Lack of homers at CWS is hot topic

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OMAHA, Neb. — The lack of offense, most notably home runs, has been a major topic of conversation among fans and media at the College World Series.

The NCAA has noticed, too, but no immediate changes are planned in an attempt bring up the numbers.

There were three home runs hit in the first 13 games, and some have suggested that the fences should be moved in at TD Ameritrade Park.

“All of that costs money, and we would do that why? So there would be a few more home runs? Is it worth it?” said Damani Leech, the NCAA’s director of championships and alliances. “We’ve only had three home runs, yet we’ve had the highest average attendance in the history of the College World Series.”

Leech officially takes over as lead administrator for the CWS on July 1, replacing the retiring Dennis Poppe.

Leech said in an interview Tuesday that the offensive issues at the CWS coincide with the drop in offense throughout all of college baseball since the dialed-back metal bats were put into play in 2011. According to the NCAA’s midseason statistics report, the latest data available, the per-team average for home runs was about one every three games. The year before the new bat specifications, the average was about one a game.

Leech noted that there were nine home runs hit at TD Ameritrade Park in its first year, 2011, and there were 10 last year.

“Were folks comfortable with that number?” Leech said. “That’s the kind of conversation we’ve got to have, that the baseball committee’s got to have. Are we comfortable with the kind of baseball that’s being played here at our premier national event?”

BRUIN’S BELL RUNG: UCLA catcher Shane Zeile was no worse for the wear after taking multiple shots to the mask in the Bruins’ Game 1 victory over Mississippi State on Monday.

Zeile was rattled by three foul balls, and Bulldogs first baseman Wes Rea’s bat hit him in the mask as he followed through on a swing.

“I was getting tired of getting hit in the face,” Zeile said. “It’ll wake me up a little bit, but it was fine.”


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