Loyola Marymount University, which topped the national baseball polls midway through the season, meets another one-time No. 1, Louisiana State, on Friday in the opening game of the College World Series in Omaha.
The Lions are making their first appearance ever in the series and their second in post-season play. They won their first Western Regional title over the weekend, fighting back through the losers bracket to force a final game against Hawaii. In their usual fashion, Loyola faced a quick 3-0 deficit, then stormed back to win, 12-5. "We had them right where we wanted them," one school official said. The Lions improved their record to 49-13.
Slugging third baseman Chris Donnels broke out of a mini-slump with four hits in the final game and outfielder Billy Bean batted .474 with two home runs and 11 runs batted in, but the star of the regional was junior outfielder-pitcher Jim Bruske, who belted four homers and knocked in 11 runs and picked up a victory in relief. He was named the tournament's outstanding player. Bean, Donnels and pitchers Steve Polk and Jeff Goettsch earned all-tournament honors. Goettsch was the Lions' most effective pitcher with a victory and a save in a team-high 10 innings.
LSU (54-12) advanced with a 7-6 victory over Tulane. Arizona plays Maine in the other opener Friday. The Lions will play Sunday afternoon if they lose Friday, Monday evening if they win.
Cal State Dominguez Hills capped its most successful baseball season with All-American honors for its middle infielders. Senior second baseman Mike Brocki and junior shortstop Craig Grebeck were named to the Division II first team, the first players to be so honored in Dominguez Hills' 14-year baseball history. Brocki batted .323 with 45 steals and a .462 on-base percentage. The four-year starter holds 10 school records. Grebeck, a surprise power hitter at 5-6, 140 pounds, tied for the team lead with 12 home runs while batting .316 and playing well defensively. Dominguez Hills and Troy State of Alabama were the only teams with two players on the first team.
The school also received Academic All-American honors for golfer Pat Burke, one of only four Division II golfers honored by the Golf Coaches Assn. of America. Burke, a junior, has a 3.10 grade-point average in business administration and has been the Toros' top golfer the last two years, with averages of 74.55 and 75.7. Burke becomes the school's second Academic All-American. Softball pitcher Barb Steffen earned the honor last year.
Tami Stiles of Hawthorne High could be the local star in Saturday's CIF Masters track meet at 6:30 p.m. at Cerritos College. Stiles was the standout of the CIF 4-A meet, winning the 100 meters (11.78), 200 meters (23.75) and anchoring the winning 400-meter relay (45.60). The top five performers in each event Saturday advance to the state meet. Hawthorne's boys hope to qualify enough athletes to win their fourth straight state title.