College World Series:

 

Still waiting:

                          AND                        

The magic continues. With LSU trailing 7-4 and with one of the nation’s best closers on the hill in the ninth inning, LSU’s bats finally came alive. The result? 5 runs and a 9-7 LSU come from behind win.

Leon Landry and Ryan Schimpf brought the typing run to the plate with a leadoff walk and double respectively before a Michael Hollander infield single loaded the bases. The game’s MVP, in my eyes, Jared Mitchell walked to move the score to 7-5.

For the game, Mitchell was 3-4 with a home run, while also making an amazing grab in the 9th inning to keep momentum on LSU’s side.

Following Mitchell’s walk, pinch hitter Nick Pontiff plated the 2nd run of the inning with a fielders choice out at third base to make the game 7-6.

Blake Dean tied the game in the next at-bat with an RBI single to right. The Tigers DJ LeMahieu put the team on top for good later in the inning with a sacrifice fly.

Dean broke free from his poor start Saturday with a 2-4 performance Sunday.

Junior Louis Coleman pitched three scoreless innings to close the LSU win Jared Bradford pitched well for LSU as the starter in five of his six innings, but Bradford was hammered for six runs in the fourth inning, to give the Anteaters control of the game.

The Tigers will tackle the Anteaters again tomorrow in a winner-take-all game. LSU coach Paul Mainieri will hand the ball to left-handed pitcher Blake Martin, but if I were the Tigers’ skipper, I would hand the ball to Coleman and let him throw as long as he can. He has been LSU’s best pitcher all season and was effective in his three innings yesterday. Heck, the dude is 7-0 on the season. Who better to have on the hill in a winner-take-all game than a dude who hasn’t lost all year?

For UC Irvine, it just seems as though their luck ran out. Everything they tried through the first 16 innings of this series worked, from hit and runs, to squeeze plays to phantom hidden-ball tricks. But in the final two innings of Sunday’s game, the breaks began to go LSU’s way and I suspect with two teams as evenly matched as LSU and Irvine, the team who gets the most lady luck will probably stroll to Omaha.

The Anteaters have hit plus .500 for the series with runners in scoring position. I just can not see a poor offensive team sustaining that, so even if they do make it to Omaha, I can not see them lasting very long there.

Sophomore Bryce Stowell (8-2 2.77 ERA) will take the mound for the Anteaters tomorrow and he is just like the other Irvine starters we have seen: pound the strikezone and make the hitters bring the game to you. Will be interesting to see if the small-school, small-ball Anteaters can handle such a devestating blow like they suffered on Sunday.

It should be a good game and either way, what a way to end the last weekend ever in the Box!

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The Box was not the only place rockin’ on Sunday as several more teams punched their tickets to next week’s College World Series.

No. 1 Miami 4 Arizona 2

Miami advances to the CWS

No. 6 Rice 6 Texas A&M 5

Rice advances to the CWS

No. 2 North Carolina 14 Coastal Carolina 4

North Carolina advances to the CWS

No. 4 Florida State 11 Wichita State 4

Florida State advances to CWS

No. 8 Georgia 17 NC State 8

Georgia advances to CWS

Fresno State 8 Arizona State 6

Series tied 1-1

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Rafael Nadal sandblasted the world’s No. 1 player Roger Federer in straight sets Sunday to win his fourth-straight French Open title. I talked about this earlier in the week and I remain firm on it now, the window for Federer is slamming shut. This was his last chance to challenge Nadal in France and I believe that his legacy as the “Greatest Tennis Player of All-Time” is tainted if he can not win on all surfaces.

Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus won all four golf grand slams, so why can’t Federer win on clay?

As for Nadal, he is an absolute beast on clay, winning his fourth straight title without even being challenged.

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In baseball, it looks like Hanley Ramirez is back. The Marlins’ all-star shortstop has hit five home runs since Wednesday, including two yesterday in a 9-2 Marlins win against the Reds. The Marlins are sort of an enigma to me. On paper, their roster looks horrible compared to the rest of the NL East, but this team just keeps on winning. With superstars like Ramirez and Dan Uggla, as well as veteran leaders like Luis Gonzales, I can see this team being in the race throughout the summer before tailing off as fall begins.

An important note about Sunday’s Marlins/Reds game is that Ken Griffey, Jr. went 0-1 with 2 BB, keeping him at 599 career home runs.

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Celtics 2

Lakers 0

Game 2 of the NBA Finals is in the books and boy, oh boy was this another Lakers/Celtics classic. The Celtics avoided a major letdown in the final seven minutes, seeing a 20-point lead evaporate to two before winning 108-102.

The Celtics dominated all aspects of the game for the first 41 minutes of the game, scoring in bunches while also smothering the Lakers offense. But the Lakers exploded for 41 points in the final period and had a chance to turn a four point game into a single possession game with 30 seconds to play, but the ball never got into Bryant’s hands and the Lakers missed a desperation three.

Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics with 28 points and 8 assists. But most impressive about Pierce’s play was how efficient he was in getting the numbers, going 9-16 from the field.

Leon Powe was a huge force off the bench for the Celtics and scored 21 points and attempting 13 free throws. Speaking of free throws, the Celtics attempted 38 charity shots compared to the Lakers’ 10. Give me a break. The NBA wonders why road teams can not win a game in the playoffs, well this game was a good reason why. The NBA has long had a problem, and continues to have a problem with its postseason officials. The main problem is that they are influenced by the crowd and by momentum of the game, which results in the home team getting all of the calls. I am not saying the NBA is pro-Celtics. I expect the free throw shooting to switch over toward the Lakers in Games 3-5. I am just saying the NBA is pro-home team and I think that is garbage and needs to be fixed.

Game 3 is Tuesday and for the Lakers to have any chance to win the game and the series, they need to clamp down on Pierce. But with that comes consequence. If Kobe Bryant guards Pierce, he runs the risk of foul trouble, like he experiences last night. If he doesn’t, then Pierce runs buck shot and creates spots for he and his teammates to score.

Don’t be surprised if Phil Jackson switches up his defensive rotations in the next game to help his team.

Gisclair’s Unsung Gamer of the night:

Rajon Rondo:

4 points, 6 rebounds 16 assists

Powe and Pierce will get all of the credit for the Celtic’s win, but Rondo was the driving force behind the Celtics’ offensive output with 16 assists and only 2 turnovers. The former Kentucky guard also limited Derek Fisher to just nine points on the other end of the floor.

Gisclair’s Goat of the Night:

Vladimir Radmanovic:

13 points and 10 rebounds

Forget the double double. With the game on the line and 30 seconds to play, Radmanovic had the ball on the top of the key with two options: throw it to Kobe on the right wing or throw it to Sasha Vujacic on the left wing. Easy decision, right? Wrong! Radmanovic threw it to Vujacic and the rest is history as his three pointer was blocked and the Lakers will forever have to wonder what could have been had Bryant been able to get the ball in his hands.

That’s all for me today. I promised you all football, but with so much going on, I will push back my Appy State preview to later in the week. Beginning next Monday, though, I will preview each LSU opponent as there are officially 12 Mondays to go until the start of the Tigers’ 2008 campaign.

Good luck to the Tigers tomm and may the best team win!

-Casey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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