For years, there have been reflections on a FBS jump potential for James Madison. And for years, the CAA school with an eight-figure median budget that ranks next to the top end of Group 5 schools, the Dukes have not made, or by all indications, have not seriously pursued a move toward presumably the American Athletic Conference.
Forget the AAC; The Dukes should aim higher and demand an invitation from the Big 12, though conference softball programs could back down as JMU runs the conference’s best programs at the Women’s Colleges World Series.
On Friday, the day after upsetting No. 1 seed Oklahoma (in a de facto home game for the Sooners in Oklahoma City) with an eighth-inning home run, James Madison shocked Oklahoma state No. 5 with one of the most incredible plays you’ve ever seen on a diamond:
James Madison is the first non-seeded team to start 2-0 in WCWS and reach the semifinals. The Dukes are scheduled to play again on Sunday.
To the moon
Wright State entered Friday’s NCAA tournament game against Tennessee at the Knoxville Regional leading the nation in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And the Raiders showed up at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, hitting five home runs to build an 8–5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Vols, in their second straight tournament appearance after having 13 in a row from 2006 to ’18, loaded the bases with one out. And second-year outfielder Drew Gilbert sent a hanging ball that broke to the moon, prompting a glorious bat flip and 35-second home run trot:
“No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball by rubbing it with dirt, rosin, paraffin, licorice, sandpaper, sandpaper, or other foreign substance,” says Rule 3.01 “The Ball” in the MLB rule book.
Great, MLB pitchers say, “80 to 90%” of whom are illegally tampering with the baseball with a mixture of sunscreen, rosin and / or glue, estimates a recently retired pitcher.
SI’s Stephanie Apstein and Alex Prewitt took a deep dive into what “should be the biggest scandal in sports,” the rampant pitching correction that led to a league-wide .236 batting average. They spoke with more than 20 people from across baseball, from current and former players to clubhouse assistants and minor league pitchers, and discussed the dramatic increase in spin rates as pitchers throw “unbeatable pitches.”
“A ball hit a National League dugout last week, where players took turns tapping their palms on the sticky material that covered it and lifting the ball, attached to their hand, into the air. Another, cornered in a different NL dugout, had fingerprints clear enough that opponents could mimic the pitcher’s grip. A third, also in the National League, was so sticky that when an opponent tried to remove the glue, three inches of seams came off. “
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.