OK, here we go … For those new to the party, Sonoma State is
playing Ouachita Baptist in an elimination game at the Division II
College World Series in Sauget, Ill. SSU is ranked second in the
nation. Ouachita is ranked fourth. The winner advances to to Saturday’s
championship game at 10 a.m. (PST) against Mount Olive.

11:45 a.m. — I am curently in the open-air press box at GCS Ballpark, using a Dasani water bottle, a notebook and a cell phone as paper weights to hold down various papers the wind is threatening to blow into the Mississippi River. I will update this situation as news warrants.

Pregame stuff: Ouachita Baptist’s starting pitcher Chase Baran (9-3,
4.27 ERA) is pitching on two day’s rest. Baran started in the Tigers’
12-10 win against Tampa on Tuesday. He allowed four hits and six runs
(three earned) in two innings. He threw 65 pitches. SSU starter Matt Means (10-1, 1.89) is pitching on five day’s rest. Means allowed one run in seven innings in SSU’s 10-1 win against Shippensburg on Saturday. Advantage, Seawolves … GCS Ballpark is a six-year-old park that has a hot tub by the right-field foul pole, a brick building beyond left field that vaguely resembles the warehouse beyond right field at Camden Yards in Baltimore and tiny dimensions. It’s 317 feet down the left-field line, 385 center and 301 to right field. It could be comfortably called a bandbox. The wind, however, figures to prevent home run derby today. There have been 29 homers in the first 12 games here.

Top of 1st inning — Temperature: 82 degrees. First pitch: 12:01. Strike to Nosti. Nosti bounces a 0-1 pitch in the hole between short and third and beats it out for an infield single. Haycock pops up to the catcher. 1 out. Bridges strikes out on 1-2 pitch out of the strike zone. 2 outs, Nosti at first. Thieme walks on five pitches. 2 outs, Nosti at second, Thieme at first. Babin at plate. Nosti steals third base. Babin strikes out. End of inning. SSU 0, Ouachita 0.

Bottom of 1st inning: Means walks Lockwood. (Bad idea. Lockwood has 46 steals in 57 attempts). Pennell at plate. Lockwood steals second. Pennell rips a line drive to left field that Jones misplays badly and has it sail over his head. It’s ruled a double. 0 outs, Lockwood at third, Pennell at second. Streicher, who has a .425 average is up. Streicher strikes out. Jovanovski has an RBI groundout to short. Ouachita 1, SSU 0. 2 outs, Pennell at third. Makonnen grounds out to short. End of inning. Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Top of 2nd inning: Pestorich leads off with a bad-hop single off 1B Makonnen’s shoulder. Jones walks on 3-2 pitch. 0 outs, Pestorich on second, Jones on first. Herman up. Baran throws a first-pitch ball to Herman and gets a visit from his pitching coach. Herman bunts into fielder’s choice. 1B Makonnen throws Pestorich out at third. 1 out, Jones on second, Herman on first. Adler up. Adler flies out to left. 2 outs, Jones on second, Herman on first. Nosti up. Nosti lines out to center. End of inning. Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Bottom of 2nd inning: Taylor strikes out. Maus grounds out to SS Haycock. Boyce singles to center. Wurzelbacher hits ball up the middle that SS Haycock ranges to get behind second base. Haycock throws wide to first. Error. 2 outs, Boyce on second, Wurzelbacher on first. Lockwood bunts in front of home plate. Means fields and falls down. Lockwood safe. Error on Means. Bases loaded. 2 outs. Pennell tries to bunt way on (with bases loaded and 2 outs), Means fields cleanly and tosses to 1B Bridges to end the inning. Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Top of 3rd inning: Haycock strikes out. Bridges strikes out. Thieme grounds out sharply to SS Maus. End of inning. Ouachita 1, SSU 0. (Note: Baran, on two day’s rest, has thrown 60 pitches through three innings).

Bottom of 3rd inning: Streicher grounds out to 3B Babin. Jovanovski strikes out looking. (Means third strikeout). Makonnen singles sharply to left. Taylor strikes out. End of inning. Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Top of 4th inning: (Worth noting: SSU is suddenly slumping at the plate. The Seawolves have scored three runs in their last 27 innings dating back to the fifth inning of Monday night’s 6-5, 19-inning win against Central Missouri). Babin lines out to SS. Pestorich flies out to center. Jones strikes out looking. (Note: Baran has retired nine straight batters). End of inning: Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Bottom of 4th inning: Means strikes out Maus after 10-pitch at-bat. Boyce has swinging bunt that C Thieme grabs in front of the plate and throws to 1B Bridges for out. Wurzelbacher strike sout looking. (Means has 6 strikeouts). End of inning: Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Top of 5th inning: Herman flies out to right field. Adler grounds out to SS Maus, who makes a great play ranging behind second base and throwing off balance to get Adler by a step. Nosti lines out to CF Lockwood for second straight at-bat. (Note: Baran has retired 12 straight and thrown 84 pitches). End of inning: Ouachita 1, SSU 0.

Bottom of 5th inning: Lockwood hit by a pitch. (Lockwood has 47 steals). Lockwood doesn’t need to steal second. He trots to second after a passed ball on C Thieme. Pennell strikes out. 1 out, Lockwood on second. Lockwood steals third base. 1 out, Lockwood on third. Streicher hits slow roller to SS Haycock. Haycock throws to first for out, Lockwood scores. Ouachita 2, SSU 0. Jovanovski strikes out. (Means 8 strikeouts, 84 pitches). End of inning: Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Top of 6th inning: Haycock reaches first on error by P Baran, who couldn’t handle flip from 1B Makonnen on close play at first. Bridges hits into fielder’s choice grounder to SS Maus. 1 out, Bridges at first. Thieme strikes out looking. 2 outs, Bridges at first. Babin flies out to right. End of inning: Ouachita 2, SSU 0. (Note: A little mild frustration from the Seawolves. Thieme and Babin each resisted the urge to fling their helmets after making outs).

Bottom of 6th inning: Makonnen singles sharply up the middle. Taylor’s sacrifice but fails. Babin fields and thows to second for force out. 1 out, Taylor on first. Maus flies out to RF Pestorich. 2 outs, Taylor on first. Boyce grounds out to 2B Adler. End of inning. Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Top of 7th inning: 6-7-8 batters up for SSU. Baran is nearing 100 pitches on two day’s rest. Pretty impressive. Pestorich grounds out to SS Maus. 1 out. Jones walks on four pitches. Action starts in Ouachita’s bullpen. Herman singles to right center. 1 out, Jones on second, Herman at first. Adler up. Conference on the mound. Baran stays in the game. Adler grounds into fielder’s choice. 2 outs, Jones on third, Adler on first. Nosti up. Baran starts Nosti on 2-0 count and is pulled from the game. He is greeted by teammates outside the dugout and now will hope his arm doesn’t fall off after throwing 177 pitches since Wednesday. Ouachita reliever Jerry Helferich (6-5, 3.76 ERA) enters. Nosti grounds a 3-1 pitch to 3B Jovanovski, who makes a diving backhand stop and throws out Nosti by a step to end the the threat. End of inning, Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Bottom of 7th inning: Wurzelbacher walks. Lockwood pops up sacrifice bunt attempt to Means, who doubles Wurzelbacher off first base. 2 outs. Pennell lines a single up the middle. Pennell steals second. Means has a 3-1 count on Streicher and SSU calls for an intentional walk. 2 outs, Pennell on second. Streicher on first. Means starts Jovanovski with 1-1 count and SSU coach John Goelz visits mound. Means stays in game. Action in SSU’s bullpen. Jovanovski strikes out looking. End of inning: Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Top of 8th inning: Slump update: SSU has scored three runs in its last 31 innings. If this continues, the Seawolves’ season won’t. SSU’s 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Haycock strikes out on 3-2 pitch. Probably a ball. Probably too close to take. Bridges grounds out to SS Maus. Thieme flies out to RF Pennell. The Seawolves’ heart of the order goes down quietly. End of inning: Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Bottom of 8th inning: Makonnen walks after 12-pitch at-bat, Means has thrown 122 pitches. Goelz visits mound. Means is relieved. 3B Babin (4-0, 4.40 ERA) will take the mound, Herman replaces Babin at 3B. Means: 7 innings, 5 hits, 9 strikeouts. Taylor sacrifices Makonnen to second base. 1 out, Makonnen at second. Maus strikes out. Boyce strikes out. End of inning. Ouachita 2, SSU 0.

Top of 9th inning: (Note: SSU did have ninth-inning rallies to win its last two regular season games and had two more in the CCAA Tournament. A key difference, I guess, would be that they weren’t playing Ouachita Baptist, which appears to be very, very good). OK, 3 outs away from elimination. Babin, Pestorich and Jones due up (5-6-7 hitters). Babin homers on 0-2 pitch. Opposite field shot into the wind to right. Ouachita 2, SSU 1. SSU’s dugout erupts for first time since … a long time ago. Pestorich hit by pitch. 0 outs. Pestorich on first base. Pitching change. Alex Smith (5-2, 4.68 ERA) will take the mound, SSU reserve first baseman Gino Lavezzo (.375 average in 64 at-bats) pinch-hitting for Jones. Lavezzo flies out to LF Taylor, who misjudges the ball briefly and makes a lunging catch while falling down near the warning track. 1 out, Pestorich on first. Herman strikes out on three pitches. 2 outs, Harms, who enters as pinch-runner for Pestorich, on first. Adler due up. Tyrese McDaniel (.260, 4 HR, 29 RBIs) will pinch-hit for Adler, who is hitting .343 but hasn’t hit a homer in his college career. 2-0 count to McDaniel. 2-1 count to McDaniel. 3-1 count to McDaniel. 3-2 count to McDaniel. McDaniel fouls off first 3-2 pitch. McDaniel fouls off second 3-2 pitch. McDaniel strikes out. Game over. Season over.

OK, I’ve got to hustle off for some post-game interviews. Time to write.