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September 11, 2007

Inside Heat

Inside Heat -- News and Notes from around College Baseball



** Eater Nation -- UC Irvine caught America's interest in Omaha last season as they made an improbable run winning at Texas, at Wichita State, and then beat Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State in Omaha. Head coach Dave Serrano left last week to return to Fullerton where he cut his teeth as a Titan assistant for George Horton. The Anteaters want to return to Omaha and insist on conducting a national search. As the fall continues, grabbing an existing head coach becomes more problematic.

One coach from our part of the country familiar with playing in Omaha is on the short list. Rod Delmonico was let go from Tennessee over the summer after 18 years as the Volunteer head coach. He took Tennessee to Omaha three times, including a trip in 2005. Sources indicate Delmonico will interview in Irvine in the next two days.

Delmonico was expected to be the volunteer assistant in Tallahassee this season where he joins son Tony Delmonico at Florida State. The younger Delmonico transferred to Mike Martin's program after two seasons as starting Volunteer infielder. He is one of two D-I transfers (UNC-Wilmington's leading hitter Steve Halford) projected to replace ACC Player of the Year Tony Thomas Jr. and Mark Hallberg in the Seminole middle infield.

Delmonico was interested in the Florida International job over the summer that went to former Arizona State assistant Turtle Thomas.

Should Rod Delmonico get the job in Irvine, his son would not be able to join him without sitting out the 2008 season thus would remain at Florida State.

** Changing Dogs -- Hitting coach Doug Sisson left the Georgia program after two seasons to return to professional baseball. Sisson left just one season as replacing former assistant Roger Williams as the associate head coach. Williams landed on his feet at Louisville where he took an inexperienced, unproven pitching staff to Omaha.

Georgia head coach Dave Perno promoted Brady Wiederhold to a full-time spot. The former LSU assistant served as the Bulldogs' pitching coach last season as a volunteer coach. He joins Jason Eller and new volunteer assistant Justin Holmes on the Georgia staff.

Despite the poor 2007 results, look for Georgia to receive some preseason love from this outlet and others for 2008. Some of that is due to their history of success in even seasons (04, 06 in CWS) but the more important feature is the bulk of returning talent. The Bulldogs returns their entire SEC rotation plus second round closer Joshua Fields opted for another year in Athens.

Georgia released their 2008 schedule highlighted with a home-opening series against Arizona. They also travel to two-time national champion Oregon State and ACC champion Florida State. There are also rivalry games with Clemson and Georgia Tech, a weekend series with Memphis, and midweek games with Western Carolina, Winthrop, and Mercer.

** Transfer winners -- The big winners in the transfer carousel are Tulane, Oklahoma State, and Arizona State. The Green Wave added Texas infielder Josh Prince and former Vanderbilt heralded recruit Josh Zeid.

Oklahoma State added their second transfer impact third baseman in as many seasons as Washington's Matt Hague followed Matt Mangini. Hague was a draft-eligible sophomore who spurned the Huskies and pro ball. The Cowboys also added catcher Luis Flores, a Freshman All-American in 2006.

Arizona State lost two quality infielders as Matt Hall transferred to Auburn and former Alabama player Cale Iorg picked ASU but signed with Detroit. They made out pretty well however as they landed a weekend starter in former Winthrop pitcher Jason Franzblau (8-4/3.13). They also added some power in former Kentucky outfielder Jason Kipnis. Both are impact players on a team that already had plenty of talent and one of the best coaches in the game in Pat Murphy. The Sun Devil program has reclaimed its place as one of the best ten in the country.

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