April 23, 2008

Beisbol en Miami

MarklightGorgeous night here in Coral Gables as the Miami's two major collegiate baseball programs get after it perhaps for the last time for a while.

There's plenty of bad blood between Miami coach Jim Morris and new FIU coach Turtle Thomas, who some may remember used to work at the U. That was, of course, until Morris fired him in 1999.

Plenty of stories have surfaced about what happened then (recruiting stuff) and later (rumors were FSU had a hand-printed list of Miami's signs and Turtle was pointed as the culprit).

No one ever goes on record with this stuff, so we'll chalk it up as urban legend.

But there is bad blood, and it doesn't appear that Miami wants to play FIU anymore. And that's sad. These two programs have played every year since 1973 and it's a fun cross-town rivalry. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail and we'll get a home-and-home next year, but don't hold your breath.

Tonight's game shouldn't be much, what with the Golden Panthers being 16 games under .500 and the Canes being the top-ranked team in the nation at 33-4.

But you never know.

There's no hockey on tonight, so stop on by tonight as we go live sometime around 7 p.m.

-- Rumor was Olli Jokinen was throwing out the first pitch tonight, but that was started by WQAM's Brian London when he saw me in the press box.

-- Just got an email from the Minnesota Wild. Claims television ratings in Minnesota were pretty high for the Wild's first-round series against Colorado. People in Minnesota watch hockey? Shocking.

-- Jim Morris and Turtle Thomas shook hands not once, but twice!

GAME ON -- GAME ON -- GAME ON

T1: FIU's Corey Lozano kicks things off by flying out to center...Anthony Nalepa pitching for the homestanding Hurricanes....It's a 1-2-3 first inning, Canes coming to bat...

B1: With two outs, Yonder Alonso singles up the middle...Dennis Raben follows suit, Alonso hustles to third, Raben takes second on the throw...threat snuffed out; Mark Sobolewski grounds out to second...Still scoreless at The Light...

T2: With two outs, Steven Stropp walks, then goes to second on single by Javier Sujo...John Petika flies out, inning over...

B2: 1-2-3; UM 0, FIU 0

T3: Ty Main doubles into the right field corner to lead things off, moves to third on a sacrifice and then comes home on Ryan Molica's sac fly to left...FIU 1, UM 0

B3: Canes have runners on the corner with two outs, Raben grounds out to third to end it...Still, FIU 1-0

T4: FIU gets runner on, but nothing across...still 1-0

B4: Canes go down 1-2-3 once more....Eric Horstmann pitching a gem for the Golden Panthers tonight...

T6: Skipping ahead, we're now in the top of the sixth...FIU gets runners on with one out, Steven Stropp's sacrifice drive to right brings in Raimy Fuentes...it's now 2-0 FIU and the Canes' Nike bats are as cold as a Cleveland summer's night...Tyler Townsend just comes in from third on a passed ball...FIU runner at 3rd with 2 outs...now 3-0...

John Petika drills a double that just hugged the right field line...you're reading this right: FIU 4, Miami 0

Heading to the bottom of the sixth...FIU 4-0

B6: Canes get runners on (free passes both) and fail to do anything...still 4-0 Golden Panthers...

B7: Canes get something going from the start; Adan Severino triples to lead things off, then comes home on grounder to second by Yasmani Grandal; with two outs, Blake Tekotte gets plunked, and he scores when Jemile Weeks hits a monster over the right field fence...Canes get three, now trail FIU 4-3...Alonso lines out to center field, remains 4-3 going into the eighth...

T8: FIU goes 1-2-3 as UM seems to have grabbed quite a bit of momentum heading into its half of the eighth....

B8: Canes have 1st and 2nd with one out....Severino fly to shallow right can't advance runners...2 outs....Dave DiNatale walks to load 'em up with two down...Grandal has a 3-1 count, swings and sends a deep fly to right where Raimy Fuentes makes a great catch to shut down the Canes...FIU still leads 4-3...

T9: FIU has runners on the corners, no outs...Ty Main strikes out for the first out of the inning....Corey Lozano bunts, pitcher Kyle Bellamy can't make play at plate, all are safe, FIU up 5-3...Golden Cats get another...we go to the bottom of the ninth, FIU up 6-3.

Well it's a final from the Gables...FIU beats Miami for the first time since 2004, a span of seven straight wins for the Orange and Green. If this series doesn't resume for a while, FIU (which trails in the series 91-24) won the first-ever meeting between the two in 1973 and won in the final game of 2008.

Let's hope these two get together and play again next season. Going to look awfully small of the big-timing Hurricanes to drop the Golden Panthers for no good reason.

April 16, 2008

Switching Gears; Canes/FAU Baseball

HowardBOCA RATON -- Coming to you live from the press box at FAU Baseball Stadium, getting ready for an exciting evening of college baseball as the top-ranked Hurricanes battle their cross-tri-county rival Owls.

Good stuff, indeed.

Planning on doing plenty of baseball this NHL playoff season, since, well, a hockey writer in South Florida has to do something at this time of year.

And UM/Marlins baseball is a pretty good thing to cover.

Will be watching the NHL postseason from afar tonight, but hope to be somewhere in time to watch the second period of the Wings/Preds game. Anyway, will come back and post baseball updates as well as other things that pops into the old noggin asUmcws we move along this beautiful Wednesday night in Paradise...

Got the windows propped open, going to get some peanuts (sans Cracker Jacks) and it's time for some beisbol.

-- Some Hockey: Word out of Caroliner is that Sergei Samsonov is getting a three-year deal from the Whalercanes. Samsonov, picked up off waivers, is getting just a shade under $8 million from the Carolina hockey club. And when I say a shade, about $400,000.

Good deal? I'm not sure. Samsonov played very well once joining the Raleighs, but he almost had to. After getting just four assists in his 23 games with Chicago, Samsonov needed to pick up his game and surely did in Carolina. Obviously a talent, Samsonov's game can also bring a headache to the team paying him. We'll see what happens in the coming years in Raleigh...

CANES GAME ON -- CANES GAME ON --

Top 1st: FAU throwing Adam Morrison, with wind blowing dead out. Could be a long night. Morrison gets first two MIAMI Hurricanes to fly out, Yonder Alonso looks at strike three....PA playing a lot of good Bruce Springsteen. Props to them (no offense JayRo, you still the man)...

Bottom 1st: FAU's Nick Arata leads off with single to left; Jeremy Griffiths follows with double to left -- 2nd/3rd, no outs; Mike McKenna grounds out to short, gets 54th RBI of the season; OWLS 1-0, 1 out...Travis Ozga single scores another OWLS 2-0...With two outs, former Taravella Colt (I'm kidding, Coral Springs fans out there) Alex Silversmith hammers a single into left, now OWLS 3-0, runners on the corners....high pop ends it, FAU 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 runners left....and these seeds are GOOD....

T2: 1 out, Dennis Raben draws a walk...2 outs, Canes on the board; Joey Terdoslavich doubles to gap in right/center, scores Raben..OWLS 3-1...Dave DiNatale doubles in Terdoslavich...OWLS 3-2...great glovework from FAU 2B and former Nova star William Block robs Jason Hagerty of run-tying single...2 runs off 2 hits, 1 LOB...FAU 3, UM 2

B2: Griffiths strikes again, driving in a run with a towering double that dropped at the fence with one out.. OWLS 4-2...Ozga strikes as well, his two-out single making it OWLS 5-2...Block goes quietly 3unassisted...2 runs off 3 hits, 1 left....FAU 5, UM 2

T3: Canes hit the ball hard, right at the Owls left and right fielder...Canes go uno-dos-tres...remains FAU 5, UM 2

B3: Canes making a pitching change...former Nova starter John Housey coming on...NY RANGERS take a 1-0 lead on the Jersey Devils...old pal Scott Gomez with the score...FAU leads off with back-to-back singles...Canes look to be looking ahead to FSU....Riann Spanjer drives one to right, nice catch-and-throw from Dennis Raben but Tom Hatcher slides in under...OWLS 6-2...now 2 outs in the inning... blow this thing wide open: Nick Arata with a monster shot to left and over...OWLS 8-2...inning over...FAU gets 3 on 3 and it's FAU 8, Miami 2...

T4: Going to shut things down for a bit unless something changes here...big crowd at FAU, kind of quiet right now...this is a snoozer...Canes do add a run, but.....FAU 8, UM 3

T5: Well, the Canes seemed to wake up a bit...Miami puts up four runs in the inning, now trails 10-7...gots to love college baseball...

B5: FAU gets runners on with 2 outs, but Anthony Nalepa (Chaminade) gets Tom "Mickey" Hatcher to strike out...Owls get nothing, still lead 10-7...

T6: Rangers lead Devils 3-2 going into second intermission; Penguins are getting ready to sweep slumping Senators out of Ottawa, lead 2-1 going into second break in Kanata...back to baseball: Canes get runners to second and third with one out, can't push one across...remains 10-7 Owls....hoot, hoot...

T8: Canes get a run across, trail 10-8; bases loaded 2 outs, Miami sends up pinch hitter Adam Severino...he walks in a run, its 10-9....Dave DiNatali up next...he strikes out looking...FAU 10, UM 9 heading into the bottom of the eighth..

HOCKEY NEWS -- HOCKEY NEWS -- HOCKEY NEWS --

And the Senators -- the team that slipped into the playoffs thanks to Florida's improbable win over the Whalercanes -- are done. Penguins sweep in 4. Wonder if the folks in Kenata are going to take a picture of that handshake ceremony...

BACK TO BEISBOL....

B8: Owls threaten, get nada....we're heading to the top of the ninth with FAU leading...if this is last update, well, then that's your final...

Yonder Alonso hits shot to right with two outs, Canes take first lead of night at 11-10...

Canes win 12-10, head to Tallahassee for a three-game set against the second ranked Seminoles winners of 18 of their past 19 games...not too shabby....

Good night from Boca, home of the Mallers. I leave you with this little old ditty from the Neil Rogers Show...

"They don't drink coffee, only Mocha, and that's what I like about Boca...''