Cue Lenny Kravitz

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One 4-0 week should have taught everyone this one irrefutable fact: It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over.

So much for writing off the Owls following their forgettable weekend in Memphis. The Cards and Coogs proved to be good for what ailed them and, suddenly, the Owls sit atop the Conference USA standings tied with three teams including Tulane, which the Owls will visit this weekend. Will we learn more about the Owls based on their performance in New Orleans? Absolutely, but I would submit that we discovered plenty with their sweep of Lamar and UH.


It appears that The OG has found a leadoff hitter. How hot is Jr. RF Chad Mozingo? Not only is he batting .552 over his last seven games, his 16 hits during that span are just one shy of the 17 hits Mozingo had through 21 games entering the C-USA opener at Memphis. He has raised his batting average 90 points in a week, and during the Owls' five-game win streak Mozingo walked six times while striking out only twice. He has scored seven runs during that span. The notion of batting Mozingo leadoff wasn't foreign; he hit .426 for the Santa Barbara Foresters while batting leadoff during the summer following his freshman season in 2008.

It seems clear that the remainder of the lineup, outside of cleanup hitter and So. 3B Anthony Rendon (.337/.529/.739 w/11 HRs & 34 RBIs), will fluctuate, and given the injury concerns with Sr. C Diego Seastrunk (heel, not ankle as previously reported), So. LF Michael Fuda (elbow) and Fr. 2B Michael Ratterree (shoulder), we might see an interesting lineup against Dallas Baptist on Tuesday. All three remain game-time decisions, but just in case Ratterree and Fuda aren't available, Sr. 1B Jimmy Comerota took infield at second base on Monday.

The Owls bumped their team average to .300 before falling to .296 with their eight-hit performance against UH in the series finale. It is safe to assume that as they get deeper into league play, where pitching is suspect throughout, the Owls might find their offensive footing. Mozingo, Ratterree and So. OF Jeremy Rathjen have been scorching at the plate, and if GDG and Jr. SS Rick Hague get going, this veteran lineup may finally live up to its advanced billing.


Know who got an earful from The OG on Monday afternoon? The righthanded pitchers. With So. LHP Taylor Wall rediscovering his mojo in the opener against UH, the Owls can boast the most productive quartet of southpaws in C-USA. Wall might not have the record (1-4) or ERA (4.43) he desires, but his BAA (.181) and WHIP (1.01) are exceptional. Mix in Jr. Abel Gonzales (3-3, 2.05 ERA, .196 BAA, 1.06 WHIP), Jr. Doug Simmons (1-0, 0.66 ERA, .111 BAA, 0.88 WHIP) and Fr. Holt McNair (1-0, 1.12 ERA, .233 BAA, 1.00 WHIP) and the Owls are rather salty from the left side of the rubber. If only they were as proficient from the right.

According to The OG, it's just a matter of establishing superior focus. RS Fr. RHP Anthony Fazio, for example, did not issue a walk in 10 IP last fall. He has walked nine batters in 11 IP this season, and similar issues are as correctable as any set of problems facing the Owls. Do Sr. RHP Jared Rogers, Jr. RHP Boogie Anagnostou, So. RHP Matthew Reckling and Fr. RHP Tyler Duffey have the stuff to be effective pitchers for the Owls? Of course they do, but they need to establish pinpoint control in order to maximize the impact they will have on this squad.

When Sr. RHP Mike Ojala returns to form several undecided roles will be determined. Perhaps the most challenging aspect to this season is displaying patience as Ojala works his way back.


GDG called two "beautiful" games that were "an inspiration" against UH before leaving with an inflamed left heel last Saturday. Not only does GDG stabilize the lineup, he provides additional oomph defensively. Should he and Ratterree be blessed with optimal health, the Owls will inch closer to establishing the up-the-middle defensive might they envisioned during the preseason. Hague was nothing short of brilliant at short on Saturday, and the platoon of Rathjen and Sr. Steven Sultzbaugh is sufficient in center. Comerota is a rock at first, but as he proved with flair last week, the Owls don't lose much defensively when Gonzales spells SAK.

If the mental obstacles that slowed the Owls earlier have been permanently removed, the defense will remain stout and will be of no concern as the second half of the season unfolds.

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MK -

Any thoughts on how the rotation might evolve as the season progresses? Gonzales has been pitching so well - any consideration for him to start? Also, any update on Cingrani's status? Haven't seen him on the mound, and you mentioned his arm slot was being tweaked.

wheredidmypantsgo: I had this very discussion with The OG on Wednesday. The debate is ongoing regarding Gonzales and what role fits him best. The prevailing belief is that he is a reliever, not a starter, but Gonzo has proven that he can handle longer outings and the staff acknowledges such. He just might start the series finale at Tulane, but The OG said the same thing last weekend only to use Gonzo in long relief in the middle game against UH. I suspect the situation remains fluid. As for Cingrani, when/if he returns it will be during a midweek game. These weekend series are too important to experiment with someone with a tweaked delivery. - MK

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