2010 MLB University - Championship From WhatIfSports.com From WhatIfSports.com image

MLB University - Championship

MLB Players Return to Alma Maters
By Michael Schneid, Whatifsports.com
November 17th, 2010

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

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.

After starting with sixteen teams, MLB University is now down to the final two. This unique tournament features Major League players going back to their alma maters. Round 1 featured Arizona pulling off the lone upset, knocking off Miami. In the Elite Eight, the only upset was Arizona State knocking off second seeded Texas. USC easily rolled through the Final Four and Arizona State pulled off a comeback upset over UCLA in seven games to meet USC in the Finals.


Sun Devils emblem vs Trojans emblem
51 Simulations of Best of 7 Series - Championship Round
7. Arizona State Sun Devils142552
1. USC Trojans3781199
Arizona State Sun DevilsReggie Jackson, Barry Bonds, , Andre Ethier, Dustin Pedroia
View Arizona State Roster
USC Notable PlayersBret Boone, Mark McGwire, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito
View USC Roster

Whatifsports.com used its free baseball simulation technology to play-out MLB University's Championship game. We simulated the best-of-7 series 51 times. In the table above, you will find each team's chances of winning the championship series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. Game Summaries and boxscores with full play-by-play are also included.

Game 1: MLB U Championship
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State3110Boxscore
USC480Simulate Game
WP: Randy Flores; LP: Larry Gura; SV: Tom House
Player of the Game: Bret Boone, USC - 2-4, 2 HR


It may have sounded like fans were saying "boo" but they were yelling the last name of the Trojans second baseman, Bret Boone, who led off the 8th inning with a solo homerun off Arizona State starting pitcher Larry Gura.

Bret Boone

Arizona State actually jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Barry Bonds RBI single in the 1st inning off Steve Busby. But USC bounced back in the bottom half of the inning as Boone hit his first homerun of the game.

USC took the lead in the 3rd inning when Jeff Cirillo hit a 2-run homerun to put USC up 3-1.

Andre Ethier, in the 4th inning, hit an RBI single to drive in Sal Bando. And in the 7th, Bando hit an RBI single that scored Bonds that had the game tied at 3-3.

Gura, who has pitched well for most of the tournament and pitched well for most of this game, gave up just 3 runs through 7 innings - quite the accomplishment against such a potentially dominant offense.

However, letting Gura pitch the 8th was a mistake as he allowed Boone to leadoff the 8th with his second homerun of the game and the game would no longer be tied.

This was not USC's best game. The offense struggled a bit and the pitching was a little off, but despite all that the Trojans still captured Game 1.

Game 2: MLB U Championship
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State13210Boxscore
USC670Simulate Game
WP: Floyd Bannister; LP: Tom Seaver
Player of the Game: Barry Bonds, Arizona State - 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI

These two teams had the best offenses in the tournament and while USC has been better so far, Arizona State showed off their offense in Game 2.

The Sun Devils recorded 21 hits and put 13 runs on the board, stunning USC with an offensive showcase that USC is used to doing themselves.

Bonds started the Arizona State scoring early with a 2-run homerun in the 1st. Bando drove in Alvin Davis to give the Sun Devils an early 3-0 lead.

But USC's offense can never be silenced too long. Mark McGwire, after a quiet Game 1, came through with a 2-run homerun in the bottom half of the 1st to pull USC within 1 run.

Championship Homeruns
Player School HRs (Avg.)
McGwire USC 2.5
Kingman USC 2.4
Bonds Arizona State 1.7
Jackson Arizona State 1.6

But Arizona State would come right back in the 2nd as Bonds hit another 2-run homerun. Two batters later, after a Reggie Jackson double, Alvin Davis hit a 2-run homerun and suddenly the score was 7-2.

Tom Seaver lasted just 3 innings for USC giving up 8 runs on 11 hits, by far the worst outing for any USC pitcher throughout this tournament.

USC, again, came back. Fred Lynn led off the 2nd inning with a solo homerun and later Boone singled home Roy Smalley to cut the lead to 7-4.

Arizona State led 8-4 in the 4th inning, when Smalley hit a 2-run homerun for USC. But that would be the closest USC would get.

The Sun Devils would add another run in the 6th and 8th each and than broke out for a 3-run 9th inning to go on to win 13-6 and even the series as these two teams now head to the desert.

Game 3: MLB U Championship
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State770Simulate Game
WP: Randy Johnson; LP: Gary Gentry
Player of the Game: Chad Moeller, USC - 4-4, 2B, RBI
Randy Johnson

After being outscored for only the 3rd time in the tournament and out-hit in Game 2, USC came back with a vengeance in Game 3.

USC mashed six homeruns in the game and won 11-7, also recording 17 hits.

Jacque Jones led off the game with a homerun off Gary Gentry. Dustin Pedroia tied the game in the bottom of the 1st with a homerun and than Alvin Davis and Sal Bando each recorded RBI singles to put Arizona State up 3-1, and having USC fans thinking, "uh oh" again.

Fred Lynn led off the 2nd inning with a homerun and Geoff Jenkins led off the 3rd inning with a homerun, marking three straight innings (the first three) that USC's leadoff batter hit a homerun.

With the game tied, Dave Kingman hit a 2-run homerun (the first non-solo HR of the game) and Chad Moeller than singled home Fred Lynn to give USC their first non-homerun RBI of the game and a 6-3 lead.

Randy Johnson, who pitched poorly in this game despite getting the win, ran into a rough spot in the 4th inning surrendering 4 runs and the lead.

In the 5th inning, Kingman led off with a homerun, the 4th time in the game USC would do that and this one tied the game at 7-7.

Gentry's last batter was Jacque Jones in the 6th who hit a sac fly to score Chad Moeller that gave USC the lead once and for all.

The homerun parade ended in the 7th with a Morgan Ensberg solo blast.

Game 4: MLB U Championship
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State381Simulate Game
WP: Barry Zito; LP: Larry Gura; SV: Tom House
Player of the Game: Fred Lynn, USC - 2-3, HR, 4 RBI

A pitcher's duel was broken up late and USC is 27 outs away from winning the MLB University Championship.

Larry Gura started for Arizona State against Barry Zito for USC. Both pitched shutouts through the 6th inning.

Championship ERA (SP)
Player School ERA (Avg.)
Johnson USC 3.69
Seaver USC 4.17
Zito USC 4.84
Gura Arizona State 4.84

In the 7th, Gura walked Morgan Ensberg and Fred Lynn crushed a 2-run homerun to right field and that ended Gura's shutout and day as he was pulled after 6 1/3 innings.

Later, in the 9th, with USC up 2-1 and the bases loaded, Lynn stepped up to the plate again. Sean Lowe was on the mound for Arizona State facing Lynn. A single to left scored McGwire and Kingman and USC extended their lead to 4-1.

Chad Moeller doubled and that scored Ensberg and Lynn and USC would end the 9th with a 6-1 lead.

Brian Bannister came in to pitch for USC but gave up a 2-run homerun to Ike Davis to cut the lead to 6-3.

USC than decided to turn to their closer, Tom House, who recorded three straight outs to end the game.

Game 5: MLB U Championship
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Arizona State383Simulate Game
WP: Steve Busby; LP: Floyd Bannister
Player of the Game: Bret Boone, USC - 2-6, HR, 4 RBI

USC dominated from start to finish and won the MLB University tournament, defeating Cinderella Arizona State in 5 games.

Kingman hit a 2-run homerun in the 1st and Boone hit a grand slam in the 2nd putting USC up 6-0, a hole too deep for Arizona State to dig out of.

Arizona State did not go down quietly. They got a homerun from Alvin Davis in the 2nd inning and in the 3rd, Reggie Jackson doubled home Ethier and Alvin Davis singled home Jackson to get Sun Devils within 3 runs.

Fred Lynn hit another homerun, this time in the 7th and a Morgan Ensberg double in the 8th would further extend the lead to 8-3.

Steve Busby pitched 8 innings for USC surrendering 8 hits and 3 runs and threw 111 pitches before Jim Barr came in for a perfect 9th inning to complete the series.

Floyd Bannister was roughed up, starting for Arizona State, although three errors by his defense (two by Fernando Vina) did him no favors.

Jackson also did Arizona State no favors hitting .158 in the series and Ethier hit .167. USC pitchers did were able to contain the Arizona State offense for all but one game.

There was only so much Arizona State pitchers can do until USC just broke through. The Trojans were clearly the best team the whole tournament. USC went 16-3 during the tournament. USC has produced some great MLB players throughout the years.


In case you missed it check out previous rounds of MLB University:

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

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

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