NCAA BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : It’s Closer, but USC Wins Again and Advances
It may not have been as impressive as its first two tournament wins, but USC’s 5-4 victory over Louisiana State in the South I Regional at Baton Rouge, La., Saturday was even more important.
USC (40-20), the only unbeaten team in tournament play in the double-elimination event, advanced to today’s championship round needing one victory to qualify for the College World Series. It was the first tournament loss for LSU (49-17).
The Trojans had scored 49 runs on 50 hits in beating Southern Mississippi, 23-5, in the first round Thursday, and Houston, 26-11, Friday night. The 37 runs Friday set an NCAA regional single-game record for two teams, topping the mark set when St. John’s defeated Central Michigan, 21-15, in 1981.
USC beat Louisiana State Saturday when Mark Smith scored from third base on a squeeze bunt by pinch-hitter Dusty Raring in the top of the ninth inning.
Smith led off with a single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Keith Osik. Raring then pinch-hit for Mike Robertson, and with two strikes, bunted to score Smith.
Relief pitcher Jackie Nickell (7-3) yielded three hits in 4 2/3 innings to get the victory. The Trojans (40-20) took a 4-1 lead in the third inning on a three-run home run by Bret Boone, his 10th homer of the year and fourth of the tournament. In three games, Boone is 10 for 15 with nine RBIs and has scored seven runs.
UCLA 13, Fordham 8--Center fielder Michael Moore hit a grand slam in a six-run fourth inning as the Bruins stayed alive in the Midwest Regoinal at Wichita, Kan.
UCLA (40-25) scored its first 11 runs on only four hits, including the 380-foot homer by Moore, a 6-4, 196-pound freshman who also is a wide receiver on the football team. Earlier in the inning, two runs scored on bases-loaded walks.
The Bruins scored three runs in the third inning on five walks, an error and only two hits.
Arizona State 11, Loyola Marymount 9--Jim Henderson drove in four runs with a homer and two singles as the Sun Devils eliminated Loyola from the West II Regional at Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State, which has won nine of the previous 10 regionals on its home field, took a 3-0 lead in the second inning and chased starter Steve Surico (3-4) on Dave Robson’s RBI single and Henderson’s two-run single.
The Sun Devils (51-14) added five runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Henderson and Jim Austin, Mike Scialo’s two-run double and an error.
Loyola (45-17) cut the lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Kevin Van De Brake, Rick Mediavilla and Chris Gomez.
After Austin’s RBI single in the fifth made it 9-4, the Lions got a three-run homer from Bobby Hughes--his 10th of the season.
Henderson’s homer made it 10-7 in the seventh before Eric Helfand got an RBI single in the eighth.
The Lions cut the deficit to 11-9 in the eighth on Darrel Deak’s homer and Miah Bradbury’s RBI single.
Stanford 6, San Diego State 2--The Pacific 10 Southern Division champion Cardinal (55-10), behind the pitching of Stan Spencer, advanced to the final round of the West I Regional at Stanford.
Troy Tallman hit a two-run double to highlight a four-run fourth inning and Spencer (14-1) pitched a complete game, striking out 12.
Spencer (14-1) gave up 10 hits but didn’t walk a batter while pitching his ninth complete game. In 132 2/3 innings, the junior right-hander has struck out 133 and walked 27.
Cal State Fullerton 6, Creighton 3--Domingo Mota had four hits and three RBIs to lead the Titans (34-21) in the Central Regional at Austin, Tex.
Huck Flener (8-1) picked up the complete game victory, striking out six while giving up eight hits and a walk.
Pennsylvania 5, UC Santa Barbara 3--Doug Smidt went the distance and restricted the Gauchos (40-22) to five hits and Todd Mascena drove in two runs in an elimination game at the West II Regional.