While the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and the Final Four both display college athletes who are thisclose to becoming pros, when one watches the College World Series (CWS), the disparity between amateur and professional baseball made apparent. And the combination of talented players (many are throwing north of 90 MPH), a lack of experience, and the high stakes of the opportunity to go to Omaha (where the CWS is held).
For instance, just this evening, within 3 minutes, two mental mistakes were on display on two different Super Regional NCAA games. First, in the Texas A&M/Rice game, with the Owls facing a 1-2 deficit, the Rice baserunner on second (SS Brian Friday) was gunned down on a relay from right field, making the third out at third base -- a baseball no-no.
Then, literally seconds later, ESPN cut back to the main game (UNC/South Carolina), where the Gamecocks were looking at a 6-3 lead with 2 outs in the 7th. With a man at first, Tar Heel SS Josh Horton sliced a ball to left, where the left fielder, Cheyne Hurst, who had been inserted into the game "for defensive purposes" according to the announcers, tried to make a shoestring catch that allowed the ball to squirt to the wall -- and the runner scored all the way from first base.
By the time the 7th inning was over for USC, the bases had been loaded and the tying run had been walked in, two infield grounders were missed (one was called a hit), and UNC led 9-6, all the runs scoring with 2 outs.
The game continues as this is written...It's 'must see' TV.
Update: UNC held on to win, 9-6.
Later Update: Rice came back to win, 3-2 in 10 innings, although the Owls had to withstand another mental mistake when 3B Diego Seastrunk, after singling home the tying run with one out in the bottom of the 9th, failed to advance to second on the throw through to home.
Final Update: Both UNC (in 3 games) and Rice (2 games) advanced to Omaha.