Yesterday, I broke down for you all the UC-Irvine pitching staff, which is a very impressive one at that. Today, I will discuss their hitters.

While the Anteaters sluggers may not be as decorated and as highly-touted as their pitchers, Irvine has raked its West Coast opposition to the tune of a .306 team batting average.

Unlike LSU, the Anteaters do not have many sluggers and have just 35 team home runs for the season. To put in perspective, LSU sluggers Matt Clark and Blake Dean easily surpass that total alone with 40+ home runs combined.

Junior infielder Ben Orloff is the spark behind the Anteaters’ offense with a .344 average while also walking 28 times while just striking out 16 times.

Drawing free passes is a strength of the UC-Irvine offense. As a team, they draw nearly 3.5 walks per game, while striking out just 5.75 times per game.

The Anteaters’ biggest bopper is sophomore catcher Francis Larson, who leads the team in both home runs and RBIs with seven and 40 respectively.

But for the most part, UC-Irvine is a gap-to-gap team, recording 99 doubles and 16 triples on the season. For LSU fans, that is very good news as Tiger outfielders Jared Mitchell, Leon Landry and Derek Helenihi chew up tons of ground in Alex Box stadium.

With the Anteaters have an average-at-best offense and a phenominal pitching staff, I expect runs to be hard to come by throughout the entire weekend.

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In other baseball news, Skip Bertman is expected to return home from the hospital today following a heart attack Saturday, according to reports. Bertman was taken to the hospital Saturday after feeling chest-pains and a stint was place in the former Tigers’ manager. I, as well as everyone in the college baseball community, would like to breathe a collective sigh of relief for the Skipper as we all hope he continues to get well soon.

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The Cowboys were busy Monday, receiving word that suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has been cleared to practice with the team, following his 1-year suspension for multiple arrests.

The team also extended the contract of wide receiver Terrell Owens for four seasons.

I am a Cowboys’ fan, so I may be biased, but I think the Owens signing is a huge plus. With T.O., everything is polarized and everything is a circus, so I think having him play on a “contract year”, would have been bad for the team and bad for Owens, because he would have been asked about it countless times and we all know from experience that Mr. Owens tends to make a mistake or two behind the mic.

As far as Pacman goes, nothing he does or will ever do surprises me. The kid was suspended from the NFL for one whole year. He had his life, his fortune and his career taken away for 12 months and he still has been caught recently gambling and still is seen in the strip clubs, etc…

Until PacMan shows an ounce of “adultism” in his DNA, I have no sympathy for whatever the NFL throws his way.

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It’s Tuesday and it’s time for Part IV of our Finals Preview. Today is the power forwards.

Lakers: Vladimir Radmanovic

8.4 pts, 3.3 rebs and 1.9 assists per game

Celtics: Kevin Garnett

18.8 pts, 9.2 rebs and 3.4 assists per game

This is the blowout of all blowouts in Garnett’s favor. I have always been in amazement of KG and I am one of the ones who feel that he would be widely considered the best power forward of all-time by now if the prime of his career was not wasted way in Minnesota. Garnett is a rare blend of inside and outside, having the ability to slam down a facial, while also having a more than capable mid-range game.

Radmanovic is a shooting guard trapped in a center’s body having great touch from down town and the ability to take defenders off the dribble.

When the Lakers’ offense is at its best, it is when Radmanovic is playing at an elite level, but I would take KG over any PF in the NBA.

Big Advantage: Celtics

That’s all for me, people. Have a blessed Tuesday. I will be back Wednesday to break down Part 5 of our Finals coverage, as well as my Super Regional picks and some professional baseball talk.

-Casey

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