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The college eSports championships

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

This weekend, a first of its kind happened. The Collegiate eSports Championships were combined and held in one place, the George R Brown Convention Center during Comicpalooza. For those who don't understand what that means, there are numerous college programs across America that have gotten into competitive gaming as another scholarship avenue for it's students as well as another great fun thing to get involved with. Most of these games are produced by one major company, Blizzard Entertainment and one major sports broadcaster has gotten heavily involved in the eSports movement, ESPN and this weekend was the two of them working together.

Each of the five games had national events going on starting in January and were eventually down to a total of 22 teams from 20 schools competing in Hearthstone, Overwatch, Starcraft 2, Street Fighter V and Heroes of the Storm.

There were some interesting upsets in some of the events, in the Overwatch event which follows the same scoring and formatting as the Overwatch League Blizzard has created so it's first to 3 match points wins the game, Harrisburg and Utah were equal seeds from opposite sides of the bracket but are vastly different programs. University of Utah has a full eSports program with coaching and school sponsored equipment while Harrisburg is a student funded club that entered the tournament. Another interesting facet of that match was that Utah played a very traditional, what's called tank or camp style where they play the choke points on a map and lay down heavy fire from big slow characters and force the opponent to grind through those killing fields, where as Harrisburg was playing a very unique style. They were specifically running tons of damage inducing, but low health characters that are fast and agile but not built for long protracted grindout battles. It's like if a ninja was fighting a dinosaur, one good hit from the dinosaur and the fights over but maybe the ninja can win, and that's what happened with Harrisburg actually overcoming an early deficit to win the championship.

Starcraft 2 had some interesting moments as well, as this was the only event to feature the fabled and storied UC Berkeley program. They are a legend in the college eSports program as they have long put money and focus into their efforts. Starcraft 2 is a fascinating game to watch happen because there is tons of data to process and decisions to make on the fly, with elite players averaging 350+ interactions/decisions a minute. It's a best of seven series and the matches were great fun to watch and with UC Berkeley pulling out the win.

Hearthstone, Street Fighter V and Heroes of the Storm also lived up to the hype with Georgia Tech winning the Hearthstone championship, RNJIT winning Street Fighter V and Rutgers winning Heroes of the Storm.

ESPN was streaming these events live on twitch but will also package and broadcast the events on ESPN2 May 22nd 6pm central time, so definitely go check that out.

Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help fight cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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