Cal State Fullerton Coach Augie Garrido's affection for the bunt is well-known among his fellow coaches, especially Miami's Jim Morris.
Morris remembers when he and Garrido coached Team USA 1990 in international competition. The U.S. team was playing Cuba and had runners on first and second with none out.
Morris said he looked over at Garrido and said, "Well, what do you think we should do?"
"Jim," Garrido said, "I'd bunt Babe Ruth in that situation."
But Morris, the head coach, decided against it, and Jorge Fabregas, now with the Angels, bounced into a double play, ending the inning,
"I've learned a lot from Augie," Morris said.
Morris and Garrido were together three months on that tour, so neither coach's baseball philosophy should surprise the other if their teams meet Saturday for the College World Series title.
Garrido has no doubt that successful bunts play a key role. He says that was the case Monday in the 11-1 Series victory over Tennessee, even though the Titans had three home runs. Garrido thinks two bunts earlier in the inning helped set it all up.
"We spend a lot of time trying to advance runners in an offensive philosophy that really requires a lot of unselfishness," Garrido said.
Garrido says the bottom line is scoring runs, not getting the most hits. He also believes it's healthy for the players.
"It creates a common knowledge that everyone on the team is the same," he said.
The Titans are off to a good start on a new recruiting class with eight players signed, according to assistant coach Rick Vanderhook, who is in charge of recruiting.
Among the players committed are Aaron Rowand, a high school All-American infielder for Glendora High who hits for power and average, and Kirk Irvine and Louis Estrilla, two right-handed pitchers from Rancho Santiago College.
Two high school pitchers, Steve Lawson of La Verne Damion High and Tim Baron of Thousand Oaks, also have signed.
Other recruits are infielder Dustin Spencer of Questa College in San Luis Obispo along with Kirk Bolling, a third baseman and pitcher from West Torrance High, and Jerome Alviso, an infielder from Canada College in Redwood City.
Vanderhook says the Titans' success this season has helped recruiting. "It certainly makes it a lot easier to talk to kids when you're ranked No. 1 in the country," he said.
Outfielder-pitcher Mark Kotsay and catcher Brian Loyd will be among 39 competing for spots on Team USA, the national amateur baseball team.
The tryouts actually get under way today in Millington, Tenn., but Kotsay and Loyd, along with seven other invited players, have been delayed in reporting by the Series.
"I guess we'll probably leave for there on Tuesday of next week," Kotsay said.
Team USA's first game is June 16 against Nicaragua. The plan is to keep this year's team mostly intact next year for the Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Fullerton associate head coach George Horton said he hasn't made a definite decision on whether he will remain involved in discussions with Louisiana State about a similar job there. LSU Coach Skip Bertman needs a replacement for his top assistant, who is retiring. "I'll talk to him further next week, and discuss it again with my wife," Horton said.