Extra Innings Blog

Special correspondents and veteran baseball SIDs Jeff Conrad of Houston and Richie Weaver of Tulane and C-USA's own Russell Anderson plan to provide insight and information from Houston in the Fourth Annual C-USA Baseball Championship Blog.

May 29, 2010

That is a wrap
Posted at 11:55 p.m. CT
Well, the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship is in the books and what a week it was at Cougar Field. We saw a lot of offense and a lot of home runs and some were even by teams other than Rice. After four days in the hot Houston weather, we crowned Southern Miss as the 2010 C-USA Tournament Champions. We wish them luck in the NCAA Championship.

We want to send out much congratulations to the University of Houston athletic department for their outstanding work in putting this together. Athletics Director Mack Rhoades has a staff that put in a great deal of time and effort to make this a first class championship. While dozens of staffers contributed to the successful week, we'd like to single out several individuals that spent months in preparing and executing the event: T.J. Meagher, Traci Cauley, Jeremy McDonald, Jeff Conrad, Tory Teykl and Grant Greene.

Personally, I want to thank all of the Houston Athletic Communications staff for everything they did this week. I also want to single out our official scorer this week, Jack Duggan, who drove seven hours to be here and score every game this week. On his drive over to Houston, he picked up my blog partner Richie Weaver, who has been invaluable this week with all of the writing he has done and the videos he has shot.

We hope that you enjoyed the blog. Thanks for following the Conference USA Championship all week long. We are already looking forward to next year's event in Jackson, Miss.


Postgame Video from Southern Miss' Championship Game win over Rice
Posted at 11:12 p.m. CT
Here are the video links following Southern Miss' 7-4 victory over Rice.

Final Out/Celebration Final Out/Celebration
Scott Berry Gatorade Bath Scott Berry Gatorade Bath
Trophy Presentation Trophy Presentation
Southern Miss coachScott Berry
Southern Miss pitcher Scott Copeland
Southern Miss shortstop B.A. Vollmuth

2010 C-USA Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team
Posted at 10:37 p.m. CT
C Diego Seastrunk, Rice
IF Rick Hague, Rice
IF Anthony Rendon, Rice
IF B.A. Vollmuth, Southern Miss
IF Taylor Walker, Southern Miss
OF Michael Fuda, Rice
OF Chad Mozingo, Rice
OF Steven Sultzbaugh, Rice
DH M.P. Cokinos, Houston
P Scott Copeland, Southern Miss
P Seth Maness, East Carolina
P Brennon Martin, Memphis
P Jared Rogers, Rice
Tournament MVP:
P Scott Copeland, Southern Miss


Southern Miss wins 2010 C-USA Baseball Championship
Posted at 10:28 p.m. CT
Scott Copeland was masterful in relief, pitching 4.1 innings of hitless relief and striking out three to seal a 7-4 win over Rice.

The Golden Eagles will represent C-USA in the NCAA Regionals next week, as they make their eighth straight postseason trip.

Full recap will be posted on ConferenceUSA.com later.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Lagniappe Edition
Posted at 9:48 p.m. CT
I know that we've already rattled off one C-USA Championship Hero from each team to ever participate in the tournament. We have yet, however, to look inside our own press box to find a hero from yesteryear. Russ Anderson would be the obvious choice and you could pick almost any SID over the years to bestow the honor upon. Instead, we look to an outsider who came to the rescue when we needed it the most.

Championship Story - During the 2008 championship in New Orleans, we ran shot of food. As former C-USA employee and Extra Innings blog founding father Tod Meisner recounts, "The last thing that we as SIDs need to deal with are hungry members of the media. I swear I just saw Al Jones with the Southern Miss media group take apart a Tulane media guide and salt and pepper the pages." Well, in a story that has become lore around these parts, I made a quick phone call to a local eating establishment to order some grub and they agreed to do so for a reduced price. Working the event, however, I had no way of leaving the press box to actually pick it up. So I made another call, this time to my then-girlfriend Meghan Legaux, who agreed to make the run. Upon entering the press box food in hand, several cheers went up, and Houston SID Jeff Conrad went as far as asking Legaux if he could hug her.

Where Are They Now? - Legaux remains in New Orleans and works as a public relations coordinator for HNTB. In more surprising news, she has actually agreed to marry yours truly next April 16. I love you, baby!


Rice Rallies Back
Posted at 9:01 p.m. CT
The regular-season Conference USA champions made things a lot more interesting here with three runs in the bottom of the second to make it a 5-4 ballgame. A two-RBI double by Michael Rattarree plated Diego Seastrunk and Anthony Rendon from first and third, respectively. Jimmy Comerota followed with an RBI single to right and Michael Fuda walk to loaded the bases with two away.

From there, Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry went to the bullpen and Scott Copeland entered the game to replace startere Todd McInnis. Copeland responded to strike out Rice right fielder Steven Sultzbaugh to get out of the jam and keep the Golden Eagles on top for now.

Remember, Copeland earned the win on Wednesday when Southern Miss opened the 2010 C-USA Championship with an 8-2 win over Memphis. In that game, he went 8.0 shutout innings during which time he struck out five and scattered four hits and a walk.

McInnis' day ends after 4.2 innings and he will not figure into the decision. During his time on the hill, he gave up four runs on 10 hits and two walks while striking out one. McInnis threw 92 pitches, 53 for strikes.


Stay Hot, Kid
Posted at 8:36 p.m. CT
Southern Miss B.A. Vollmuth has been on fire of late and has flexed his offensive muscles here at the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship. Vollmuth just made it a 5-1 ballgame with a leadoff homer in the top of the fifth. The long ball was his 10th in the last 11 games and 18th overall for the year.

He has one hit in all four games the Golden Eagles have played here in Houston, and is connecting at a .363 clip (4-for-11) with two home runs and five RBI.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 15
Posted at 8:28 p.m. CT
We've got a good one going here in the C-USA Championship Game. Both teams have hung zeroes after the first inning, and after four full innings, the score remains 4-1 in favor of the Golden Eagles. With a break in the action here, let's go ahead and take a look at our final C-USA Championship Hero.

Championship Moment - A member of Conference USA for just the past five years, UCF has advanced to the C-USA Championship three times since 2006. While the Knights are just 1-6 in C-USA Tournament play, Jaager Good earns a spot on our standout performer's list as the lone UCF pitcher to earned a win in the postseason event. Toeing the rubber in an elimination game against Houston in 2007, Good was great as the hurler struck out nine and scattered four hits in 7.0 shutout innings during UCF's 1-0 win over the Cougars. The 1-0 contests was the first and only game ever to finish with just one run scored.

Where Are They Now? - Good wrapped up his collegiate career with the Knights in 2009, but it is not know what happened to him from there. If anyone has any information on Mr. Good, please drop us a line.


Game Update & C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 14
Posted at 7:59 p.m. CT
Rice answered Southern Miss' four-run first with a single run in the home half of the frame, getting a solo home run by shortstop Rick Hague. The Owls had a chance to cut the deficit even more in the second but left the bases loaded. At this point, it's 4-1 after two complete.

With that, it time for another look back to our past tournament heroes. Our next C-USA Championship Hero comes to us from Birmingham, Ala.

Championship Moment - The 1996 Conference USA Tournament was known for offensive fireworks. Played at Southern Miss' Pete Taylor Park - or as surviving SID members called it then, Pete "Tater" Park - the nine participating teams combined to hit a tournament-record 56 home runs during the week. No player, however, has had a better display of pure power than UAB infielder Jeff Bell. In a performance that epitomized the 1996 event, Bell hit three home runs against Charlotte. Bell's three-home run performance was equaled just once in C-USA Tournament history as Tulane's Nathan Southard equaled the feat against Houston in 2005. Despite Bell's standout performance, the Blazers lost to the 49ers, 17-9.

Where Are They Now? - Bell played one year of independent baseball with the Tennessee Tomahawks of the Heartland League in 1998, but beyond that, there isn't a lot of information out there on him. If anyone has information on Bell's whereabouts, please let us know.


Southern Miss Draws First Blood
Posted at 7:26 p.m. CT
We're just three outs into the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship Game, and already Southern Miss has managed to do something no one has been able to do throughout the week - take a lead on regular-season champion Rice.

The Golden Eagles loaded the bases to start the game, and a two-run fielding error put Southern Miss on top by a pair. Following a sacrifice bunt, an RBI-groundout by Dillon Day put the gang from Hattiesburg up, 3-0, and Joey Archer singled through the right side of the infield to stake Southern Miss to a four-run lead.

With the way Rice has swung the bats so far during the C-USA Championship, I'm not sure that any lead is safe. Obviously, it's still early. We have a long way to go (and a short time to get there). But if you're Southern Miss, you have to like the way things started.


Championship Game Preview
Posted at 6:29 p.m. CT
For the first time ever, the same two teams are meeting in the C-USA Baseball Championship Game in back-to-back years, as Rice and Southern Miss get set to square off at Cougar Field. The Golden Eagles will be looking to even the score after the Owls won last year's meeting in Hattiesburg, 8-6.

Southern Miss will send one of its two aces to the mound, as 2009 C-USA Pitcher of the Year Todd McInnis will make the start. The right-hander is 6-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 14 starts. In 89.2 innings pitched, he has 85 strikeouts and 31 walks.

It's Boogie time for Rice, as Boogie Anagnostou makes his eighth start of the year and his 18th overall appearance. He owns a 3-3 record with a 4.10 ERA over 59.1 innings pitched.

The Owls enter the championship game batting .459 in this tournament, so the effectiveness of the Golden Eagle pitching staff may be the key. Southern Miss may be able to use Scott Copeland (10-0) in relief and then go to closer Collin Cargill.

Stay tuned as Southern Miss seeks its second Conference USA Tournament title, while Rice looks to make it four out of the past five championships.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 13
Posted at 5:45 p.m. CT
We're about an hour and a half away from first pitch of the 2010 Conference USA Championship game, and you all know what that means. Yep, it's time the latest installment of C-USA Championship Heroes. Today, we will be looking at the three current league members who did not qualify for this year's tournament. Going alphabetically down the list of schools, we head to the Crescent City and a player who's name closely resembles the city he played in collegiately.

Championship Moment - The inaugural Conference USA Baseball Championship in 1996 set the standard for total home runs in a tournament as the nine teams combined to hit 56 dingers over a six-day span. Tulane pitcher Jack Cressend, however, turned the first-ever championship game into a pitchers' duel as the Green Wave hurler tossed a complete-game shutout to lead his team to a 2-0 victory over South Florida. Cressend scattered five hits and five walks on the day while striking out 11. His strikeout total still ranks second in C-USA Tournament to fellow Tulanian Jason Navarro, who fanned 13 against Cincinnati in 1997.

Where Are They Now? - Following the 1996 college season, Cressend went on to play in the Cape Cod League - the premier summer wooden-bat league for college players - and signed a free agent deal later that summer with the Boston Red Sox. Early in the 1999 season, he was waived and claimed by the Minnesota Twins. Cressend made his big-league debut on Aug. 26, 2000, and played three seasons in the Twin Cities. He was waived for a second time, and was picked up by Cleveland on Oct. 17, 2002. Cressend toed the rubber for the Indians for two years and retired from professional baseball in 2005. He spent two years working as a high school coach in Louisiana, and just completed his second season as the pitching coach at his alma mater.


Championship Game on CBS College Sports
Posted at 5:29 p.m. CT
Southern Miss and Rice have arrived at Cougar Field in preparation for tonight's championship game. The Golden Eagles are on the field right now taking batting practice.

Don't forget that tonight's championship game is being televised nationally by CBS College Sports, beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Brent Stover and Rex Hudler will call the action.


May 28, 2010

Postgame Video from Southern Miss' win over Houston
Posted at 12:37 a.m. CT
Here are the video links from the postgame interviews following Southern Miss' 10-6 win over Houston.

Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry
Southern Miss second baseman Taylor Walker
Southern Miss shortstop B.A. Vollmuth

Southern Miss Prevails, 10-6
Posted at 12:19 a.m. CT

Just before the clock struck midnight, Southern Miss right fielder Tyler Koelling made a running catch in the corner, saving two runs and ending a ninth inning comeback by Houston. The catch helped seal a 10-6 victory for the Golden Eagles, who will now turn their attention on preparing for the top-seeded Rice Owls in Saturday night's championship game.

Taylor Walker was 3-for-4 with two RBI for Southern Miss, while B.A. Vollmuth hit his ninth home run in the past 10 games.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 12
Posted at 11:22 p.m. CT

The Golden Eagle just did their best to create some separation against Houston with five runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a 10-3 ballgame. With that, it's time for another Conference USA Championship Hero.

Our final hero of the day comes from a team playing in tonight's ballgame and is one of three players on our list who made it all the way up to the Major League level. A native of Natchez, Miss., he stayed home to play for Southern Miss and if the Golden Eagles can find a way to win tomorrow, he probably take the field on Tuesday with an extra hop in his step and his chest puffed out with pride at the boys currently representing his alma mater.

Championship Moment - Over the years, the Conference USA Baseball Championship has featured its fair share of home runs and offensive showcases. None, however, was more impressive than Southern Miss' Jarrett Hoffpauir helped key an 11-run seventh inning to turn a 10-5 UAB lead into a 16-10 Golden Eagle advantage as he hammered a pair of home runs and drove in a combined six runs with a two-run shot and a grand slam against the Blazers in the first of two semifinal games between the two clubs in 2004. Hoffpauir is still the only player in C-USA Tournament history to leave the yard twice in the same inning, and his performance helped key a Southern Miss rally that helped the Eagles come out of the loser's bracket to play in the title game.

Where Are They Now? - Hoffpauir's efforts helped the Golden Eagles advance to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional where they went 1-2. The next week, he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2004 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Hoffpauir worked his way up the chain over the next five seasons and made his big-league debut with the Cards on July 4, 2009, where he had a hit and two RBI. He was traded in the offseason to the Toronto Blue Jays and has spent the entire 2010 season to date with the Los Vegas 51s. In games played through May 27, he is hitting .333 (180-for-203) with a .517 slugging percentage on the strength of 10 doubles, a triple and seven home runs while driving in 34.

That's all for today on the C-USA Heroes front. We've got three more to get you tomorrow, and possibly a fourth. Hopefully we'll have time to squeeze them all in before we wrap things up on Saturday night.


Southern Miss Still On Top, 5-3 After 6
Posted at 10:54 p.m. CT

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the day. Hopefully it's not an oncoming train. We've now played six complete in the final game of pod play here at the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship, and the Golden Eagles lead Houston, 5-3.

The two teams traded runs in the fourth, but both teams hung goose eggs in the fifth and sixth frames. Houston had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the sixth as two men reached with only one out, but Matt Creel lined out into a double play which caught Austin Gracey too far away from the bag to end the inning. In the home half of the stanza, Houston loaded the bases but reliever Mo Wiley responded to strikeout Adam Doleac to wiggle off the hook.

Three more innings, and this baby is in the book. But we've got another good one going and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out.


Rice vs. Southern Miss Championship Game Notes
Posted at 10:32 p.m. CT

**Rice and Southern Miss will meet in the championship game for the second straight season. Rice scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to win last year's championship game in Hattiesburg, 8-6.

**This will be the first time in C-USA's 15-year history that the same two teams have met in the championship game in back-to-back years.

**Rice will be seeking its fourth C-USA Tournament title in five years as a member of Conference USA. The Owls won the tourney in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

**Southern Miss will be making its fourth C-USA Championship Game appearance. The Golden Eagles won the championship game in 2003 and lost it in 2004 and 2009. The 2004 championship was played here at Cougar Field, as USM fell to TCU, 3-1.

**Rice and Southern Miss in C-USA Championship Games
2009: Rice 8, Southern Miss 6
2007: Rice 16, East Carolina 8
2006: Rice 11, Houston 5
2004: TCU 3, Southern Miss 1
2003: Southern Miss 7, Tulane 5

**Rice is 15-3 all-time in C-USA Tournament games.

**Rice set a C-USA Tournament record for runs scored in the first inning of a C-USA Tournament game with 11 runs in the opening inning vs. Houston on Thursday. The Owls put up another 11 runs in the second inning of Friday's game vs. Marshall.

**The Owls' 24 total runs and 21-run margin of victory in Thursday's 24-3 victory over Houston are both C-USA Championship records, breaking the former marks of 23 by Charlotte vs. Louisville on May 16, 1996 and 20 in the same game, respectively. Rice's six home runs in that game tied the Owls own championship record, originally set against Memphis on May 26, 2007.

**Rice's-18-0 win over Marshall was the largest margin of victory in a shutout game during the C-USA Championship contest, surpassing the former mark of 13, accomplished three times.

**Rice has hit 13 home runs in three games, just two shy of the tournament record of 15, set by Southern Miss over five games in the 2004 tournament here at Cougar Field.


Video Killed the Radio Star, Part II
Posted at 9:26 p.m. CT
During the second lightning delay, the press box crew passed the time by watching 1980's music videos. Here's the set list of what we watched:

Rocket - Herbie Hancock
You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon
Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
One Night In Bangkok - Murray Head
Puttin' on the Ritz - Taco
We are the World - Numerous Artists
The Reflex - Duran Duran
Yes, we're getting incredibly loopy up here after nine baseball games in three days.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 11
Posted at 9:31 p.m. CT
Well, the lightning delay ended long enough for Houston to toss a scoreless bottom of the third, and Cougar catcher Chris Wallace belted a two-out solo homer in the top of the fourth to make it 4-3 in favor of the Golden Eagles. That is the good news. The bad news is that we just had another recent lightning strike and we're in for at least another 30 minute delay.

But in every cloud, there is a silver lining - even if it is just tin foil. In this case, that silver lining is a chance to drop in another historical nugget. This one comes from right here in Houston, but a bit west of the place we're all anxiously awaiting the weather to flee from.

Championship Moment - Since Rice joined Conference USA for the 2005-06 academic year, the Owls have dominated in baseball. But in 2007, Rice got a boost from an unlikely candidate as under-the-radar hurler Bobby Bramhall came out of the bullpen to become an inning-eater during the Owls march to the C-USA Tournament title. Bramhall appeared in three of Rice's five games that week, striking out five and walking two while not giving up a single in 5.0 innings of work. In the championship game, Bramhall was the last of six pitchers to toe the rubber for the Owls, tossing a scoreless ninth in a 16-8 win over host East Carolina.

Where Are They Now? - Following his C-USA Championship performance, Bramhall helped the Owls advance to another College World Series. Along the way, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 18th round of the 2007 MLB Draft and spent the next two-plus seasons with the organization's clubs is Helena, West Virginia, Brevard County and Huntsville. He was released following the 2009 season, and we are unsure of what happened to Bramhall from there.


That was quick
Posted at 9:26 p.m. CT
We resumed play and UH's Chris Wallace homered to right field to cut the Southern Miss lead to 4-3. Apparently, he made Mother Nature made, because after two other players made outs, the lightning started back up again.

We're in our second delay of the night, hoping to resume shortly before 10:00, if Mother Nature has forgiven Chris Wallace by that time.


2010 Tod Meisner Conference USA Tournament All-Name Team
Posted at 9:21 p.m. CT
Ladies and Gentlemen....it is time to present to the world the 2010 Conference USA All-Name Team as chosen by myself, Richie and Jeff Conrad. Thirteen uniquely named individuals made the fourth annual squad that is named in honor of the former C-USA media relations staffer that brought this squad to the blog back in 2007.

M.P. Cokinos, Houston
Dakota Dill, Houston
Michael Goodnight, Houston
William Kankel, Houston
Thor Meeks, Marshall
Boogie Anagnostou, Rice
*Diego Seastrunk, Rice
Mandella Mingo, Southern Miss
Robby Broach, Tulane
Gunner Wright, Tulane
Trey Early, UAB
*Digger Towe, UAB
Trey Vice, UAB

*repeat selection


We're Baaaack
Posted at 9:14 p.m. CT
After a one hour and 15 minute lightning delay (with a light rain thrown in for good measure), we're back underway at Cougar Field.

As we resume play, its Southern Miss 4, Houston in the bottom of the third inning.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 10
Posted at 8:53 p.m. CT
The tarp crew is on the field and ready to pull it. It's been a while since we've blogged. Sorry about that, but we've been Sporcling up here in the box to pass the time. With that, we take a look at a player who was more known for his prowess at the Liberty Bowl than at "The Nat".

Championship Moment - More known for his football prowess under center as the Tigers quarterback, Memphis' Will Hudgens pitched in perhaps the biggest game in recent history in a 2-1 win over Rice in the semifinals of the 2007 Conference USA Tournament in Greenville, N.C. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals that year for the first time since 2001 and were squarely on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid. After three scoreless innings Memphis got back-to-back, two-out solo home runs by Bill Moss and Joey Lieberman. That was all that Hudgens needed as he allowed just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out a pair in a 5.0 inning start. The win gave Memphis its 36th win of the 2007 season and the Tigers earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1994.

Where Are They Now? - Hudgens went on to play for the Tigers' football team and actually earned a sixth-year of eligibility as torn knee ligaments and a broken leg whittle away his playing time. On the gridiron, he finished with 1,304 passing yard and 12 touchdown tosses. He graduated earlier this month and is just entering the work force.


Delay Of Game
Posted at 7:54 p.m. CT
Just as Barry Laird was set to throw his opening pitch in the bottom of the third, home-plate umpire Scott Graham called the players off the field as lightning has been spotted in the area and the game is now in a delay. Typically, lightning calls for a 30-minute break in the action, but no official word has made its way to the press box just yet. We'll let you know something as soon as we find out.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 9
Posted at 7:34 p.m. CT
We're one inning into the nightcap - and in a shade under a half hour - and it's 4-2 in favor of Southern Miss. Houston plated a pair in the top of the first courtesy of RBI-singles by Caleb Ramsey and Zak Presley, but the Golden Eagles got a two-run homer by B.A. Vollmuth and a two-RBI single off the bat of Joey Archer.

Well, let's continue the countdown. This time, we'll stay right here in Houston for a Cougar that best personifies the baseball version of David Barrett's `One Shining Moment'.

Championship Moment - You won't find his name anywhere in the Cougars' vaunted record book, but during the 1997 Conference USA Tournament, Scottie Scott was the best player on the field. A true freshman catcher from Lynchburg, Va., Scott earned MVP honors in helping lead the University of Houston to the tournament championship for the first time as a C-USA member. At the plate, Scott hit .545 (12-for-22) with a .864 slugging percentage - on the strength of four doubles and a home run - and seven RBI. In addition to his outstanding offensive production, Scott caught all 47.2 innings of UH's five tournament games, including all 21 innings of a Saturday double-header.

Where Are They Now? - While no one here in town knows exactly where Mr. Scott is these days, the general consensus is that he remained in the area and is currently working in law enforcement. If anyone has additional details, please let us know.


Saying Goodbye
Posted at 7:20 p.m. CT
Good evening everyone. Jeff Conrad with the Houston Athletics Communications staff here... Sorry it took this long for my first blog entry. I am sure many of you were waiting with baited breath.

With the end of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship drawing close, it also marks the end of a relationship in our office. Jillian Rogers, who worked at Houston during the 2010-11 school year as an intern, will be heading to Philadelphia on Monday.

This season, Jillian worked with our men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field and softball teams and did a great job while juggling a lot of balls. It's never easy to see the end of a personal and professional relationship like we enjoyed with Jillian but we know she will be successful and happy in Philadelphia and wherever else she goes in the future.

With that in mind, we presented Jillian with some cookie cake in the middle of the first inning as a small token of our appreciation. We hope she won't be a stranger (and ask her to consider buying season tickets. They really are great gifts).

Good luck Jillian and have a safe trip. We will miss you.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 8
Posted at 6:59 p.m. CT
First pitch of tonight's Houston/Southern Miss is just moments away, but while we have a moment, let's continue our trip down memory lane. This time, we check in on the boys from Huntington, W.Va.

Championship Moment - The Thundering Herd have been a member of Conference USA for just five years, and have had limited success to date in the C-USA Championship. In 2008, however, Marshall fell one win shy of a tournament title and the automatic NCAA bid that comes along with it thanks largely in part to the play of shortstop Adam Yeager. Yeager hit an impressive .444 for the week (8-for-18) with a double and seven walks. His biggest contribution came on the base paths as Yeager set a C-USA Tournament record nine stolen bases, including a single-game mark of five in an opening-round 10-5 win over host Tulane.

Where Are They Now? - Yeager completed his collegiate career last year, but an expansive google search has not been of much help in tracking down where he is now. As was the case with Jason Tourangeau, if anyone knows where Mr. Yeager may be these days, please fill us in.


Championship Game Set
Posted at 6:53 p.m. CT
While Houston and Southern Miss continue to get ready for the final game of pod play here at the Conference USA Baseball Championship, little drama remains as the two teams to advance to tomorrow's title game have already been decided.

Rice clinched its spot in the C-USA Championship game with an 18-0 win over Marshall a little while ago. Southern Miss will be the Owls' opponent no matter how the Golden Eagles fair in tonight's game. USM earned a spot via tie-breaker scenarios the moment Tyler Huelsing's home run cleared the right-field wall to give Memphis a 3-2 win over East Carolina.

Even if Southern Miss were to lose tonight to the Cougars, all three teams in Pod 2 will have 1-2 records and the Golden Eagles earn the spot in Saturday's game as they are the pools' highest-seeded team. A Southern Miss win, meanwhile, allows the Eagles to win their pod outright.

Tonight's game is far from meaningless, however, as Southern Miss is looking to continue building its postseason resume, which will be reviewed by the NCAA Selection Committee over the weekend to determine the Regional field. A win tomorrow would obviously give the Golden Eagles a spot in the NCAA postseason via the league's automatic bid, but a win today and a loss tomorrow would make Southern Miss 34-23 and winners of 16 of its last 22 games.

Conference USA is the fifth-rated league in the most recent RPI. With Southern Miss finishing second in the regular-season conference standings, history shows that highly-regarded leagues often get multiple bids to the NCAA Regionals. Another factor that the NCAA Selection Committee looks at his how a team plays down the stretch. Posting a .727 winning percentage over the final month-plus of the year.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 7
Posted at 6:32 p.m. CT
As we get ready for the final game of pod play here at the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship, we hope that you have enjoyed our look back at great performances of tournaments past. Several of the league's former members have had big games, but one of the biggest surprises of all time came at Tulane's Turchin Stadium via Greenville, N.C.

Championship Moment - In the epitome of pulling a rabbit out of the hat, Jason Tourangeau took the hill on a steamy New Orleans morning to toe the rubber in an elimination game against Houston. Entering the ballgame, Tourangeau had just 7.0 innings of relief to his credit. Undounted, the Pirates' hurler was almost perfect in tossing a complete-game, one-hit shutout. Tourangeau struck out just one Cougar hitter, but retired 19-of-21 batters later and allowed just two UH base runners to get as far as second base as East Carolina won, 5-0. The win was a big one for the Pirates as East Carolina went on to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Atlanta Regional.

Where Are They Now? - We've put out an APB for the whereabouts and well being of Tourangeau to no avail. We were able to get a few humorous stories about him from former Pirates' player and current East Carolina Director of Baseball Operations Brian Cavanaugh, but we probably shouldn't share them here in this family-friendly blog. If you know where Tourangeau is, or if you Mr. Tourangeau are out there taking a gander, please drop us a line.


Postgame Video from Rice's win over Marshall
Posted at 5:56 p.m. CT
Here are the video links from the postgame interviews following Rice's 18-0 win over Marshall.

Rice head coach Wayne Graham
Rice outfielder Chad Mozingo
Rice pitcher Jared Rogers
Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner


Rice Rolls Again, Dumps Marshall 18-0 in 7
Posted at 5:28 p.m. CT
For the second straight day, the Owls sent the fans home early and with a smile on their faces as Rice blanked Marshall, 18-0, in a 10-run-rule shortened seven-inning contest here at Cougar Field. Eight of Rice's nine positional starters tallied at least one hit while Jared Rogers went the distance on the hill, striking out eight with no walks while giving up just three singles and two doubles.

The Rice offense, which opened yesterday's second-round game against Houston with 11 runs in the opening stanza, waited an inning today to drop an 11-spot on the Herd. The Owls added five more runs in the third and two in the fifth to account for the final score.

Nine-hole hitter Steven Sutlzbaugh was 4-for-4 at the plate to spearhead a 19-hit Rice attack. Right fielder Chad Mozingo, meanwhile, went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI. The improves Rice to 3-0 in pod play and the Owls have now clinched a spot in Saturday's Conference USA Championship game.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 6
Posted at 5:00 p.m. CT
And now, for our final past hero from the list of teams no longer playing in Conference USA. This time, we head to Fort Worth, Texas:

Championship Moment - TCU spent just five seasons as a baseball-playing member of Conference USA, but made their mark in tournament history by winning the title in 2004 and sharing the crown with Tulane in 2005. A big reason for the Horned Frogs initial championship was outfielder Austin Adams who went on to earn MVP honors after setting tournament records with four home runs and 13 RBI during the week. Adams hit an impressive .541 (13-for-24) with a pair of doubles as TCU bounced back from an opening-round loss to host Houston en route to the tournament title.

Where Are They Now? - Following his senior season at TCU in 2007, Adams earned Lowe's Senior Class Award after maintaining a 3.74 GPA throughout his collegiate career. He graduated with a degree in entrepreneurial management in 2007 and completed his Master's degree two years later. He is currently a vice president of Argent Petroleum Corporation in Henderson, Texas.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 5
Posted at 4:40 p.m. CT
Things are chugging along here in Cougar Country. After a pitcher's duel in the day-three opener, the slugfest theme that has prevailed so far this week has returned as Rice is leading Marshall 16-0 after four.

Our next stroll down memory lane takes us to the Sunshine State. We've have one more former league team to highlight, and then it's on to the current members:

Championship Moment - South Florida made several impressive runs through the Conference USA Tournament from 1996-2005, but no Bulls player - and no player at all, for that fact - had a better tourney than Jason Michonski in 1996. Michonski did not factor much in the USF line-up during the regular season, but went on to hit a robust .714 in the Bulls run to the inaugural championship game. Michonski went 10-for-14 at the plate, but in the end it was not enough as Tulane turned away the Bulls in the title contest, 2-0.

Where Are They Now? - Michonski completed his bachelor's degree in criminology from South Florida in 2001. He currently resides in Centerville, Mass., where he works for S&J Exco in sales and marketing. As a side business, Michonski has been singing side gigs for the past 14 years and is the Owner of Entertainment By Jason.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Part 4
Posted at 4:15 p.m. CT
One game down today and two to go. The Memphis win was an exciting one and was an uncharacteristic one for this year's championship as it did not feature a ton of runs crossing the paystation. The Rice/Marshall contests ...not so much. After turning it up to 11 in the second inning, the Owls have added five more so far here in the third and there are only two outs.

At any rate, our next C-USA Championship Hero comes from The Gateway To The West:

Championship Moment - Under the direction of legendary head coach Bob Hughes, the Billikens' baseball team never won a Conference USA title and never enjoyed a good dogpile after winning a league tournament championship. In fact, Saint Louis only advanced as far as the C-USA semifinals once - in 1999. A big reason for the trip that year was the performance of pitcher Jonathan Estes, who started a pair of games and tossed a combined tournament record 16.0 innings along the way.

Where Are They Now? - Following the 1999 season, Estes transferred to Freed-Hardeman where he lettered from 2000-02. He was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 1,242nd overall selection of the 2002 MLB Draft and spent two seasons in the organization. Estes holds a degree in marketing from FHU graduating Magna Cum Laude and a Masters of Education from Lindenwood. He just wrapped up his first season as head baseball coach at his alma mater, leading the Lions to a 33-24 record. Estes is married to the former Ashley Bennett and they have two sons, Dean (3) and Lane (1).


Instant Replay
Posted at 3:58 p.m. CT
One day after scoring 11 runs in the first inning against Houston, Rice has scored 11 runs in the second inning against Marshall.

Stephen Sultzbaugh's grand slam was the highlight of the inning that saw six batters reach base on hits and five others get on via walks.
Marshall went down 1-2-3 in the top of the third, so Rice is coming back up to bat leading 11-0


C-USA Championship Heroes - Take 3
Posted at 3:32 p.m. CT
One game down today and two to go. The Memphis win was an exciting one and was an uncharacteristic one for this year's championship as it did not feature a ton of runs crossing the paystation. And just a quick update on the game going on right now, Steven Sultzbaugh just hit a grand slam to give Rice a 4-0 lead over Marshall with nobody out here in the bottom of the second. Okay, on with the show - this time, from Louisville:

Championship Moment - There's a saying in sports that you can measure a lot of things, but you can't measure the size of a player's heart. That may be true, but you can measure their height and Louisville shortstop Chris Cates drew a lot of good-natured ribbing after standing at just 5-foot-2. Cates played in the Cardinals' final two seasons as a C-USA member, and helped lead Louisville to a pair of tournament appearances. In the 2005 tourney, Cates drew a huge round of applause as the little guy belted his first-over-the wall homer of his career during a 13-2 loss to East Carolina. It was his second home run of the season, but the previous one was an inside-the-parker against UConn.

Where Are They Now? - Cates played two more seasons at Louisville following the 2005 season as the Cardinals moved onto the Big East and was a big part of the team's success in 2007 when U of L advanced to the College World Series for the first time in school history. Despite his diminutive stature, Cates was drafted in the 38th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins and is currently in his fourth season in the organization. Cates opened the 2010 season in Advanced-A Fort Myers buy has since moved on to Double-A New Britain.


Postgame Video from Memphis-East Carolina game
Posted at 2:54 p.m. CT
Here are the video links from Memphis after its 3-2 season-ending win over East Carolina.

Memphis head coach Daron Schoenrock
Memphis outfielder Tyler Huelsing
Memphis pitcher Brennon Martin


Marshall-Rice Up Next
Posted at 2:43 p.m. CT
We're about 15 minutes away from first pitch of the second game of the day, a game that has major implications on Pod. No. 1's representative in Saturday night's championship game.

Rice controls its destiny to reach the title game with a win over Marshall on Friday afternoon.

Rice will also reach the championship game with a loss to Marshall, provided that Houston defeats Southern Miss on Friday.

Marshall will reach the championship game with a win over Rice on Friday, coupled with a Southern Miss victory over Houston.

Rice will send right-hander Jared Rogers to the mound. He is 7-1 n the season with a 4.50 ERA in 72 IP this season.

Marshall counters with southpaw Mike Mason. He is 3-6 on the year with a 7.02 ERA, but has 61 strikeouts and 36 walks in 66.2 innings pitched.

Back in the first weekend of May, Rice won two-of-three from the Thundering Herd in Charleston, West Virginia. The Owls won their games by lopsided scores of 20-4 and 14-4. In-between those games, Marshall scratched out a 4-3 decision.

Owls. Herd. Next.


Huelsing's Homer Wins It
Posted at 1:53 p.m. CT
Memphis headed to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing East Carolina 2-1. The Pirates were just three outs from reaching the championship game.

After a Drew Martinez ground out to open the inning, Chad Zurcher reached on an error.

Tyler Huelsing then stepped to the plate and drilled a Seth Simmons pitch high over the right field wall for his first home run since April 14th and the game-winner to close out the Tigers season. Memphis wins, 3-2.

The victory moved Southern Miss into Saturday night's championship game as the winners of Pod No. 2, regardless of the outcome of the Golden Eagles game tonight vs. Houston.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Take 2
Posted at 1:13 p.m. CT
As we continue to make the blog the priority rather than focus solely on a stellar 2-1 ballgame between East Carolina and Memphis, let's move on to the Cincinnati Bearcats and what will forever be known as "Fish Fever".

Championship Moment - Long before LSU featured "The Dreadlocks of Doom" during their run to the 2009 National Championship, the Cincinnati Bearcats featured one of the more unique hairdos in college baseball in infielder Nate Fish. Fish admitted to having just one haircut per year and by the time the season ended, he would sport a head full of hair that would make Oscar Gamble proud. And while Fish' "hair-don't" drew some interesting comments from the fans - including a "Hey, is that Gabe Kaplan from `Welcome Back Cotter?' from yours truly - he did help Cincy advance to the championship game of the 2000 C-USA Tourney. His haircut, however, was not enough as the Bearcats fell to Houston, 7-4 in 10 innings.

Where Are They Now? - Fish did not make it in organized professional baseball in America, but did help Team USA win a gold medal at the 2005 Macabiah Games. He was also an inaugural member of the Israel Baseballl League in 2007 and currently owns and operates his own DJ business in New York City.


C-USA Championship Heroes - Take 1
Posted at 12:53 p.m. CT
Alright, no more build-up, no more researching, and for goodness sake no more songs. At long last, here is the first installment of Conference USA Championship heroes. Before we get into the nine current members of the league, let's take a moment to look back at those programs who are no longer among us. Our first C-USA hero comes to us from Charlotte.

Championship Moment - When John Maine took the field in day one of the 2001 Conference USA Tournament at Zephyr Field, the Charlotte pitcher looked to do what no player had done in the tourney history - hand the top-seeded team a first-round loss. While host Tulane came into the game with 45 wins and was on its way to its first College World Series, Maine made history by holding the high-powered Green Wave offense to four runs as the 49ers earned an 8-4 win. Maine threw 131 pitches in a 7.0-inning start, scattering nine hits and five walks while striking out three to pick up the win.

Where Are They Now? - Maine was a sixth-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2002 Major League Draft. He made his big-league debut on July 23, 2004, with the O's, and is currently in his seventh Major League season. He was traded to the New York Mets on Jan. 22, 2006, and is in the middle of his fourth year calling Citi Field home.


The Ball of Shame
Posted at 12:41 p.m. CT
The Ball of Shame is truly something that has taken on a life of its own.

The Ball of Shame is presented to the SID whose team is eliminated first from the C-USA Baseball Championship. A low-quality, beat-up ball, it is signed by members of the press box, making it a significant momento for years to come.

Memphis veteran Baseball SID Jason Redd finds himself in position to take home this honor today. A Tiger loss will clinch the honor for JRedd, which would be the first for the eight-year Memphis baseball publicist. Of course, the last two years, the Tigers haven't qualified for the tournament, a must in being eligible for the award.

A Memphis victory today would open the door for Houston's Jamie Zarda and others to get into contention for the honor. With the new, six-team, pool play format, a list of convoluted tie-breakers entitled "The Weaver Plan" could go into effect to determine this prestigious award.

Tulane (Weaver) won the inaugural BOS in 2004, followed UAB (Jeremy Hoffman) in 2005, Marshall (Andy Fledderjohann) in 2006, Houston (Jeff Conrad) in 2007, unbelievably, Rice (John Sullivan) in 2008 and Marshall (Chris Attwood) last season.

P.S. The press box crew keeps singing the C-USA Championship Heroes Song, as ECU holds a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth. The first entry relating to that coming next inning.


Conference USA Championship Heroes
Posted at 12:19 p.m. CT
As the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship begins to win down with the final two days of competition here at Cougar Field, we would like to invite you to take a trip with us down memory lane for a few moments.

Among the countless random conversations that take place in the press box as the action unfolds on the field, we began to reminisce about standout performances by individual athletes in previous years. With that, we've decided to undertake the task of delving through the countless box scores and selecting one player from each team to ever participate in the C-USA Championship.

Many were discussed, but only a few could actually make the list. And now, without further ado, we bring you "Conference Championship Heroes". Actually, let's take a moment to sing along to the beer commercial jingle "Real Men Of Genius":

Conference USA Presents Championship Heroes
Conference USA Heroes

Today, we salute you, Mr. C-USA Championship Standout
Mr. Superstar of the tournament

Bats swinging, arms slinging, gloves popping. You're 100 percent focused on helping your team extend its season any way possible.
Check out that girl in Section C

Some are recognized around the league. Others aren't household names in the own household. But for four glorious days, you were on top of your game.
I really got a hold of that one

Who's in the house? Some guy in really tight pants and reminders scribbled under the bill of his hat. That's who.
I'm a star!!!!

So tip your hat to the crowd young man, because you've earned a spot in our memory and more importantly - our hearts.
Mr. Conference USA Tournament Hero

Actual Conference USA Championship Heroes coming up soon. Stay tuned!!!


Talk About Foreshadowing
Posted at 11:09 a.m. CT
As today's game between East Carolina and Memphis was underway, a lot of talk was bouncing around that Pirates' slugger Kyle Roller has hit a home run against every Conference USA team except for the Tigers during his career.

Well, let's just say that it's no longer true.

Three at-bats into the ballgame - with one out and John Wooden standing at first base - Roller crushed the first pitch he saw from Memphis starter Brennon Martin over the wall in straight-away right field. Take a bow Mr. Roller, because you're homered for the cycle against league foes.


Tigers-Pirates Preview
Posted at 10:32 a.m. CT
One day after meeting Marshall for the first time in C-USA Championship play, Memphis will be squaring off against East Carolina for the first time in C-USA's postseason tourney.

Here is what is at stake in this ballgame:

An East Carolina victory sends the Pirates to the championship game for the first time since 2007 and the third time overall.

A Memphis victory sends Southern Miss to the championship game for the second year in a row and fourth time overall.

Also at stake is the Ball of Shame. A Memphis loss will give Tigers Baseball SID Jason Redd the BOS. Many of you are familiar with the Ball of Shame. If you're not, stay near the blog for an upcoming entry that will explain it in detail.

East Carolina will send C-USA Newcomer of the Year Zach Woods to the mound. The junior righty is 8-4 with a 4.73 ERA and 95 strikeouts with 23 walks in 83.2 innings pitched.

Memphis counters with senior LHP Brennon Martin. He owns a 5-6 record with a 4.61 ERA in 84 innings.

One other note on this game. ECU senior DH Kyle Roller hit his 50th career home run on Wednesday vs. Rice. Of his 50 home runs, none have come against Memphis. The Tigers are the only C-USA team that Roller has not gone deep against.


Take Me Out To The Ballgame
Posted at 9:53 a.m. CT
The sun is shining, the grass is green, the sky is blue and its late May. That could only mean one thing - it's time for some more baseball. It's day three of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship and we've got three games that all could determine who will advance to Saturday's title game. I'm not going to rehash it all again, but you can read all about the scenarios below under the "Lemme Get This Straight" header.

East Carolina and Memphis square off in today's opener, and the Pirates can punch their ticket to the championship contest with a win. From there, we move on to the 3 p.m. matchup between Rice and Marshall. An Owls win would put the regular-season champions in the title game for the fourth time in the last five years. If the Herd can pull the upset, Marshall will be anxiously awaiting the results of the nightcap as Southern Miss and host Houston close out pool play with first pitch of that game slated for 7 p.m.

We've seen a lot of runs scored so far in the 2010 C-USA Championship, and as each teams' pitching staffs continue to get depleted, the offense will likely keep on coming. Six games are in the books. Here's to four more games of outstanding baseball.


May 27, 2010

Lemme Get This Straight
Posted at 11:19 p.m. CT
With the Conference USA Baseball Championship making the shift from double-elimination format to pool play, a lot of questions have been bouncing around the press box, the stadium, the city of Houston, the state of Texas, the United States of America and even around the world about who is going to make the 2010 C-USA Championship game.

Well folks, rest assured that we have the answer for you right here. Through the ever-expanding brain power and deductive-reasoning skills of Mr. Russell D. Anderson, here are the scenarios for what each team needs to have happen to advance to Saturday's championship contest:

Pool 1
No. 1 Seed Rice - The Owls are currently 2-0 overall and 1-0 in pool play. Rice can clinch a spot in the championship game with a win tomorrow against Marshall. The regular-season C-USA champs can also advance to Saturday's contest if they lose to the Thundering Herd provided that Houston defeats Southern Miss on Friday.

No. 4 Seed Marshall - The Thundering Herd are 1-1 for the week and 0-1 in pool play. Marshall can reach the C-USA Championship game with a win over Rice on Friday coupled with a Southern Miss victory over Houston.

No. 5 Seed Houston - The Cougars are 1-1 in the C-USA Championship and 0-1 pool play. Sorry Houston fans, but the Cougs have been mathematically eliminated from title-game contention. Their game tomorrow against Southern Miss, however, is still meaningful as a UH win over Southern Miss along with a Marshall win over Rice would send the Herd to Saturday's championship slate.

Pool 2
No. 2 Seed Southern Miss - The Golden Eagles are 1-1 overall and 0-1 in pool play. Regardless of the outcome of Friday's Southern Miss/Houston contest, the Eagles will earn a spot in the C-USA Championship game if Memphis beats East Carolina earlier in the day.

No. 3 Seed Memphis - Memphis is 0-2 for the weekend and 0-1 in pool play. The Tigers are strictly playing for pride on Friday as they are mathematically eliminated from championship-game contention. If Memphis would beat East Carolina tomorrow morning, however, it would help pave the way for Southern Miss to earn a bid to Saturday's title matchup.

No. 6 Seed East Carolina - The Pirates are 1-1 in the C-USA Championship and 1-0 in pool play. East Carolina controls its own destiny and can lock down a spot in the title game with a win over Memphis on Friday morning.

Well, I hope that clears things up for everyone out there. In the meantime, it's getting late. We've got the tools and we've got the talent. But now, it's Miller Time. My name is Richie Weaver, and I approved this message.


Postgame Video from Rice-Houston game
Posted at 10:33 p.m. CT
Here are the video links from the Rice-Houston postgame:

Rice head coach Wayne Graham
Rice pitcher Mike Ojala
Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon
Houston head coach Rayner Noble


Record-setting Rice victory
Posted at 9:57 p.m. CT
A number of Conference USA Baseball Championship records were shattered in Thursday night's 24-3 win.

The 24 runs were the most scored in a C-USA Tournament game.

The 21-run margin was the largest in a C-USA Tournament game.

The 11-run first inning was the most runs ever scored in a first inning in C-USA Tournament history.

The six home runs by Rice tied the single-game team tournament record, originally set by the Owls in 2007 vs. Memphis.

Every Rice starter had at least one hit, scored at least one one run, drove in at least one one run and all but Michael Fuda drew a walk.

Fuda and Rick Hague each had four hits, as Fuda homered twice and Hague went deep once. The Owls hit back-to-back-back home runs in the seventh inning to finish off the scoring, as Jimmy Comerota, Fuda and Stephen Sultzbaugh each went yard.


Rice is Legal (and lethal)
Posted at 8:16 p.m. CT
Every Rice starter has at least one hit.

There are 17 Rice hits total

The Owls have eight extra-base hits.

Michael Fuda and Rick Hague have homered, giving the Owls three round-trippers in the first five innings.

After 5.5, its Rice 21-1.

By the way, if you're wondering what happened to Richie, he's been busy digging through the Conference USA Baseball archives formulating a doozy of a blog entry that will be posted before too long...


Owls add a field goal
Posted at 8:16 p.m. CT
Rice pushed across three more runs in the third inning to extend its advantage to 14-0.

Seven different Owls have had three at-bats so far. Meanwhile, Cougar 2B Ryan Still, the No. 9 hitter, has yet to bat for Houston.


Turn it up to 11
Posted at 7:27 p.m. CT
It was a record-breaking first inning for the Rice Owls. Rice sent 14 men to the plate in the top of the first inning, scoring 11 times.

The 11 runs scored are the most ever in the first inning of a Conference USA Tournament game. The previous record was 10 runs, scored by Houston vs. South Florida in 2000.

Anthony Rendon provided the punch and punctuation mark with a grand slam home run that made it 11-0. He closed the inning 2-for-2 with two runs, a home run, a stolen base and five RBI. Not too bad of an inning, huh?


Marshall defeats Memphis, 10-7
Posted at 6:55 p.m. CT
Marshall pounded out 15 hits and and scored at least one run in six of the nine innings to defeat Memphis, 10-7.

Catcher Thor Meeks starred for the Thundering Herd, doubling, homering and driving in three runs.

Here is postgame video:

Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner
Marshall catcher Thor Meeks
Memphis head coach Daron Schoenrock


Offense continues to shine in the Marshall-Memphis matchup
Posted at 5:39 p.m. CT
The offensive show continues in the Marshall-Memphis game. The Tigers scored three in the fifth and two in the sixth on a Jacob Wilson double to cut it to 8-7.

But, Marshall answered with one run in the top of the seventh. It could have been worse. The Herd left the bases loaded when Chase Joiner forced a strikeout and a ground out.

The game has featured a little bit of everything. So far we've had 23 hits, six walks, three hit batsmen and one sacrifice fly.


Marshall Leads Memphis 6-2 After Three
Posted at 4:12 p.m. CT
The Thundering Herd bats came alive early in the ballgame as Marshall plated five runs in the opening stanza and now lead 6-2 after three complete. Memphis starter Ryan Holland lasted just one-third of an inning as the Herd mixed three doubles among their four hits off him.

Dan Langfield has done a solid job in relief so far, giving up just an unearned run in 2.2 frames to date, and the Tiger offense came through with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first courtesy of a Chad Zurcher home run and an RBI-single off the bat of Rick Russell.

This one has the makings of an all-out slugfest. If you're into offense, this is the game for you!


Video Killed The Radio Star
Posted at 3:25 p.m. CT
As the blog rules along, we've decided to shake things up a little bit. You've been patient, you've been loyal, and with any luck you've been entertrained. With all that said, we have a new wrinkle to the Extra Innings Blog. So here it is. I give you the fire from Olympus that is - wait for it - on-line video.

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, we hope you enjoy the videos. Just click on each name to view the respective post-game interviews:

East Carolina head coach Billy Godwin
East Carolina pitcher Seth Maness
East Carolina left fielder Devin Harris
Southern Miss head coach Scott Berry


Mmmm...an M & M
Posted at 2:40 p.m. CT
Marshall and Memphis are getting ready to square off in the second game of the day. This will be the first time that these teams have met in the Conference USA Championship.

Marshall will send Ian Kadish to the mound. The right-hander is 3-6 on the season with a 6.85 ERA in 14 starts. In 71.0 innings pitched he has struck out 50 batters and walked 48.

Memphis counters with southpaw Ryan Holland. He has made 13 starts on the season and owns a 1-5 record with a 6.43 ERA. He has fanned 46 batters over 63.0 innings, while walking 29 batters.

All-Conference catcher Victor Gomez leads the Thundering Herd offense. He is batting .360 with 16 homers and 60 RBI, but was 0-for-2 with a walk in last night's loss to Houston.

The first four batters in the Tigers lineup all hit .338 or better, led b shortstop Chad Zurcher's 389 average. However, lead-off man Drew Martinez, Zurcher, Tyler Huelsing and Jacob Wilson combined to go 1-for-12 in yesterday's defeat at the hands of Southern Miss.

First pitch for the M and M boys is 3 p.m.


The (Em)Pirates Strike Back
Posted at 2:04 p.m. CT
Seth Maness struck out eight in 7.2 solid innings, and left fielder Devin Harris went 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBI as East Carolina defeated Southern Miss, 8-1, to open day two of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship on Thursday afternoon at the University of Houston's Cougar Field.

Maness had a no-hitter going through five innings before giving up a leadoff double to Southern Miss right fielder Tyler Koelling to open the sixth. The reigning C-USA Pitcher of the Year finished the day giving up just one unearned run on five hits and a walk to improve to 10-3 on the season. Maness is now 18-3 against C-USA teams during his career and picked up his 28th career win, which is fourth all-time in conference history and tied for fourth in the ECU career record book.

Harris, meanwhile, went yard in each of his first two at-bats - belting a solo home run in the second and crushing a grand slam in the third to put the Pirates on top 5-0. With the win, East Carolina improves to 32-26 on the year and can clinch a spot in Saturday's C-USA Championship game with a win tomorrow vs. Memphis. First pitch of that ballgame is slated for 11 a.m.

Southern Miss drops to 33-22 for the season and will close out pod play on Friday at 7 p.m. against host Houston. The Golden Eagles can earn a spot in the championship game but need a win against the Cougars paired with a Memphis win over East Carolina.


Maness not perfect, but still in control
Posted at 1:08 p.m. CT
I have finally cooled off after my late-morning sunshine session and returned to the blog...

For the second straight day, a pitcher carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning only to see the lead-off hitter break it up. ECU's Seth Maness had not allowed a hit through five full before USM's Tyler Koelling doubled down the left field line.

The no-no is gone, but the C-USA Pitcher of the Year is still going strong. Through 6.1 IP, Maness has allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out eight Golden Eagle batters.

Devin Harris has supplied most of the Buccos offense, going 2-for-2 with a walk, two homers, five RBI and three runs scored. ECU leads 8-0 in the top of the seventh.


SLAM!!! Let The Boys Be Boys
Posted at 12:04 a.m. CT
Ladies and gentlemen, we're only three innings into day two of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship and East Carolina left fielder Devin Harris is having himself a day. After hitting a solo home run in the second inning to open the scoring, the Pirates' left fielder just hammered a grand slam to left to stake his team to a 5-0 lead.

The Pirates' grand slam was their sixth of the year - which ties a school record originally set in 2008 - and Harris has now tied his career high with five RBI. Harris' second bomb of the day chased Southern Miss starter Geoffrey Thomas from the game and Cody Schlagel is now on the hill for the Golden Eagles. Thomas' line for the day - 2.1 innings pitched, five runs on four hits and four walks while striking out a pair.

True believers out there, this game is a looong way from being over. Excelsior!!!


Burn Baby Burn
Posted at 11:38 a.m. CT
As today's game between Southern Miss and East Carolina just began, a Conference USA Baseball Championship tradition was underway. In Pamplona, you have the running of the bulls. At the Indianapolis 500, the winner drinks milk in the victory circle. When the Detroit Red Wings take the ice, you can count on a flying octopus hitting the ice whenever someone scores three goals.

Here at the C-USA Championship, however, it has long since been a tradition for league assistant commissioner for football and baseball operations Russ Anderson to leave the press box at some point and enjoy an inning or two from the stands. Now, I'm not saying that Russ is lily white, but the sun beating he takes during his jaunts into the grandstand usually requires him to change his name temporarily from Russ Anderson to "Roast" Anderson.

With the temperature here in Houston already in the high 80s, Russ only lasted an inning and a third this time around and is now back in the box trying to cool off. Don't worry mom, we've got him packed in ice and in a hyperbaric chamber as we speak.


Let's Get It On!!
Posted at 10:48 a.m. CT
Day two of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship is about 10 minutes away, and everyone here in Houston couldn't be more excited to get things underway.

We open the day with a matchup between the Southern Miss Golden Eagles - winners of an 8-2 decision over Memphis yesterday - and the East Carolina Pirates - who are looking to bounce back from an 11-3 defeat at the hands of regular-season C-USA champion Rice.

Southern Miss enters the ballgame 33-21 on the year and will send true freshman Geoffrey Thomas to the hill. Thomas brings a 1-4 record and a 6.91 ERA into the contest, and opponents are hitting .311 off him in 41.2 innings of work. The Golden Eagles have been hot of late, winning 15 of their last 19 game, and this game is big for them on two fronts. Not only would a win assure Southern Miss of a spot in the C-USA Championship game on Saturday, but it could also help build the Golden Eagles' postseason resume as the NCAA Selection Committee gets set to announce the NCAA Regional field on Monday.

East Carolina, meanwhile, comes into the contest looking for a way to extend their season into the NCAAs. The Pirates are 31-26 overall and would likely need to win the C-USA Championship to earn a spot in the NCAA postseason. Conference USA Pitcher of the Year Seth Maness will toe the rubber for East Carolina and will take the mound with a 9-3 record, a 4.52 ERA and an impressive 82 strikeouts in 93.2 innings of work.

Today's game features two of the better hitting teams in Conference USA in 2010. Southern Miss is hitting a robust .326 (623-of-1913) with a .504 slugging percentage courtesy of 109 doubles, 13 triples and 69 home runs. East Carolina is no slouch at the plate either as the Pirates are connecting at a .317 clip (633-of-1995) with a .501 slugging percentage on the strength of 122 doubles, five triples and 78 home runs.

Shortstop B.A. Vollmuth is one of six Southern Miss players to enter the day hitting .300 or better, posting a .382 batting average (81-of-212) with a .708 slugging percentage after leading the Golden Eagels with 17 doubles and 16 homers. Third baseman Corey Thompson paces the Pirates with a .376 batting average (83-of-221) while Devin Harris headlines the team with 18 doubles and Zach Wright leads the squad with 14 home runs.

Southern Miss took all three games against East Carolina during the regular season, earning 14-4, 8-2 and 7-6 victories on May 7-9, respectively. That, however, means nothing here in Houston as it's a whole new season. It should be a good one so hold on to your hats!!


A Guest Blog By Southern Miss' Jason Kirksey
Posted at 10:28 a.m. CT
Southern Miss SID Jason Kirksey here as the first guest blogger of the 2010 C-USA Baseball Championship. As we sit here in the press box about 40 minutes before first pitch at the 11:00 a.m. game between the Eagles and East Carolina, I am so happy that former Southern Miss head coach Corky Palmer is in attendance at this year's championship. While I see Coach Palmer on quite a regular bases around the Southern Miss campus, the other hard working people of C-USA and the schools that make up this conference do not to hear his stories that often and let me tell you how entertaining it can be to "hold court" with the ole Corkster.

Coach Palmer and his anecdotes have provided much laughter and entertainment already this week and we are only on the second day. But CP is not the only one around here, this truly is a cast of characters that makes the press box which is why this week one of my favorite weeks of the year, you truly never know what will be said next. Follow along with the Extra Innings blog all week for a glimpse inside our little world in the press box...until next time. Have fun and good baseball.


Cookin' at Cougar Field
Posted at 9:41 a.m. CT
Welcome back to THE blog of the 2010 C-USA Baseball Championship.

Temperatures are expected to be near-record highs in the mid-90's today, along with a generous serving of humidity. But, a reminder to the fans coming out to Cougar Field that there is plenty of shaded seating in the upper levels and lots of cold drinks available at the concession stands, so don't let the heat affect your baseball fever.

Today's schedule opens with East Carolina and Southern Miss at 11 a.m. The 3 p.m. game is Marshall vs. Memphis in their first-ever C-USA Championship meeting. The nightcap features both local squads as Rice battles Houston at 7 p.m.

Remember that all games are streamed live on ConferenceUSA.com, GameTracker is available for all three contests and Richie and I will be providing updates and tidbits here throughout the day. Be on the lookout for the annual unveiling of the C-USA Baseball All-Name team later today as well as a special look back at school-by-school historical unsung tournament heroes.


May 26, 2010

Good Night From Houston
Posted at 10:42 p.m. CT
Well, boys and girls out there in Internetland, day one of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship is officially in the books. We had a couple of lopsided games as Southern Miss beat Memphis 8-3 and Rice defeated East Carolina 11-3. And while it appeared as if the nightcap would be another runaway, the fans on hand were treated to a thriller as Houston hung on for an 11-7 victory over Marshall.

For the day, the six participating teams hit a combined .277 (58-of-209) but the bigger story came in the fine print of the box scores as the three games featured seven hit batsmen and 10 home runs. While the home run total for the week will likely fall well shy of C-USA Tournament record of 56 back in 1996, that's not a bad day considering we only played three games. From the mound, a combined 21 hurlers threw 913 pitches, struck out 39 batters, walked 25 and posted a 6.92 ERA.

All in all, it was a good day. What does tomorrow hold? Nobody really knows. There are favorites and there are superstar players. But baseball is a funny game. Sometimes, the little guy knocks off the titan. Sometimes, someone who rarely plays comes out of nowhere to have the game of his life. And that is why they play the games. Hope you guys check in on the action tomorrow - if not in person, on the web.

Take care, good night, and talk atcha tomorrow.


Breathe Easy Cougar Fans
Posted at 10:23 p.m. CT
It began as a runaway and ended up a nail-biter. But after seeing their 11-0 lead whittled down to a four-run advantage, the homestanding Cougars held on to defeat Marshall 11-7 in the final game of the 2010 Conference USA Championship's opening day.

Marshall scored a combined seven runs from the sixth through eighth innings to make things interesting. Cougar reliever Mo Wiley, however, came on with two on and one out in the eighth and retired four of the five batters he faced to seal the Houston victory.

With the win, Houston improves to 25-30 on the year while Marshall falls to 26-30. A complete recap will be up on the C-USA website soon. And don't forget to check back on the blog for a complete day-one review.


Don't Touch That Dial
Posted at 10:01 p.m. CT
Through five innings, it appeared as if Houston was well on its way to an opening-round win over Marshall in the final game of the opening day at the 2010 Conference USA Championship. The Thundering Herd, however, seems to have other ideas as the squad from Huntington, W.Va., scored two in the sixth, one in the seventh and to make an 11-0 contest into an 11-7 contest with one inning yet to play.

Houston starter Michael Goodnight carried a no-hitter into the sixth but left with one out in the seventh after giving up three runs on five hits and four walks. Since then, Chase Dempsay came out of the Cougar bullpen to give up four runs on three hits and a walk in 1.0 inning of relief. Dempsay was lifted in favor of Tanner Shiflett with one out in the eighth and got Thor Meeks to foul out to first but uncorked a wild pitch to allow a runner to advance to third and gave up an RBI-single to Nathan Gomez. Gomez' single chased Shiflett from the game, but Mo Wiley got Rhett Stafford to ground out to second to stop the bleeding...for now.

Ladies and gentlemen, hold on for what will surely be an exciting ninth!!


Say Goodnight to the No-Hitter
Posted at 9:02 p.m. CT
Houston starter Michael Goodnight carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning, but Rhett Stafford led off the inning with a single to end the no-hit bid.

Marshall then put up its first runs of the game when Kenny Socorro stepped to the plate next and launched a ball over the left field fence for the first home run of the game.

Houston leads 11-2 as we head to the seventh inning.


Through Three, It's All Houston
Posted at 8:10 p.m. CT
We're three innings into game three of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship and the homestanding Cougars have just about taken away the drama as Houston holds a commanding 8-0 lead over Marshall.

Houston has scored multiple runs in each inning so far, plating two in the first and second stanzas and tallying four in the third. The Cougars have pounded out eight hits in 17 at-bats, drew five walks and stole a pair of bases. Shortstop Blake Kelso and designated hitter M.P. Cokinos have two hits apiece in a combined five at-bats, each driving in a pair.

And it's not like Houston is knocking the cover off of the ball. Six of the Cougars hits are singles while Caleb Ramsey and Austin Gracey have the game's lone doubles. On the mound, Michael Goodnight has struck out four in 3.0 scoreless innings.


Game Three Preview
Posted at 6:58 p.m. CT
The final game of opening day of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship is just around the corner. This time, it's host Houston taking on the Marshall Thundering Herd. Houston is the C-USA Championship's No. 5 seed while Marshall is the event's fourth seed. This evening's game marks the first time the two teams have met in the postseason since the championship game of the 2008 C-USA Championship when the Cougars won, 3-2.

The homestanding Cougars come into the ballgame 24-30 on the year and will send sophomore right-hander Michael Goodnight (6-7, 5.45) to the hill. Houston is hitting .294 for the season and outfielder Zak Presley paces the club with a .351 mark.

Marshall, meanwhile, is 26-29 on the year and Arik Sikula (6-4, 3.33)0 will toe the rubber for the Herd. As a team, Marshall is hitting .292 with a .443 slugging percentage courtesy of 91 doubles, 18 triples and 51 home runs. First-team All C-USA catcher Victor Gomez leads the Thundering Herd with a .363 batting average and 16 home runs.


It's The Most Wonderful Week Of The Year
Posted at 6:32 p.m. CT
Well, we're two full games into the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship and it's time to let you guys in on a little, not-so-well, kept secret about the people who help make the event happen.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to help prepare and carry out an event like the C-USA Championship. The workers get to the park early and often don't leave the stadium until the wee hours of the night. From an SID standpoint, however, it's nothing but fun.

The folks who work baseball throughout the league are genuinely good people. You play weekend series, getting to the park up to two hours before the game and then you spend anywhere from an hour and 45 minutes to three and a half hours hanging out in the press box while the games go on. While "working", conversations go on pertaining to just about any subject you can imagine. Old game stories are reminisced and a good deal of razzing goes on about the times your team beat the other guy's club. And by the time the weekend is over, if you've never met the opposing SID before, you usually leave as friends.

This year, Russ Anderson from the C-USA office asked me to come on out to Houston to lend a hand. I couldn't wait to say yes and had my bag packed days ahead of time. I was even able to hop a ride with Southern Miss top dog Jack Duggan, who was my mentor when I was a student at Nicholls State. Jack and I had us a trial-by-fire semester in Fall 1998 and he really taught me a lot along the way. It's always good to see old friends at these things and make new ones as well.

At the C-USA Championship, you can always count on seeing the familiar faces and watch them as they do familiar things. Jason Redd of Memphis will no doubt leave the press box in the middle of the game and wander around the stadium talking to random people. You can count on John Sullivan of Rice to be the consummate professional and his partner in crime Bob Schlanger will hold court in the press box discussing goof-ball topics as if they are of the utmost importance. Houston stalwart Jeff Conrad knows before he gets to the park that he's going to be the butt of many a "short" joke, and does his fair share of throwing jabs throughout the week. And then there's me bringing the overall professional level of things way down by being you're a-typical class clown.

Long story short, it's a lot of work but it's also a whole lot of fun. If you guys reading this are anywhere near the Houston area, or if you have a couple of days off later this week, I hope you can all make it out to Cougar Field and enjoy the festivities half as much as we do.


Rice Downs East Carolina In Game 2, 11-3
Posted at 5:43 p.m. CT
Owls' catcher Diego Seastrunk went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI as top-seeded Rice defeated No. 6 seed East Carolina 11-3 in game two of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship Friday evening at the University of Houston's Cougar Field.

Seastrunk accounted for a quarter of Rice's hits as the Owls reached safely in 12 of 36 trips to the plate. While the bats were getting it done, Taylor Wall was more than capable from the mound as he fanned five in a 6.0-inning start.

With the victory, Rice improves to 36-20 on the year. East Carolina, meanwhile, falls to 31-26.


Owls lead 8-2
Posted at 4:46 p.m. CT
Rice pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend its lead to 8-1. Stephen Sultzbaugh and Jeremy Rathjen doubled home runs and Diego Seastrunk drove home another with a single.

East Carolina picked up a run in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run by Zach Wright, his seventh of the season. It was also the seventh home run of the day (through 14 innings).

Five of Rice's nine hits have been doubles, including two by Sultzbaugh. The tournament record is seven, held by several schools.


Rice On Top After Three
Posted at 4:11 p.m. CT
We're one third of the way through the ballgame and Rice leads East Carolina, 4-1. Kyle Roller scored the first run of the game with a two-out, solo homer in the top of the first, but Rice answered with three runs in the home half of the inning. An inning later, Rice added a solo tally on an sacrifice fly by Chad Mozingo.

East Carolina has had chances to add to its tally but have left four on base so far in the ballgame.

And just for the record, Roller was hit by a pitch in the top of the third. Malcolm Gray would like to remind everyone that he is now one hit by pitch away from becoming just the fourth person in NCAA history to hit 50 home runs and be hit by 52 pitches.


Roll(er) Out The History
Posted at 3:15 p.m. CT
East Carolina's senior designated hitter Kyle Roller put the Pirates on the board early and made a little history along the way in the opening inning of the ballgame. With two out and a 3-2 count, Roller sent Rice pitcher Taylor Wall's offering over the wall in left center to give East Carolina a 1-0 lead. With the swing, Roller now has 50 career home runs. He is now tied with former Southern Miss slugger Jeff Cook for seventh place in Conference USA history in career home runs.

And in one of the most obscure statistics I've ever come across, Roller is now just the fifth player in NCAA Division I history to hit 50 home runs and be hit by a pitch at least 50 times in a career. Seriously, I'm not making this up. In what had to be one of the oddest stat research jobs of all time, East Carolina baseball SID Malcolm Gray has been anxiously chomping at the bit to unveil this gem on the world. With his last swing, Roller now has 50 homers and 59 hit by pitch. He joins Clemson's Khalil Greene (52 HR/58 HPB from 1999-2002), Florida's Matt LaPorta (74 HR/51 HPB from 2004-07), and the Oklahoma State tandem of Josh Holliday (53 HR/54 HBP from 1996-99) and Billy Gasporino (55 HR/55 HBP from 1997-99).


Game Two Preview
Posted at 2:42 p.m. CT
We're about 15 minutes away from game two of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship featuring regular-season champion Rice against No. 6 seed East Carolina.

The Owls enter the C-USA Championship with a regular-season conference title under their belts for the 15th consecutive season dating back to the 1995 Southwest Conference title and are 35-20 on the 2010 season. Rice will be sending southpaw Taylor Wall (4-5, 4.66) to the mound where he will be backed up by an offense that enters the postseason connecting at a .321 clip. Two-time C-USA Player of the Year Anthony Rendon leads the way with a .378 batting average to go along with a .786 slugging percentage courtey of 12 doubles, three triples and 22 home runs.

East Carolina, meanwhile, takes the field today 31-25 on the year and will send lefty Patick Somers (1-1, 9.00) to the mound for his first start of the 2010 season. The Pirates are hitting .319 on the year and are led by second-team All C-USA third baseman Corey Thompson. Thompson is one of six ECU batters hitting at least .300 and is currently connecting at a .378 mark with 14 doubles, three triples and eight home runs.

The two teams met in Houston on April 23-25, and the Owls came away with the series sweep after posting 20-3, 3-2 and 11-9 victories on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.


Great Scott
Posted at 2:23 p.m. CT
Scott Copeland's second straight great performance against Memphis guided Southern Miss to an 8-2 win.

"They (Memphis) have a lot of free swingers, " said Copeland. They like to swing at fast balls pretty much, but I had my curve ball working today. I was just trying to get first pitch strikes."

Copeland threw 106 pitches in the eight innings, one outing after firing 106 pitches in a complete-game victory over the Tigers last Thursday night in Hattiesburg.

Thanks to Copeland's strong throwing in the sizzling mid-day Houston heat, the Golden Eagles head back to their hotel armed with the first victory of this C-USA Championship.


Hold That Tiger
Posted at 1:30 p.m. CT
While the cheer is usually reserved for teams with a feline mascot, Southern Miss starting pitcher Scott Copeland has truly held that Tiger in his last two starts against Memphis.

Taking the mound against Memphis for the second time in the last eight days - he started the May 20 contest vs. the Tigers in Hattiesburg - Copeland has posted a pair of victories after allowing a combined three runs (one earned) on 12 hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine in 17.0 innings of work. He left Wednesday's game after fanning five and giving up just four hits and a walk in 8.0 shutout innings.

With the win, Copeland improves to 10-0 on the year and becomes the first Southern Miss pitcher to post double-digit victories and no losses since Hugh Pepper went 10-0 in 1954.


Southern Miss...To The Top
Posted at 1:27 p.m. CT
Game one of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship is in the books as Southern Miss defeated Memphis, 8-2. Scott Copeland got the win for the Golden Eagles to improve to 10-0 and Southern Miss (33-21) won for the 15th time in its last 19 outings.

Memphis avoided the shutout with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, but Copeland's effort on the mound and four Southern Miss home runs proved to be the difference. Southern Miss will take on East Carolina tomorrow at 11 a.m. Memphis, meanwhile, will battle Marshall on Thursday with first pitch slated for 3 p.m.

Be sure to check the C-USA website for a complete recap.


Going Deep...Again
Posted at 12:59 p.m. CT
Following a scoreless fifth, Southern Miss got two more runs via the long ball to take a commanding 8-0 lead over Memphis in the opening game of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship.

This time around, it was Golden Eagle Adam Doleac who left the ballpark to right on a 2-2 offering from Memphis reliever Marc Ashley. First baseman Mark Ellis opened the frame with a walk and scored on Doleac's bomb to account for the current score.

Through six innings, seven of Southern Miss' eight runs have come on home runs. Doleac is now the fourth Golden Eagle to homer so far in the game, joining Travis Graves, Tyler Koelling and B.A. Vollmuth during a sixth-run fourth.


Bombs Away
Posted at 12:23 p.m. CT
In 1982, The Gap Band had perhaps its biggest hit when it released "You Dropped The Bomb On Me". In the fourth inning of the opening contest of the 2010 Conference USA Tournament, Southern Miss headed those proverbial lyrics and belted three home runs to stake claim to a 6-0 lead over Memphis.

Centerfielder Dillon Day got the scoring going after he reached on a fielder's choice, advance 180 feet via stolen base and a wild pitch, and came around to score on an RBI-double off the bat of third baseman Joey Archer. From there, Travis Graves hammered a two-run homer to left and right fielder Tyler Koelling sent the very next pitch over the wall just right of center to make it 4-0.

Memphis pitcher Ryan Fraser got a fly ball to right for the second out of the stanza, but shortstop B.A. Vollmuth followed with a two-run jack to account for the final tally of the frame. Vollmuth's round-tripper was his eighth in the last eight games and ended Fraser's day (3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Marc Ashley came out of the bullpen and rebounded from a walk to Adam Doleac to strike out Shawn Ablett to get out of the inning without any further damage done.


Got A Good One Going
Posted at 11:52 a.m. CT
We're about an hour into the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship and are still looking for the tournament's first run. Southern Miss starter Scott Copeland and Memphis counterpart Ryan Fraser have been at the top of their games so far as each have allowed three hits but have found a way to wiggle off the hook.

It's still scoreless through three complete and looking forward to even more great baseball as the week goes on.


One More Thing from Tuesday
Posted at 11:22 a.m. CT
Before we move full speed into the games, we have one more item to report on from yesterday.

Conference USA baseball players spent part of Tuesday afternoon at Texas Children's Hospital as part of C-USA's continued efforts to become the best Division I-A collegiate conference in athletics, academics and in the community. Nineteen student-athletes participated in the event that included playing games and just talking to the kids.

The student-athletes spent most of their time in the 16th floor preteen room, playing video games, foosball and billiards. They also distributed t-shirts, water bottles and other gifts and even visited some patients who weren't feeling well enough to leave their hospital rooms.

Texas Children's Hospital is an internationally recognized full-care pediatric hospital located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. One of the largest pediatric hospitals in the United States, Texas Children's Hospital is dedicated to providing the finest possible pediatric patient care, education and research.


And Then There Was One
Posted at 11:00 a.m. CT
As Southern Miss takes the field today, the Golden Eagles now hold the distinction of being the only team to participate in all 15 Conference USA Baseball Championships. A charter member of the league back in 1996, Southern Miss is 28-25 all-time in C-USA Tourney action. The Golden Eagles are the event's No. 2 seed for the second time in program history and are 2-2 at that slot. The last time Southern Miss was the second-seeded team, the Eagles got off to a good start in 2008 tournament in New Orleans with back-to-back wins over UCF (8-5) and Marshall (5-3). From there, however, sixth-seeded Marshall won consecutive games by counts of 6-3 and 5-3 the next two games to end Southern Miss' run.

The Golden Eagles have advanced to the championship game three times, winning it in 2003 at Turchin Stadium, and falling in 2004 and 2009 in Houston and Hattiesburg, respectively.

The only other team to play in the first 14 C-USA Baseball Championships prior to 2010 was Tulane. The Green Wave, however, suffered through an up-and-down season. Fielding a team with 17 newcomers, including 16 true freshmen, Tulane concluded its 2010 season 32-24 overall and 10-14 in league action.

Host Houston has advanced to the C-USA Tournament each year they have been in the league, but were not full members in 1996 as the Cougars were wrapping up play in what was the final season of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.


Let There Be Baseball
Posted at 10:24 a.m. CT
We're still a little over 30 minutes away from first pitch, but for the first time in the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship we have action on the field as Southern Miss is on the diamond taking infield.

The Golden Eagles will be sending Scott Copeland (9-0) to the mound and he will be matched up against Memphis' Ryan Fraser (7-3). Today's first-round matchup between Memphis and Southern Miss marks the fourth consecutive time the two teams have played each other as the Golden Eagles took two of three from the Tigers to end the regular season in Hattiesburg.

It's a new year and the tournament has a new format. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that we have good weather, that all participants and fans stay safe and that we have four straight days of great baseball.


Good morning from Cougar Field
Posted at 9:57 a.m. CT
Good moming to everyone from sunny, hot Cougar Field. Alot of people are very pleased with the 11 am starting time, instead of the 9 am first game in past years. That is hardly the only change this year.

As a reminder, here is the new format for this year's tournament:

With the new six-team, pool play format, there are two pods of three schools each. Rice, Marshall and Houston make up pod number one and Southern Miss, Memphis and East Carolina make up pod number two. The teams with the best record in each pod will meet in the championship game on Saturday night.

Each team is guaranteed to play three games. Teams in each pod will play two teams in its pod and one team outside its pod. The team with the best composite record in each pod will advance to the championship game. Two-way ties in a pod would be broken by head-to-head play. In case of a three-way tie, the highest seed will advance.

The higher seed will be the home team in games on days one and three and in the championship game. Teams that were the visitors on day one will be the home team on day two.


May 25, 2010

Rendon Helps Wrap up Practice Day
Posted at 4:03 p.m. CT
Practice day at the 2010 C-USA Baseball Championship is coming to a close. Regular season champion Rice is on the field now, taking batting practice.

Among the first Owls to step to the plate was sophomore 3B Anthony Rendon, the conference's Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Rendon displayed the form that helped him hit a league-high 22 home runs, including a towering shot in his last game at Cougar Field on May 18. Perhaps the most impressive stat about Rendon's season is the fact that the slugger has had more home runs than strikeouts all season long.

The standout from Lamar High School in Houston leads the conference in home runs (22) and runs scored (71). He is also among the league's best in hitting (.378), RBI (72), slugging percentage (.786), walks (58) and on-base average (.519). Earlier in the season Rendon was invited to the try-out camp for the United State's National Team for a chance to represent his country later this summer in games against international competition all over the world. Last week he was named one 25 national semifinalists for the 2010 Dick Howser Trophy as the collegiate player of the year.

Rendon was asked what it meant for him to be named Player of the Year two seasons in a row:

"It's always fun playing baseball, so this is just the icing on top," said Rendon. "It's a great honor. I wanted to have confidence in myself, but I didn't think I would do it again. I guess I proved myself wrong."


ECU's Maness Named Pitcher of the Year
Posted at 1:16 p.m. CT
East Carolina junior right-hander Seth Maness, the 2008 C-USA Freshman of the Year, was named as C-USA's Pitcher of the Year. He is the first for Freshman of the Year to win the league's top pitching honor.

Maness has logged a league-high 93.2 innings over 14 starts and has posted a conference-best nine wins. He has registered 82 strikeouts and walked just 15 batters all season. Maness owns a 9-3 record on the season, which has moved him up to fourth place on Conference USA's career chart with 27 victories, which includes a 17-3 mark vs. league opponents. He has one complete game this year and added a save in one of his two relief appearances.

"It's a great accomplishment," said Maness of being named Pitcher of the Year. "I've been working hard to earn an honor like this one."

When asked about his 82-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Maness offered this:

"I'm a strike thrower, which sometimes gets me in trouble giving up hits. My defense helps keep me in the game and our team puts up runs behind me."


Posted at 12:48 p.m. CT
Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon headlines the league's top individual baseball awards, as announced on Tuesday in Houston, the site of the 2010 Conference USA Baseball Championship. One year after becoming the first Freshman to be named Player of the Year, he joins Tulane's Jake Gautreau (2000, 2001) as just the second player in C-USA history to be named Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

Anthony Rendon, So., 3B, Rice

Seth Maness, Jr., RHP, East Carolina

Chris Taladay, Fr., IF, UCF

Zach Woods, Jr., RHP, East Carolina

Wayne Graham, Rice

IF Anthony Rendon, So., Rice
IF Rob Segedin, So., Tulane
IF Luke Stewart, Sr., UAB
IF B.A. Vollmuth, So., Southern Miss
OF Shane Brown, Sr., UCF
OF Chris Duffy, Sr., UCF
OF Kurt Lipton, Sr., Marshall
C Victor Gomez, Jr., Marshall
DH/UT Kyle Roller, Sr., East Carolina
P Scott Copeland, Sr., Southern Miss
P Seth Maness, Jr., East Carolina
P Todd McInnis, Jr., Southern Miss
P Arik Sikula, Jr., Marshall
RP Collin Cargill, Jr., Southern Miss

IF Jimmy Comerota, Sr., Rice
IF Rick Hague, Jr., Rice
IF Jonathan Merritt, Sr., UAB
IF Corey Thompson, So., East Carolina
IF Chad Zurcher, So., Memphis
OF Jamal Austin, So., UAB
OF Tyler Huelsing, Sr., Memphis
OF Drew Martinez, So. Memphis
C Diego Seastrunk, Sr., Rice
DH/UT Jeremy Rathjen, So., Rice
P Ryan Fraser, Sr., Memphis
P Mike Ojala, Sr., Rice
P Taylor Wall, So., Rice
P Zach Woods, Jr., East Carolina
RP Nick Pepitone, Jr., Tulane

Brandon Boudreaux, OF, Tulane
Garrett Cannizaro, SS, Tulane
M.P. Cokinos, C/DH, Houston
Blake Crohan, UT, Tulane
Dillon Day, OF, Southern Miss
John Frost, UT, UAB
Kirby Pellant, 2B, Marshall
Michael Ratterree, 2B, Rice
Joe Rogers, LHP, UCF
Darnell Sweeney, SS, UCF
Chris Taladay, IF, UCF
John Wooten, SS, East Carolina


Two down, four to go
Posted at 11:08 a.m. CT
A pair of practices have ended, as East Carolina and Houston have finished their morning workouts. Marshall is about to take the field. The Thundering Herd should be pretty familiar with the settings at Cougar Field as MU closed out their conference season here two weeks ago.

It was just two years ago that Marshall turned in the most memorable postseason performance in school history, knocking off Southern Miss and Tulane twice each to rech the championship game. The Herd fell victim to a late Houston rally and lost, 3-2. Will the Herd be able to re-kindle that postseason magic after their best regular season showing since joining C-USA? We'll find out.


Hello from Houston
Posted at 9:37 a.m. CT
Greetings from Cougar Field! After a weekend of scoreboard watching, dozens of tie-breaking scenarios to work through and exciting play on the field, our group of six teams have arrived in Houston and began this year's tournament.

Tuesday is practice day and No. 6 seed East Carolina is on the field right now, throwing and hitting in the warm Morning sun in space city.

We will have some periodical updates here on practice day and plenty of scores, notes, tidbits and fun stuff in the blog throughout the week. Guest bloggers will be helping out through the week, so be sure and check back often to get the inside scoop on the this year's Championship.


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