Monthly Archives: May 2009

Baseball: Elon falls to Georgia Tech in elimination game 8-4

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

The Elon Phoenix had its NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament run come to end after losing to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8-4 on Sunday.  Elon went 1-2 in the Atlanta Regional, hosted by Georgia Tech, and finished the year with a 41-18 record.

The Phoenix took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first.  Bennett Davis hit a two-out, two RBI single to right field, driving in Pat Irvine and Harry Austin. 

Georgia Tech provided a seven-run second inning that Elon couldn’t recover from.  Chris House knocked in the first Yellow Jacket run of the game on a one-out RBI single.  With the bases still loaded, Elon’s starting pitcher Daniel Britt balked in a run, tying the contest 2-2.  Later in the same at-bat, Jason Garofalo hit an infield single to take a 3-2 Georgia Tech lead. 

Then Phoenix sophomore Ken Ferrer came in to pitch for Britt.  Ferrer allowed a run by walking his first two batters, making it 4-2 Georgia Tech.  The next two hitters, Luke Murton and Tony Plagman, each delivered an RBI single. 

Jared Kernodle relieved Ferrer and let one more run to score on a fielder’s choice.  After two innings of play, Georgia Tech was ahead 7-2.

In the top of the third, Pat Irvine hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Cory Harrlichak.  Elon added another run when Bennett Davis scored on an infield single by Dallas Tarleton in the fifth. 

The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the fifth on Matt Skole’s solo homerun, his 17th of the year. 

The winning pitcher was Georgia Tech’s Jake Davies, who came in relief for starter Zach Von Tersch in the fourth inning.  Mark Pope picked up the save after replacing Davies in the fifth.  Pope gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out seven over five scoreless innings.  The loss went to Elon’s Daniel Britt.  

Elon has been eliminated from the playoffs, and Georgia Tech will play Southern Miss at 7:25 Sunday night.

Schedule/results of the Atlanta Regional:

Friday
Game 1: Southern Miss 17, ELON 15
Game 2: Georgia Tech 9, Georgia State 3

Saturday
Game 3: ELON 4, Georgia State 3
Team Eliminated: Georgia State
Game 4: Southern Miss 10 Georgia Tech 7

Sunday
Game 5: Georgia Tech 8 vs. ELON 4 
Team Eliminated: ELON
Game 6: Southern Miss vs. Georgia Tech, 7:25 p.m.

Monday
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (if first loss), 7 p.m.

 

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

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Baseball: Elon stays alive with 4-3 victory over Georgia State

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

With a strong outing from starting pitcher Jimmy Reyes, the Elon Phoenix held off the Georgia State Panthers 4-3 in an elimination game in the Atlanta Regional.  Reyes threw eight innings, gave up eight hits and walked only one while striking out 14. 

Elon started the game where they left off last night, scoring three runs in the top of the first.  Pat Irvine knocked in Chase Austin on an RBI double.  Bennett Davis followed with a two-run homerun, his fourth homer in two games. 

Georgia State replied with two runs in the bottom of the first.  Derek Simmons had a solo homer, and Matt Van Horn hit an RBI double.  Then the Panthers tied the game at three in the third inning with an RBI groundout from Bradley Logan. 

The rest of the game turned into a pitcher’s duel.  Each starter would only allow four more hits.  However, one of the hits given up by Georgia State’s Ryan Moore proved to be the difference. 

Elon’s Cory Harrilchak started the top of the sixth with a solo homerun, providing the Phoenix a 4-3 advantage.  The Panthers threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but with runners on second and third and two outs, Simmons struck out swinging.       

Daniel Britt closed for the Phoenix in the bottom of the ninth.  Although Georgia State had the tying run on second with one out, Britt retired the next two batters for the save.  Reyes, Elon’s left-handed sophomore, earned the win.  Panther Ryan Moore was the losing pitcher, yielding four runs on six hits in seven innings without allowing a walk. 

Second-seeded Elon will face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 3 p.m. Sunday. 


Schedule/results of the Atlanta Regional:

Friday
Game 1: Southern Miss 17, ELON 15
Game 2: Georgia Tech 9, Georgia State 3

Saturday
Game 3: ELON 4, Georgia State 3
Team Eliminated: Georgia State
Game 4: Southern Miss 10 Georgia Tech 7

Sunday
Game 5: Georgia Tech vs. ELON, 3 p.m.
Team Eliminated: Game 5 loser
Game 6: Southern Miss vs. Game 5 winner, 7 p.m.

Monday
Game 7: Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (if first loss), 7 p.m.

 

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

Baseball: Southern Miss comes back late to defeat Elon in hit parade 17-15

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

Elon scored three runs in the eighth inning and carried a 13-12 lead to the top of the ninth.  Southern Miss then knocked in five runs en route to a 17-15 victory. 

In the second inning, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles scored eight runs to lead 8-0.  The Phoenix chipped away and tied the game 9-9 in the sixth.  Southern Miss answered with three runs in the top of the seventh. 

The ninth inning was eventful just like any other inning.  In the top of the ninth, Adam Doleac had a pitch-hit, game-tying RBI double for the Golden Eagles, making it 13-13.  Then Joey Archer scored on a passed ball, and Southern Miss went ahead 14-13.  Later in the same at-bat, pitch hitter Kyle Maxie hit a two-run homerun. 

Elon had a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth.  Neal Pritchard launched a two-run homerun, cutting the deficit to 17-15.  With one out, a runner on second and the tying-run at the plate, the next two Phoenix batters struck out.  Southern Miss would then take the first game in the Atlanta Regional of the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.   

Every Elon batter had at least one hit.  Bennett Davis went 4-for-4 with three homeruns and four RBIs.  Davis became only the fourth player in NCAA history to hit three homers in a regional game.  Chase Austin also contributed for the Phoenix, homering once and driving in five runs. 

Only three Southern Miss hitters failed to record a hit.  Both teams combined for 32 runs, 34 hits and 11 homeruns.  Reliever Collin Cargill picked up the win for the Golden Eagles, and Phoenix closer Thomas Girdwood was saddled with a blown save and the loss.

Second-seeded Elon will play the fourth-seeded Georgia State Panthers at 3 p.m. Saturday.  The Panthers lost to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 9-3 Friday night.  Third-seeded Southern Miss will take on top seeded Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

All Elon NCAA Tournament games can be heard live on WPCM 920 AM and elonphoenix.com.

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

Baseball: Elon to play Southern Miss today

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

The Elon Phoenix baseball team will take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. today in the Atlanta Regional.  The game will be played in Russ Chandler Stadium, home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Tom Porter is expected to pitch for the second-seeded Phoenix.  The senior right-handed pitcher has a 2-4 record with a 5.19 ERA in 14 games, including seven starts.  In 43.1 innings, he has surrendered 51 hits and 12 walks while posting 35 strikeouts.   

Third-seeded Southern Miss will put their ace Todd McInnis on the mound.  The right-handed sophomore has a record of 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA and was named this year’s Conference USA’s Pitcher of the Year.  Standing at 6’1″ and 155 pounds, McInnis has started 15 games, thrown 81.2 innings, given up 76 hits, 24 walks and recorded 70 strikeouts.

Georgia Tech, the number one seed in the regional, will host fourth-seeded Georgia State at 7 tonight.  The losing teams in both games will play in an elimination game at 3 tomorrow afternoon.  Following the game, the two winning teams will play at 7 p.m.

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

NHL: Red Wings-Penguins Cup Finals Part II

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

The Pittsburgh Penguins will seek payback in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings after losing to them a year ago. Last year’s finals saw the young Penguins be downed by the potent and experienced Red Wings 4-2. We remember watching the NHL’s young sensation Sidney Crosby compete for its ultimate prize, but we forget how close the series actually was.

Trailing 2-0 in the series, the Penguins came back to win game three, 3-2. Game four was 2-1 in favor of the Red Wings. Facing elimination in Detroit, Pittsburgh scored with 35 seconds left in the third period of game five on a Max Talbot goal to tie the contest at three. Petr Sykora scored the game-winning goal in the third overtime, forcing a game six. Detroit won that game 3-2 in Pittsburgh and recorded its 11th Stanley Cup.

We don’t know if this series will bring four consecutive games decided by one goal, including a three-overtime game, like last year’s did, but we know this series presents a better matchup. Pittsburgh has more playoff experience, knows how to close games and swept the fiery Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-0. Detroit’s foundation is aging with 39-year-old captain Nicklas Lidstrom, 38-year-old assistant captain Kris Draper and 36-year-old goalie Chris Osgood. Oh by the way, defenseman Chris Chelios is 47.

Detroit is still the best team in hockey, but Pittsburgh is not that far behind. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are better, their supporting cast has stepped up, veteran Bill Guerin is a difference maker and Marc-Andre Fleury has improved as their number one goalie.

The biggest matchup is between the two goaltenders. Osgood has the edge with a 2.06 goals against average in the playoffs, while Fluery possesses a 2.62 GAA. However, in the regular season, Fluery had a 2.67 GAA compared to Osgood’s 3.09 GAA. These are two very good goaltenders, not necessarily the best in the NHL, but each is more than capable of bringing home the Stanley Cup for his team.

Last Note:

Red Wings’ right wing Marian Hossa and backup goaltender Ty Conklin signed with the team in the offseason after being defeated by them with the Penguins last year. Both players thought they would have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup by playing for Detroit. Will they find themselves hoisting the Cup this time around?

My Pick:

Pittsburgh in seven games


The finals will begin at 8 p.m. this Saturday in Detroit. All games can be seen on NBC, except for games three and four, which will be on Versus.

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

Baseball: Elon to play in Georgia Tech Regional

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports

The Elon Phoenix baseball team has been selected to play in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament as the number two seed in the Atlanta Regional hosted by Georgia Tech. Elon will play the third-seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. this Friday. Top-seeded Georgia Tech will face fourth-seeded Georgia State after the Elon-Southern Miss game.

The Phoenix needed an at-large bid to participate in the NCAA tournament after losing to Georgia Southern in the title game of the Southern Conference tournament. By receiving the at-large bid, Elon makes its fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament in ten years of Division I baseball. Ranked 22nd in the polls, the team has posted a 40-16 record and won the SoCon regular season.

If Elon defeats Southern Miss this Friday, they will take on the winner of Georgia Tech-Georgia State on Saturday. If the Phoenix lose, they will play against the loser.

Atlanta Regional
1. Georgia Tech (35-17-1) vs. 4. Georgia State (39-20)
2. Elon (40-16) vs. 3. Southern Miss (35-23)

Regionals – 64 teams compete in 16 regions, double elimination
Starts: Friday, May 29
Sites: Varies

Super Regionals – 16 regional-winners are narrowed down to 8 teams, best-of-three series
Starts: Friday, June 5
Sites: Varies

College World Series – 8 super regional winners fight to become the national champion, best-of-three series
Starts: Saturday, June 13
Site: Omaha, Nebraska

National Seeds:
1. Texas (41-13-1)
2. Cal St Fullerton (42-14)
3. LSU (46-16)
4. North Carolina (42-16)
5. Arizona State (44-12)
6. UC Irvine (43-13)
7. Oklahoma (41-18)
8. Florida (39-20)

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

MLB: The First Quarter Outlook

By Andy Harris, WSOE Sports

Well, since we’re roughly at the quarter mark of the 2009 baseball season, I decided to do some sort of a recap, preferably one that is poorly structured and disorganized. But first, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the whole Manny being chemically-enhanced Manny thing. I don’t need to go through the whole integrity of the game spiel because you’ve heard that hundreds of times after the various incidents involving McGwire and Clemens and Bonds and Rodriguez and– holy crap, this game has no integrity! Seriously, how can that many good players get busted and– Sorry, I suppose that was unavoidable. Anyways, Manny claims he’s innocent and that he was prescribed HCG (a women’s fertility drug) by his doctor to boost his testosterone levels “for personal reasons.” So if he’s right, he’s impotent. Would that really make you feel any better about him?

Anyways, the general rule of thumb is to give a team until Memorial Day to pass any judgments on them. You guys will have to forgive me for posting this 4 days early. So through the first month and a half, this is what I’ve learned:

The Blue Jays are for real (maybe). Honestly I can’t make up my mind. I could write two separate posts: one arguing they’re a fluke and one arguing that they’ll win the AL East. In fact, I think I will. Maybe it’ll help me make up a mind.

For real:
They have the best record in the AL, and have scored the most runs while allowing the fewest. They’re still playing well (winning 7 of their last 10), so it’s not as if they started hot and just cooled off. They were great at the end of last year too, and had the best record in the game over the final two months. Their rotation is anchored by Roy Halladay, and their vets are having bounce-back years while some younger guys are beginning to break out. They have a filthy bullpen and fantastic defense, which is what most legitimate World Series threats are built upon. And it’s late May and they’re still in the lead.

Frauds:
I look at their roster and see a ton of guys overachieving. Rod Barajas’s OPS+ (On-base plus slugging %, where 100 is average) is 114. His career average is 79, and he’s 33, so it shouldn’t be getting better. Aaron Hill is OPSing .947, and I know he just turned the magical 27, but in his only other non-injury plagued seasons he’s OPSed in the .700s. He’s not David Wright. Marco Scutaro has always been an awful hitter but now he’s suddenly a very good one? At age 33? And you’re going to tell me that 29-year-old stopgap starter Scott Richmond is suddenly on par with Josh Beckett? Let’s face it, this roster is due for a lot of regression. Oh, and they’ve only played 8 games against the AL East, and only 5 against the Yankees or Sawx, in which they’re 1-4.

The verdict: I hate to say it, but I can’t shake the feeling the birds are for real. It’s just my gut. I know it goes against the very statistical analysis that I use every week on this column, but every day they seem more and more legitimate. Teams that overachieve generally regress after a month or so, but the Jays are still going strong. Every now and then a mediocre team composed of middling players will explode into the playoffs, led by a bevy of career years that come out of nowhere. Take my beloved 1993 Phillies, for example. That team had no business making the postseason, between dozens of question marks and zero expectations. The Jays seem like that team. Also, their success thus far has been without their two best hitters, Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. If those two can start hitting the Jays may be able to easily overcome any regression they’ll face.

Big Papi is pretty much done.

Although he finally snapped his 27,391 at-bat homerless drought, David Ortiz is still rapidly declining. Between his bum wrist and a skill set that doesn’t age well (look up Mo Vaughn) I really don’t have any confidence that he can return to being a threat in the middle of any lineup, let alone the force he was even just 2 years ago. Look at his numbers over the past 4 years:

2006: .287 BA, .413 OBP, .636(!) SLG, 1 Home Run every 10.33 At Bats
2007: .322, .445, .621, 1HR/ 15.69 AB
2008: .264, .369, .505, 1HR/ 19.8 AB
2009: .203, .317, .293, 1HR/138 AB

If that doesn’t spell decline, I don’t know what does. Well, except D-E-C-L-I-N-E.

Zack Greinke has finally fulfilled his potential and joined the ranks of the elite pitchers of the game. I know he’s only made 8 starts, but his numbers are ridiculous. 7-1, .60 ERA(!), .83 WHIP, .189 AVG against, 65 K in 60 IP. His peripherals are just as good. Look, we all know he isn’t THIS good. No one is. He won’t be able to sustain this level of success all season long. But there are maybe 5 pitchers in the game that can carry that level of dominance over 8 starts, and Greinke’s proven he ranks up there right alongside the Santanas, Halladays, and Harens of the sport.

The defending champs are in some serious trouble. Yes, I’m a little worried about my Phillies. If they can’t rectify their starting pitching, there’s almost no way they can hope to defend their crown. They can take solace in the fact that Hamels wasn’t near 100% to begin the year but has straightened things out since. Brett Myers appears to be settling down, and the serviceable J.A. Happ replaces the horrendous Chan Ho Park. But unless Joe Blanton or Jamie Moyer can turn this around (or the Phils can manage to replace them) this staff is rather shallow. A shallow pitching staff won’t win you many playoff series, either.

The Diamondbacks are never going to be a force in the NL. Not this D’Backs club, as it’s currently constructed. For the past few years analysts and executives have been saying that Arizona is a team to watch out for. Anchored by a dominant 1-2 atop their rotation and a lineup filled with prospects with bright futures, many thought that this could be the year ‘zona finally takes the next step. Sadly, they haven’t. It’s been so bad they fired Manager Doug Melvin. It’s tough for a small-market team based on prospects and potential to take the next step when the prospects don’t pan out. Mark Reynolds has tons of power but appears destined to remain a Ryan Howard lite. Chris Young seems unable to ride his dynamic power and speed combo to anything beyond the role of a fourth outfielder. Conor Jackson can hit for average (although apparently not in 2009) but it doesn’t look like he’ll ever develop much power. Chad Tracy is declining at age 30 and resigning Eric Byrnes was an awful decision. I’ll admit, Stephen Drew and Justin Upton still have tons of potential, and Upton’s already showing us glimpses of his future right now. But with Drew and ace Brandon Webb on the shelf, a bad bullpen, a shallow rotation, and a lineup that lacks and teeth, it’s hard to get excited about this team now or for next year.

Contact Information:
Andy Harris
WSOE Sports
aharris20@elon.edu

NFL: Gruden doesn’t deserve to join “Monday Night Football”

By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director

Jon Gruden, former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will shift from the sidelines to announcing ESPN’s Monday Night Football in the press box next season. He replaces Tony Kornheiser as color commentator, joining commentator Ron Jaworski and play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico.

I didn’t see Gruden’s broadcasting resume. What does it look like? Oh wait, there isn’t one. Hey, I get it. Former coaches and players have been announcing their games for many years. A few of them are great, most are average, and others are terrible. That’s how it goes.

However, Gruden shouldn’t have been handed such a prestigious position in broadcasting. He has never spent a season as color commentator or studio analyst anywhere. He was only a guest analyst on the NFL network for scouting and draft coverage. What makes him qualified to be a color announcer for Monday Night Football?

At least be a consistent analyst for a show. At least have some television presence other than yelling at the referees and collapsing at the end of last season, losing the last four games and failing to reach the playoffs.

Gruden may be entertaining, but there’s a lot more to being a good announcer than that. He needs quality broadcasting experience. I would rather see him be a color commentator for regional NFL games on CBS or FOX than to start immediately on a national stage.

If not Gruden, then who would I pick? Well, here’s my list of color announcers or studio analysts who are a lot more qualified to announce Monday Night Football.

1. Troy Aikmen – FOX color announcer since 2001, announced two Super Bowls (XXXIX and XLII), very clear and concise, delivers excellent points
2. Phil Simms – CBS color announcer since 1998, announced four Super Bowls (XXX, XXXII, XXXV, and XXXVIII), very experienced, easy to understand
3. Tom Jackson – Monday Night Football studio analyst for three years, good TV personality, provides useful arguments
4. Steve Young – Monday Night Football studio analyst for three years, explains the game well, modest in making points
5. Charles Davis – NFL Network Total Access analyst for two years, announced last 3 BCS National Championship games, easy to listen to, gets his points across well

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

WSOE Sports Shows Update

Since classes have ended, WSOE Sports won’t have any shows until the fall.

Keep it here for more blog posts. We’ll continue to provide articles on professional, college, and Elon sports.

Feel free to leave comments!

Contact Information:
Craig Filazzola
WSOE Sports Director
cfilazzola@elon.edu

NFL: Early Predictions

By Tom Waterman, WSOE Sports

It is that time of year again, time for sports analysts everywhere to start making their crazy predictions for the next NFL season. Including their Super Bowl Champs, impact rookies, and first coach fired. Well, I figured I would partake in the fun as well this year.

Division Champs:
NFC- Giants, Vikings (even if they do get Brett Favre), Falcons, and 49ers
AFC- Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Chargers

Impact Rookies:
NFC- Michael Crabtree, Hakeem Nicks, Aaron Curry, Brian Orakpo
AFC- Mark Sanchez, Knowshon Moreno

Coach on the Hottest Seat:
– Dick Jauron

How long into the season before T.O. says something he shouldn’t:
-Week 11, I mean it is bound to happen at some point.

Super Bowl Prediction:
Giants vs. Colts, I can’t be the only one that wants to see a more of the Double Stuff Racing League commercials!

Feel free to comment on all WSOE Sports Posts, and even make predictions of your own!

Contact Information:
Tom Waterman
WSOE Sports
swaterman@elon.edu