Beavers will win CWS
June 21, 2007
Tomorrow the best-of-three championship round begins in the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Unfortunately though, my pre-CWS pick UC-Irvine won’t be a part of it.
Reinstating its program just in 2002, it was quite an accomplishment for Irvine to get all the way to the CWS. It was even more impressive when the Anteaters defeated Fullerton State in a 13-inning five-hour and 40 minute marathon, the longest game in CWS history. And it was truly unbelievable when the very next night Irvine overcame an eighth-inning four-run deficit to defeat heavily-favored Arizona State in 10. College baseball fans were catching Anteater fever. Sadly the Cinderella story came to an end Wednesday night as the Anteaters were snuffed out by defending champion Oregon State, 7-1.
Prediction: Counting its super-regional series and the CWS, in its last five games Oregon State has given up a meager 11 runs. The Beavers’ starting pitching has been excellent, and their fielding percentage was second in the nation for the year.
Regardless of who won last night’s game between North Carolina and No. 1 ranked Rice, the starting pitching should be no match for Oregon State’s. If it happens to be North Carolina, revenge could be a factor, since the Tar Heels lost last year’s winner-take-all Game 3 while committing four errors. But Oregon State should prevail and become the first repeat champion since LSU in 1996-97.
Congratulations to you handicappers who wisely wagered on the Field before the NCAA Tournament at odds as high as 25-to-1, because Oregon State was in it. Now you have the option of hedging your bet when series odds come out, and guaranteeing winning money no matter what happens. North Carolina and Rice were both 5-to-1.
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World No. 1 Roger Federer will be gunning for his fifth consecutive singles title. But only two weeks ago Federer put forth a huge amount of time and effort in trying to complete the career grand slam at the French Open on clay, only to be foiled once again in the Final. Perhaps needing to regroup mentally and physically, this year Federer uncharacteristically did not compete in a Wimbledon tune-up tournament on grass. Could this be an opportunity for someone like two-time runner-up American Andy Roddick?
For the women the tournament is wide open. Grass court tennis usually suits the power games of those such as Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters, but last year Amelie Mauresmo pulled off the surprise victory. Two-time finalist and No. 1 ranked Justine Henin is a threat, as is up-and-comer Jelena Jankovic.
Predictions: Until Federer loses another match on grass, it is impossible to picture it. On the women’s side, it will help to see who wins this weekend’s warm-up tournaments, but right now the pick is Henin.