2010 MLB University - Elite Eight From WhatIfSports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

MLB Players Head Back to College - Elite Eight

Eight College Baseball programs go head-to-head
By Michael Schneid, Whatifsports.com
November 3rd, 2010

After starting with sixteen teams, MLB University is now down to eight. This unique tournament features Major League players going back to their colleges. After a couple of upsets in Round 1 we are onto the Elite Eight.

WhatIfSports did some research and we created the 16 best college baseball teams using MLB players' best seasons from each respective school.

Whatifsports.com will use its free baseball simulation technology to play-out MLB University's Elite Eight. We simulated each best-of-7 series 51 times. In the tables below, you will find each team's chances of advancing to the next Round and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. Game Summaries and boxscores with full play-by-play are also included.

Don't see your alma mater on the list? No worries -- use our MLB Dream Team tool to build your own roster of college legends. Any big league player dating back to 1885 is available.


Click on any matchup in the graphic above to navigate to the series capsule.

Volunteers emblem vs Trojans emblem
51 Simulations Round 2 of Best of 7 Series
8. Tennessee301 0 2
1. USC481017 912
Tennessee Notable PlayersTodd Helton, Joe Randa, Rick Honeycutt, Bubba Trammell
View Tennessee Roster
USC Notable PlayersMark McGwire, Bret Boone, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito
View USC Roster

Game 1: Tennesee 6 - USC 5


Tennessee rallied late and delivered USC their first loss after the tournament.

After sweeping through Round one, USC's bullpen struggled when Steve Busby left the game after 6 innings with the lead.

USC initially took the lead in the 5th inning when Bret Boone and Mark McGwire hit back-to-back home runs off Tennessee starter Rick Honeycutt. Honeycutt was pulled after 5 innings allowing 5 runs on 6 hits.

Jim Barr took over for USC in the 7th inning where Tennesee managed to load the bases. Chase Headley singled home Todd Helton to tie the game. Randy Flores than replaced House and got the final out with the bases still loaded.

An RBI single from Bubba Trammell allowed Phil Garner to score the go-ahead run off Flores to put Tennessee up 6-5.

Mike Lincoln, who has a rough first Round, pitched around trouble in the 8th and Greg McMichael closed out the game with a perfect 9th inning.

Player of the Game: Phil Garner, Tennessee - 3-5, RBI

Game 2: Tennesee 3 - USC 11


USC bounced back from their first tournament loss with 11 runs and 13 hits to even up the series.

Tom Seaver was brilliant and was pulled in the 9th with 2 outs because he started to fatigue. He gave up 8 hits and 3 runs which was more than enough with the USC offense.

The 11 runs came with McGwire having a quiet game going 1-3 with no RBI. Jacque Jones provided power from the leadoff spot with 2 home runs, including one in his first at-bat.

Dave Kingman also homered and USC cruised to the victory.

Player of the Game: Jacque Jones, USC - 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Game 3: USC 8 - Tennesee 6


The bullpen struggled again for USC, but they managed to win with power, hitting 6 home runs.

Randy Johnson started for USC pitching 6 innings and allowing 1 run on 4 hits. He was taken out with a 7-1 lead.

Pete Redfern and Jim Barr than combined to allow 5 runs in the 7th inning to cut the lead to 7-6.

Jacque Jones hit his third home run of the series in the 9th to further extend the USC lead and Tom House closed it out in the 9th inning to give USC the lead in the series for the first time.

McGwire, Kingman, Jones, Fred Lynn and Morgan Ensberg (2) combined to hit 6 home runs for the Trojans and help carry them past another bullpen failure.

Player of the Game: Randy Johnson, USC - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 11 K

Game 4: USC 5 - Tennesee 1


USC continues to mash the ball over the fence and crush Tennesee pitching.

R.A. Dickey, who outpitched Arkansas's Cliff Lee in Round 1, started for Tennessee. He gave up just 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings.

The catch to those numbers? The 2 runs both came the 7th inning. With USC trailing 2-1 and McGwire on 1st base, Dave Kingman hit his 6th home run of the tournament to give USC the lead, one they would not relinquish.

Barry Zito was outstanding for USC giving up just 1 hit in 7 scoreless innings.

USC sends Mark Prior to the mound in Game 5. Prior did not start in Round 1 because USC swept Mississippi State. The Vols will start Rick Honeycutt to save the season.

Player of the Game: Barry Zito, USC - 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K

Game 5: USC 8 - Tennesee 4


Morgan Ensberg played the role of hero for USC as the Trojans advance to the Final Four.

Tennessee went after Prior early and took a 2-0 lead in the 1st innning with help from a Todd Helton home run and Bubba Trammell RBI double.

However, those would be the only 2 runs Prior would allow. Tennessee would not score again until the 8th inning.

This game turned for the worst for Tennessee when Morgan Ensberg hit a 3-run home run off Honeycutt in the 3rd to give USC a 3-2 lead.

Chad Moeller had 2 RBI in the game and McGwire and Kingman hit back-to-back home runs in the 8th inning to really break this game open giving USC an 8-2 lead.

Player of the Game: Jeff Cirillo, USC - 4-6, 2 2B

Hardball Dynasty

Wildcats emblem vs Wolverines emblem
51 Simulations Round 2 of Best of 7 Series
13. Arizona162266
5. Michigan3551488
Arizona Notable PlayersJ.T. Snow, Kenny Lofton, Joe Magrane, Trevor Hoffman
View Arizona Roster
Michigan Notable PlayersBarry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Hal Morris, Tim McCarver
View Michigan Roster

Game 1: Arizona 6 - Michigan 7


Maybe Trevor Hoffman should have played shortstop...

Major League Baseball's all-time save leader actually played shortstop when he attended University of Arizona from 1987 to 1989. He was later converted to a pitcher and became one of the best in the game.

Hoffman's college teammate, JT Snow, gave Arizona a 6-5 lead with a single in the 9th inning. A one run lead entering the bottom of the 9th only means one thing - Hell's Bells by AC/DC blaring over the stadium speakers. Enter, Trevor Hoffman.

Hoffman got Chris Sabo and Elliot Maddox to pop out and ground out respectively. With 2 outs, Hal Morris drew a walk and Jake Fox would come in to pinch hit for Tom Paciorek.

Damon Mashore, who scored the go-ahead run in the top of the inning for Arizona, was standing in left field as Jake Fox sent a ball flying over his head and into the stands. A walkoff 2-run home run for Jake Fox off the legendary Hoffman gives Michigan a Game 1 victory.

Player of the Game: Jake Fox, Michigan - Game-Winning, Walkoff HR

Game 2: Arizona 5 - Michigan 9


Scott Erickson was ineffective starting for Arizona and Michigan capitalized to take a 2-0 series lead.

Erickson did not get out of the 5th inning giving up 6 runs on 8 hits. Contrarily, Jim Abbott started for Michigan and gave up just 1 run on 3 hits in 5 innings.

Tom Paciorek, who was pinch hit for in the final at-bat of Game 1, provided Michigan with 3 RBI going 3-4 from the plate. Chris Getz also had 3 RBI for the Wolverines and Leon Roberts, a multi-time hero in Round 1, provided 2 RBI.

J.J. Putz saved the game for Michigan and is now 4-4 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA in the tournament. In 51 simulations, J.J. Putz had a 3.54 ERA and saved 1.48 games, while blowing 0.24 saves.

Player of the Game: Chris Getz, Michigan - 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI

Game 3: Michigan 7 - Arizona 2


Michigan took an early lead and never looked back en route to getting within 27 outs of the Final Four.

Geoff Zahn gave up 1 unearned run for Michigan and cruised through Arizona's lineup.

With Arizona only down by 2 runs, Chris Sabo hit a 3-run home run in the 9th inning to really put the game out of reach.

Noone in MLB University history has come back from a 3-0 deficit.

Player of the Game: Chris Sabo, Michigan - 2-5, HR, 3 RBI

Game 4: Michigan 2 - Arizona 3


Hell's Bells. Standing Ovation. Here comes Trevor Hoffman. You get the point.

With the game tied 2-2 in the 7th inning, Kenny Lofton hit a solo home run off Steve Ontiveros to give Arizona a 1 run lead. Two innings later, it would be up to Trevor Hoffman.

Hoffman was 3-3 in save chances in Round 1 with a 1.93 ERA but allowed a walkoff home run to Jake Fox in Game 1 of this series. Michigan has riden a wave of momentum since that hit winning the first three games of the series.

But this time, with the same 1 run lead as he had in Game 1, Hoffman used 16 pitches to strike out the side and seal the victory for the Wildcats.

Arizona came into this tournament as a 13 seed and managed a big upset over Miami in the first Round. But it will take three straight victories to upset Big Blue.

Player of the Game: Kenny Lofton, Arizona - 3-4, HR

Game 5: Michigan 9 - Arizona 8


Leon Roberts, who had two game-winning hits against LSU in the first Round, got his first clutch hit in the 9th inning of the Elite 8 and it would help Michigan advance to the Final Four.

Arizona led 8-4 after 7 innings. They needed to get through the 8th harmlessly and than bring in Trevor Hoffman. Joe Magrane, Arizona's starter, gave up two straight singles and a fielder's choice to Barry Larkin to start the 8th inning before being pulled and with the score cut down to 8-5.

Ryan Perry entered the game and immediately gave up a single to Chris Getz. Ted Sizemore and Mike Matheny would follow up with back-to-back RBI to get Michigan within 1 run. Chris Sabo lined out to end the inning.

In one the most puzzling managerial moves made in the tournament, Arizona opted for Ed Vosberg who has 13 career saves (588 saves less than Hoffman).

As LSU learned in Round 1, the one guy in Michigan's lineup you do not want to face with the game on the line is Leon Roberts. Roberts hit a linedrive home run to centerfield giving Michigan the lead 9-8 after trailing 8-4 entering the 7th inning.

The bullpen collapse and failure to use their best pitcher cost Cinderella Arizona a chance at going back to Ann Arbor to get 2 more wins. Michigan advances to the Final Four.

Player of the Game: Leon Roberts, Michigan - 4-5, HR, 2 RBI

Hardball Dynasty
Long Beach emblem vs Bruins emblem
51 Simulations Round 2 of Best of 7 Series
6. Long Beach120345
3. UCLA39611 1210
Long Beach Notable Players Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, Jason Giambi, Jered Weaver
View Long Beach Roster
UCLA Notable PlayersTroy Glaus, Chase Utley, Tim Leary, Eric Karros
View UCLA Roster

Game 1: Long Beach 2 - UCLA 6


Jered Weaver was nearly perfect in his lone start of Round 1. He was nearly routed in his first start in Round 2.

Weaver gave up only 2 hits in nine scoreless innings in that Round 1 Game 1 against Florida State. But against a very good offensive lineup, Weaver struggled allowing 6 runs (5 ER) and 8 hits in 7 2/3 innings.

On the other side, Tim Leary is now 3-0 in this tournament. He did give up 11 hits but only 2 runs in 8 innings and helped limit damage from the Long Beach offense.

UCLA got a couple of RBI from Eric Karros, including a solo home run in the 2nd inning that got UCLA on the board first. Karros struck again with a double in the 4th inning and than scored on a Chris Chambliss single. With a 3-0 lead after 4 innings, Leary and UCLA would roll with ease to win Game 1.

Player of the Game: Tim Leary, UCLA - 8 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 9 K

Game 2: Long Beach 0 - UCLA 3


Steve Trachsel gave up just 3 runs in 8 innings for Long Beach but their offense did not help him at all.

UCLA continued their excellant pitching as Matt Young recorded a 5 hit shutout for the Bruins, despite walking 8 batters and also striking out 6.

Chase Utley and Chris Chambliss provdided UCLA with its only offense. A single in the 1st and a home run in the 3rd for Utley and an RBI single for Chambliss provided UCLA with 3 runs, which would be more than enough to beat the struggling 49ers.

Player of the Game: Matt Young, UCLA - 9 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 8 BB, 6 K (144 pitches)

Game 3: UCLA 9 - Long Beach 13


If you do not know who Danny Valencia is, you do now. Well, at least Long Beach and UCLA fans both know who he is now.

Valencia went 3-5, with a double and 2 home runs, driving in 7 runs as Long Beach finally broke out of the series long slump.

Long Beach's offense produced 13 runs on their way to closing the gap on UCLA in this series. Aside from Valencia, Termel Sledge, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Bobby Crosby, and Jeremy Reed all provided RBI for Long Beach.

Player of the Game: Danny Valencia, Long Beach - 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Game 4: UCLA 8 - Long Beach 2


Troy Glaus and Eric Karros each provided 3 RBI for UCLA as the Bruins took a 3-1 series lead.

David Huff pitched well for UCLA giving up 1 run on 4 hits in 6 innings. The bullpen allowed just 2 hits and 1 run in the final three innings.

Long Beach on the other hand, went through 6 pitchers. Only Chad Bentz and Gary Beare did not give up runs and starter Jason Vargas struggled through 3 innings.

Danny Valencia hit a solo home run as his hot streak continued but it wasn't enough to beat the Bruins.

Player of the Game:

Game 5: UCLA 4 - Long Beach 5


Jered Weaver pitched much better in this game than he did earlier in the series and Long Beach ended Tim Leary's perfect tournament, handing him his first loss.

Termel Sledge singled to left field, scoring Bobby Crosby to give Long Beach a 5-4 lead in the 7th inning, a score that would be the final.

Leary gave up 5 runs on 9 hits in 6 1/3 innings and suffering the loss after starting the tournament 3-0. Jered Weaver, who got roughed up in Game 1, gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 8 innings but got the win.

Chase Utley and Eric Karros both continued their strong series for UCLA as Utley got his 9th RBI and Karros his 6th.

Player of the Game: Jered Weaver, Long Beach - 8 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 7 K

Game 6: Long Beach 6 - UCLA 7


This game had everything and more. A roller coaster game ended Long Beach's tournament.

Long Beach led 2-1 in the 8th, putting them 6 outs away from forcing a Game 7. Steve Trachsel retired the first two batters in the 8th and than the fun began.

Eric Byrnes walked and Chris Chambliss singled Byrnes to third and Trachsel was pulled in favor of Chad Bentz. Bentz proceeded to walk Todd Zeile and the bases were loaded for UCLA, down by a run in the 7th inning.

Bentz walks Mike Gallego and the game was tied and Bentz pulled after 2 walks and 1 run. Rocky Biddle came in and Troy Tulowitzki misplayed what would have been an inning-ending gRound ball and another run scored on the error.

Shane Mack hit a double into center off Biddle to clear the bases and UCLA took a 6-2 lead and looked on pace to end this game and win this series.

Mike Magnante came in to pitch for UCLA and the fun continued. Termel Sledge doubled home Jeremy Reed. Floyd Chiffer came in to pitch next and Jason Giambi smoked a 2 run home run and Long Beach got back within 1 run. An Evan Longoria home run later tied the game at 6-6.

This was an amazing comeback for Long Beach considering they had blown the lead but than refused to quit.

But, with Mike Gallo on the mound for Long Beach, Eric Karros hit a home run into deep right field, his third home run of the series, and UCLA would walkoff to a series victory, avoiding Game 7 and going to the Final Four.

An amazing comeback from Long Beach fell just short.

Player of the Game: Eric Karros, UCLA - 3-6, 2B, Game Winning, Walkoff HR

Hardball Dynasty
Sun Devils emblem vs Longhorns emblem
51 Simulations Round 1 of Best of 7 Series
7. Arizona State39416109
2. Texas122442
Arizona State Sun DevilsBarry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Andre Ethier, Dustin Pedroia
View Arizona State Roster
Texas LonghornsRoger Clemens, Greg Swindell, Shane Reynolds, Drew Stubbs
View Texas Roster

Game 1: Arizona State 3 - Texas 1


Texas is now 0-3 in the tournmanr with Roger Clemens on the mound.

Clemens only gave up 1 run through 7 1/3 innings but left with the score tied at 1-1. His offense or bullpen did him no favors.

Larry Gura, whose Sun Devils are now 3-0 when he starts, pitched very well for Arizona State allowing 2 hits and 1 run in 8 innings.

In the 11th inning, Fernando Vina blooped a single to center field and Drew Stubbss made a poor throw allowing Willie Bloomquist to score. Bonds would later single home Vina and Arizona State went up 3-1.

That score would be the final as Doug Henry pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half of the 11th for the save.

Player of the Game: Fernando Vina, Arizona State - Game-Winning RBI

Game 2: Arizona State 6 - Texas 7


Despite rallying late, Arizona State fell just short as Greg Swindell helped pitch Texas to the victory.

Down 7-3 in the 9th, Ike Davis hit a solo home run and was later followed up with a 2-run home run by Barry Bonds to get the Sun Devils within 1 run.

But Huston Street struck out Reggie Jackson to end the game preserving the Longhorns' victory. Street got the save despite giving up the home run and Swindell earned the victory allowed just 2 runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Player of the Game: Calvin Murray, Texas - 4-5, RBI

Game 3: Texas 0 - Arizona State 7


Gary Gentry pitched an absolute gem.

Gentry allowed 1 hit in 8 scoreless innings and struck out 10 Longhorns. Ed Vande Berg came in to pitch a perfect 9th.

On the flip side, Shane Reynolds allowed 7 runs (6 ER) on 7 hits in 6 innings. Reynolds was not very effective as the Longhorns continued to find good, strong pitching.

Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier combined to go 4-6 with a double, triple and 2 RBI as the 1-2 punch atop the Arizona State lineup provided a huge offensive spark. Reggie Jackson also homered in the 3rd inning.

Player of the Game: Gary Gentry, Arizona State - 8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 10 K, 0 BB (91 pitches)

Game 4: Texas 5 - Arizona State 10


A 6-run 6th inning for Arizona State that featured a 2-run homer by Pedroia, RBI double for Bonds, RBI single for Jackson, and 2 RBI double for Sal Bando pushed Texas to the brink of elimination.

Burt Hooten did not pitch well for Texas and was responsible for a 2-run home run surrendered to Bonds in the 3rd and the Pedroia homer in the 6th. Jim Acker took the damage in that big 6th inning.

Lerrin Lagrow started for Arizona State and was solid, not great, but effective enough to help guide them to the win.

Player of the Game: Barry Bonds, Arizona State - 2-4, HR, 3 RBI

Game 5: Texas 2 - Arizona State 3


Arizona State is Cinderella. The seventh seeded Sun Devils advance to the Final Four.

Pedroia grounded into a 5-4 fielder's choice in the 7th inning which allowed Sal Bando to score what would be the go-ahead and ultimately winning run.

Larry Gura is now 3-0 in 4 starts in the tournament. He gave up 10 hits but just 2 runs helping keep Texas' bats quiet. Roger Clemens gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings. Texas finishes the tournament 0-4 in games started by The Rocket.

Bonds scored twice, both times on Reggie Jackson doubles. Arizona State's offense was too much for Texas pitching to handle all series long and the Sun Devils pitchers kept Texas' bats relatively quiet other than a 7 run Game 2.

Player of the Game: Larry Gura, Arizona State - 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER

Final Four Preview


1. USC vs. 5 Michigan

USC enters this series 8-1 in the tournament. Their starting pitching has been awesome allowing 3.4 runs per game and their offense is scoring 7.3 runs per game. Mark McGwire and Dave Kingman have owned opposing pitchers in the middle of the lineup for the Trojans.

Michigan has a Cincinnati Reds feel to it with Barry Larkin, Hal Morris, and Chris Sabo. Sabo has been very good for Michigan while the other two have struggled a bit. Michigan's weakness is their pitching, although their bullpen is strong. Contrarily, USC has a weak bullpen.

7. Arizona State vs. 3 UCLA

Arizona State is the Cinderella of this tournament but it really should not be a huge surprise.

SP Larry Gura has been outstanding for the Sun Devils and the offense has really been dominant.

UCLA also has a dominant offense and a starting pitcher in Tim Leary, who also has been very good. Leary vs Gura should be a great pitcher's duel in Game 1.

Both teams have balance in their offense with big power in the middle. The starters will need to command and control and limit baserunners. Both bullpens could play a big roll as well.

Check back Wednesday November 10rd for Round 3 Results.

In case you missed it, check out Round 1 Results.

Hardball Dynasty

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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