Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

June 14, 2014

College World Series finally onto baseball-like scores

One would think those running the College World Series would finally have baseball down pat. One would think.

The history of the College World Series is one of slugfests, where final scores resembled the outcomes of football games. There have been battles where the sight of someone rounding the bases and scoring a run was dramatic enough to produce long-and-loud cheers and demands for an instant replay.

Who can forget that classic on June 6, 1998, when Southern Cal defeated Arizona State 21-14 in the championship game? The teams combined for nine home runs. Fourteen games were played that year in Omaha, and 62 balls were sent flying out of Rosenblatt Stadium.

The 2001 College World Series was another one to remember, especially for Tennessee fans. The Vols opened play losing to Miami 21-13, but came back to beat Georgia 19-12. Tennessee kept up its double digit scoring in beating Southern California 10-2, before falling out in a repeat matchup with Miami, 12-6.

Talk about softball-type scores.   

The college game had become so lopsided in favor of the offense that the best athletes were privately saying they wanted nothing to do with pitching. Some had stared calling the game “Gorilla Ball.”

That led for a cry to do something about the aluminum bats the college players used, instead of the old-style wooden ones mandated for professional players. New bat standards accepted in 2011 made offensive outbursts much less common. The standards were designed to reduce power, and offensive production has nose-dived.

When winners of the eight super-regionals square off in TD Ameritrade Park beginning this weekend, fans will see a totally different game from what they witnessed just 10 years ago. “Small ball” – bunts, sacrifices and base stealing – has replaced guys armed with metal rocket launchers.

And, sure enough, some fans aren’t too thrilled with that, either.

Pitching dominated last year’s tournament, when hurlers combined for four shutouts in 14 games. In addition, there were six games where losing teams scored only one run.

If tinkering with the bats took too much offense out of the game, a rule adopted for the 2015 college season may be the way to inject more hitting and scoring into it. The change is small, but the impact could be big.

Next year college teams will replace the raised-seam ball with a flat-seam ball. Researchers have noted that the flat-seam ball travels farther and faster than the raised-seem, perhaps by as much as 10 to 20 feet in the same conditions.  The reason, they believe, is that the flat-seam ball faces less wind resistance.

One thing that hasn’t changed much is that teams from the warmer climates dominate the field. In this year's College World Series, three teams will hail from Texas – Texas, Texas Tech and Texas Christian. Snow and ice aren’t a concern at University of California - Irvine and Mississippi when their spring seasons roll around, either. Meanwhile,  the three other teams all reside south of the Mason-Dixon line – Vanderbilt, Louisville and Virginia.

The growing popularity of college baseball can be traced to several factors. One of the biggest was the decision by ESPN and other conference networks to televise games. Exposure helps. Many colleges have also invested in new stadiums and practice facilities.

While basketball has suffered from one-and-done rules that allow freshmen to turn pro just a year out of high school, Major League Baseball operates differently. High school graduates are eligible to sign a pro contract, but once they enter college they can’t be drafted again until after their third year. That gives college coaches more experienced, seasoned players to work into their starting lineups.

No team is a clear-cut favorite to win this year’s championship. Tradition seems to favor Texas (43-19) as the Longhorns make their 35th appearance in the College World Series.

Louisville has the best record at 50-15. Virginia is just a game behind at 49-14.

U.C. Irvine will be a threat any time Andrew Morales takes the mound. If he gets the start against Texas, history might not be enough for the Longhorns and their coach, Augie Garrido.

The double-elimination tournament starts June 14 and should end no later than June 25.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT GN140730 Kulp Former Jimtown coach Brent Kulp named GHS softball coach GOSHEN — When you find your calling in life you follow it, even if it means going back to a previous career. Brent Kulp understands this lesson.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Big Ten Media Days Football [Duplicate] Playoffs could create chances for Big Ten teams CHICAGO — As he watched the BCS championship game last season, Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook could not help but wonder: What if a playoff system were in place? Would the Spartans be playing for the biggest prize? No need to wonder anymore. T

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • USA Basketball-3 [Duplicate] Rose returns as U.S. basketball team opens camp LAS VEGAS — Derrick Rose says he feels old. The 25-year-old point guard's rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team's first practice dictated otherwise. "I was joking with Kyle Korver, I told him 'I'm getting old, man. I've got to stret

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cardinals Cubs Baseball [THE GOSHEN NEWS] Stacked farm system offers Cubs hope DES MOINES, Iowa — It's tempting for Chicago Cubs fans to pay as much attention to Triple-A Iowa as the struggling big league club. Iowa's lineup is a daily reminder that Chicago's future might be as bright as any team in baseball. The recent promoti

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • SPT GN140728 City Championship6 GOLF: Strong front nine leads Toner to Goshen City Championship Sugg hed: Toner cruises to City Championship victory GOSHEN — Through the first eight holes, Scott Toner dominated the competition at the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship at Black Squirrel Golf Club. He was already two-under, and had already gaine

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hall of Fame Inductions Baseball [Duplicate] Greg Maddux, Big Hurt inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats. Thomas, pitchers Tom

    July 27, 2014 20 Photos

  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing-3 [Duplicate] NASCAR: Gordon wins his fifth Brickyard 400 INDIANAPOLIS — With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago. Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon's Achilles heel — to pass Hendrick

    July 27, 2014 6 Photos

  • Langer wins Senior British Open by record 13 shots BRIDGEND, Wales — Bernhard Langer won his second Senior British Open championship on Sunday, finishing a record 13 strokes clear of Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. The German added a closing 4-under 67 Sunday at sunny Royal Porthcawl to his earlier r

    July 27, 2014

  • SPT GN140727 City Golf Koron putt Miller takes lead after 18 holes at City Championship GOSHEN — The rumors started flying around in the mid-afternoon that Scott Toner’s 74 might not be the best score Saturday at the first round of the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship at Black Squirrel Golf Club.Word spread that apparently someone ha

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results