After 24 years I finally got to see a Baseball regoinal at JRS, and I was determined to not miss a pitch that first day. Having heard that the entire state of Louisiana was going to descend on JRS and take all the parking spots, I got there at 12:30 for the UCI-LSU game. When I got there it seemed the crowd was about 90% LSU, 9% UCI and then a few Bruin fans. By game time it was about 80-20% LSU. I guess flying in from Louisiana is an easier commute than the 405 on a Friday afternoon .. ..
The LSU-UCI game was one of the most entertaining baseball games I have ever seen. The first pitch was at 2:11 p.m. At 2:11 and thirty seconds was the first complaint from an LSU fan about the umpiring. Later there was a pitch that was called a strike that inspired a LSU fan to yell "Hey Blue, you need an Abacus". I have to confess I was a little perplexed as to how an umpire could use an Abacus to call balls and strikes. If the umpire had trouble remembering the number of balls and strikes than maybe it would make sense. My theory is that they guy who yelled this was searching for a word in the dictionary in his mind and he only got a little ways into the A's
Although the UCI fans were outnumbered they were a hardy bunch. "Rip em... Eaters" was their favorite cheer. Who new that Anteaters could be such a violent lot? There was one UCI rooter called "Superfan" who was especially loud, and who in the middle of the game loudly proclaimed "Thank God I am an Anteater" which frankly is something you don't often hear proclaimed at a baseball game.
I forgot how much Gillespie annoyed me when he coached at USC until I saw him trudge out to the mound or argue with an umpire yesterday. Condemned men walk to the gallows faster than Gillespie goes out to the mound. That having been said I am inclined to be thankful for Gillespie for one thing. He stuck the Trojans with his son-in-law as punishment for showing him the door.
LSU pulled ahead 7-3, but the Anteaters just kept chipping away at the lead. UCI's shortstop Crumlich was very impressive at SS, and their catcher Larson who had two home runs really did a nice job behind the plate of blocking pitches in the dirt. Fisher for UCI hit a monster home run that landed on top of the batting cage in Right field. The Eaters scored two runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th to pull ahead, and with two outs and no one on base, it looked like they were going to win. However, two base hits and one very speedy pinch runner later the Tigers had tied the game up to send it into extra innings. In the 11th UCI used a sacrifice and a beautifully executed squeeze play to pull into the lead. Once again there was two outs and no one on base. However, UCI's closer started nibbling, and two walks and a bloop single later the Tigers had the bases loaded. Watkins who had earlier entered the game as pinch runner crushed a game winning hit and was so excited that he fell flat on his face after rounding first base which was the first time I have ever seen a "Trip-off" win!
After that the Bruins game was somewhat anti-climactic. Some genius in the booth played "Gimme Shelter" while Kent State was taking infield which was in really poor taste, given that the 40 year anniversary of the Kent State massacre was early last month.
Cole was a man among boys, pitching to only three batters above the minimum over five innings at which time it was 12-0, and Savage bought in some of the lesser used pitchers who by and large did well. Kent State did not have one of their better games. At one point, after the game was out of hand Dennis Holt hit a incredibly high pop up which landed in the exact geographical middle of the infield (i.e. the Pitchers mound). The Flashes entre infield stood around and admired the height of the pop up, but no one actually dared stick out a glove to catch the ball and it caromed off the mound which allowed the baserunner on third to score.. Rahmatulla also hit a double to center which led to five Bruin runs that should have been caught.
Finally after ten hours at JRS the Bruins won 15-1 and completely wiped out I trudged back to my car, although it walked far faster than Gillespie to the mound
One NCAA regional shirt-$25
Parking at JRS-$5
Seeing the Bruins finally win a regional game at JRS-Priceless.
For those of you who have not been to the CWS in Omaha you can really get a taste of what it is like at JRS this weekend .. . .