Saturday, June 04, 2005

Impressions from the Blowout

Unfortunately, this game turned into a repeat performance of the Crimson's game 1 match-up against Cal State Fullerton in 1998 down in Baton Rouge. It wasn't pretty.

First, Mike Morgalis pitched a helluva lot better than his line might indicate. He had some good movement and was pitching to spots with a relatively generous umpire behind the plate. The pitch that he made to the guy who hit the grandslam was low-and-in, about 2 inches off the plate inside, and the guy was able to get his bat there and take it out of the yard.

Second, the Crimson played with tons of nervousness. It was evident from the get-go; Farkes, who was stealing, got picked up after getting hit by a pitch in the first (another Crimson baserunner got picked later in the game when he was going which led me to believe that the Titans might have been onto the signs... suspicious that they'd pull their best move over to first at the perfect time... still no excuse to get picked). On defense, it just seemed that everything was being rushed. There was a lot of tension in how infielders approached balls and hurried throws.

Third, Roemer, while good, probably shouldn't have dominated us as he did. Though I didn't see all the pitchers the Crimson faced this year, I can't imagine that Roemer was the best. The bats just weren't as sharp. In addition to the general failure to get hits, there were very few hard-hit balls or even good swings. Roemer, facing an all-right-handed Crimson lineup, was effective in throwing a tight, hard slider that gave fits to the hitters all night long.

Fourth, I talked earlier about how hard it is to stay sharp, and the Crimson proved that difficulty tonight. The defense had a difficult time fielding bunts. Three errors and generally sloppy play. Hitting was hardly consistent. Of course, some of that can be attributed to the nerves, but there's also the simple fact that Cal State Fullerton is no Quinnipiac, Cornell, or Brown. To compete with teams that are abound in talent and playing at the top of their game, you not only have to be playing your best at the right time but also somehow find a way to get better without playing high-level competition (I'm talking about the few games played from the time the Ivy Championship ended until the Regionals began).

Lastly, I'll leave on a positive note by mentioning the '98 Crimson team who got clobbered by Cal State, but went on to turn plenty of heads. The '98 club defeated Nicholls State 6-4 in extra innings the day after its defeat to CSF, and then defeated Tulane 14-11 the day after that. Ultimately, they faced Cal State Fullerton that same evening after having defeated Tulane; they went up early, had Cal State on the ropes for a bit, and then lost 11-7. Regardless of the score tonight, the Crimson face Mizzou tomorrow with a clean slate and an opportunity to show what they've got. With Haviland and Herrmann still in the hole to pitch, the team has a chance to make a bit of a run.

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