RED SOX- What a way to head into the final month of the season- and make no mistake about it; September WILL be the final month of the Red Sox 2012 season.
Following Monday's win against Kansas City at Fenway, the Sox made their way to the West Coast where they proceeded to get swept by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, including closer Alfredo Aceves blowing a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 9th on Tuesday.
As bad as that was, it paled in comparison to Friday night's series opener against the Oakland A's. A number of former Sox players and prospects came back to haunt the Old Towne Team in a 20-2 drubbing.
Aaron Cook didn't even last three innings in Friday night's start, leaving the game as the Sox trailed 6-0. Limiting my mentions of Oakland's offensive contribution to just the former Red Sox or farm hands, catcher George Kattaras went 3-5 with 2 homers and 5 RBI, Brandon Moss went 4-5 with a homer and 4 RBI, Josh Reddick went 2-5 with 4 RBI and a homer and Coco Crisp had a relatively quiet night, going 0-5 with a walk and a run scored....but hey- why do down when the former Red Sox now in green and gold accounted for 13 RBI against their former team.
The A's bats burned through Cook, Tazawa, Aceves, Bard, Breslow, Melancon and Padilla during Friday night's romp. So far on this west coast road trip, the Red Sox are winless and have been outscored by a 31-12 margin in three games against the Angels and the Labor Day weekend series opener against Oakland.
For those of us who inexplicably feel that the remaining month of Red Sox baseball will be a worthwhile investment of our time, Saturday's game from Oakland gets underway at 9:05 PM Eastern, 6:05 Pacific. Felix Doubront [10-6; 4.79 ERA] will get the start against AJ Griffin [3-0; 2.42 ERA] and the game will be televised on NESN.
NCAA FOOTBALL- The UMASS Minutemen football program's debut as a member of the FBS Mid-America Conference took off with a resounding *splat!* Thursday night after getting shut out by former Yankee conference archrival UConn 37-0 at East Hartford, CT.
UConn's sophomore QB Chandler Whitmer threw for 219 yards going 15-25 while UConn scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams against the Minutemen. The Minutemen hope to rebound next week with a 'home' game at Gillette Stadium in Foxbourough, MA against the Indiana Hoosiers. Curiously, the away game at East Hartford was closer to UMASS' Amherst campus [where they played for decades as a FCS and Division 1AA team- NANESB!] than upcoming home games in Foxbourough- on the opposite end of the Bay state from Amherst.
UConn, meanwhile, will host the North Carolina State Wolfpack at East Hartford next weekend. NC State is coming off a 21-35 loss to Tennessee on Friday night.
Meanwhile, New England's better know FBS College Football team- the Boston College Eagles- will kick off their regular season on Saturday against archrival Miami at the home opener on Chestnut Hill.
NCAA VOLLEYBALL- The Lady Eagles trek out the the West Coast has been a little more successful than the Red Sox- although now that I think about it, that's not saying much.
Mississippi State freshman Middle Blocker Sarah Nielsen had 13 kills for the Bulldogs in Friday night's losing effort against Boston College at the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles. Mississippi State Bulldogs PhotoThe Lady Eagles started out their West Coast road trip by dropping their opening match against the Northern Iowa Panthers 3 games to 1 on Friday, but rebounded against the Mississippi State Bulldogs later on in the day to win by a 3 games to 1 margin and improving their record to 4-2.
Boston College's Katty Workman lived up to her surname with 20 kills against the Bulldogs on Friday- Courtney Castle added to that total with a strong performance of her own including 16 kills. On the Mississippi State side of the court, freshman Sarah Nielsen led the Bulldogs with 13 kills followed by Taylor Scott with a dozen to her name.
The Lady Eagles will take on host USC on Saturday afternoon before their next match is set to take place at the Spring Hill Suites Invitational at College Park, MD next weekend where they will face Maryland, George Washington and Tennessee.
ELSEWHERE IN NCAA VOLLEYBALL- The defending NCAA women's champions got their regular season off to a rather unique start with an exhibition game against professional Chinese volleyball club Jiangsu ECE at the John Wooden center earlier this week. The Chinese club would win the contest in five sets, with the professionals from the other side of the Pacific never trailing in the decisive fifth set.
On Friday, the defending national champions faced off against Northeastern at the UCSB Invitational- just up highway 101 from their campus- where they handed the Lady Huskies their first defeat of the season with a 3-0 sweep, winning 25-21, 25-18 and 25-21. The Bruins head into the 2012 season ranked #3 in the nation while Northeastern is 4-1 despite the loss. On Saturday, Northeastern will take on the tournament host UCSB Gauchos followed by the Idaho Vandals before facing off against the Cal Poly Mustangs on Sunday.