Commentary

Notes, Stats and Trends: March 24, 2009

Updated: March 24, 2009, 11:30 AM ET
By ESPN Stats & Information | Special to Insider

Every day, ESPN's team of expert researchers digs deep to spot trends, highlight performances and unearth gems of statistical information. Now Insider subscribers have the opportunity to read the best of these reports.

WBC - Final

Japan 5, Korea 3 (10)

Japan wins the World Baseball Classic for the second time in as many tries, the difference coming on Ichiro Suzuki's 2-run single in the 10th inning after an eight-pitch at-bat (one that included three foul balls with 2 strikes). Ichiro was 4-6 in the title game, is 6-10 career in 2 WBC title games. He was 8-38 in the WBC entering the day (.211 BA). Korea had tied game in bottom 9th on 2-out single by Bum Ho Lee vs Yu Darvish. Darvish blew the save chance but earned his 2nd win of the WBC. Japan finished with a 7-2 record. Korea was 6-3, with all 3 losses coming to Japan. Japan won despite leaving 14 men on base. Shin Soo Choo's home run for Korea was his 2nd of the WBC.

FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU:

- Hasashi Iwakuma retired Korea's first 11 batters on Monday, tying a WBC record for batters retired to start a game. In fact, there have been only three other games in which a pitcher was perfect through three innings and one of the other cases was also by Iwakuma against Korea, on March 9, when he set down the first nine batters. The other two cases were by Norge Vera for Cuba this year (11 straight) and Jason Grilli for Italy in 2006 (10 straight).

- Yu Darvish had 20 strikeouts in 13 innings in this year's WBC, setting a record for strikeouts in one WBC. The previous record, 16, was set by Japan's Koji Uehara in 17 innings in 2006.

- Japan has played 17 WBC games (eight in 2006, nine in 2009) and has allowed four or fewer runs in 16 of those 17 games. (Japan's 106 victory over Cuba in the 2006 championship game was the only occasion on which its pitchers allowed more than four runs in a game.)

NCAA Women's Tournament

7 Rutgers 80, 2 Auburn 52

Playing on its home court, Rutgers knocks off 2 seed Auburn to reach the Sweet 16 for the 5th straight season. It's the first time since 1998 that the Scarlet Knights had to knock of a higher seed to reach the Sweet 16. Two days after scoring 17 2nd-half points vs VCU, Epiphanny Prince scores 19 of her 28 points after halftime. Rutgers jumped out to a 26-8 lead and only extended its lead in the 2nd half. Auburn loses its 5th straight 2nd round game (last Sweet 16 came in 1996). It's the Tigers' 1st loss to a lower seed since losing to 2 seed Louisiana Tech in the 1988 national title game.

Rutgers is headed to its 5th straight Sweet 16. With both Tennessee (27 straight) and North Carolina (4) seeing their streaks end, the Scarlet Knights trail only Connecticut, Duke, and LSU for most consecutive Sweet 16s. The Huskies, Blue Devils, and Tigers play Tuesday.

Curt Schilling

Schilling says he's retiring from baseball

The right-hander who won World Series championships with the Diamondbacks and Red Sox announced on his blog Monday that he's leaving after 20 MLB seasons. Schilling missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. He had surgery last June and had said he might come back in the middle of this season. Schilling ended last season with 3,116 strikeouts, 14th most in baseball history, a 216-146 record and a 3.46 ERA.

- The only MLB player (excluding Negro League players) that began their career since 1950 who is a member of the Hall of Fame despite not winning a Cy Young Award, an ERA title or throwing a no-hitter (which Schilling has accomplished none of) is Rich Gossage - who was a member of the Class of 2008.

- Curt Schilling's retirement makes him eligible for being voted on for the Hall of Fame in 2012, with the actual induction taking place in 2013.

Here is a partial list of first-year candidates for that season, provided by the Hall of Fame...

2013: Sandy Alomar Jr., Tony Batista, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton, Roger Clemens, Jeff Conine, Steve Finley, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Klesko, Mike Lieberthal, Kenny Lofton, Jose Mesa, Damian Miller, Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, Mike Piazza, Reggie Sanders, Curt Schilling, Aaron Sele, Sammy Sosa, Mike Stanton, Jose Valentin, Todd Walker, David Wells, Rondell White, Bob Wickman, Woody Williams