Friday was an Ace vs. Ace pitcher’s duel. On Saturday, only one pitcher remembered to bring his gun.
Kumar Rocker announced his presence. The big freshman made Corbs look brilliant for promoting him to Saturday starter, going 7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K on an efficient 84 pitches. He trusted his catcher, trusted his stuff, hit his spots, used the whole plate, and spun curves for strikes—rather than trying to blow everyone away, and consequently leaving the occasional fat one over the middle.
Had the game been closer, Kumar would have been out there in the 8th to take us all the way to White Castle. With a 12 run lead, and the win a near statistical certainty, Corbs chose not to tax his arm.
Rocker’s counterpart, freshman Connor Noland, did not even record an out. His line (0 IP, 5 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 K) was one he will want to forget—though there is beauty in the infinite, for a pitcher, an infinity ERA is as ugly as it gets.
In Noland’s defense, he was only on the mound for two of those runs, and though he gave up 4 hits, only one of those was hard hit (Chili P’s line drive single through the 4 hole). The inning started with Cooper “The Ontario Barrel-Maker” Davis with an infield single that the SS, Casey Martin, should have stuck in his back pocket. He chose to throw it, airmailed it, and Davis was on 2nd. This rattled Noland, who walked Austin Martin on 4 pitches.
At that point, an Oracle visited the PA, as Yakkety Sax blared from stadium speakers during a coaching visit to the mound. Why was that oracular? Well... Bleday came to the plate... and this happened:
Commenter “shoogymgshoogs” twisted the knife with this delightful bon mot: “At least that dropped foul ball [...] didn’t cost them a national championship.”
Following the Keystone Hogs routine, Chili P lined in Martin to make it 2-0, and Philip “The Hitman” Clarke reached on an infield single to load it—ending Noland’s afternoon before an out was recorded. Of course, my assumption is that Noland was pulled less for his pitching than for not running to cover first on Clarke’s “hit.” My comment in the game thread at that moment was: “Noland freshman’d it up on the coverage there (lax to run to first), and allowed Clarke to reach. Noland will leave with an infinity ERA: 2 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 out… responsible for all ducks on the pond. Whoa nelly!” Any coach can tell you that when a pitcher forgets simple responsibilities, he’s rattled and not going to be able to get his head screwed back on right that day.
Dave Van Horn pulled Noland to give his team a shot before the game got out of hand. In came Kole Ramage... and the game got out of hand. He walked Harrison Ray to make it 3-0. Then came Stephen Scott, who had recently been demoted to the 7 spot in the lineup, and he turned the hogs into Salami.
7-0 Dores before Arky recorded the first out. More of that, please.
We would add two more in the 2nd, as Chili P had his second RBI hit—this time, a double—and Clarke plated one with a sac fly that could have gone out had the wind not been blowing in from center.
In the 3rd, JJ Bleday just did JJ Bleday things.
That made it 12-0, and though there is no mercy rule in conference play, we decided that was enough of a pounding for one day, and put the bats to sleep.
Today, at 1pm, we get the brooms ready. We have our senior 4 year starter in Patrick “Mad Dog” Raby on the mound, and a fully rested bullpen. In fact, the only pitchers on our roster who won’t be available are Fellows and Rocker.
Arky, on the other hand, burned through 5 pitchers on Saturday, and have “TBA” pitching.
The only thing to be even slightly concerned about heading into today’s game is the status of Cooper Davis, who pulled up lame running down a single in the 2nd, and was replaced by freshman Isaiah Thomas in the 3rd. Thomas, who had a HR and a 2B in the midweek win over Empty S-U, had another two hits yesterday.
With DMC hobbled with a hammy, I’d like to remind you that Thomas was originally our 3rd CF on the depth chart. And he’s a damned future star.
Think about that for a second.
See you in the comments.
*Update: Today’s Lineup—Isaiah Thomas Gets the Nod in CF