Friday, June 15, 2007

Welcome back, Gorilla Ball

Uh oh. I can hear it now.

In the mid- to late-1990s, college baseball was decried as a strictly offensive game. Those comments came in force whenever the College World Series rolled around.

Not that anyone could blame them when some national championship games resembled football games as far as the score went.

But since 1999, when the NCAA imposed new bat restrictions, scores in Omaha have fallen and some schools (Texas, Oregon State) have won national titles with small-ball tactics.

If Day 1 of the 2007 CWS is any indication, the Omaha cycle has shifted back to the hitters. Louisville held five-run and six-run leads and lost by five, 15-10, to Rice. North Carolina spotted Mississippi State four runs. Big deal. The Heels answered with eight straight to win 8-5.

As much as pitching performances have grabbed recent CWS headlines, it appears June in Omaha is once again a hitter's haven.


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