College Baseball / Gary Klein : Just an Old-Fashioned Sunday Knock Down, Drag Out in Oklahoma

While Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" was played over the public-address system, baseball players from Oklahoma State gathered in right field and those from rival Oklahoma congregated in left last Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.

The song seemed particularly inappropriate, since the ballplayers had just been involved in a violent, bench-clearing brawl that caused a 33-minute delay in a game won by Oklahoma State, 13-10.

The incident was shown on television newscasts throughout the country.

"It was bad for us, bad for Oklahoma State and bad for college baseball," Oklahoma Coach Enos Semore said of the brawl in an interview with Mac Bentley of the Daily Oklahoman.

Twelve players, six from each team, and an assistant coach from each team were ejected after the sixth-inning melee. It erupted when Oklahoma State pitcher Carl Myers hit John Douglas with a pitch after a home-plate collision between Oklahoma baserunner Paul Oster and Oklahoma State catcher Paul O'Callaghan.

Oklahoma State, ranked ninth in this week's Collegiate Baseball-ESPN poll, suspended pitcher Mike Gardella and utility player Bobby Perna for Wednesday's game against Arkansas. Oklahoma, ranked 15th, suspended Douglas for Friday's game against Old Dominion.

"As a coach in any sport you're always pushing your athletes to the edge emotionally," Oklahoma State Coach Gary Ward told the Daily Oklahoman. "There are occasions, there have to be occasions, when this happens. You can't play on the edge all the time without any spillage."

Mid-week blues: Blair Field in Long Beach has been anything but a field of dreams recently for the Cal State Long Beach baseball team.

The 49ers, ranked 12th, have lost four straight nonconference games at the facility, including last Wednesday's 11-4 decision against Loyola Marymount, which was called after six innings when fog rolled in.

Long Beach has won 14 of its last 15 Big West Conference games, but Wednesdays have been bad-news days for the 49ers.

"Our only slumps are on Wednesday," said Long Beach Coach Dave Snow, whose team has lost to UCLA, San Diego State, USC and Loyola in nonconference games played on Wednesdays. "Getting fogged out against Loyola was a capper for a lot of bizarre Wednesdays experienced by the Long Beach State baseball team this year.

"I just hope the regionals start on a Thursday."

Good news for the 49ers: The National Collegiate Athletic Assn. regionals begin on May 25, a Thursday.

Waiting for the call: Last year, Larry Cochell took over a Cal State Fullerton program that seemed to have everything--a nice playing facility, a talent-rich recruiting area and a tradition of winning.

About the only thing missing, Cochell discovered, was a speakerphone in the coach's office.

He could have used one last year when he spent 7 1/2 hours on a conference call as a member of the NCAA Division I baseball committee.

This year, Cochell will avoid cauliflower ear. The nine-member committee will meet in Kansas City on May 21 to select the 48 teams that will participate in the NCAA tournament, which begins with eight regionals on May 25 and concludes June 2-10 with the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Twenty-seven teams will qualify for regionals automatically as conference winners or winners of conference tournaments. Twenty-one at-large teams will be selected by the committee, using feedback from coaches and the Rating Percentage Index, a computer program that evaluates every team in the country based on its record and schedule.

The Pacific 10 Southern Division champion will be determined this weekend when Arizona (20-7) travels to Arizona State (19-8).

USC (13-14) and UCLA (10-17) will play a three-game series this weekend to conclude their conference schedules. USC has clinched at least a share of third place and will probably get an at-large berth, based on its overall record, 37-22.

The Bruins probably need to sweep USC for a chance at the playoffs. If UCLA wins two of three, it will leave the Bruins in a tie for fourth with Stanford (12-18), and the two-time defending national champion Cardinal would seem a more likely candidate for an at-large bid if the committee takes four teams from the Pac-10 Southern Division.

The Big West Conference race also will be settled this weekend when Long Beach (15-3) plays host to Nevada Las Vegas (10-8) and second-place Fresno State (13-4) plays host to Cal State Fullerton (10-8).

Pepperdine won its sixth straight West Coast Athletic Conference title and earned a fifth consecutive tournament berth last weekend by winning three of four against second-place Loyola, which also figures to earn a tournament bid.

Going, going, gone: One school that definitely will not be taking part in the playoffs is Oral Roberts University, which lost its chance last Tuesday when the school pulled all of its athletic teams out of NCAA competition after television evangelist Oral Roberts announced a "a life-and-death struggle" to save money.

The baseball team had gone to the playoffs eight of the last 11 seasons, made it to the regional championship game three times and to the College World Series in 1978. This year's team was 36-18 and had six games left when the decision was announced.

College Baseball Notes

Pepperdine's Rick Hirtensteiner, who is batting .379 with 12 home runs and 41 runs batted in, was selected West Coast Athletic Conference player of the year and the Waves' Britt Craven, 10-2 with a 3.05 earned-run average, was selected pitcher of the year. . . . Pepperdine's bullpen, which includes Jeff Graham, Randy Hacker, Kipp Landis and Hirtensteiner is 10-3 with 11 saves and a 2.51 ERA in 43 games.

USC leads the series against UCLA, 183-76, but UCLA has won 19 of the last 33 games. . . . Third baseman Jeff Antoon of UC Santa Barbara, a freshman from Sherman Oaks, had three game-winning hits last weekend against UC Irvine. Antoon had a two-run double Friday, a home-run in the 12th inning Saturday and two-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday. He is batting .317 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs.

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