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Slugging Loyola Will Try to Put Hit on LSU in Series

May 30, 1986|ALAN DROOZ | Times Staff Writer

On paper, at least, it seems that Loyola Marymount and LSU took similar paths to the College World Series, where they play the opening game today at Omaha.

Loyola (49-13), winner of the West Regional, will play South I Regional winner LSU (54-12) at 2:10 p.m. PDT, followed by Maine (41-21) vs. Arizona (45-18) at 5:10 on the first day of the eight-team double elimination tournament. In Saturday's first-round games, Miami of Florida (47-15) will play Oklahoma State (54-13), and Indiana State (48-19) will meet top-ranked Florida State (57-11).

The winner of Loyola-LSU will play the Maine-Arizona winner Monday. The loser will play the Maine-Arizona loser Sunday.

The parallels between Loyola and LSU are evident on several levels:

--Both teams are making their first College World Series appearances. Both set season records for victories and many individual marks.

--Loyola Coach Dave Snow turned the program into a winner in two seasons after assisting on national championship teams at Cal State Fullerton. LSU Coach Skip Bertman turned the Tigers around in three seasons after assisting on national champions at Miami.

--Loyola's top pitcher is right-hander Tim Layana, who takes a school-record 17 victories into Omaha. Left-hander Mark Stomp is a solid No. 2 with 12 wins. LSU right-hander Stan Loewer has a school-record 13 victories. Left-hander Mark Guthrie is 9-1.

--Loyola's slugger is sophomore third baseman Chris Donnels, who set team records with 20 home runs and 87 runs batted in. LSU's slugger is sophomore outfielder Joey Belle, who has a team record 19 home runs to go with 64 RBIs. Loyola's team batting average is .325, LSU's .316. Loyola has hit 76 homers, LSU 79.

--Loyola's leading batter is outfielder Billy Bean, hitting .364 with 68 RBIs. LSU's top batter is outfielder Jim Bowie, hitting .366 with 16 homers and 62 RBIs.

During the season Loyola was ranked No. 1 for a week in March. LSU was top-ranked for three weeks in April and another week in May. The Tigers are now second in the Collegiate Baseball poll, third in Baseball America's. Loyola is sixth and fifth, respectively. Florida State is a unanimous No. 1.

LSU may have an advantage over Loyola in overall speed and bullpen depth. LSU sophomore Barry Manuel is 10-2 with 8 saves, a 2.31 earned-run average and 90 strikeouts in 70 innings. Guthrie and Loewer, both 6 feet 4 inches, also averaged about a strikeout an inning. By contrast, Loyola starter Layana also leads the team in saves with five. With a win and a save in the regional, right-hander Jeff Goettsch has emerged as the Lions' bullpen ace.

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