Live Blog: Dustin Ackley vs. The Arizona State Sun Devils

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIJune 15, 2009

OMAHA, NE - JUNE 21:  First baseman Dustin Ackley #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo homer in the second inning to the give the Tar Heels a 1-0 lead over the Rice Owls in Game 13 of the NCAA College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 21, 2007 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

11 days, eight of the top college baseball teams in the country, a great setting for baseball in Omaha, Neb., and the unmistakable “ping” make the College World Series one of the great and vastly underrated sporting events.

It’s truly an event that everyone should watch and probably attend if you love baseball.

One of the more interesting matchups on the second day of the College World Series is the University North Carolina vs. Arizona State University.

Not only is this a matchup of two of the top teams in the country, but this matchup features prospects galore.

Of those prospects, I am most interested in is UNC first baseman Dustin Ackley. Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2009 MLB Draft. Ackley is also my pick to be the best player that comes out this year’s draft.

Let’s see how Ackley did in today’s game.

Game – North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

Date – 6/14/09

Bottom of First

Ackley is facing LHP Josh Spence, who was drafted in the third round in the 2009 Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Pitch 1 – A 70 mph change up taken for strike one.

Pitch 2 – a 78 mph pitch taken outside for ball one. I will assume that was Spence’s fastball.

Pitch 3 – 72 mph, I guess changeup was taken low and away for ball three. It looks like Spence is trying to stay away from Ackley.

Pitch 4 – Ackley gets a low fastball, that he punches through the hole between first and second for a single. Good swing with nice extension.

Ackley now has a 20-game postseason hitting streak working.


Bottom of Third

Ackley steps to the plate with one out and nobody on.

Pitch 1 – Ackley takes a wicked breaking ball for strike one. Spence dropped down on that one. Nothing he could do with that pitch.

Pitch 2 – Spence, doing the smart thing, dropped down again with the same pitch. Ackley flies out to RF, just short of the warning track. Ackley was a little out in front.

Ackley is now 1-2 on the afternoon.


Bottom of Fifth

Ackley leads off the bottom of the fifth inning.

Pitch 1 – Spence is really dropping down when faces Ackley. Ackley takes a 78 mph fastball for strike one.

That drop delivery by Spence is a killer on lefties.

Pitch 2 – Spence drops in a sweet curve for stirke two. Spence is not only doing a great job of changing speeds to Ackley, but arm angles as well.

Pitch 3 – Ackley takes a fastball outside for ball one.

Pitch 4 – Spence tried to get Ackley with another curve, but Ackley does a good job of staying on it and again shoots it through the hole between first and second.

Ackley is now 2-for-3 on the day with two singles.


Bottom of Seventh

Ackley again comes to the plate with one out and nobody on.

Pitch 1 – Ackley squares to bunt and fouls it off. If you lead your team in batting avg., HR’s and RBI you should not be bunting. That didn’t make sense to me.

Pitch 2 – On a 74 mph, Ackley just misses one and flies out to the warning track in CF. The wind is slightly blowing in to center, which knocked that ball down a little.

If that pitch was just maybe two inches more insides, Ackley would have gotten all of it.

Ackley is now 2-for-4.


Bottom of Ninth

With two out, a runner on first and the score tied at one, Ackley steps to the plate against LHP Mitchell Lambson.

Ackley can win it with one swing of the bat.

Pitch 1 – Ackley takes a meaty, 82 mph fastball for strike one. Lampson it appears is going to come right at Ackley

Pitch 2 – Ackley takes another 82 mph, but this time it is a little high. The count is now 1-1

Pitch 3 – Lambson throws a perfect pitch for strike two. An 82 mph fastball right on the outside corner. Ackley is down in the count 1-2.

Pitch 4 – Ackley stays alive and fouls off a fastball. It’s been all fastballs from Lambson so far and all at the same speed. At this point, Ackley should have his fastball timed.

Pitch 5 – Another fastball, but this is low and away for ball two. The count is even now at 2-2.

Pitch 6 – Ackley fouls off another fastball. If Lambson throws anything offspeed, Ackley would be three feet out in front of the pitch.

Pitch 7 – I really should have been a pitching coach. Lambson takes something off and freezes Ackley for the strike out.

Ackley is now 2-5 and with the score tied at one, we head into extra innings. There is a good chance Ackley will get another crack at Arizona State.

Maybe not. Arizona State scores three in the top of the 10th and took a 5-1 lead. The Tar Heels rallied for a run in the bottom of the 10th but couldn’t get anything else going. Arizona State wins 5-2.

Ackley ends the day an uneventful 2-for-5. But I still like what I saw from Ackley.

A couple of other observations from this game.

  1. Someone needs to sit Josh Spence in a room and show him tapes of John Tudor. That is who he reminds me of. I don’t think he threw a pitch faster than 78 mph.
  2. Alex White was the real star of this game. White was drafted by the Indians in the first round (No. 15 overall) in this year’s draft. I can’t imagine White not being in the majors in two years.
  3. I don’t regret my decision to go to UMass at all. However, Arizona State is home to some to some of the hottest girls in the country. My lord.


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