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Titans, Seminoles Pull 3,000-Mile Switch : Baseball: With Fullerton’s field unplayable, team uses Florida State’s plane tickets for unscheduled trip to Tallahassee.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With an already rain-soaked field and the threat of another storm looming, Cal State Fullerton baseball Coach Augie Garrido called his counterpart at Florida State with an odd request:

“Our place is a mess. How about we play there?”

You’ve heard of teams from the snowbound Midwest heading here for a little California sunshine, a trip to Disneyland and a couple of early-season games.

Fullerton made an end run Wednesday, flying on short notice to Tallahassee, Fla., in hopes of finding a little sunshine.

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Florida State was originally scheduled to join Fullerton, Chapman and Gonzaga in the three-day Anaheim Hilton and Towers Baseball Classic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Titan Sports Complex.

But with play threatened because of poor playing conditions at Fullerton and more rain in the forecast, the Titans headed to Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday morning to await a final decision from the Orange County Sports Assn., the tournament sponsor.

After busing to LAX at 11 a.m., the Titans worked out a deal with an airline to use Florida State’s tickets but in reverse direction, sports information director Mel Franks said.

Florida State, hoping the weekend wouldn’t be a total washout, was only too happy to have Fullerton. The Seminoles will reimburse the OCSA, which originally purchased the tickets, executive director Don Andersen said.

Gonzaga’s plans were uncertain, Garrido said. The Bulldogs, who had to pay their own way, apparently will have to eat the cost of plane tickets unless they can find some opponents in Southern California willing to take a chance on them and the weather.

Andersen said fields at the Titan Sports Complex and two alternate sites simply were not playable because of the recent rains. He also called a weather forecasting service Wednesday and when he heard predictions of up to three inches of rain for the weekend, he decided to cancel the tournament.

“We decided there was no way we could play the tournament,” he said. “Augie said the field is totally unplayable, and because of the poor drainage probably couldn’t be (played on) for two or three days. And with a storm coming in on Thursday and Friday . . .”

The Seminoles have a 2,000-member booster club in the Southland and would have probably purchased as many as 500 tickets, Andersen said.

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However, Garrido took nothing for granted. With his field a swampy mess, he began making contingency plans with Florida State late Tuesday night.

“These games, I think, are critical to the team’s development,” Garrido said. “Our first choice, without question, was to have the tournament but we could not play at Fullerton even if it didn’t rain again this week.”

When he got the final word that the tournament was canceled, the Titans were Florida bound.

“Everyone (OCSA, Flordia State, Cal State Fullerton administrators and Delta Air Lines) had to agree to work together to make it happen,” Garrido said. “Everyone did a championship job in not letting their own attitudes get in the way and in making it happen.”

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