- Associated Press - Friday, June 17, 2011

OMAHA, NEB. (AP) - Offensive numbers are down in college baseball because of new bat standards that went into effect this season.

According to NCAA Division I statistics through the end of the regular season May 22, the overall team batting average dropped from .305 last season to .282. Home runs were nearly cut in half, from 0.93 a game to 0.52, and scoring was down from 7.01 runs a game to 5.62. Sacrifice bunts were up from 0.58 a game to 0.75.

Team ERAs went from 5.97 to 4.70, and there were 886 shutouts pitched compared with 525 a year ago.

The new metal bats must meet a standard _ the Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) _ and are designed to lower ball exit speeds off the bat. The change was made to make the game safer and to tone down a game that had become overly offensive.


In an American Baseball Coaches Association survey taken this spring, 83 percent of Division I coaches either liked the change or found it acceptable.

“The coaches feel it’s here to stay, and they’re going to adapt to that,” ABCA executive director Dave Keilitz said Friday. “Those who didn’t like it at first, as the season went on and they got used to it, it became more acceptable to them. I would dare say in another year we won’t hear anything about it at all.”

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INJURY REPORT: South Carolina got some good news and bad news on the injury front.

The good: center fielder Jackie Bradley, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 CWS, has been activated after being out the past two months with an injury to his left wrist.

The bad: leadoff batter Evan Marzilli, who moved from left field to center after Bradley got hurt, is day-to-day after tweaking a hamstring Thursday.

Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said Marzilli (batting .299) insists he’ll play Sunday against Texas A&M.

“We’ll just have to see where he is the next couple days,” Tanner said. “He said, ‘Don’t think about me not playing. I’ll be fine.’ We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Cal, meanwhile, is hopeful it will have starter Justin Jones (9-6, 2.93 ERA) available sometime during the CWS. The sophomore left-hander has a strained left bicep. That leaves Erik Johnson (7-4, 2.91) to start against Virginia on Sunday.

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WATER WATCH: Missouri River floodwaters are just a few blocks east of TD Ameritrade Park. Sandbags surround key pieces of infrastructure around the ballpark. A parking lot had water pumped out because a flood-stressed sewer pipe broke.

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