Archive for the ‘College baseball’ category

Roar Lion Roar

May 11, 2014

The baseball team for my alma mater Columbia University beat Dartmouth twice yesterday to win the Ivy League Championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  This is the second year in a row the Lions have led the Ivy League, and last year they won their first NCAA tournament game, beating New Mexico 6-5 in 13 innings, before being knocked off by Arizona State.

The 2014 Lions don’t have any particularly impressive hitters — only one player, Will Savage hit better than .300, and no one had an on-base percentage above .388 or a slugging percentage above .489.  However, the line-up was solid from top to bottom, and the team got on base with all eight regulars having OBP’s of .340 or higher.  The Lions so far have a 27-17 record.

The Lions’ best pitcher was senior left-hander David Speer, who went 7-2 with a 2.03 ERA and a pitching line of 80 IP, 67 hits, two HRs and six BBs allowed and 69 Ks.  Speer pitched nearly as well in 2013 for the Lions but was apparently not drafted last June.  One would have to think he has a good chance of being drafted this coming June in the later rounds.

No one else pitched nearly as well as Speer, but starters George Thanopoulis and Kevin Roy and relievers Zack Tax and Mike Weisman all deserve mention.

Current Dodger farm hand Mike Baxter is the last Columbia product to reach the major leagues, although he played only one season for the Lions before transferring to Vanderbilt.  The last Columbia pitcher to reach the majors was Frankie Seminara, who pitched for Columbia while I was there.

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Some Notes from the College Game

April 4, 2014

SI.com has a news wire link that sometimes has some pretty interesting tidbits about what’s going on in the college ranks.  For example, a pitcher from the University of Hartford named Sean Newcomb is now getting scouts’ rapt attention because he has a 0.00 ERA after pitching 39.2 innings so far this season.

Newcomb has allowed one unearned run on 14 hits and 19 walks while striking out 46.  He’s a junior this year, so he will likely be drafted this June.  Last year, as a sophomore, he struck out 92 batters in 72 innings pitched, so this year’s performance doesn’t appear to be entirely a fluke.  At any rate, he can consistently throw 94-95 mph, and he’s getting more attention from the pros than any Hartford player since Jeff Bagwell in the 1980’s.

Meanwhile, another college pitcher, Stony Brook’s Frankie Vanderka, set a record by throwing his third college no-hitter on March 22nd.  Vanderka is a senior this year who went undrafted in 2013, probably because he doesn’t strike a lot of people out (175 Ks in 245.2 IP so far in his college career).  His college career ERA is less than 3.00, he has good command and doesn’t give up a lot of hits or dingers, so given the publicity generated by his three no-hitters, there’s a good chance some MLB organization will draft him in the later rounds this coming June.  If not, he’ll have to go make a name for himself in the Independent A leagues.

One thing is for certain, however: Vanderka’s awfully tough to hit on his best days.