November 30, 2009
With the decade winding down in just a matter of weeks, we've done our part in bringing you the best of the decade for several categories in college baseball. It doesn't stop now, though. In our latest best of the decade feature, we take an inside look at the most surprising upsets this decade.
10. Southwest Missouri State (Missouri State) wins Lincoln Regional and Columbus Super Regional to advance to Omaha
The 2003 season had its fair share of postseason surprises, especially in Lincoln, Neb. Missouri State defeated Nebraska 4-2 in the second game of the regional. It also played the Huskers in the regional title game. The Huskers won the first game 9-5 before the Bears shocked the nation by winning the regional finale in dominant fashion, 7-0. The Bears then hit the road and took care of Ohio State in super regional action. This still stands as Missouri State's only CWS appearance.
9. Ohio State wins Auburn Regional with win over host Auburn
This shocker setup the Missouri State/Ohio State super regional matchup. The Buckeyes put together a solid Big Ten resume, but few thought they were capable of hitting the road and upsetting nationally seeded Auburn. Perhaps some should've had some faith. The Buckeyes didn't disappoint, beating the Tigers twice to advance to a super regional. Sure, this team fell short of reaching the CWS. But beating the No. 4 national seed was very impressive. It definitely was one of the great surprises this decade.
8. San Jose State wins Houston Super Regional over Houston
The stars absolutely aligned for coach Sam Piraro and the Spartans in '00. The Spartans compiled a solid WAC record, but weren't expected to make too much noise as the No. 3 seed at the Waco Regional. The Spartans received some help with host Baylor getting upset by Southwest Texas (now Texas State) in opening round action. They also took care of Florida in the regional title game. The Spartans then stayed in the state of Texas and took two of three from No. 5 national seed Houston to advance to the CWS. It is SJSU's only Omaha appearance.
7. Louisiana-Lafayette wins Columbia Super Regional over South Carolina
San Jose State wasn't the only team that pulled off an amazing upset that season. Louisiana-Lafayette joined the party, too. ULL put together a solid overall and Sun Belt record, but still was the No. 2 seed in the Lafayette, La., Regional. Perhaps that served as motivation, as the Ragin' Cajuns made easy work of East Carolina and hit the road to play top national seed South Carolina in the Columbia Super Regional. The Cajuns dropped the first game of the series, but won the final two games to advance to Omaha. ULL's upset shattered a great season by South Carolina pitcher Kip Bouknight.
6. Lipscomb upsets nationally-seeded Georgia in Athens Regional
This loss might've been the best thing that happened to Georgia that season. The Bulldogs sent Stephen Dodson to the hill against the Bison and it wasn't pretty. Lipscomb touched up Dodson for eight runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings en route to a shocking 10-7 victory. The Bulldogs appeared to be down and out, but still won the regional and eventually played Fresno State for the national title. Still, Lipscomb's win over Georgia was one we'll remember because it was a four seed.
5. Manhattan shocks Nebraska in opening round at Lincoln Regional
I still remember listening to this game like it was yesterday. I was waiting for Manhattan pitcher Chris Cody's arm to fall off at any second. Cody pitched the game of his life and limited the Huskers to a run and eight hits in a complete game performance. He also struck out seven batters and finished the game with 142 pitches. And oh yeah, the Jaspers surprised the nation and No. 6 national seed Nebraska with a 4-1 victory. The Huskers weren't able to recover and went 0-2 in the regional. Manhattan, though, played Miami for the regional title.
4. Bucknell shuts out Florida State in Tallahassee Regional
For those of you familiar with Gametracker, everyone at the regional I was covering two seasons ago thought the program was broken when it said Bucknell 7, Florida State 0. That score, though, was not a misprint. The Bison received a phenomenal pitching performance from starter Mathew Wilson and the offense did just enough to earn a victory. Wilson struck out three batters and allowed just six hits in a complete game performance. FSU, of course, bounced back later in the regional and eventually reached the CWS. Bucknell's win in opening round action sent out a buzz, though.
3. Michigan wins Nashville Regional over top national seed Vanderbilt
By far the most entertaining regional I've ever had the pleasure of covering in many years of covering college baseball. Michigan and Vanderbilt made my job even more wonderful for a few days. The Wolverines defeated the Commodores in second-round action of the Nashville Regional before the 'Dores forced a second championship game with the Wolverines with a 10-7 triumph. In the final title game, though, Michigan got a huge home run from Alan Oaks off Rivals.com Pitcher of the Year David Price and defeated the top national seed 4-3. Vanderbilt is one of the best teams ever to not get to Omaha. You have Michigan to thank for that.
2. Fresno State beats Arizona State in Tempe Super Regional, wins national title
We're not real sure if anyone needs to be told this story anymore, but we'll do it at least one more time. OK, we'll probably do it a few more times in the next few years. Fresno State was the No. 4 seed at the Long Beach Regional and surprised everyone by winning the tournament and advancing to the Tempe Super Regional. Surely the Bulldogs wouldn't prevail against hard-hitting Arizona State? Wrong. The Bulldogs captured a series victory over the Sun Devils in three games and the Cinderella story was just getting started. Fresno's series win over the Devils gave it an attitude that nobody could beat them. It carried all the way to a national title.
1. Texas Southern edges Rice in Houston Regional opening round
What a bizarre game and regional this was to cover. With the No. 6 national seed Owls playing host to Texas A&M, Texas Southern and Lamar, everyone expected this regional to be all about the Owls and Aggies. It ended that way, of course. But this regional always will be known for what happened in opening round action between Texas Southern and Rice. Texas Southern kept Rice's offense off balance and Tigers power hitter Herman Coachmen provided the decisive blast to the left field late in the game to propel TSU to a 4-3 victory over the Owls. Still to this day, watching Texas Southern celebrate a win over Rice was one of the more surreal experiences in covering college baseball.