Thursday, April 30, 2009

High school softball pitcher Rachele Fico recently threw her 22nd career perfect game. In one of her more recent perfect games, she struck out all 21 opposing hitters (softball games are seven innings long).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NCAA Division II player Bo Darby of West Virginia State homered in five straight at-bats recently, part of a lengthier power-hitting exhibition that included a total of six home runs in a double-header and a single and double right before the homer barrage even started.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ESPN "Rise," an outlet for coverage of up-and-coming high school athletes, reports on Florida prep Patrick Schuster's quest for a fifth straight no-hitter today. The high school record is six.

UPDATE: The streak is over.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm a few days late in reporting this, but Kansas City pitcher Zack Greinke had his scoreless innings streak come to an end.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke has now thrown 34 consecutive scoreless innings, carrying over from the end of last season.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The blog True Hoop, by Henry Abbott, had a major write-up the other day about the study of streak shooting in basketball (including a cite of the Hot Hand blog). The accompanying hot-hand study from Sportsmetricians is also worth reading.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Angel Cabrera won the Masters golf tournament today, defeating Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry in a three-way playoff. The streakiest performances, however, were by two players who lifted themselves considerably in the standings, but not quite far enough to make the playoff. Phil Mickelson birdied six out of seven holes early in the fourth round, whereas first-time Masters contestant John Merrick birdied four straight late in the fourth round.


Earlier in the day, I randomly stumbled upon a televised women's bowling event, just as one of the competitors, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, was in the midst of a streak that ultimately stretched to 20 consecutive strikes. The streak was said to be the longest in a televised Professional Bowlers Association event.

UPDATE: I have now found an online article documenting Dorin-Ballard's new record.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oklahoma's pitchers shut out Texas Tech for 20 straight innings in Big 12 baseball action, before the Red Raiders scored in the third inning of Game 3 of the teams' series. The Sooners won the first two games, 6-0 and 4-0, but Texas Tech took the finale, 5-1.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

In the opening round of the Masters golf tournament earlier today, Chad Campbell set a tournament record by getting a birdie on the first five holes.

UPDATE: To probe a little more into Campbell's opening-round performance, I decided to estimate the probability of his five straight birdies (assuming that he's a typical golfer). A total of 96 golfers began play. For each of the holes in Round 1 -- including the first five, which were of primary interest -- the number of golfers who broke par (most frequently by birdie, but also occasionally by eagle) is available here. The numbers of par-busters for each hole, which when divided by 96 yields a probability of breaking par, are as follows:


1.............7 (all birdie)............07

2.............46 (incl. 2 eagles).......48

3.............30 (incl. 1 eagle)........31

4.............4 (all birdie)............04

5.............11 (all birdie)...........11

Multiplying these probabilities together yields roughly .00005, which is 5-in-100,000 or 1-in-20,000.

Some cautions must attach to this probability. First, it was a post-hoc decision to calculate it. To paraphrase a warning I once received from a prominent statistician, no one presumably was asking before the tournament, "What are the odds that Chad Campbell is going to birdie his first five holes?" The very unusualness of the accomplishment is what prompted me to analyze it.

Second, even if we accept the 1-in-20,000 probability, with large numbers of professional golfers playing large numbers of holes in large numbers of tournaments, the feat of five straight birdies is one that may be expected to occur every so often.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Welcome to visitors who followed the link from today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on the University of Connecticut's quest for an undefeated season in tonight's NCAA women's basketball championship game. The article's author, Tom Timmermann, and I were both sportswriters for the UCLA Daily Bruin in the early 1980s. He contacted me yesterday to discuss what the odds might be of a team completing an undefeated season, and I think he's done a nice job of distilling what we discussed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Arizona State softball slugger Kaitlin Cochran had her streak of a home-run in seven straight games snapped Saturday at Washington (box score). The game only went five innings instead of the regulation seven, as the Huskies' 11-3 lead triggered the mercy rule to end the game; under ordinary circumstances, therefore, Cochran probably would have gotten an additional plate appearance. A tip of the batting helmet to the folks at Ultimate College Softball, who pointed out the streak.

Cross-posted at my College Softball Blog.