Thoughts from 2 guys that watched waaaay too much baseball this weekend.
Ryan Monceaux (LSU Homer) – Before we get into the dramatic finishes, the teams overcoming adversity, programs that disappointed, and those that fell on their face … can we take a moment to appreciate what Arkansas did this weekend?
The Razorbacks were clinical in their domination of the Fayetteville Regional. The regional was so anticlimactic that is was a virtual non-story. We heard very little about them nationally because of how they destroyed the competition. After 10-2 victories over ORU and USM, Arkansas gave up a run in the 9th to Dallas Baptist before shutting them down to win 4-3. Domination.
Earlier in the year I said Arkansas wasn’t elite. They’ve grown into elite and are, without question, one of the three best programs in the country right now. This weekend, Blaine Knight will go for 12-0 against one of the few teams he didn’t beat (no decision – Knight was pulled after 4 innings in April game vs. USC). That is a must-see on Super Regional weekend.
Brad Towns (Juco All-American) – UGA really disappointed this weekend by choking it off to Duke. The Dawgs had a pretty-weak regional and scored 29 runs in their first 2 games while Duke was shut out in game 1. The Blue Devils went on a tear their next 2 games scoring 31 runs to make the final.
You would think that in a potential offensive showdown with Duke that UGA would have a big edge at home. But you’d be wrong. Duke kept hitting and Blue Devil pitching held UGA’s bats in check.
Monceaux – Mississippi State gave up 20 runs in the opener to OU and didn’t score in game 2 until two outs in the bottom of the 9th (and on a 1-2 count to add a little drama). Elijah MacNamee hit the homer of a lifetime to give HailState a 3-2 win and to eliminate host FSU.
The Diamond Dogs went on to beat Samford then got revenge on Oklahoma (twice!) to advance to the Supers. In all, MSU gave up 16 runs in 4 games after the 20 surrendered Friday. It was as remarkable a turnaround as you’ll ever see.
State goes to Vandy this weekend for more revenge. The Dores swept State in Starkville in March in the season’s first SEC series.
Towns – Drake Fellows set the tone for the VandyBoys in game 1 going seven strong innings to pick up a win. Vandy and Clemson traded blows in the second round with the ‘Dores advancing to the finals – an epic blowout win for Vanderbilt.
Vandy blasted 9 home runs and Connor Kaiser had a night you could only dream about in a video game. 3 home runs and 10 RBI. In one game. On the road. In a regional final. Un-freaking-real.
Monceaux – It would have been cute if LSU showed up this weekend. Oregon State was ready for payback from Omaha last year and the Tiger bats (and pitching staff and defense and coaching and …) were not. The 26-1 combined ass-kicking shows that there are still too many holes in this Tiger team. Yeah injuries but everyone has those. The bottom half of the order has to improve a lot for LSU to return to greatness in 2019.
Towns – You see the name Tennessee Tech and immediately write them off as just another small conference team. But once Ole Miss gets past Rolison, there isn’t much difference in the Rebs and Tennessee Tech. Those guys can flat out play.
Ole Miss held off their 9th inning rally in the second round but then got their doors blown off in game 1 of the final. OM then lost a nail biter in the final game to end the season. While Tech is a good team this is definitely a disappointing end for one of OM’s best squads ever.