2010 MLB University - Final Four From WhatIfSports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

MLB Players Return to Alma Maters - Final Four

Four College Baseball programs go head-to-head
By Michael Schneid, Whatifsports.com
November 10rd, 2010

After starting with sixteen teams, MLB University is now down to the final four. This unique tournament features Major League players going back to their colleges. After a couple of upsets in Round 1, and a few more upsets in the Elite Eight, we are down to four schools competing for the prize of pride in seeing which school produces the best Major League players.

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 Final Four. 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.

Wolverines emblem vs Trojans emblem
51 Simulations Round 3 of Best of 7 Series
5. Michigan401 3 0
1. USC47816 1211
Michigan Notable PlayersBarry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Hal Morris, Tim McCarver
View Michigan Roster
USC Notable PlayersMark McGwire, Bret Boone, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito
View USC Roster

Game 1: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
USC562Simulate Game
WP: Steve Busby; LP: Larry Sorensen; SV: Tom House
Player of the Game: Steve Busby, USC - 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER

Mark McGwire, as he did over and over again in the previous rounds, did it again for USC.

McGwire homered off Michigan starting pitcher Larry Sorenen in the 1st inning to give USC an early lead. Than in the 3rd inning with the score tied, McGwire doubled off Sorensen to give USC a 2-1 lead. The Trojans got 3 more runs that inning to help them win Game 1 5-3.

McGwire went 2-4 with a homerun and a double as USC had a relatively quiet offensive game.

Steve Busby pitched his best game of the tournament for USC, lasting 7 2/3 innings allowing just 2 runs.

Sorensen gave up 5 runs in 7 innings. He had pitched well all tournament for Michigan but had not seen a lineup with as much talent as USC's does.

Game 2: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
USC26240Simulate Game
WP: Tom Seaver; LP: Jim Abbott
Player of the Game: Geoff Jenkins, USC - 3-4, 2B, HR, 7 RBI

This was like watching the 5th grade bully try to take money from a 1st grader. He just kept beating him up until there was no more time.

To say USC's bats came alive would be an understatement. USC put up 26 runs on 23 hits. Six players recorded 3 or more hits (Dave Kingman had 5).

USC has shown a ton of power in this tournament but only hit two homeruns (Geoff Jenkins and Kingman). Kingman drove in 6 runs and Jenkings drove in 7. Roy Smalley and Chad Moeller each had 4 RBI.

Another strong pitching performance should not be overlooked. Tom Seaver pitched 8 innings and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits.

It was 22-0 in the 7th inning before Michigan finally broke through and Chris Getz drove in both Michigan runs with a double.

Game 3: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Michigan4110Simulate Game
WP: Steve Ontiveros; LP: Jim Barr
Player of the Game: Ted Sizemore, Michigan - 3-4, RBI

USC's comeback fell short as Michigan proved it takes more than 9 innings to slay the dragon.

Michigan walked off in the 10th inning to beat USC in Game 3 but probably should have done so sooner.

USC trailed 3-0 in the 8th inning. With 1 man on and Steve Howe on the mound for Michigan, Kingman cracked his 8th homerun of the tournament (second of the series) and USC got to within 1 run.

On the very next batter, USC would tie the game on a Morgan Ensberg homerun.

Brian Simmons, who entered the game earlier in the inning as a pinch-hitter, scored the winning, walkoff run in the 10th inning for Michigan to get Big Blue their first win of the series and giving USC only their second loss overall in the tournament.

Game 4: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Michigan070Simulate Game
WP: Barry Zito; LP: Clayton Richard
Player of the Game: Dave Kingman, USC - 4-6, 2B, HR, 5 RBI

This was simply another dominant performance by a very good team.

McGwire, who had just 1 hit the last 2 games, came out of a mini slump going 3-4 with his 2nd homerun of the series. Kingman, who has been outstanding for USC went 4-6 with a homerun and 5 RBI.

USC racked up 18 runs on 18 hits and also got another great pitching performance. Barry Zito pitched 8 scoreless innings.

Game 5: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Michigan4140Simulate Game
WP: Mark Prior; LP: Rich Hill
Player of the Game: Fred Lynn, USC - 2-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Dave Kingman got the big hit once again to help USC advance to the Championship.

After trailing 4-0 early USC came back to tie the game. In the 5th inning, with the game tied 4-4, Kingman and Fred Lynn hit back-to-back homeruns to give USC a 6-4 lead. Two innings later, Kingman hit a 2-run blast, his 11th of the tournament, 5th of the series, and the dagger that finished off Michigan.

Mark Prior got his 2nd win in as many chances in the tournament, despite not going 7 innings and giving up 12 hits.

McGwire had another hitless game, his second of the series. Kingman clearly carried the offense all series with some help here and there and some great pitching. USC looks like the strong favorites in the finals.

Sun Devils emblem vs Bruins emblem
51 Simulations Round 3 of Best of 7 Series
7. Arizona State317879
3. UCLA203278
Arizona State Sun DevilsBarry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Andre Ethier, Dustin Pedroia
View Arizona State Roster
UCLA Notable PlayersTroy Glaus, Chase Utley, Tim Leary, Eric Karros
View UCLA Roster

Game 1: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State5100Boxscore
UCLA6130Simulate Game
WP: Floyd Chiffer; LP: Sean Lowe
Player of the Game: Dave Roberts, UCLA - 4-6, GW RBI

UCLA led big early, blew the lead, and than walked off to a very exciting Game 1 victory.

Larry Gura started for Arizona State and has been superb for much of the tournament but ran into trouble in the 1st inning. Chase Utley, Troy Glaus, and Eric Byrnes all drove in runs for UCLA in the 1st inning giving UCLA an early 3-0 lead.

Barry Bonds and Paul Lo Duca each hit solo homeruns for Arizona State in the 4th and 5th innings respectively and cut the UCLA lead down to 3-2.

In the 8th inning, Utley and Glaus each drove in another run to extend UCLA's lead to 5-2 entering the 9th inning.

Tim Leary, who has also been superb through the tournament for UCLA, pitched into the 9th inning for the Bruins, but after allowing two baserunners, Leary was pulled in favor of Floyd Chiffer.

Chiffer than surrended a 3-run homerun to Ike Davis which tied the game at 5-5.

Sean Lowe remained on the mound for Arizona State after entering in the 8th inning. Lowe walked Chirs Chambliss to lead off the 9th and than struck out pinch-hitter Ron Roenicke. Mike Gallego singled and UCLA had runners on the corners with 1 out.

Luis Gomez, the runner on third base who was pinch running for Chambliss, would score the game winning run on a Dave Roberts single giving UCLA the 1-0 advantage in the series.

UCLA wins Tim Leary receiving a no-decision. Arizona State suffered its first loss of the tournament with Larry Gura on the hill.

Game 2: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State964Boxscore
UCLA791Simulate Game
WP: Floyd Bannister; LP: Matt Young; SV: Doug Henry
Player of the Game: Paul Lo Duca, Arizona State - 2-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI

Reggie Jackson hit a 2-run homerun in the first to give Arizona State an early lead, an despite 16 total runs, the Sun Devils controlled the whole game after the homer.

Matt Young could not get through 4 innings. He gave up just 4 hits but walked 5 and allowed 7 runs. UCLA's bullpen allowed just 2 runs and 2 hits the remainder of the game. Both runs were given up by Mike Fyhrie in the 9th inning.

Floyd Bannister pitched 7 solid innings for Arizona State allowing only 2 earned runs - the only 2 earned runs charged to Arizona State pitchers. The Sun Devils committed four errors (Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Fernando Vina, Willie Bloomquist).

Game 3: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State470Simulate Game
WP: Ed Vande Berg; LP: Jim Parque; SV: Doug Henry (2)
Player of the Game: Sal Bando, Arizona State - 3-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI

A 3 hit game for Sal Bando and go-ahead groundout for Ike Davis, helped spark Arizona State to a Game 3 victory.

In the 7th inning, Davis grounded into a 6-4 fielder's choice that allowed Paul Lo Duca to score from 3rd base. That RBI would give Arizona State a 4-3 lead, a lead that their bullpen would hang on to.

Gary Gentry started for Arizona State and went 6 innings. Ed Vande Berg got the win pitching 2 perfect innings in relief and was followed up by Doug Henry notching his second save of the series.

Jim Parque started for UCLa and was roughed up a bit giving up 4 runs in a little more than 6 innings. Parque was the victim to some timely hitting by the Sun Devils.

Bando was the real hero for Arizona State though. He went 3-3 including a homerun in the 2nd inning to put Arizona State up 1-0 and a 2-run homerun in the 4th inning that tied the game at 3-3.

Bando also singled in the 7th which allowed Lo Duca to advance to 3rd base and ultimately score the game-winning run.

Game 4: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State982Simulate Game
WP: Casey Janssen; LP: Lerrin Lagrow; SV: Floyd Chiffer
Player of the Game: Eric Karros, UCLA - 3-5, 3 RBI

UCLA's bats broke out in a big way to help the Bruins even the series at 2-2.

UCLA scored 5 runs in the 2nd inning and another 5 in the 3rd inning. That would be all the scoring they would do.

Dave Roberts, S.Mack (2), Chase Utley (2), Eric Karros (3), Eric Byrnes, Todd Zeile all had RBI for UCLA in those two innings.

Arizona State sill managed to make this game interesting with a 7 run 5th inning. Reggie Jackson hit a 2 run homerun in the 8th inning to get the Sun Devils within 1 run.

Floyd Chiffer came on to pitch for UCLA in the 9th and got a 1-2-3 inning to hold off any potential rally.

Game 5: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State5124Simulate Game
WP: Tim Leary; LP: Ed Vande Berg
Player of the Game: Tim Leary, UCLA - 9 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (139 pitches)

Tim Leary continued to pitch like an ace for UCLA.

Leary threw his second complete game of the tournament and the fifth time in six starts Leary pitched at least 8 innings. The Bruins starter (emphasis on the star) actually gave up 5 runs on 12 hits. This was not his best performance, but it was good enough to help get the win.

Larry Gura pitched great, again, for Arizona State, but his team suffered it's second loss of the series with him on the mound, despite not losing once in his previous 4 starts.

Gura gave up 1 run which was unearned. The Sun Devils, who have had a bad series defensively, committed four errors, three just from Fernando Vina.

Vande Burg and Sean Lowe both pitched poorly out of the bullpen for Arizona State which led to the loss. They were up 3-1 in the 8th when Gura was pulled for Vande Berg and the wheels fell off the bus.

Eric Karros drew a bases loaded walk and than Chris Chambliss singled in another run to tie the game. Lowe came in and Vina committed one of his three errors on a Todd Zeile grounder that allowed Karros to score the go-ahead run.

Down by 3 runs in the 9th, Alvin Davis hit a 2-run homerun to reduce the deficit but than Lo Duca flew out to push Cinderella Arizona State to the brink of elimination and heading back to Los Angeles.

Game 6: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State12110Boxscore
UCLA9162Simulate Game
WP: Blas Minor; LP: Mike Magnante; SV: Mike Leake
Player of the Game: Reggie Jackson, Arizona State - 2-4, 4 RBI

A back and forth game ended Arizona State winning to force a Game 7.

Arizona State led 6-1 entering the 5th inning. A Shane Mack single and Eric Karros Grand Slam tied the game for UCLA.

The score would continue to go back and forth from you with each team exchanging runs. With the score 8-8 in the 9th, Dustin Pedroia doubled, and Reggie Jackson and Alvin Davis each singled and the Sun Devils took a 12-8 lead, 3 outs away from victory.

Matt Young was wildly ineffective throwing 151 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, walking 10 batters and allowing 6 ERs and 7 hits.

Game 7: MLB U Final Four
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State671Boxscore
UCLA4110Simulate Game
WP: Craig Swan; LP: Floyd Chiffer; SV: Doug Henry (3)
Player of the Game: Sal Bando, Arizona State - 2-4, 3 RBI

Seventh seeded Arizona State needed a big comeback to upset UCLA in Game 7 to advance to the MLB U Final Four.

UCLA lead 4-0 entering the 8th inning and all seemed to be well for the Bruins to meet their rival's USC in the Championship.

Jim Parque started out the 8th but after 2 walks and the bases loaded, he was taken out in favor of Pat Clements. Sal Bando hit a grounder to second base, where UCLA turned one out, but Bando beat the throw to first to avoid a double play.

Ike Davis walked and the bases were once again loaded this time with 2 outs. Clements than hit Fernando Vina and than walked Dustin Pedroia, both instances allowed a run to score. Andre Ethier grounded out to end the inning with Arizona State only down 4-3.

In the 9th inning, Floyd Chiffer came on to pitch and try to cling to a 1 run lead. A leadoff single by Bonds followed by back-to-back walks, and the bases would once again be loaded for the Sun Devils.

Once again it would be Bando, who hit a groundball single to right field. Bonds scored and Dave Roberts's throw was off the mark and Jackson scored to give Arizona State a miraclous lead.

A sac fly by Willie Bloomquist would give Arizona State another run as Doug Henry entered in the bottom of the inning. Henry pitched a 1-2-3 9th to help send Arizona State to the MLB U Championship game.

Check back Wednesday November 17th for the MLB U Championship Results.

In case you missed it, check out Round 1 and Round 2 Results.

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