Rodriquez had a loopy breaking ball that he could throw for strikes, but it also seemed to stay up, and that problem got worse as the game moved along. He did have problems throwing strikes at times, with two walks and a HBP. He struck out just 2, and only had 1 swinging strike (but 11 looking). Neither starting pitcher had swing and miss stuff, and it produced a ton of foul balls. Rodriquez was hit pretty hard too, giving up 3 line drives, 5 fly-balls, and just 3 grounders. He gave up 5 hits and 5 runs, with a balk in 3 and 2/3rds. Rodriguez originally went to Ball State but transfered after he was red-shirted, and was awful in his Freshman year at Abilene, giving up nearly 2 hits an inning with an ERA of 9.99.
Souther Arkansas' starting pitcher was Janson Carr, a 6-4 225 LBS Sophomore, who also plays 3rd base. He threw harder than Rodriquez, but had some kind of "shot put" like delivery. His pitches, unlike Rodriquez's, stayed up very high. He didn't strike out any one and hit 1 batter (but walked no one). Abilene was pretty patient and made pretty good contact, fouling off a bunch of pitches and hitting 4 line drives off Carr. He only got 1 swinging strike and 9 looking strikes. He got 3 ground-balls to 2 fly-balls. He end up giving up 5 runs off 6 hits in 2 and 2/3rds:
Abilene's relievers were much more impressive, beginning with Jordon Herrera a 6-3 200 LBS JR. who went to Wharton College where he had a 3.71 ERA in 2011, better than his team average of 4.52. In high school as a senior, Herrera a 1.69 ERA and was on the Houston area all-star team. Against Southern Arkansas, he gave up no fly-balls or line drives, and got 5 grounders (4 of which snuck by for hits, the defense was awful in the game as a whole, more on that later). He had nasty breaking stuff that led to 7 swinging strikes and 6 looking (it also led to 2 wild pitches). He struck out 4 batters, but let 2 inherited runs score in 1 2/3rd. No one on either team was chasing pitches out of he zone before Jordan Herrera came in and he had Southern Arkansas chasing.
Austin Palmer was brought in as a lefty specialist and faced just one batter, walking him and getting one strike looking. He had a strange deceptive delivery that tried to hide the ball. Palmer is a junior who spent 2 years at American River College. He was 6-4 but didn't seem to get a whole lot of velocity on the ball. At American River, they tried to use him as a starter, and it was a disaster, with an ERA near 7 in 2010 and a 6.74 ERA in 2011. He had exactly as many walks as strikeouts in those two years. He is certainly a LOOGY, but one that doesn't seem to over power or have much control:
Sam Malchar was another junior from Wharton College, at 6-1 and 200 LBS. He had a big stride in his delivery and had a 3.79 ERA as a Sophomore in 2011. His biggest problem was that he left his breaking ball up quite a bit. He got one ground-ball and one fly-ball, with one walk and no strikeouts (2 looking strikes):
The 9th inning man was junior Josh Stone, who was a power type pitcher that threw reasonably hard. He previously went to Richland College as a freshman, where he had a 7.88 ERA. However, as a Sophomore at Midland College, he was pretty good, striking out 7.56 per 9 innings (you would like for him to strike out more) with an ERA of 1.75 and striking out 3 times as many as he walked. He got 1 swinging strike, 4 looking strikes, and 2 strikeouts. The only contact he gave up was a fly-ball:
For Southern Arkansas, the bullpen was not impressive, as Joey Cifuentes was the first pitcher out of the bullpen, and the senior had control issues with a wild pitch and just struggled to throw strikes. He walked 1, got 2 ground-balls with 1 line drive, and 3 strikes looking. In 2/3rds of an inning, he gave up 1 hit and no runs:
Devin Avery had a violent delivery, and left his breaking ball up in the zone. This led to the ball really getting smacked around as he gave up 2 hits, 3 runs in 1/3rds of an inning. He gave up 2 line drives and hit a batter, getting 3 strikes looking but no ground-balls or swinging strikes:
Justin Parsons wasn't any better, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in 2 innings. He had a wild pitch, but he got 3 swinging strikes with a strikeout (5 looking strikes). He gave up 2 ground-balls and 2 fly-balls.
Sheldon O'Dell was the best Southern Arkansas pitcher, but still walked 2 and only struck out 1. He had a delivery that started slow with a pause and then fast. He got 4 looking strikes and 3 swinging. He had 2 wild pitches, with a fly-ball as his only contact given up.
The most impressive position player by far was Rodge Macy, who is listed as a catcher but played right field. He has a good build as a junior at 6-2 210, playing previously at Vernon College. In 2011, in 94 AB, he had a .362 BA and .419 OBP with 6 SB and 8 CS (0 HRs). He certainly had the best at-bats in the game, with a 6 pitch line drive, 6 pitch HBP, 5 pitch line drive, and 5 pitch HBP (he also made a pretty controversial, at least the call was, out on the base paths). If he can catch (as we will see later, the Abilene catcher was good behind the plate and that is probably why we didn't see Macy there) and hit for some more power, he could be pretty valuable. Here is Macy:
Abilene's 1st Baseman was Duncan Blades, an extremely small first baseman at 5-10 180 LBS. The senior made a good throw home that got a runner, but also dropped a very easy fly-ball. He had a Sac Bunt, a 2 pitch liner, a 7 pitch walk, and a 7 pitch line drive. Obviously the 3 real at-bats were good, but the size is really concerning, the roster has him listed as an infielder and not exclusively as a 1st baseman. He has hit over .300 in all 3 years in college with a .343 average in 2011 as a junior. You do need more than just 3 homers in slightly over 100 at bats though.
Luke Mejia played in the infield, and the junior bunted for a hit, and had 2 ground-balls averaging 3.5 pitches per a plate appearance in those at bats. On defense he showed a lack of range. Here are a couple of videos of him that were already on Youtube (as you can see there is not much going on with the bat):
Emmett Niland was the catcher, who also pitches (but didn't pitch in the game). He showed why with a good arm, and he threw out a base runner. He bunted himself out by hitting himself with the ball outside of the batting box, had a 6 pitch ground-ball, a 6 pitch walk, and a 3 pitch ground-ball. He really is small as a catcher at 5-10 and 180 LBS, and one would imagine that lack of height doesn't help him with velocity as a pitcher. He hit .316 and .288 with 2 home runs in his 2 years in junior college. It is a shame that he doesn't really project as a hitter, because he does have a nice arm behind the plate.
Tyler Eager played center field, but is also listed as being able to play first (although he is also small for that position, it is bizarre that Abilene seems unable to find a big 1st basemen). He is just a freshman out of a high school in Fort Worth, Texas. He hit 3 fly-balls (averaging 4 pitches per plate appearance in those at-bats) and a line drive. He may be someone to watch out for in the future:
Chuck Duarte was another infielder that didn't show much range, partly because he is really slow (as he showed on the base paths). He had a sac bunt, a 1 pitch line drive, and a 3 pitch ground-ball. So not impressive with the bat, but he had a .457 OBP at Western Texas College in 2011 as a Sophomore, but made 10 errors with a fielding percentage of .962. He will have to hit the cover off the ball at Abilene to really make up for lack of tools.
Ryan Luckie came in as a pinch hitter, and plays the infield. The senior had a 6 pitch strikeout and a 2 pitch fly-ball.
Travis Schuetze played some brutal 3rd base by missing a ground-ball, making an error on another easy play, and missing another line drive. He compounded this by being a pretty bad base-runner. He hit two grounders, walked and struck out.
Mike Keegan had a nice size, at 6-2 215 as an outfielder who also catches according to the team roster. He hit a liner on a 4 pitch at bat and a grounder on a 3 pitch at bat. Last year at American River College, he did a good job of getting on base, but didn't slug much, with an OPS of .937. One would expect his size to improve his slugging, but we will have to see.
Finally, Abilene's DH was Kyle Conwell, and he was listed at 6-1 200 LBS, but appeared lanky. One would have to count on the junior filling out. He hit .330 with 6 homers at Western Nevada as a freshman, and had a .491 OBP at Western Nevada as a sophomore. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the draft out of high school, but obviously didn't sign. He saw 13 pitches in 3 AB, and had two grounders and a line drive. He didn't particularly stand out to us, but he has hit in JUCO, and is obviously a prospect. He evidently cannot field, as he has played DH every where he has been.
For Southern Arkansas, Rafael Thomas had 2 errant throws, and was not fast (at least as fast as he thought he was) as he was caught stealing and then thrown out at home. As a senior, he is 5-8 180 LBS. He had a 5 pitch walk, a line drive and a 2 pitch ground-ball.Here is a picture of his batting stance, I still can't figure out who it reminds me of:
Jody Spain played 2nd base, and is a 5-11 175 LBS senior. He had a 3 pitch FB, a ground-ball and 2 strikeouts.
Ryan Bell had problems at third, as he should of caught a foul ball and made an ugly throwing error. He had 2 ground-balls and a line drive:
Trey Buck played some of the worst shortstop I have ever seen. He had a bad dive on a ball up the middle that gave him no chance, had a terrible arm, and made 3 fielding errors on balls hit right to him. I thought basic baseball wisdom was that you play your best infielder at shortstop. Southern Arkansas is in some serious trouble if Buck is their best infielder. He is listed at 5-7, but that is very generous. He had 3 ground-balls (in which he say 15 pitches), and a 5 pitch walk. Unless he was a world class bat, which he's not, it wouldn't make up for his bad defense.
Kyle Fillier had two long at bats, averaging 7.5 pitches per plate appearance, but they both ended with strikeouts, 1 looking and 1 swinging. The senior was pinch hit for by a junior: Philip Menou. Menou had one of the worst bat speeds you will ever see. He is 6-6 and listed at 220 LBS (probably a bit smaller), so good size, but he had two awful at bats where he had a 3 pitch strikeout and a check swing ground-ball.
David Allday played 1st base, and made a nice stretch play but made a bad throw. The senior swung at low pitches, and had 2 ground-balls and 2 fly-balls averaging 3.75 pitches per plate appearance. Jason Dahl played RF with not much range, and hit 3 fly-balls and struck out. Outfielder Gavan McCauley played center and missed a ball on a dive and has a pretty weak arm. He had 2 ground-balls (averaging 4 pitches per plate appearance in those two PA), with a walk. Catcher Ryan Dardenne saw 12 pitches in 3 plate appearances with a line drive, strikeout, and a fly-ball.
Thanks again to David Withers (Big D from Football picking), who is on Twitter at @davidwithers18.