Sale, Cooper, & Bywater Amazing Arms Not Headed To The 2010 College World Series


In baseball, a team is much better off being well rounded with no major individual players, as opposed to having one or two super power athletes. In looking at the championship brackets for the upcoming college baseball regional, I would like to pay tribute to the great pitchers of the 2010 season that we will not be seeing in Nebraska.

Let’s take a look at what I considered to be three of the top pitchers that will be missing from the entire event. No, there were no unfortunate injuries or late season suspensions. It’s simply because their teams did not win enough games to qualify. Over in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Gulf Coast Florida Eagles finished in 1st place with an overall record of 38-20. Their success was greatly influenced by junior pitcher Chris Sale. He turned in an 11-0 record with an ERA of 2.01 in 103 innings. He led the entire nation with 146 strikeouts and averaged 12.76 strikeouts per nine innings. Those numbers of efficiency and power are the reason Sale will most likely be taken in this years MLB draft. But, with all the glory and recognition, he couldn’t save his team from elimination in the conference tournament. He pitched in the Eagles tournament opener against Stetson and gave up two early runs on five hits in 7 innings. Sale struck out 11 in the match. His team produced 9 runs and the Eagles relievers were able to hold down the victory. But in the next two games, the Eagles gave up a total of 25 runs. With that, the Eagles failed to take a conference title, and because of that missed the opportunity to play in the College World Series. Although they did receive votes during the year, they never truly figured in the rankings and therefore proved not to be a well rounded team.

In the Missouri Valley Conference the Wichita State Shockers played well enough to become the 1st seed with an overall record of 40-20. A big factor in that run was sophomore pitcher Jordan Cooper. He labored for 107.3 innings and had a record of 10-3. He may not have had the strikeout ability that Chris Sale had, but he kept hitters from crossing the plate just as well. Cooper had an identical ERA as Sale (2.01), but he finally fell victim to the long season and gave up 5 earned runs in two innings of work in the title game against Illinois State. Everything came crashing down on the Shockers and their season came to an end, and now instead of seeing Wichita State in a championship bracket, we’ll be seeing Illinois State.

Another pitcher I feel the need to mention is junior Matt Bywater. He finished off a great season at Pepperdine University by leading the West Coast Conference with a 2.29 ERA in 90.1 innings. Bywater was also not a power drilling pitcher, but considering the schedule and the teams he pitched against, I have to believe that he stands out like a bright neon sign over a dark liquor store in the hood. In Bywater’s first game of the season, he went up against one of the toughest programs in the country, the Titans of Cal State Fullerton. Going into the season, the Titans were ranked 4th in the country, and it’s not too far off to say that Bywater had a hand in dropping them to the 11th spot. In that game, Bywater pitched a complete game shutout on four hits. He struck out 10 hitters as the Pepperdine Waves beat Fullerton 6-0. He pitched another complete game shutout against Stony Brook, and another against Santa Clara in his very next start. In a late season game against the conference leaders the San Diego Toreros; Bywater blanked them out as the Waves won 5-0. Nobody can say Bywater and the Waves played only against sub par teams, but with all of the heroic performance he showcased, the San Diego Toreros will be in the Tempe Regional bracket instead. In baseball, you need to make the least errors, allow the least runs, and score the most. That’s the basic and fundamental idea a team should carry with them into every game. One extremely talented pitcher cannot complete the task of winning an entire season without the help of a solid core of infielders, run producers, the backup of at least 3 other solid starting pitchers, and at least two outstanding relievers. In a tournament like the College World Series, that sort of depth is indispensable. You will notice the teams that are blessed to be playing in Omaha’s legendary Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium will have those four elements. So as a tribute to those talented athletes that achieved so much in 2010 that wont’ be traveling to Nebraska, I salute you with a DFN Sports honorable mention.


By: Adrian Nevarez
College Sports Fans Staff Writer


> Be sure to follow Adrian during the entire 2010 College World Series & be sure to check out his in depth coverage of the MLB, online through DFN Sports Sites!




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