I sort of saw this coming

We all knew in preseason there was a really good chance we’d be better this year than last, and even with the occasional stumbles, we’ve pretty much remained on that path. The TV guys mentioned yesterday how Florida and some other national contenders got sidetracked at times along the way, but we haven’t.

Our '79 CWSRU was my freshman year; I went on a road trip with those guys to meet the mighty Rice Owls. Rice is a good baseball school now; in 1979 that was not the case. They had no lights, no permanent stands at their field, no press box and no fans, and we beat them like a drum once on Friday and twice on Sunday (rained out Saturday). Then we piled into two 15-passenger vans for the 12 hour drive back to Fayetteville where I had an 8:30 class the next morning. You haven’t lived until you spent 12 hours in a van with a bunch of pitchers, getting thrashed in an endless game of hearts until somebody took pity and let me win a hand. No I didn’t make that 8:30 class, but I made my 10:30 class.

That team showed me what a good college baseball team looked like, although if you’d told me on that Sunday night in March that that bunch would play in the very last game of the 1979 college baseball season I would have thought you were nuts.

Somewhere, maybe it was the weekend where we beat Kentucky like a rented racehorse, I started to realize that this team might be pretty good. And as the season went on, things started to go our way. Florida, which looked like worldbeaters, became mortal. Ole Miss lost a series to Moo U, which then went on to sweep us but I digress. We survived mono and broken fingers and assorted bumps and bruises and kept going, and our clanky gloves became not quite so clanky.

Then came the postseason and more breaks went our way. First off, we got home field, for the best home team in CBB this year. Ole Miss did what Ole Miss does. Stanford went away too. So did Georgia. Texas took care of those very scary hitters at Tennessee Tech. We beat ORU, Southern Miss and Dallas Baptist, committed poultricide on SoCar in game three, then dominated EOE and TexTech.

But the feeling I’ve had for the last few weeks is that this team might be the one to do what those guys in '79 couldn’t do – win the last game of the year. Now we’re down to the last five games max, and that feeling is getting very strong. Win three, we get the trophy. It doesn’t happen until it happens, but I think it does happen. We get done what Kevin McReynolds, Johnny Ray, Marc Brumble, Larry Wallace, Steve Krueger, Scott Tabor and Rich Irwin couldn’t do 39 years ago.

I liked your post. I actually believe that 79 club may have been a little better than this one. But…I agree with your conclusion. They may get it done this year. I wish Norm had pitched Krueger in the first game against Cal State Fullerton instead of saving him for the second do or die game of the finals. But, who knew that CSF would gather all kinds of momentum after beating us the first game. I knew that 79 club was good when they went down to Little Rock and beat the Arkansas Travelers in an exhibition game (on statewide Television).

I think that would have been really short rest to throw Krueger in the first CSF game. CSF had to beat us on June 6, beat Pepperdine on June 7, then throw a guy against us June 8 who had been knocked out in the first inning against Pepperdine. And darn if he doesn’t throw a complete game to beat us, although the final out was an absolute smash that just happened to be at the second baseman. Krueger gave up one earned run, and they got their other run after Ronn Reynolds threw one into center field on a steal attempt.

Looking at the CWS schedule that year, without box scores so I’m just guessing, I think we probably threw Krueger in game one vs. Pepperdine, which was on June 1, Irwin in game two against Arizona, and I’m not sure about the win over Texas. As I recall, we wound up going with Manual Warrior (definitely on the all-name team) as the starter against CSF the first time. So using Krueger that night would have meant starting him on June 1 and June 6, which is a big league pattern but not one colleges use.

CWS trivia: Our second win in Omaha that year was a thrashing of Arizona. The Wildcats had not one but two future MLB managers on that roster, Terry Francona (who Reversed the Curse in Boston in 2004) and Brad Mills. Craig Lefferts, who had a 12-year MLB career as a relief pitcher, was also a Cat that year. AZ won the CWS the next year and Lefferts got the win in the title game.

I think a lot of us saw this one coming.

We already had the makings of a good, typical DVH team (which is to say, a top 20 club) anyway. And then when you get your junior ace and two veteran, productive senior hitters like Shaddy and Bonfield to return? As ludicrous as it is to say this - because getting to the CWS is so very hard, even for extremely talented teams - it would have been somewhat of a letdown if we didn’t make it to Omaha this year. And once they got there, there were expected to do some damage. And it wasn’t just Hog fans, either. No less a national observer than Kendall Rogers picked the Hogs as his choice for National Champions before the season began.

That’s a pretty high level of expectation to put on any team. But this one has shown that it has the mettle to own it. That’s pretty impressive in itself.

That pretty much sums it up. I was ready to make this post probably three weeks ago, before the postseason began. Even more so now.

I have had these expectations for this team all yr and why I couldn’t understand us consistently struggling so much with teams nowhere near as good as we are.

The hardest thing to do is peak at the right time and we appear to have done that. We still got work to do to beat probably Florida…I like our chances if we continue to hit and get good starting pitching,won’t be easy but I think we can win it all.

this game is so fickle and every team we play is pretty darn good all season long. Look at the strength of schedule, amazing over the course of the season.

Great MLB teams win 60% of the time over the course of a season. We were going to have some things happen at times. It’s the way the game bounces.

Nothing will be easy from here on out - and it hasn’t been as easy as we’ve made it look to this point. I think we have a really good chance to win it all, but no out or run is guaranteed.

This kids and coaches aren’t robots, neither are the opponents. Look at MSU - how many walk-off moments can you have in one tournament. Also, if you are going to beat OSU - either they beat themselves or you better stomp on them and keep stomping. They don’t have a lot of die in them right now. Florida can get things right for a week and blow thru anyone. Or they could lose to TT. TT has enough bats to play for a week. Do they pitch enough?

Going to be a fun next few days. Roll the bats out there and see what happens.

You summed up my thoughts better than I could. Every team we face here on, is playing well. I think the Hogs have a great shot to win this, but they are going to have to find a way to win when the ball bounces the wrong way.


I’m glad you mentioned that. I meant to include this in OP but neglected to do so. Part of the reason for my optimism is the sense that the stars are lined up in our favor this time, as they lined up in Nolan’s favor in 1990 (made the Final Four as a 4 seed who never had to wear the road unis as a lower seed), 1994 (everybody stays healthy except Roger Crawford and a certain three-pointer from the right wing swished instead of clanked) and 1995 (dodge three bullets in rounds 1, 2 and 3 then get it together to get to the NCG). One of those years when the ball bounces the right way and you don’t need the lucky break. Basically, if we keep hitting .340 in Omaha and don’t start kicking grounders we don’t need a whole lot of additional luck.

I would hate to be the opponent when this Hog team is focused on winning any given game (see USC-E and EOE-A, both ran into a buzz saw). They have it in them to go off at any time. It seems they have the “want to”) and they certainly have the ability to win the next three games. If they do lose one along the way, I wouldn’t want to be the next team to face them.

That’s just it. We didn’t “consistently struggle” against teams “nowhere as good as we are”.

We had one of the toughest schedules in America and are 46-19. We finished tied for first in arguably the toughest division in baseball and our nonconference schedule was stout. We were the number 5 national seed and never really dropped out of the Top 10.

That’s not the resume of a team that consistently struggled.

What you actually did any time they lost a game or 2 was talk about how they were underperforming or not as good as advertised or embarrassing. That happened each time we lost a game or two.

I remember when MSU swept us. It was as if the world had ended. How’s that look now?

Those of us who were chastised as not keeping it real enough might have had a point when we said the MSU series wasn’t the sky falling.

I have had a good feeling about this team all year. It’s just as good of a deep mix as you are going to see in college baseball.

Will that result in a title? I don’t know. We will have to have some breaks and get some clutch hits and make key pitches.

But, we are certainly in a good position.

Figures my boy Pig would chime in LOL look this team pretty much every week in the mid week struggled with teams like Grambling Memphis,Charlotte, louisiana-monroe Etc. played great against Texas Tech and Texas but didn’t Focus against lesser teams that’s what I was referring to and no I didn’t say it every time we lost a game or two that’s BS! Mississippi state was last in the league so yeah it was an embarrassing performance at the time but they have obviously gotten better and that’s credit to them but this team hasn’t always played the way they are now.

I can assure you pig if you ask DVH did he expect this team to play like they did against some of those teams he would say hell no I could tell he was frustrated like anybody who is not a sunshine pumper like yourself could see. I have always kept it real team plays great I’m the first one that a pat on the back they don’t play so well and beneath their standards I’m going to say something deal with it! There is not a bigger fan of the Hogs than I am and everybody but a couple people like yourself can see that it’s ridiculous

One of my friends from our tailgate has disparaged DVH for much of the year. When we got swept by Moo U, he declared that the Hogs had just been swept by the worst team in the SEC and he laid the blame on the coach. (Umm no, that would have been Bama.) As it turns out, the team is playing its best baseball now. :boar::baseball:

I’m not saying you’re not a Hog fan. I just think you have a bizarre way of showing it. And yes, you did say it after pretty much every loss and during a lot of the wins. I’ve shown the links before. You are nothing if not consistent.

I don’t think DVH has the view of the team you assure me he has. He knows it’s very hard to win almost 50 games against the toughest schedule in school history.

I can assure you he never thought we were overrated or clearly not a Top 10 team or embarrassing—all things that you have said during the year on multiple occasions.

I can assure you that the team that is currently No. 1 nationally in the RPI never struggled in the way you described or they wouldn’t be in that spot and wouldn’t have been a National Seed.

I appreciate your passion. I just think you really have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

This team has never struggled or underperformed or been an embarrassment the way you have characterized them and assured me that DVH have done the same.

They’ve had one of the best seasons—maybe THE best—in school history. I hope you have enjoyed some of it. It sure doesn’t seem that way sometimes.

This is a great team and the best that I can ever remember us having and I have enjoyed pretty much all of it but to say they havent underperform some is silly.
You don’t like anything that is in your mind is negative when in fact it’s reality. I never see you say one thing positive about the team all I see you doing sitting back and waiting for somebody to say something you think is negative and you try to correct them and make them try to look foolish.
Being a fan is always going to have its ups and downs it cant always be a bed of Roses like you try to act. it’s okay to have a negative comment about the team I can assure you DVH has said some things to the team privately I know you wouldn’t want to hear! When you coach you say things to the public one way and the team a totally different way.
What you fail to realize is we all want to hogs to Win and just because someone says something you think is negative don’t mean you have to come in and try to be a big shot and try to correct them just agree to disagree. I enjoy this team a lot when they play well and when they don’t play well I don’t that’s just being a fan, the difference between you and I is I voice my opinion on both occasions I don’t just sit back and say nothing.