Even during the off-season, an NCAA Baseball player is never far from his glove. Most college baseball players are very particular about their gloves, having up to five that they use on a regular basis. Some are designated game gloves, some are practice gloves and some are backups in either category. With the competitive nature of the college baseball scene, players can’t afford to lose any competitive advantage, even if it’s only a piece of equipment. During the off-season, players stretch, condition and rotate their gloves to ensure maximum play during the season.
"Let's play two" was the favorite phrase of Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks, and it's also the mantra for College World Series ticket holders as the 2010 College World Series winds down at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. Neither bracket was decided after Friday's games, as both no-loss teams went down to defeat to create back-to-back winner-take-all matchups Saturday. In the first game Friday, TCU freshman sensation Matt Purke was his usual solid self, teaming up with Tyler Lockwood to win his 16th game of the year on a four-hitter to beat UCLA 6-2, meaning the Horned Frogs and Bruins will do it again Saturday at 1 p.m. to see who moves on to the finals. Friday night, South Carolina scored single runs in each of the first four innings and shut down Clemson's offense in a 5-1 win, which means the two in-state rivals will do it again Saturday at 6 p.m. to see who plays in the best-of-three championship round. In the first game, Purke wasn't his dominant strikeout-inducing self, but he kept the UCLA bats quiet and induced 14 ground ball outs of the 19 he put in the books. He got plenty of offensive support, as the Horned Frogs got three home runs in the gameoff UCLA starter Rob Rasmussen, who gave up three runs on six hits before being pulled in the fifth inning. Taylor Featherston hit a two-run shot in the seventh to give TCU a 5-2 edge. That was more than enough for TCU's pitchers, who silenced what had been a high-scoring UCLA team so far in the College World Series. Even UCLA's hottest hitter, Beau Amaral, was left with a doughnut after going 0-for-4. Coming into the game, the Bruins centerfielder was 6-for-7 in Rosenblatt Stadium this week. In the nightcap, South Carolina pitcher Michael Roth didn't show much rust in spite of his first start in more than a year. He pitched very well, tossing a complete-game three-hitter while striking out four. Normally a short reliever, Roth had only gone more than three innings twice in 48 appearances for the Gamecocks. Getting good offensive support helped him command Clemson's bats throughout the night, as the Tigers never mounted a serious rally until the ninth, when they left two runners on. After Saturday, we will know who moves on to the finals, and you can get great tickets to see TCU battle UCLA at 1 p.m., followed by Clemson and South Carolina at 6 p.m. Get your College World Series tickets now at Ticket Express — where no College World Series game is ever sold out.