The Road to Omaha: Day 8
OMAHA, Neb. — Ole Miss or TCU will have its stay in the College World Series come to a end tonight. The Rebels (47-20) and the Horned Frogs (48-17) have met in the postseason before, most recently in 2012.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco and TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle are close, having started a relationship while living in Louisiana. Bianco became an assistant coach to Skip Bertman in 1993, while Schlossnagle was hired as an assistant coach at Tulane.
I asked Bianco about the relationship during Wednesday’s practice session. The two routinely meet up at the baseball coaching convention each year, having dinner with each other.
“You saw each other recruiting and of course we saw each other a couple of times a year playing each other when I was at LSU and he was Tulane. Baseball coaches, I think your relationships are tough because you don’t see each other much, but we make it a point every year at the convention in January to spend a night together,” Bianco said. “His wife and my wife, ironically, are both named Camie. Of course the summer was tremendous being together for 35 straight days. Both my wife and his wife and my kids all went to Japan and I think that fostered the relationship even more.”
The last time the two met in the postseason, Schlossnagle got the better of Bianco, with TCU going 2-1 against the Rebels in the College Station (Texas) Regional.
There was finally a home run hit out at TD Ameritrade Park Wednesday night. A lot has been made about the dimensions of the park during the past week. Schlossnagle, following his team’s 3-2 loss to Virginia in 15 innings Tuesday night, said it was “travesty what we’ve done to baseball” during his answer about the park and the bats.
It’s been frustrating for the coaches, the players, and the fans, to not see home runs, or at least the true threat of hitting the ball out. It becomes even more frustrating for coaches and teams that have to play extra innings.
Texas shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, the No. 5 hitter in the batting order, hit a solo home run to the left field that landed in the bullpen to lead off the top of the seventh inning. It was the only run scored in the Longhorns’ win over UC-Irvine.
Hinojosa was asked, in a joking manner, if he had eaten his spinach or Wheaties prior to the game. He said he saw a good pitch, was able to get a good swing on the offering and, the wind changed, just enough to help get the ball out.
Texas coach Augie Garrido followed that answer up by saying four players fainted in the Texas dugout.
Here is a video interview with Ole Miss’ hero from Tuesday’s win, John Gatlin. The Tupelo native talked about all kinds of things with the media Wednesday, including what JUCO move means.