Category archive: NCAA Other Sports

Numbers to note from the CWS finals

June, 26, 2008

Fresno State's 6-1 win against Georgia will go down in the history books as one of the greatest Cinderella stories in collegiate sports. But the plucky Bulldogs' rise from regional No. 4 seed to the lowest seed NCAA champion isn't the only record that will be rewritten.

Here's a look at some of the other numbers to note from Game 3 of the College World Series finals, courtesy of the NCAA:

• The series attendance of 330,099 is the highest total attendance in CWS history. The previous mark was 310,609 set in 2006. It is also third straight year the CWS has drawn over 300,000 fans.

• The 206 combined runs in the series marks the fourth time in CWS history that the eight teams in Omaha combined to score at least 200 runs and the first time since 2001. It is the most runs in a single CWS since 1998, when 225 runs were scored, and that total is second only to 1984's total of 228 runs.

• Coach Mike Batesole is the first coach to win a CWS title in his first appearance at the CWS since Pepperdine's Andy Lopez did it in 1992. He is just the 11th head coach to win a CWS in his first appearance and only the fourth since 1962 (also Jerry Kindall of Arizona in 1976, and Don Lund of Michigan in 1962). Other years where a first-time CWS coach won are in 1947, '48, '49, '51, '52, '53 and 57.

• Fresno State's .309 team batting average in Omaha was the highest by a CWS champion since Miami hit .314 in 2000 and only the fourth time since 1980 that the CWS champion finished with above a .300 average in Omaha. The Bulldogs also led the CWS with a 4.13 ERA -- the highest ERA by a champion since Texas posted a 4.25 ERA in 2002.

• College World Series MOP Tommy Mendonca extended his own NCAA record with two strikeouts in Game 3, raising his in a season is 85 by Brendan Winn of South Carolina in 2004 (70 games).

• Georgia's Gordon Beckham finished with 113 hits on the season, breaking Georgia's single-season record for hits in a year. He finished the year with a .411 average, becoming the 11th Georgia player to hit .400 or better in a season and the first since 1981, when Buck Belue (.447) and Rick Fuentes (.411) both hit over .400. His Game 3 home run was his 28th of the season, tying him with LSU's Matt Clark for the national lead in homers. Beckham now holds Georgia single-season records in homer, RBIs and runs scored (97). Beckham is the first Bulldog to lead Georgia in all three triple crown categories since Jeff Keppinger in 2001 (.389-18-73).

Fresno State clinches first national championship

June, 25, 2008
Fresno State 6, Georgia 1 (final)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Fresno State made history Wednesday night, wrapping up the national championship with a 6-1 victory over Georgia.

The Bulldogs, the first regional 4-seed to ever win a national championship, happily dogpiled on the field at Rosenblatt Stadium after Matt Olson flied out for the final out of the game.

The victory enabled Fresno State to wrap up its second national team championship in school history. Fresno State's other title came when the 1998 softball team won national championship.

Beckham puts Georgia on the board in eighth

June, 25, 2008
Fresno State 6, Georgia 1 (8th inning)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Gordon Beckham led off the eighth inning with a long homer, accounting for Georgia's first run to pull the Bulldogs within 6-1 against Fresno State after eight innings.

Beckham blasted a 1-1 pitch for his 28th homer, matching the national lead.

But Fresno State starter Justin Wilson escaped further damage as his team carries a five-run lead into the final inning.

Detwiler continues offensive assault

June, 25, 2008
Fresno State 6, Georgia 0 (6th inning)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Steve Detwiler's one-man assault on Georgia's pitching staff continued in the sixth inning with a three-run homer, pushing Fresno State to a comfortable 6-0 lead after six innings.

Detwiler has accounted for all six of Fresno State's runs batted in the game. Fresno State's rally in the sixth came against Georgia reliever Dean Weaver, who replaced starter Nathan Moreau at the start of the inning.

After retiring his first two hitters, Steve Susdorf doubled to deep center and Alan Ahmady coaxed a walk to continue the inning before Detwiler's blast.

Detwiler is the fourth player to hit two homers in a CWS championship game. He is the first player to achieve that feat in a championship series since Robb Gorr of USC slammed two in the Trojans' 21-14 victory over Arizona State in 1998.

Fresno State extends lead

June, 25, 2008
Fresno State 3, Georgia 0 (4th inning)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Steve Detwiler's two-out RBI-double extended Fresno State's lead to 3-0 over Georgia in the fourth.

Detwiler, who earlier notched a two-run homer, doubled deep to center, scoring Steve Susdorf. Earlier in the inning, Susdorf walked with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on the same play when Georgia catcher Joey Lewis' throw sailed into center field.

Detwiler's hitting has supported the gritty pitching of Fresno starter Justin Wilson, who has shut out Georgia despite scattering three hits in the first three innings. The Bulldogs have stranded five runners in the first three innings, including two in scoring position in the second inning.

Fresno State escaped a bases-loaded situation by allowing no runs in the second inning, maintaining its 2-0 lead over Georgia after two innings.

Despite two errors in the inning by Fresno State shortstop Danny Muno, Fresno State pitcher Justin Wilson coaxed Ryan Peisel into an inning-ending flyout that center fielder Gavin Hedstrom snagged at the warning track.

Fresno homers for early lead

June, 25, 2008
Fresno State 2, Georgia 0 (2nd inning)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Steve Detwiler blasted a two-run homer in the second inning to give Fresno State a quick 2-0 lead in the deciding game of the College World Series finals.

Detwiler, the grandson of former big-league pitcher Jim Maloney, hammered a deep blast that just eluded a desparate attempt by Georgia right fielder Matt Olson. It scored Steve Susdorf, who had reached on an error by first baseman Rich Poythress that started the inning.

It was Detwiler's 11th home run of the season and second of the CWS. His blast came on a full count.

CWS title on the line in Game 3

June, 25, 2008
Game 3: Fresno State vs. Georgia

OMAHA, Neb. -- Here are the starting lineups for Wednesday's Game 3 of the College World Series. Georgia will be the home team.

SS Danny Muno
CF Gavin Hedstrom
3B Erik Wetzel
LF Steve Susdorf
1B Alan Ahmady
RF Steve Detwiler
3B Tommy Mendonca
DH Jake Johnson
C Danny Grubb
LHP Justin Wilson (8-5, 4.34 ERA)

GEORGIA (45-24-1)
3B Ryan Peisel
RF Matt Olson
SSGordon Beckham
1B Rich Poythress
DH Bryce Massanari
CF Matt Cerione
C Joey Lewis
LF Lyle Allen
2B Miles Starr
LHP Nathan Moreau (4-3, 5.22 ERA)

The umpires for tonight's game are:
HP -- David Wiley
1B -- Tony Walsh
2B -- Bill Speck
3B -- Jim Garman
LF -- Frank Sylvester
RF -- Mike Conlin

Fresno State coach Mike Batesole has moved Tommy Mendonca a space down in his lineup to seventh. And he's inserted Danny Grubb into the lineup in place of Ryan Overland, who was injured in Tuesday's game.

Georgia coach David Perno has countered by switching positions for Bryce Massanari and Joey Lewis, moving Massanari to designated hitter and Lewis into the starting lineup at catcher. And he's also inserted Miles Starr in the lineup at second base in place of David Thoms.

Massanari is mired in a recent 3-for-18 slump with no RBIs. He also twisted his ankle jumping for a high throw from the outfield in Game 2.

• Interesting story in this morning's Omaha World- Herald about the family of Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham, who estimate they have spent more than $15,000 watching him play at the College World Series in Omaha.

The Beckman family watching the games in Omaha have included his mother and father and two younger sisters. The younger children apparently have a superstition that leads them to buy a new item of clothing after losses.

"It started in the regionals, kind of like a little joke," Gwen Beckham told the World-Herald. "My dad doesn't think it's too funny anymore."

I wouldn't worry if I was Mr. Beckham. Something tells me his son, who was the eighth pick overall by the Chicago White Sox in the recent Major League Baseball draft, will be coming into a large sum of money very soon.

• Fresno State first baseman Alan Ahmady needs to two RBIs to jump pass national leader Buster Posey of Florida State, who has 93.

• It promises to be a balmy night at Rosenblatt Stadium. The game-time temperature was 87 degrees -- warmest for any College World Series game this year. Relative humidity was 61 percent with a steady breeze of 7-10 mph blowing out to left field.

Those conditions should favor hitters and are a marked contrast from last night's chilly conditions with 68 degrees at the first pitch.

• Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckman's first-inning single enabled him to break the school record for hits in a season. Beckman now has 112 hits this season, one more than Joey Side had in 2006.

Five things to know for CWS finale

June, 25, 2008

It all comes down to this. With one of the most exciting College World Series finals set to be decided tonight, ESPN Research has identified five things you need to know entering tonight's game.

Bat Happy

Fresno State has a good chance of scoring the most runs ever in a CWS:

Team Year # of Runs
USC 1998 62
Fresno State 2008 56
USC 1995 54
Arizona State 1981 54

1. This is the sixth year that the College World Series has been decided by a best-of-3 Finals, and it's the third time a Game 3 has been necessary. The winner of Game 2 is 1-1 in the previous Game 3s, but this year is eerily similar to 2006, when Oregon State lost Game 1 and fell behind 5-0 to North Carolina in Game 2 before rallying to win consecutive games and its second NCAA championship in school history. Fresno State lost Game 1 of this series and fell behind 5-0 in Game 2 before rallying to force a third game. Fresno State is now one win away from its second NCAA title.

2. Fresno State is not only the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the College World Series, but it's also the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the championship round (final two teams) of an NCAA tournament for any sport. The Bulldogs were a regional No. 4 seed to start the tourney, the equivalent of being seeded in the 13-16 range in basketball. In other words, there aren't many adjectives to describe how improbable their run to within one game of a CWS title has been.

3. No team that had a losing record the previous seasonhas ever won the College World Series. Georgia finished 23-33 in 2007, the worst overall mark in the SEC. Neither UGA nor Fresno State was ranked in the coaches' preseason top 25.

4. If Fresno State wins, it will be the fifth straight year that the CWS champion was not one of the tournament's 8 national seeds. Fresno State would also be the seventh straight national champ from west of the Mississippi River.

5. Whichever team wins Game 3 will set the record for most losses by a CWS champ.

Loss-Happy Winners

Whichever teams wins tonight will have the most losses of any CWS winner (Ga. has 24, FSU 31).

Team Year Losses
Stanford 1988 23
Cal St. Fullerton 2004 22
Arizona 1980 21
Cal St. Fullerton 1984 20
USC 1974 20

Final Nuggets

• Since 2003, the NCAA baseball tournament has consisted of four separate double-elimination stages, meaning it's possible to lose as many as four times in the tourney and still win the national title. Fresno State can be the first champion to use all four losses. The Bulldogs lost to San Diego in the regional, Arizona State in the super regional, North Carolina in CWS bracket play and Georgia in the CWS Finals. In addition to having the maximum number of losses, Fresno would also have the minimum number of wins possible for a champion in the current tournament format (10).

• Both teams have won five elimination games in the tournament, but this will be the first for Georgia in the CWS. It's Fresno State's third elimination game in the last four days.

• Late-inning heroics have been the theme of this year's CWS. Six teams (in 15 games) have captured victory in their final at-bat, and a couple of others rallied in the ninth to fall just short. Winning in dramatic fashion is about the only thing Fresno State hasn't done in Omaha, but in both of the Bulldogs' CWS losses, they surrendered the lead in their opponent's final at-bat.

• Over the last couple of weeks, we've frequently used the 13-seed analogy to try to explain how amazing Fresno State's run has been. Here's one final basketball-related item that helps give perspective.

The NCAA's official RPI entering the tournament: Fresno State was 89th!

Numbers to note from Game 2 of the CWS finals

June, 25, 2008

Fresno State's incredible 19-10 victory forced a winner-take-all Game 3 at the College World Series on Wednesday (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET). With both teams fighting injuries and fatigue, the championship will be a battle of wills. But before we move on to Game 3, here's a look at the CWS records that were broken Tuesday night, courtesy of the NCAA:

• Tommy Mendonca's third-inning homer was his fourth in Omaha, tying a single-series record. He is the ninth player to hit four homers at the College World Series and the first since Louisville's Logan Johnson accomplished the feat last season.

• Fresno State is the first team in CWS history to score 17 runs or more twice in a single College World Series. Three other teams have scored 15 runs twice (South Carolina in 2004; LSU in 1991; and Holy Cross in 1952). Holy Cross and LSU both went on to win titles, while South Carolina tied for third.

• Georgia's Rich Poythress tied a CWS single-game record with two sacrifice flies, becoming the 13th player to accomplish the feat.

A number of CWS finals records were also rewritten:

• Most runs by one team: 19, Fresno State (Previous record was 14, Rice vs. Stanford, 2004)

• Most combined runs in a game: 29 (Previous record was 18 in an 11-7 win by Oregon State over UNC on June 25, 2006)

• Most hit by one team: 19, Fresno State (Previous record was 14, two occasions)

• Most combined hits: 35 (Previous record was 27 in the aforementioned Oregon State-UNC game in '06)

• Most RBIs in one game: 4, Steve Susdorf, Fresno State (Tied previous record, set four other times)

• Most runs scored in one game: 4, Danny Muno, Fresno State (Previous record was 3, set three other times)

• Most home runs in a CWS finals: 2, Tommy Mendonca, Fresno State (Ties previous record, set two other times)

• Longest Game: 3 hours, 46 minutes (Previous record was 3:44 between Cal State Fullerton and Texas on June 26, 2004)

Fresno State forces Game 3

June, 24, 2008
Fresno State 19, Georgia 10 (final)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Fresno State climbed back from an early five-run deficit to claim a 19-10 victory over Georgia, forcing a winner-take-all elimination game on Wednesday night (ESPN, 7 ET).

The Bulldogs added another run in the eighth inning to extend their lead to 19-10 over Georgia.

Eric Wetzel's RBI-single accounted for another Fresno run as the Bulldogs scored in five of the last six innings after they were shut out in the first two innings.

Danny Muno lead Fresno State's 19-hit attack with three hits and six other Bulldogs have accounted for two hits apiece.