Neb. – Four days removed from Independence Day, the Collegiate National Team traveled to Omaha to play Team Japan in the
new home of the College World Series, TD Ameritrade Park.
were treated to a pair of games between these two
teams. In addition to the regularly scheduled night-cap, game four
of the five-game series, which was rained out two days prior in North
Carolina, was also completed. After taking the first three games of
the series, the two last games
ended in a 1-1 tie after 10 innings and a 6-2 victory by Team Japan.
just an unbelievable honor,”
Kevin Gausman said of the experience. “When they play the
National Anthem and you're wearing 'USA' across your chest, it can
get pretty emotional. You're representing this whole country. It's
our pastime and that's something we should never forget.”
off of very successful freshman seasons for LSU and Cal State
to joining the Collegiate National Team in North Carolina, both
and his Collegiate National teammate
Michael Lorenzen also played together as part of the Aflac
All-American Classic in 2009. While each of them were also premium
picks in the 2010 draft (Gausman was a sixth-round pick of the
Dodgers and Lorenzen was taken one round later by the Rays), the
allure to honor their college commitments was too great to overcome.
to their already impressive resumes, it wasn't a surprise that both
enjoyed a very successful summer while representing their country.
Gausman leads young
the 2011 season less
than two years removed from a College World Series championship,
although without three of the pitching stalwarts that
helped get them there. Louis Coleman, Anthony Ranaudo and Austin
Ross had all moved onto professional baseball since winning the CWS,
as the Tigers turned to a pair of promising freshman to anchor the
doing so, Gausman and Kurt McCune led the staff in innings, both
enjoying success while throwing nearly 90 frames each. It was no
of this young duo that
the Tigers failed to make it to the SEC Championship, much less
Regional action. With the amount of young talent the program boasts,
that early experience could be key for LSU making a quick turnaround.
think it helps prepare you for what's going on later in your career,”
Gausman said of his experience being part of the 2009 Aflac
All-American Classic and how that relates to his current role.
“Looking back, that's something I'll never forget.
played with such great players. Jameson Taillon and (Bryce) Harper
were in that game. Those guys are so good, and they decided to take
the route to proceed to pro ball out of high school. I really wasn't
ready for that, so I went to college. LSU is a huge environment, so
getting to come here and play in front of these fans has just been
great. I've made every team that I've wanted to make, and I've done
everything I've strived to do. I'm just hoping I can keep doing that
by working hard and staying motivated.”
5-6 record during his freshman season doesn't speak to the success he
enjoyed early in his college career,
his 3.51 ERA does. He led the Tigers with 86 strikeouts, and
combined polish with power by walking
only 23 batters in his 89 innings of work while limiting opposing
hitters to a .215 batting average.
stuff matches his success. Topping out at 94 at both the Aflac
All-American Classic and the Perfect Game National Showcase during
the summer of 2009, Gausman has flirted with triple digits since.
With a projectable, 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame, that spike in velocity
was somewhat expected.
a long season, he made only two starts
for Team USA, one of them coming against Team Japan earlier in the
week. In that contest, Gausman went 5.2 innings, allowing
only three hits and one run while striking out seven.
really good,” Gausman said of the Japanese team. “We did win the
series, but every single game was close. There were some big innings
that we had that seemed to put them away, but they always came back.
They had heart, and they never laid down and I think that shows what
kind of character they have. They're the best in Japan and we're the
best the U.S., so you expect a matchup like that.”
able to play in TD Ameritrade Park certainly was added to his most
place is awesome,” Gausman continued. “I definitely want to be
back here and I want to see this place when it's covered in purple in
gold. I've been to the College World Series every year since I was
five. When I was growing up my Dad always told me, “If you work
hard enough you can be where these guys are.” Now that I've had
this opportunity I'm really going to lead my team and try to get us
conclusion of the series with Team Japan was also the end of the
Collegiate National Team's schedule. Some of the Team USA players
were expected to join other summer collegiate teams, while others
were expected to take advantage of the lack of international travel
by heading home to get some much needed rest.
going home, coach's orders,” Gausman said of his plans for the rest
of the summer. “Time to rest up. I'm going to see my family. I
haven't seen them since January, as that's something that has taken a
little bit of a toll on me, as I'm a family-oriented kid. I'm going
to take a week off, lay around and maybe sleep a couple of days.
Then I'm going to start fishing, start lifting and probably throw a
little bit, but rest more than anything.”
draft-eligible sophomore, look for big things from Gausman next
spring as he prepares himself to lead LSU back to Omaha.
Lorenzen prepared to
as good as Gausman's freshman season for LSU was, one could argue
that Lorenzen's was that much better. Taking over centerfield for
2010 first-round pick Gary Brown, Lorenzen finished the season strong
on his way to being named the Big West Freshman of the Year. He hit
.342, which led the Titans, and was named to numerous freshmen
grew a lot as a baseball player thanks to the coaching staff,”
Lorenzen said of his progression during his freshman year. “(Former
Assistant Coach Greg) Bergeron is one of the best coaches I've ever
for, I learned
so much from that guy. The most I got out of this year was how much
I grew as a person. Fullerton is a place you have to grow up really
fast, and that's what I did. (The coaches) made sure of it, and they
helped along the way.”
the season didn't start as well as the season ended for Lorenzen. He
opened the year as a late inning replacement, serving mostly as a
pinch hitter, runner or defensive substitute.
Head Coach Dave) Serrano played it perfectly with me, and I need to
thank him for that. He humbled me a little bit and sat me for
something like 10 games and I had to fight my way back. I was able
to come back, work my butt off and get back in a starting position.”
falling to an upstart Illinois team in Regional play, coaches Dave
Serrano and Greg Bergeron moved on to assume similar roles with the
University of Tennessee's baseball program. Rick Vanderhook was
hired to replace Serrano as the Titan's Head Coach, and in addition,
several key members of the Titans were drafted in the early rounds
and have already begun their professional careers.
was absolutely heart-broken,” Lorenzen said of how the way last
season ended, losing to Illinois in Fullerton. “We put so much
work into (the season) but we came up short. I don't know what
happened, it just wasn't our year.
excited about the new leadership with Vanderhook coming in. I can't
wait to get on the field with that guy. I don't like to promise
anything, but I feel we'll be here the next two years. I think
experiencing this now and knowing what it's like here on this field,
knowing how it plays, it makes it that much bigger for me. I can't
wait just to go back and share with (my teammates) this field and
this experience and what we can experience.”
that added experience, Lorenzen will be looked upon to serve as one
of the leaders for the Titans moving forward.
6-foot-3, 180-pound outfielder is a true five-tool talent. He
excelled as both a hitter and as a pitcher in high school, with an
exciting blend of speed, arm strength and the ability to hit. As
noted above, he led the Titans in hitting with a .342 average during
his freshman year, and also stole 19 bases in 26 attempts. He
carried that success into the summer, hitting .317 with the
Collegiate National Team, proving that he makes things happen when he
gets on base by finishing tied for the team lead in runs scored with
the players that are at or beyond your level and seeing what they do
good and how they do good and just picking their brain,” Lorenzen
said of the importance in playing in events such as the Aflac
All-American Classic and for Team USA. “I roomed with Tyler Naquin
(this summer) and we got really close. He knows a lot about hitting,
and he, (Erich) Weiss and I talked so much, and I've learned so much
from them just from an approach of how to hit. I got to see the
right way to do things and the wrong way to do things to develop my
ability as a baseball player.”
against and traveling with Team Japan for five games also gave the
Team USA players an opportunity to learn a different style and
approach to the game.
pitchability is amazing,”
Lorenzen said. “They have a great staff, and those kids are so
awesome. We've gotten to know most of them, and they're just having
a good time, and we just had a good time with them. It's more than
just baseball right now.”
for the rest of the summer, Lorenzen knows a lot of hard work will be
needed to attain his lofty baseball aspirations. “I'm going home,
but I will be working out. I have some goals that I need to
accomplish for the next season. I know everyone says, 'bigger,
faster, stronger,' but I need to get a lot bigger, faster and a lot
stronger. So that's the goal for the rest of the summer.”
everything both of these young men have accomplished, don't be
see Kevin Gausman and Michael Lorenzen back in
Omaha, possibly playing against one another, with their sights set on
a championship at the College World Series.