The College World Series proper officially kicked off in Omaha on Saturday, and Oregon State drew Cal State Fullerton as their opponent in the opening early session. The Titans got up on the Beavers in the first half of the game, 5-1, with the help of a three-run bomb to left center and a two-run shot up the middle.
In the top of the sixth, Fullerton shortstop Timmy Richards, who hit the early home run, walked, then teammate Hank LoForte stepped up for a bunt to move him over.
So loose that they staged a mock spring football game before first pitch at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade ballpark. Here are the boys going out of the shotgun.
Tigers shortstop Kramer Robertson takes over quarterbacking duties and mimics college quarterbacks’ leg lift to ready the center pre-snap. The leg lift also appears to signal right fielder and big bat Greg Deichmann into motion, as he trots from the backfield out to the weak side receiver spot. The Tigers’ center, Antoine Duplantis, should also be hailed for getting off a clean snap. Well done.
It sounded so simple, but Molina had hit three triples in his previous 4,450 plate appearances. Two of them came at AT&T Park, a triples haven that extends to 420 feet in right center. There was absolutely no way, statistically, for Molina to hit a triple exactly when he needed one.
His fastball is nearly 2? miles slower than it was in 2015, and while velocity isn’t everything, it sure helps a heckuva lot. He’s still missing bats, still throwing strikes, but he isn’t getting the ball on the ground as much as he used to. That’s one part slower fastball, one part the league-wide uppercut fetish. One without the other wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m guessing the combination is treating Arrieta harshly.