Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Flashes can’t hook the Horns

The Kent State baseball team finally ran out of steam in the 100 degree heat on Monday, losing to Texas to miss out on the first visit to the Super Regionals in school history.

The Golden Flashes had two chances to advance, but lost to the host Longhorns, the No. 5 team in the nation, Sunday night, forcing Monday’s winner-take-all game, which Texas won, 5-0.

Kent made the Longhorns use six pitchers in the shutout, including their top two starters, but couldn’t break through against any of them.

“We’re disappointed to be in the position that we are in,” said KSU coach Scott Stricklin. “To have to be beat twice, it’s tough to handle, it really is. We felt like we were in good shape, and we were. We had a chance to be in both games, and we just couldn’t come up with the big hit. A lot of credit obviously goes to Texas’ defense and its pitching.”

The Flashes ended the season 45-17, becoming just the second team in school history to reach the 45-win mark, joining the 1992 team at the top of the school’s rankings.

They are ranked No. 24 in the nation, earned a No. 3 seed in the national tournament for the first time in school history, won their 11th MAC regular season title and ninth tournament title (their third in a row) and are the first team to win the regular-season and tournament titles in the same year since 2005.

And to think they did it without cheating or lying.

***

So linebacker Matt Roth is resigned to leaving the Browns as a free agent?

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of town.

We’re sure the Browns can find a way to replace the personal fouls and silly penalties Roth committed on a regular basis last year (on second thought, let’s hope they don’t).

And there’s no doubt they can live without his 3.5 sacks (2 against Cincinnati in one game, 1.5 the remaining 15 games of the season).

Roth is one of those players who thinks he is better than he is; so if this is the end, farewell.

The Browns will be fine without him.

***

Now that Plaxico Burress is out of prison, people are going to try and put the Browns as one of the teams that should sign the wide receiver.

While there’s little doubt the team needs help at receiver, we just don’t see Burress as the answer.

He’s a 34-year-old receiver that hasn’t played the game in two years and who hasn’t actually been in a situation where he could stay in game shape. We remember when Jamal Lewis was released from prison reading stories about how prison diets are intentionally loaded with the types of foods that keep inmates sluggish.

And with training camps most likely going to be shortened this year because of the ongoing lockout, the last thing the Browns need is to wait for Burress to work himself into shape.

With a rookie head coach in Pat Shurmur and a second-year quarterback in Colt McCoy running the offense, the Browns don’t fit what would appear to be the right situation for Burress.

We just don’t see him as being worth the effort for this team right now.

***

Spain definitely taught the U.S. a lesson over the weekend in its 4-0 beating in a friendly at Gillette Stadium.

“Spain is a great team,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “It is a tough test to play them any time. We have always chosen to take these kind of challenges and to play the best teams and it is the best way, to see what the game at the highest level is like, and to improve.

“When you challenge yourself against the best teams, you have to expect difficult moments. If we couldn’t handle that, we wouldn’t play them.”

The U.S. opens group play in the Gold Cup on Tuesday against Canada, which should be a good cure for any hangover from the Spain game. The two teams haven’t played each other since 2007. Canada washed out at the qualifying stage for last year’s World Cup and the Canadians are not exactly a powerhouse.

With the tournament being held at home, the U.S. team has a good chance to right itself and build on some of the public attention it received during last year’s run in the World Cup.

Let’s hope they are quick studies.

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