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Discussion in 'Husker Baseball Board' started by HuskerFan31, Jun 3, 2014.
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LJS: Monte Harrison's big week arrives
No longer just a distant blip in the mirror, the MLB Draft is in full view now, moving over to the passing lane, with the first two rounds set to go down on Thursday.
So arrives an exciting week for Husker football/baseball recruit Monte Harrison, who is on the list of just seven prospects scheduled to attend the draft in person in Secaucus, N.J.
Given that invitation, and the various mock drafts floating in cyberspace, the popular belief is Harrison will probably hear his name called in the first round.
Let's say, for a moment, he does. Does Nebraska still have a chance? How many first-round picks actually don't sign?
The answer doesn't present encouraging odds when it comes to the chances of seeing Harrison play a down or swing a bat for the Huskers, perhaps making the recent addition of wide receiver transfer Demore'ea Stringfellow all the more important.
But the data of recent history doesn't completely bury the possibility of Harrison picking NU either.
There is a small sampling of first-rounders who haven't signed. And when we say small, we mean quite small.
In each of the past three drafts, just one of the 32 first-round picks did not ink a deal with a team before the deadline, which this year is July 18.
* In the 2013 draft, the No. 10 pick Phil Bickford, a right-handed pitcher from Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., chose not to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bickford is at Cal State Fullerton, where he pitched Sunday night for the Titans in their 6-4 loss to Oklahoma State, a few hours after Fullerton eliminated Nebraska from the NCAA tourney.
It's not clear how much money the Blue Jays offered Bickford as the No. 10 pick, but according to reports, the going-rate signing bonus for that type of pick is around $2.9 million.
* In the 2012 draft, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel passed on signing with the Pirates despite being the No. 8 overall pick. That turned out to be a beneficial move since he was picked No. 1 overall last year by the Astros.
* In the 2011 draft, the only first-round pick not to sign was pitcher Tyler Beede, who went to Vanderbilt instead of dealing with the Blue Jays, passing on a reported offer of $2.5 million to play college ball. Beede's decision seems to have worked out, too. He went 14-1 as a starter last year, and despite a drop off this year, is projected as a Top 20 pick in the upcoming draft.
Beede, by the way, was the No. 21 overall pick back in 2011. That also happens to be the latest projection Baseball America has for the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Harrison, regarded as maybe the top prospect in NU's 2014 recruiting class.
So while most first-rounders will sign, Husker fans might take the examples of the select few who did not and cling to hope. In 2010, for instance, three of the 32 first-rounders did not sign. In 2009, two didn't reach a deal. Of those combined five that didn't sign in those two drafts, four were coming out of high school like Harrison. And three of those four did not sign despite being picked among the top 14 picks.
So, in the spirit of Lloyd Christmas, we're telling you there's a chance.
LJS: Monte Harrison's big week arrives
PG - Regionals Roundup: What a finish
* Multi-bid conferences only
Overall Regionals records
American Athletic (7-1)
Big 12 (13-4)
Big West (9-7)
Big South (1-4)
Mountain West (1-4)
Missouri Valley (0-4)
BATON ROUGE, LA. REGIONAL
Alex Box Stadium
Houston 12, LSU 2 (HOUSTON ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
LSU had hoped to finish things off at the Baton Rouge Regional, setting up a potential dream NCAA Super Regional showdown with Texas. However, Todd Whitting's Houston Cougars had other plans in a 12-2 route of the Tigers to move on to the next round. Though UH freshman pitcher Andrew Lantrip wasn't great, allowing two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings, reliever Jared Robinson, who was heavily used earlier this weekend, was terrific, striking out eight, walking one and allowing just four hits in 6 1/3 shutout innings
Offensively, young guys such as third baseman Connor Hollis had impressive performances. Hollis went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while outfielder Ashford Fulmer went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
BLOOMINGTON, IND. REGIONAL
Bart Kaufman Field
Stanford 5, Indiana 4 (STANFORD ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Stanford shortstop Tommy Edman hit a one-out walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cardinal a thrilling 5-4 win over Indiana on the road to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round. Edman finished the 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while the bullpen rose to the occasion in the victory with Marcus Brakeman allowing just a urn on six hits in 4 2/3 innings and Cal Quantrill allowing just a run on four hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, Indiana catcher Kyle Schwarber, in what likely is his final collegiate game, went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and two RBIs.
CORAL GABLES, FLA. REGIONAL
Mark Light Field/Alex Rodriguez Stadium
Miami 2, Texas Tech 1
Texas Tech 4, Miami 0 (TEXAS TECH ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Miami outlasted Texas Tech in the resumption of the first title game between the two teams earlier in the day with a 2-1 triumph. However, the Red Raiders stepped up in the second title game with starting pitcher Cameron Smith being brilliant in the process. Smith struck out three and did manage to walk five batters, but also only allowed three hits in a complete-game shutout performance. Tim Proudfoot and Devon Conley led the Red Raiders at the plate with a pair of hits. With the win, the Red Raiders are appearing in their first NCAA Super Regional in program history.
CORVALLIS, ORE. REGIONAL
UC Irvine 4, Oregon State 2 (UCI ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
UC Irvine put on a clinic about playing good baseball over the weekend in the Corvallis Regional. Anteaters starting pitcher Andrew Morales struck out five, walked one and allowed just a run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings, while Evan Manarino allowed just a run on two hits in 3 1/3 innings in a thrilling 4-2 win over Oregon State to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round. Meanwhile, Oregon State starting pitcher Jake Thompson allowed three runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. Remember, UC Irvine, which now heads to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State, was one of the last five teams in the postseason field.
GAINESVILLE, FLA. REGIONAL
Long Beach State 12, North Carolina 5
College of Charleston 4, Long Beach State 2 (COFC ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Long Beach State beat North Carolina 12-5 earlier in the day to stay alive in the Gainesville Regional. However, the Dirtbags were unable to take care of business in the nightcap, dropping a tough 4-2 decision to College of Charleston, which now heads to West Texas to face surging Texas Tech. Charleston freshman pitcher Tyler Thornton was terrific for Monte Lee's club, striking out four, walking just one and allowed two runs on four hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, Carl Wise went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the offensive charge. Charleston is making its second NCAA Super Regional appearance.
Texas 4, Texas A&M 1 (TEXAS ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Texas RHP Chad Hollingsworth put together an absolute gem as the Longhorns defeated rival Texas A&M 4-1 to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round. Hollingsworth, making his first start of the season, struck out three and allowed just a run on two hits in a complete game performance. Meanwhile, shortstop C.J. Hinojosa went 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead the offensive charge. The Longhorns move on to play Houston at home. UT is 1-0 against the Cougars this season, with the only meeting coming in early March at the Houston College Classic.
LAFAYETTE, LA. REGIONAL
M. L. Tigue Moore Field
Louisiana-Lafayette 5, Mississippi State 3 (ULL ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Louisiana-Lafayette spark plug second baseman Jace Conrad went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, as the Ragin' Cajuns defeated Mississippi State 5-3 to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round. While Conrad led the charge at the plate, outfielder Caleb Adams went 2-for-3 in the contest. Meanwhile, on the mound, ULL starting pitcher Ryan Wilson allowed three runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings, while reliever Matt Pitt allowed just two hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. ULL will now host Ole Miss at home next weekend.
OXFORD, MISS. REGIONAL
Swayze Field/Oxford-University Stadium
Ole Miss 3, Washington 2 (OLE MISS ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Ole Miss righthanded pitcher Sam Smith struck out a batter and allowed just two runs (none earned) on six hits in 4 2/3 innings, as the Rebels defeated Washington 3-2 to advance to the NCAA Super Regional round. While Smith led the charge on the mound, reliever Scott Weathersby was the key, striking out six, walking just two and allowing two hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings to close out the contest. Offensively, designated hitter Colby Bortles hit a home run and had two hits and two RBIs, while Will Allen and Braxton Lee each had two hits.
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. REGIONAL
Dick Howser Stadium
Kennesaw State 4, Alabama 2 (KSU ADVANCES TO SUPERS)
Kennesaw State pieced everything together Monday afternoon in a 4-2 win over Alabama to advance to the program's first NCAA Super Regional in its first NCAA appearance. Kennesaw starting pitcher Jordan Hillyer tossed 2 1/3 shutout innings to start the game, while Travis Bergen and Justin McCalvin were fantastic to close things out, with Bergen allowing just a hit in 3 1/3 innings of work. Offensively, Jacob Bruce went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
PG - Regionals Roundup: What a finish
BA - Regionals Roundup: Parity Reigns Supreme
After spending the first three days of regionals in Louisville, I drove up to Bloomington for the decisive Game Seven between Indiana and Stanford. A weather delay of nearly three hours spoiled my plan to make it back to my hotel in Louisville at a decent hour, so I'll keep my impressions of regional weekend short.
? What an exhilarating, sometimes maddening (thanks to the rash of weather delays at sites around the Eastern U.S.), often stunning weekend it was. Each day seemed more incredible than the last, capped by Monday's insanity. Just three national seeds remain standing, tied for the fewest ever. The last time it happened was 2007, which was also the only time the No. 1 national seed (Vanderbilt) lost in regionals before Monday, when Oregon State was knocked off by UC Irvine, 4-2. I listened to that game on the Watch ESPN app on my phone while driving back from Bloomington, and it was a fittingly surprising end to a weekend chock full of major upsets.
? The game in Bloomington featured the most shocking ending of the weekend, as Stanford shortstop Tommy Edman did his best Warren Morris impression. Edman, who was hitting .248 with two homers entering the game, cranked a walk-off home run against Scott Effross in the ninth inning, lifting Stanford to a 5-4 win against the No. 4 national seed. I'll have plenty more on that game later Tuesday.
? Who would have guessed that mighty Louisiana State, like South Carolina on Sunday, would get blown out at home in a regional final? Houston, which beat LSU on Sunday night to force a rematch Monday, smashed the Tigers 12-2 in Game Seven, taking control with a seven-run third inning and never looking back. Jared Robinson, who threw 91 pitches Friday, worked 6.1 scoreless innings of relief Monday, throwing 100 more pitches, even with a big lead.
Andrew Morales (Photo courtesy UC Irvine)
I've made my position on pitchers shouldering that kind of workload on short rest very clear, so I won't harp on it again now, but it was also discouraging to see UC Irvine bring back ace Andrew Morales on two days of rest (and No. 2 starter Elliot Surrey on one day of rest in relief), Oregon State bring back Andrew Moore on two days of rest in relief, Kennesaw State bring back Travis Bergen in relief on two days, and Stanford bring back Cal Quantrill in relief on two days. Morales, Moore and Quantrill all have bright pro futures, and they put themselves at risk for the good of their teams Monday, for better or worse. Kudos to the coaches?like LSU's Paul Mainieri, Texas' Augie Garrido, Texas Tech's Tim Tadlock and Louisiana-Lafayette's Tony Robichaux, to name a few?who opted to give less proven pitchers opportunities to win or lose games for them rather than risk the health of their aces.
? Who could have expected fourth-seeded College of Charleston to win a regional at No. 2 national seed Florida, and third-seeded Kennesaw State to win a regional at No. 5 Florida State in the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for the Owls? Both teams looked dangerous heading into regionals, but there's a difference between looking dangerous and winning regionals at the home of college baseball superpowers. The Cougars stayed sharp through all the weather delays in Rainesville?err, Gainesville?and completed a 3-0 run through the Gainesville Regional with a 4-2 win Monday against Long Beach State. Like other No. 4 seeds that have won regionals in recent years (Fresno State and Stony Brook), Charleston was better than its seed, and everyone who paid attention knew it. The Cougars will head to super regionals for the first time since 2006.
? Kennesaw State came from behind to beat Alabama 4-2, answering the Tide's two-run rally in the fifth with a run in the bottom of the frame to tie it, then scoring runs in the seventh and eighth to win. There is no hotter team in college baseball than the Owls, who have won 26 of their last 28 games and should give Louisville a run for its money in super regionals.
? The only two No. 1 seeds that will meet in a super regional next week are Louisiana-Lafayette and Mississippi. The Ragin' Cajuns, whose loss to Jackson State on Friday was one of the early shockers of the weekend, completed their run through the losers' bracket by winning their second straight game against Mississippi State, 5-3. And the Rebels finished a 3-0 showing in the Oxford Regional with a 3-2 win against Washington in 10 innings, as Sikes Orvis tripled home the winning run in the 10th. Both of those games featured electric atmospheres, and the super regional in Lafayette looks like the marquee event of next weekend.
? Finally, two more Big 12 teams won regionals Monday, as Texas finished off Texas A&M 4-1 behind a complete-game two-hitter from Chad Hollingsworth, and Texas Tech beat Miami 4-0 behind Cameron Smith's three-hit shutout. Smith was making his fourth start of the year, while Hollingsworth was starting for the first time all season?and now both are heroes. Smith will be remembered as the pitcher who led the way as Texas Tech won a regional for the first time in program history.
Overall, four of the five Big 12 teams in the tournament won their regionals, an unprecedented performance for the conference. At least three of them?Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and Texas Tech?will host super regionals, and Texas might host as well, although the committee will have its hands full trying to decide between the Longhorns and Houston, whose resumes are very similar.
Just two of the SEC's 10 tournament teams won their regionals, and two of the ACC's seven. Those two, Virginia and Maryland, will face off in a super regional, ensuring that the ACC will have one?and only one?team in Omaha.
The West will have three teams in super regionals, from three different conferences: the WCC (Pepperdine), the Pac-12 (Stanford) and the Big West (UC Irvine). All three were No. 3 seeds in their respective regionals. It is striking that the West's best teams in the regular season fell flat in regionals, but the region's depth showed through in the performance of its No. 3 seeds.
Just seven hosts won their regionals, which is also tied with 2007 for the fewest ever. Four No. 2 seeds won regionals, along with four No. 3s and one No. 4. Parity rules in college baseball this year, which makes for a delightfully unpredictable NCAA tournament. Keep enjoying the ride.
BA - Regionals Roundup: Parity Reigns Supreme
ESPN: The carnage of the NCAA regionals
In 2012, the ultimate in parity hit college baseball as Stony Brook out of the America East came into the NCAA tournament as a 4-seed and advanced to the super regionals. A week later, Stony Brook was joined by MAC school Kent State in Omaha.
In 2014, we have Ultimate Parity, 2.0.
We've seen the P-word thrown around for years. But let's be frank, it was always arguable whether it really existed in our sport. Sure, you'd have an uprising here and there -- the development of Oregon State, the stunning run of Fresno State, seeing Kent State and Stony Brook reach Omaha. But this year we got overrun by it.
This year's regional round was a huge, shining example of a playing field more level than ever. And the numbers back that up.
Actually, all you have to look at is No. 1.
Friday was the day the mid-majors planted a flag. And not a white flag.
College of Charleston, given a 4-seed, upset Florida, 3-2. Fellow Sunshine State favorite Florida State was knocked down by Georgia Southern. And Louisiana was stunned by Jackson State.
Then, the regional finals took things into hyper-drive.
AP Photo/Aaron Lambert
Pepperdine had to beat Arizona State and Cal Poly (twice) on its way to a perfect regional record.
College of Charleston completed its domination of the Gainesville Regional by besting Long Beach State. Houston finished off LSU with an unceremonious blowout. Louisiana won its two straight games over Mississippi State. Pepperdine upset Cal Poly twice. Kennesaw State raced past Alabama.
And to top it all off, Oregon State became the second overall No. 1 in history to lose in the regional round when UC Irvine knocked out the Beavers on Monday night.
And it wasn't just the mid-majors. Who in their right mind would've seen Maryland having the hutzpah to go into Carolina Stadium and put a beatdown on the Gamecocks? Who had Stanford stunning Kaufman Stadium to silence with a two-run home run to end Indiana's run? What about Texas Tech holding Miami to a single run in 19 innings to win at Mark Light Field? Really?
The mid-majors and underappreciateds have never been stronger. The combination of 11.7 scholarships, deadened bats and the increased emphasis on pitching, defense and fundamentals has turned this tournament into true June Madness.
Buckle in, people, we're only four days into it.
Five themes to the regionals
This year's NCAA regionals have been as contentious as ever. In the history of the expanded field of 64, the most one-run games played in an entire tournament is 35. Through the regional round, that number is already 32.
Same goes for extra-inning games. The most extra-inning contests in a tournament is 13. The 2014 tournament has already seen 12.
No. 1 seed face-plants
In the end, the No. 1 seeds ended up with a losing record. Only three national seeds advanced (TCU, Virginia and Louisiana-Lafayette). Four other No. 1 seeds advanced (Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Louisville and Ole Miss), but every one of those teams escaped with black eyes, bruised egos and half-torn uniforms. Remember the days when six or seven teams won their regionals just by showing up? Say sayonara to those days.
The foibles of the SEC and ACC
These two power conferences are notorious bid hogs, and this year it was like never before. The SEC sent a record 10 teams to the Big Dance, and the ACC sent seven teams. While usually well-represented, those 17 teams combined to occupy four super regional spots, two from each conference.
The SEC went a combined 22-16 this weekend and the ACC went 11-10. The big three in Florida -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- lost out with a combined record of 3-6. To contrast that, in the previous 15 years, those three failed to advance to the super regionals as hosts only three times.
The Power of the Big 12
Pundits and fanatics everywhere are wondering how the Big 12 went a combined 13-4 and got four of its five teams into the super regionals. The answer came to me late last year.
[+] EnlargeTres Barrera
AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Eric Christian Smith
Texas is one of four Big 12 teams in the super regionals.
Near the end of the 2013 season, I had the chance to talk to Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday about the Big 12 and how it compares to the rest of the major conferences.
"Anybody who thinks this conference doesn't measure up with the SEC or the Pac-12 or the ACC is a complete joke," Holliday said. "I know firsthand. I've coached in all three conferences and won championships in all three conferences. You can't tell me the SEC is two times better than the Big 12 and they deserve 10 or 12 teams in the NCAA tournament. I know firsthand that's not true."
Turns out, he was right. The Big 12 turned into the Midlands Monsters this weekend, as four teams won their regionals. You probably could've seen TCU and Oklahoma State advancing, since they were No. 1 seeds playing in their own friendly confines. But seeing Texas Tech and Texas win regionals at Miami and at Rice, respectively, made a big statement for this conference.
Decorum has taken a shot to the gut
This has not been one of those weekends that the NCAA can proudly point out for how much sportsmanship college kids portray in their competitions.
Miami and Texas Tech had a bench-clearing push-and-shove after Hurricanes baserunner David Thompson plowed into Eric Gutierrez at first base. Then coaches Gino DiMare and Tim Tadlock had a one-on-one yelling party.
Sam Houston State and TCU had a couple of slides masquerading as barrel rolls into fielders that were dangerous and elicited ejections. Mississippi State and Louisiana players exchanged glares and expletives caught on camera all weekend. And in probably the chippiest of weekend rivalries, Texas A&M pitcher Tyler Stubblefield flashed the "horns down" sign after the Aggies' Sunday victory.
The fun is just getting started, folks. Super regionals start Friday, June 6, and the intensity is only going to increase.
ESPN: The carnage of the NCAA regionals