do on Macs) so I gave up on it. 'Wish they'd work on the service so the Mac stuff would work better.

The line-ups:

Texas Texas A&M
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
-
Michael Torres, dh
Travis Tucker, 2b
Jordan Danks, cf
Kyle Russell, rf
Brandon Belt, 1b
Russell Moldenhauer, lf
Preston Clark, 3b
Cameron Rupp, c
David Hernandez, ss
Austin Wood, p
Kyle Colligan, cf
Blake Stouffer, 2b
Dane Carter, 3b
Jose Duran, ss
Luke Anders, 1b
Darby Brown, dh
Brian Ruggiano, rf
Brodie Greene, lf
Kevin Gonzalez, c
Barret Loux, p

Things played out like so:

Texas wins 5-2!!! Fantastic. Here's the line from GameTracker:

[Final line]

A complete-game win for Austin Wood. Fantastic. Texas wins the series and has Kenn Kasparek ready to go on the mound tomorrow.

Posted by Joanna at 9:27 PM | Permalink

Game 51: Texas A&M at Texas

Texas beat the Aggies 5-2 this evening! Here's the final line:

[Final line]

The line-ups:

Texas A&M Texas
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
-
Kyle Colligan, cf
Blake Stouffer, 2b
Dane Carter, 3b
Jose Duran, ss
Luke Anders, 1b
Darby Brown, dh
Brian Ruggiano, rf
Brodie Greene, lf
Kevin Gonzalez, c
Brooks Raley, p
Michael Torres, dh
Travis Tucker, 2b
Jordan Danks, cf
Preston Clark, 3b
Kyle Russell, rf
Brandon Belt, 1b
Kevin Keyes, lf
Cameron Rupp, c
David Hernandez, ss
Chance Ruffin, p

Chance Ruffin started for the Horns and got the win. He threw 7+ innings (he faced one batter in the 8th) and gave up one run on 6 hits (4 singles and 2 doubles) with 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, and a wild pitch. By my count, he threw 118 pitches. Brandon Belt threw the final two innings and gave up one run on 3 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts.

Those two walks that Chance gave up? The first and last batters he faced. Heh. There were a couple of great defensive plays. In the 1st, with a batter at 1b and 1 out, Brandon Belt fielded a hard ground ball that he threw to 2b for the first out and then got back to 1b in time to get a throw back to complete the first double play of the day for the Horns. In the 6th, with a batter at 1b, Travis Tucker (at 2b) ranged to his right and just got to a ball that was headed into cf. He tossed it to David Hernandez who stepped on the 2b bag and threw to 1b in time to complete the 2nd double play of the day for the Horns. Great effort by Travis on that play. All in all, the defense was solid and effective. It was just what we've been waiting for all season long.

The Aggies did score two runs, though. They tied things up in the 4th: with one out, Stouffer hit a double off the wall in right and then scored two batters later when Duran hit a double down the lf line. Duran was stranded at 2b. In the 9th, things got a little more interesting than we really wanted. The first two batters of the inning quickly grounded out to 2b. The next (Green) singled just past Preston Clark (at 1b by this point) and Travis Tucker into shallow rf. Green stole 2b on the first pitch to Gonzalez (complete defensive indifference so I'm not sure the stolen base should really count!...actually, I just checked the official page and it did not count as a stolen base). Gonzalez then hit a bloop single into lf, scoring Green. Feltner went to 1b to pinch-run for Gonzalez. Colligan then singled through the left side, putting runners at 1b and 2b and bringing the tying run to the plate. Ack! Stouffer's at-bat went like so: called strike, ball, called strike, ball, foul ball, swinging strike! Yes! Texas wins.

On the offensive side of things, most of the damage came from the 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9 batters. Texas scored the first run of the game in the 3rd: Cameron Rupp led the bottom of the 3rd off with a double of the top of the wall in rf. We all thought it should've been scored a home run because it hit the top of the wall (on the yellow stripe!) and bounced back into the field of play. But, it was ruled a double. David Hernandez, though, followed up with a slow bouncer up the middle that scored Cameron. David moved to 2b on the throw home. Michael Torres then bunted successfully toward 3b to put runners at the corners. Sadly, Travis Tucker hit a come-backer to the pitcher who looked David back to 3b before throwing to 2b to start a 1-6-3 double play. Jordan Danks then struck out.

The Horns took the lead again in the 5th. David Hernandez singled through the left side. Michael Torres hit a bunt a bit too hard at the pitcher and reached on a 1-6 fielder's choice. After a couple of pitches to Travis Tucker, Michael was caught way off 1b and thrown out (2-6-3). So, with 2 out, Travis Tucker hit a single to deep ss to get aboard. Jordan Danks then hit a triple to the cf/rf gap to score Travis. Preston Clark was hit by a pitch, putting runners at the corners. Sadly, Kyle Russell flew out to rf to end the inning.

The Horns scored 3 in the 7th to go ahead for good. With one out, Michael Torres was hit by a pitch. Travis Tucker then singled through the left side to put runners at 1b and 2b. And, Jordan Danks hit another triple to the same spot he'd hit in the 5th to score Michael and Travis. Preston Clark then hit a sac fly to deep rf to score Jordan. And, Kyle Russell flew out to cf for the final out of the inning.

I almost didn't take my camera to the game today since it was an evening game. It gets awfully dark up in the stands and I have to keep bumping the ISO up and shutter speed down as the game goes along, making it difficult to get decent photos. But, at the last moment, I decided to take my camera with me, thinking I could at least take some decent photos early. I think things went fairly well. And, so...

First, a couple of shots showing some of the after-effects of the storm that blew through town about midnight on Wednesday:

[Broken tree limbs]

[Broken tree limbs]

Those were taken in the parking lot beyond the lf fence.

The Lone Star Showdown trophy was on display under the stands:

[Trophy]

This is the 4th year of the showdown. Points are awarded for head-to-head match-ups between the teams in intercollegiate sports. Texas won the first three trophies. Each year, baseball is the final sport in the contest. And, the Horns are trailing by one point this year. If they win the series, the showdown ends in a tie. If they Horns lose the series, the Aggies win the showdown. The win tonight was a good start, eh?

A very cute 9-year-old (I did not catch his name) threw out the first pitch:

[First pitch]

'Twas the last home game of the season, so that meant it was Senior Day. The only senior listed on the roster is Todd Gilfillan. But, Todd and Drew Bishop were both honored:

[Todd Gilfillan and Drew Bishop]

Why was Drew Bishop out there? 'Turns out he'll be graduating in December so he won't be here next spring. Which makes him a senior. Drew also got an academic achievement award of some sort from State Farm. Good for him! I'd also been wondering why I hadn't seen Todd suited up during recent games. I'm guessing that sling might explain things, eh?

It was 75 °F and mostly overcast without much of a breeze at the start of the game:

[Prevailing conditions]

Chance Ruffin on the mound:

[Chance Ruffin]

Michael Torres walked to start the 1st for the Horns and then the Aggie pitcher threw to 1b (trying to keep Michael close) about 400 times. Or so it seemed. This was one of those times:

[Michael Torres]

Clay Van Hook graduated today. Then, he and his shadow coached 1b:

[Clay Van Hook]

Here's Cameron Rupp scoring the first run of the game:

[Cameron Rupp]

I had Travis Tucker in my cross-hairs as he was rounding 3b to score the 2nd run of the game. Sadly, Ellie decided to jump up and ruin my photo:

[Not Travis Tucker]

Thanks a lot, Ellie!

Here's Jordan Danks at 3b after his first triple of the game (the one that scored Travis Tucker in the muffed shot above):

[Jordan Danks]

Preston Clark, flinching after getting hit by a pitch in the 5th (see the ball ricocheting off to the right?):

[Preston Clark]

It wasn't a fast ball this time so he wasn't hit nearly as hard as he was in the first game of the Alabama A&M doubleheader. He was hit in very nearly the same spot, though, and he just trotted down to 1b as if nothing had happened.

Including an "artsy" photo just for fun:

[Texas flag]

Pretty sky, eh? 'Took that photo a little after 8 o'clock in the bottom of the 7th.

Travis Tucker singled in the 7th. Here's the tail-end of the swing when he hit said single:

[Travis Tucker]

Chance Ruffin gets props as he exits the game in the 8th:

[Chance Ruffin]

It's getting too dark to take decent photos. I warned you!

Brandon Belt on the mound:

[Brandon Belt]

'Looks like the TV folks (Fox College Sports) had a chat with Jordan Danks after the game:

[Jordan Danks]

'Got my fingers crossed (and, boy, does that make it hard to type!...ha ha) that the guys can pull off a sweep this weekend. Wouldn't that be sweet? Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 1:45 PM | Permalink

Friday - May 16, 2008

Game 50: Alabama A&M at Texas

The Horns won the second game of the Alabama A&M double header 14-3:

[Final line]

Both games of the double-header went 7 innings. There were, as usual, no announcements about the 7-inning thing to those of us in the stands. My dad listened to the radio broadcast, though, and said the radio guys reported that the teams agreed ahead of time to play a 9-inning first game (with a 10-run mercy rule) and a 7-inning second game. I don't know why that sort of thing isn't ever announced to the crowd. But, it never is.

At any rate, the second game started 30 minutes after the first one ended. And, the Horns were a bit flat as things started. They fell behind 0-3 and them seemed to snap out of it. Or something like that.

Riley Boening got the start (and as in the first game) he was the designated starter so was eligible for the win despite going only 4 innings. He did get the win. He went 4 innings and gave up 3 runs (1 unearned) on 4 hits (including 1 double, the only extra-base hit on the day for the Bulldogs) with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk (to the first batter of the game). Stayton Thomas pitched the fifth and sixth. He faced 7 and did not give up any runs. He did give up a hit and a walk. He hit 2 batters (!) and struck out 1. The defense also turned a couple of double plays behind him to help him out. Hunter Harris threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He struck out two and got the third to ground out to ss to end the game.

Like I said, the Horns looked a bit flat at the start of the game. The top of the first played out like so:

After giving up a third run (on a single, fielder's choice, and double) in the 2nd, Riley Boening took care of business (3-up/3-down) in the 3rd and 4th.

On the offensive side of things, the Horns went to town after failing to score in the first. They hit 5 homeruns (3 in the 5th). Preston Clark led the offensive extravaganza, going 4-for-4 in 4 plate appearances with 2 homeruns, 3 runs batted in, and 3 runs scored. Purty. The other homeruns were hit by David Hernandez (who also hit one in the first game), Jordan Danks, and Kevin Keyes.

Some photos...

Riley Boening on the mound:

[Riley Boening]

High socks! 'Love the high socks!

Preston Clark hit a homerun in the 2nd to score the first run of the game for the Horns. Here he is getting some props from his teammates:

[Preston Clark]

David Hernandez and his shadow trot toward 3b after he hit a 2-run homerun in the 3rd:

[David Hernandez]

Russell Moldenhauer doubled to lead off the 4th (and went on to score):

[Russell Moldenhauer]

Stayton Thomas took the mound in the 5th:

[Stayton Thomas]

Jordan Danks hit a 2-run homerun in the 5th. Here he is rounding 2b:

[Jordan Danks]

Kevin Keyes hit a pinch-hit homerun in the 5th. Here he is approaching 3b during his homerun trot:

[Kevin Keyes]

Preston Clark gets props from Kevin Keyes after hitting his 2nd homerun of the game in the 5th:

[Preston Clark and Kevin Keyes]

Hunter Harris on the mound:

[Hunter Harris]

Hook 'em!

Posted by Joanna at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Thursday - May 15, 2008

FSN Southwest to air Sunday's game

There's a report on the TexasSports.com page that the final game of the UT/TAMU series will be broadcast by FSN Southwest. It's a rather weird deal, though:

"FSN Southwest will use Texas A&M's 12th Man Productions broadcast feed, which will include audio from Texas A&M radio announcers Dave South (play-by-play) and Chuck Glenewinkel (analyst)."

I'm glad I'm gonna get to watch the game!

Posted by Joanna at 11:16 PM | Permalink

Game 49: Alabama A&M at Texas

The Horns won the first game of the Alabama A&M double header 18-0:

[Final line]

Brandon Workman was the designated starter (meaning he did not have to go 5 innings to get the win...he just had to be effective for the innings he was in) and he did just fine. He went 3 innings, faced 10 batters, gave up 2 hits (singles to the lead-off batters in the 1st and 2nd!), and struck out 1. Kyle Walker took over for the 3rd through 6th innings. He faced 12 batters, gave up 2 hits (singles to the lead-off batters in the 4th and 6th!), struck out 5, walked 1, and threw a wild pitch. Juston Street pitched the 7th. He hit the first batter he faced with the first pitch he threw (!), struck out the 2nd, and got the next two to fly out. All-in-all, nice work...particularly in view of the fact that they'd been off for 10 days.

Offensively, the Horns could do no wrong. Going down the starting line-up, things went like so:

Also of note:

Some photos...

Wide-angle shot of the conditions at the start of the game:

[Conditions]

And, yes...they played that annoying a cappella "boy band" version of the National Anthem. Once again forgetting that we're playing at The University of Texas at Austin, home of the The Showband of the Southwest. I can't tell you how offensive I find this practice. It's outrageous and appalling. Ugh.

Anyway.

Jordan Danks and Maverick (don't you love that name?) Scott at 1b in the 1st inning:

[Jordan Danks]

David Hernandez hit a double and moved to 3b on a wild pitch in the 1st:

[David Hernandez at 3b]

Brandon Workman on the mound:

[Brandon Workman]

Brandon Belt, hitting a single in the 2nd:

[Brandon Workman]

Kyle Walker on the mound:

[Kyle Walker]

David Hernandez hit the first pitch he saw in the 5th over the lf fence. Here he is getting props from Coach Harmon:

[David Hernandez]

When he got back to the dugout, his teammates ignored him:

[David Hernandez]

Then, they started laughing and swarmed him. Heh heh.

Here's Michael Torres rounding 3b on that in-the-park (!) homerun he hit in the 5th:

[Michael Torres]

Tant Shepherd keeping Manny Siaca honest in the 6th:

[Tant Shepherd]

First at-bat for Runey Davis:

[Runey Davis]

Alas, he struck out.

Juston Street on the mound:

[Juston Street]

I have to admit that when I saw that tongue sticking out, I got a big grin on my face. Heh heh.

I hope to have Game 2 online this evening. 'Gotta go to work now, though, and won't be able to work on it during the day. By the way, I hear there's lots of wind and hail damage near campus. I hope my office (with it's west-facing window) is okay.

Posted by Joanna at 8:26 AM | Permalink

Wednesday - May 14, 2008

Quick note about the Alabama A&M games

I took the afternoon off and went to the double-header this afternoon. Texas won both games (18-0 and 14-3). Both games went 7 innings.

I went back to work after the games and was there 'til almost 8. I came home, ate dinner, and got a call warning me that I was in for some very bad weather. So, I checked it out and the radar did look very bad. Which prompted me to unplug my computer for the duration. I went out and watched the clouds swirl around 'til about 10 and guess what? The bad weather skirted around me. The clouds were pretty awesome, though. I eventually booted my computer back up but it's too late for me to get a decent report up. I took a bazillion photos (well, maybe not quite that many...but close!) and they're still crawling along the slow USB chain from my camera to my computer. Sigh...

By the way, notice that 18-0 score? Guess what the PA guy did as soon as the game ended? He told us to make sure we picked up our Mighty Fine vouchers on our way out the stadium! I wasn't gonna leave the stadium (what with there being another game coming on) but decided to go looking for some vouchers. And, I found a woman standing on the concourse level at the edge of the grandstand handing out small business-card sized Mighty Fine coupons. She gave me one and I watched as she started walking through the crowd (remaining on the concourse level) handing coupons out in a very random manner. Nobody was handing them out at the gates. And, as near as I could tell, she was the only person handing the coupons out at all. It was extremely inefficient and if you didn't go to the concourse level between the games and seek her out, you did not get a coupon. Wow. I'm guessing she hit 10-to-15 percent of the crowd at a maximum. I looked around as we left the stadium and, once again, not a soul at the gates handing the coupons out. Pitiful. Those folks really need to get their act together. 'Course it's way too late for this season.

Posted by Joanna at 11:46 PM | Permalink

Wednesday - May 7, 2008

Schedule note

It's official: the Horns will play a double-header against Alabama A&M on Wednesday, May 14th. Start time is 1 o'clock. The press release says the 2nd game will start immediately after the first ends but I suspect there will be at least a 30-minute break between games.

Posted by Joanna at 6:33 PM | Permalink

Monday - May 5, 2008

What happened to the Mighty Fine Burger promotion?

All season long we've been hearing about Mighty Fine Burgers at Disch-Falk Field. They sponsor the fireworks. We're told at least once each game that if the Horns manage to shut out their opponent, everyone will get a coupon for a free chili-dog (or some such) on our way out the gate.

All. Season. Long. During. Every. Game.

That's the kind of promise that they don't really have to worry about very much. In 2006, the Horns only shut their opponent out once at home. In 2007, three times. So, Mighty Fine gets lots of advertising without much chance of having to pay up. But, the promo people who deal with these things have to be ready for each and every game. Just in case. Right?

Last Tuesday, Kenn Kasparek threw that no-hitter. And, sure enough, amidst the celebration and fireworks, the public address announcer was ready and he told us to make sure we collected our vouchers (or coupons or whatever he called them) on our way out the gates. And, we hung around and sang "The Eyes" and cheered for Kenn and generally were happy as clams. And, we left. And, nobody gave us any vouchers. Or coupons.

And, I didn't think a thing about it 'til I was back at the park on Saturday and Mr. PA-man made his announcement near the start of the game about how if the Horns were to shut out the Bears, we'd all get some free Mighty Fine food. And, I thought back to Tuesday. And, realized that nobody was at the gates as we left. And, I thought that maybe we left too late. That maybe they'd run out of paper before we got to the gates. And, I thought about posting something. But, I forgot all about it again by the time I got home.

Until Sunday when, once again, we were regaled with tales of free food from Mighty Fine should the Horns blank the Bears. And, lo (!), the Horns blanked the Bears! Yippee! And, again, as people celebrated and started to leave, the big booming voice told us to be sure and grab our coupons on the way out. I was gonna be taking photos of kids running the bases so thought I might miss out. But, Esther wasn't taking photos so she decided to check out the situation. She went off to the lf gate (which is the gate we normally enter and exit the stadium) and: no coupons. So, she walked back to the 3b gate. And: no coupons. So she went 'round to the main gate behind home plate. And, guess what? No coupons.

So, what's up Mighty Fine? And, UT advertising/sales folks? We're told that the only way UT can afford to field a team is for us to listen to droning announcers making ad pitches during every break in the action and being assaulted visually by billboards and blinking signs. So, we play along. We cheer on the team. And, we listen. And, we watch as each new billboard shows up. And, we take it. But, shouldn't we get the little bauble that we're promised? Instead, we apparently only get empty promises. Thanks a lot.

The thing is, most people probably won't use the coupon. And, "they" know that. Chances are, I wouldn't use it. I know I won't be using that coupon from Shoe Carnival. I frequently decline the free bauble. I don't need another plastic doo-dad gathering dust at my house. But, dammit, if you go on and on all season long, and we have to sit there and listen to it all season long, the least you could do is stand by your word. Right? Bah.

Was it Mighty Fine's fault? Or the UT promo people? Who dropped the ball? My guess? The folks at UT who run the promos. For this promo to work, they have to make sure there are people manning the gates at the end of the game. And, they have to have the boxes of coupons ready. As soon as the opponent scores, that's one less thing they have to take care of during a game. But, when it gets late in the game and there's a big fat zero on the Visitor line of the box, they need to set their plan in action. They need to make sure there are people manning the gates...people with coupons in hand. So, was it them? Does it matter? Not really. Well, it might matter to one of the muckity-mucks at Mighty Fine. I suspect they don't want people thinking they don't live up to their word. Some muckity-muck in UT Promotions (or whatever that office is be called) might care...should any of 'em ever even hear about the problem. The right thing to do, of course, is for Mighty Fine (or UT) to mail two coupons per ticket to every season ticket holder. One for each game. That won't address the problem for people who bought tickets at the gate, though, eh? Poor them.

Sigh...

Posted by Joanna at 11:38 PM | Permalink

Sunday - May 4, 2008

Game 48: Baylor at Texas

Kenn Kasparek pitched another great game today. As Coach Garrido said in the post-game interview, you always wonder how someone who pitches a fantastic game will do the next time they go out to the mound. Would Kenn put too much pressure on himself? Luckily, he held up under the pressure and got his 3rd win in as many starts. Two of those wins came against the Bears! Today's game was what people refer to as a pitcher's duel. Texas scored a couple early and held on to win 2-0:

[Final line]

The starting line-ups:

    Baylor                       Texas
    ------                       -----
    Shaver Hansen, 3b            Michael Torres, dh
    Beamer Weems, ss             Travis Tucker, 2b
    Dustin Dickerson, dh         Jordan Danks, cf
    Adam Hurnung, 1b             Kyle Russell, rf
    Aaron Miller, rf             Russell Moldenhauer, lf
    Raynor Campbell, 2b          Brandon Belt, 1b
    Ben Booker, lf               Preston Clark, 3b
    Gregg Glime, c               Cameron Rupp, c
    Paul Miles, cf               David Hernandez, ss
    Craig Fritsch, p             Kenn Kasparek, p

Prevailing conditions at the start of the game:

[Prevailing conditions]

The wind was coming in from the east (which is pretty unusual) for most of the game. It was about 73 deg. F at the start of the game and got up to 80.

Here's Kenn on the mound at the start of the game:

[Kenn Kasparek]

Baylor went 3-up/3-down in the top of the 1st: strikeout, fly out to lf, strikeout looking.

The Horns also went 1-2-3: Michael Torres grounded out to 1b, Travis Tucker grounded out to 2b, and Jordan Danks struck out.

For the last month or so (I first noticed it at the Texas State game at the Dell Diamond), the Horns have been getting together in a little huddle before they take the field defensively. Here they are getting ready to take the field in the 2nd:

[Huddle]

Baylor threatened in the 2nd. Hornung flew out to cf:

[Danks]

Miller also flew out to cf. Campbell singled to cf and Booker reached on a bunt single (moving Campbell to 2b). Glime lined out to cf. Jordan made a nice running catch to kill the rally. Hmmm...all three outs to cf. I did not realize that at the time.

Happy to have ended up with a foul ball (during Glime's at bat, I think):

[Fan with a foul ball]

The Horns scored 1 in the bottom of the 2nd. Kyle Russell reached on a walk. Here he is diving safely back to 1b as the pitcher tried to hold him close to 1b:

[Kyle Russell]

Russell Moldenhauer then tried to bunt Kyle to 2b:

[Russell Moldenhauer]

Alas, he bunted the ball too hard and right to the mound. The pitcher, though, made a bad throw to 2b, resulting in runners at 1b and 2b (E1). Brandon Belt (after fouling off a couple of bunt attempts) then singled through the right side, scoring Kyle and moving Russell to 3b. Here's Brandon swinging for that single:

[Brandon Belt]

Brandon stole 2b with Preston Clark at the plate. Preston went on to strike out. Cameron Rupp reached on a full-count walk. David Hernandez lined out to 3b and Michael Torres grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

Baylor went 1-2-3 again in the 3rd: fly out to cf, pop out to ss, ground out to 2b.

Texas scored another run (the final run of the game) in the 3rd. Travis Tucker was hit by an 0-1 pitch:

[Travis Tucker]

Jordan Danks moved Travis to 2b with a sac bunt down the 1b line:

[Jordan Danks]

Kyle Russell struck out. Russell Moldenhauer then doubled down the lf line to score Travis. And, Brandon Belt grounded out to 1b to end the inning.

Here's a shot of a few people that sit in our section:

[HEB Tailgaters of the Game]

They won the HEB Tailgater prize before Saturday's game. Woo hoo!

And, the game went on...

In the top of the 4th, Dickerson grounded out to 2b, Hornung struck out looking, Miller was hit by a 2-2 pitch, and (after a visit to the mound by Skip Johnson) Campbell struck out.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Horns went down in order: Preston Clark flew out to cf, Cameron Rupp grounded out to the pitcher, and David Hernandez struck out.

In the top of the 5th: Booker lined out to rf (great diving catch by Kyle), Glime walked, Miles struck out, and Hanson lined out to rf.

In the bottom of the 5th, Michael Torres singled to lf and moved to 2b on a sac bunt by Travis Tucker. Jordan Danks grounded out to 1b (moving Michael to 3b) and Kyle Russell flew out to lf to end the threat.

In the 6th, the Bears went down in order again: Weems grounded out to ss, Dickerson struck out looking, and Hornung struck out swinging. And, in the bottom of the inning, Brandon Belt hit a 1-out double but was stranded at 2b.

The Bears went down in order in the 7th (for the 4th time in the game). In the bottom of the inning, the Horns loaded the bases (without benefit of a hit) but failed to score: David Hernandez struck out, Michael Torres walked, Travis Tucker struck out, Jordan Danks was hit by a pitch, Kyle Russell walked (loading the bases), and Tant Shepherd (pinch-hitting for Russell Moldenhauer) flew out to cf.

In the 8th, Hanson reached on a 2-out double to lf. He was stranded there when Weems grounded out to 2b. Great play by Travis Tucker to get the out. In the bottom of the inning, Cameron Rupp reached on a 2-out infield single but was stranded at 1b.

The Horns sent Cole Green to the mound to start the 9th:

[Cole Green]

And, the Bears kept things a little interesting. Dickerson grounded out to 2b. Hornung then singled past ss and moved to 2b on a wild pitch. Miller grounded out to 2b, moving Hornung to 3b. Campbell struck out swinging to end the game. Horns win!

And, another few photos...

Here's Hook 'Em dancing with some folks during the 7th inning stretch:

[Dancing with Hook 'Em]

[Dancing with Hook 'Em]

And, the kids running the bases after the game:

[Kids running the bases]

And, a few more:

[Kids running the bases]

And, the last bunch of 'em:

[Kids running the bases]

Posted by Joanna at 11:26 PM | Permalink

Saturday - May 3, 2008

Game 47: Baylor at Texas

Sigh. I was so hoping the last two games were signs that the Horns had turned the corner. Did they? Current indicators make you wonder. Here's the line for today's game:

[Final line]

Austin Wood got the nod for the Horns. I was surprised at this news...until I realized the change was most likely made to give Kenn Kasparek an extra day of rest so he could start tomorrow. Austin and the Horns did very well into the 6th. The 2nd, 3rd, and 5th were 1-2-3 innings. Very nice. Through the 5th, he only gave up 2 hits (a double to lead off the game and a 2-out single in the 4th) with no additional runners reaching base. Alas, he got into a bit of trouble in the 6th, giving up back-to-back singles after getting the first batter of the inning to ground out to ss. After a visit to the mound by Skip Johnson, Austin coaxed a 1-6-3 double play out of the next batter. Very nice play...all around. I was rather surprised to see Austin return to the mound in the 7th. Sadly, he gave up a solo shot and hit a batter to start the 7th. After getting an out, he gave up a towering 2-run shot. Which finally prompted a pitching change. Relief pitching was not very helpful, alas. Stayton Thomas went in and walked two. Brandon Workman then went in and walked another before giving up a sac fly and finally ending things with a pop out to ss. Texas down 0-4 in the blink of an eye. In the 8th, the Bears went: ground out to ss, single, 4-6-2 double play. Not bad. In the 9th, after two quick outs, Brandon hit a batter and then walked another. After two quick outs. I did mention that, right? So, Pat McCrory went in. Pat hit a batter (1st pitch), gave up a 2-run single, and then walked a batter. So, Keith Shinaberry went in and got the final out. The Horns played error-free defense but did not appear to make smart decisions with respect to pitching changes. Sigh.

On the offensive side of things, the game was just miserable. The Horns loaded the bases in the 1st and failed to score. They stranded a runner at 1b in the 2nd. They stranded two (at the corners) in the 3rd. They went 1-2-3 in the 4th. In the 5th, like the 3rd, they stranded runners at the corners. In the 6th, they left one at 2b. They left one at 1b in the 7th. They loaded the bases in the 8th with no outs and only managed to get one across. And, then went down 1-2-3 in the 9th. Double sigh.

Texas loses 1-6.

I did take my camera to the park today, so, some photos...

Coaches Harmon and Garrido watch Baylor take infield practice:

[Harmon and Garrido]

Prevailing conditions as the coaches met with the umpires prior to the start of the game:

[Prevailing conditions]

The wind was blowing in hard for most of the game. Of course, when Hornung hit that homerun to lf in the 7th, the wind was nowhere to be seen. It was 68 deg. F at the start of the game and warmed up to 73.

Austin Wood warming up on the mound before the game started:

[Austin Wood]

Travis Tucker laying down a sac bunt in the 1st:

[Travis Tucker]

In the 2nd, the throw got to Brandon Belt before Ben Booker could get to 1b:

[Brandon Belt at 1b]

My friend Liz made it onto the "Fan Cam" on the scoreboard in the middle of the 2nd and didn't have a clue:

[Liz on the Fan Cam]

Jordan Danks laying down a sac bunt that moved Travis Tucker to 2b in the 3rd:

[Jordan Danks]

We watched this napkin fly up into the air, dance around, and then fly over the roof of the stadium:

[Flying napkin]

Wind. Wind. Wind. It was windy. I included that photo for Bob, by the way. Hi, Bob!

Jordan Danks dives safely back to 1b in the 5th:

[Jordan Danks]

Russell Moldenhauer singled in the 8th:

[Russell Moldenhauer]

The Eyes of Texas:

[The Eyes of Texas]

And, one last thing. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some steel posts had been installed over the rf wall. And, I figured the folks in charge weren't satisfied with all the advertising already adorning the stadium. Here's a shot of things a couple of weeks ago as Kyle Russell was catching a fly ball in rf:

[Kyle Russell in rf]

Here's how things looked today:

[Wendy's sign beyond rf]

So, yeah: not enough advertising before today. You don't suppose this is how they're gonna get rid of the busses over the rf wall, do you? They're starting at the rf corner and will slowly move their way around to lf? What? Me? Cynical? No way. That's not in the plans. Uh-uh. I'm being completely ridiculous. Right? I guess we'll see.

Posted by Joanna at 10:26 PM | Permalink

Game 46: Texas at Baylor

I worked 'til about 7:45 and then went out to listen to some music by a couple of great singer-songwriters: Gurf Morlix and Slaid Cleaves. The Horns had just finished their big top-of-the-fifth (wherein they scored 4 runs after David Hernandez and Michael Torres made two quick outs to start the inning) and seemed to have the game well under control, leading 6-0, when I turned the radio off and headed into Threadgill's for a bit of dinner before the music. And, I'm happy to report that the Horns did not let me down. They went on to win 12-1. Chance Ruffin threw a complete game. He threw 150 pitches on his way to that complete game which makes me rather nervous. 150 pitches? Really? With the Horns ahead by 5 or more for the final 5 innings of the game? Wow. And, yikes!

Michael Torres did not get a hit tonight and it seems that things were looking a bit bleak for his 30+ on-base streak (he'd gotten to base in something like the last 36 or 37 games in a row going into today's match up with the Bears). He failed to reach through the first 8 (strikeout in the 1st, ground out in the 2nd, fly out in the 5th, fly out in the 6th, and a ground out in the 7th) but did reach in the 9th on a fielding error by 1b. So, the on-base streak continues.

Anyway, since I didn't hear most of the game, I'll just give you a couple of pointers:

Here's hoping the games in Austin go as well!

Posted by Joanna at 12:57 AM | Permalink

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