UH Freshmen Come Up Big

I don’t recall anyone within the UH baseball program or any outside observers raving about this year’s freshman class when it was signed, but let the raving begin. Second baseman Stephen Ventimilia and left fielder Kaeo Aliviado are two of the most exciting position players on the team. Scott Squier has been an excellent No. 3 starter, and Lawrence Chew, David Longville and Kyle Dowdy have been outstanding out of the bullpen.

The team has proven resilient, and I got a little reminder of that last weekend in the rubber game with Fresno State. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, I watched the Bulldogs ace closer retire the first two Rainbows. I went upstairs to jump in the shower, already putting the game in the loss column, when my son burst into the room, yelling, “They won, they won.”

Having already put the game in the rear-view mirror, I yelled back, “Who won?”

When he said the Rainbows, I was sure he was winding me up, so I had to catch the recap to figure out the comeback.

I should have remembered that in baseball it’s not time but outs.

All in all, it was a nice start to the WAC season that resumes this week.

* There’s a pretty good gig available in Fayetteville, Ark. It pays about $3.5 million. All you have to do is win about 11 football games a year and not hire your mistress using university funds.

A motorcycle safety class wouldn’t hurt either.

Former football coach Bobby Petrino did just fine at the first part, going 21-5 in two years and taking the moribund Razorback program from mediocrity to national championship contender and a No. 5 ranking in 2011.

On the other parts, not so hot.

After the married father of four crashed his motorcycle, it turned out he had a passenger, a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player with whom he’d had an “inappropriate relationship” for some time, and four days previously hired for a six-figure job in the football program. As is often the case, his attempt to hide the fact he had a passenger from his athletic director, the media and the public made his departure inevitable, although in this instance the actual offense may have been enough.

Adding to the sordidness, his mistress, Jessica Dorrell, was engaged to another Arkansas athletic department employee.

So now the Razorbacks have to decide whether to grant interim coach Taver Johnson a full year or hire someone else to take over a team loaded with talent and will undoubtedly be a preseason Top 10.

And elsewhere in the rough-and-tumble SEC, opponents will gleefully celebrate their improved chances of beating the Razorbacks this fall.

* While the expected favorites Tiger Woods and Rory McIroy wilted at Augusta, it was up to Bubba Watson to provide the drama with his head-to-head battle with South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen. Despite Oosthuizen’s rare double-eagle early on Sunday, Watson managed to birdie 13, 14, 15 and 16 to force sudden death and then he made one of the great approaches in Master’s history on the second playoff hole, hooking a ball out of the trees to within 10 feet of the pin. Watson also became one of the more emotional Master’s champions after sinking the winning putt.

Fitting in a place with a former chairman named Hootie that there’s now a champion named Bubba.