OMAHA — Cal State Fullerton shortstop Nate Rodriquez had two days to stew about his error that helped Miami score two runs in the Hurricanes' 4-3 victory over the Titans Sunday.
By the time he took the field for Tuesday's game against Florida State, the usually sure-handed and dependable infielder was a bit frazzled.
"I can't say I went out there with 100% confidence," said Rodriquez, a junior.
Then came his first throw of the game, which first baseman D.C. Olsen leaped to catch and saved a potential error in the second inning. Then came the second grounder to Rodriquez, a Kevin McCray chopper that took a wicked hop high off the infield dirt.
"I thought, 'Oh, no, here we go again,' " Rodriquez said.
Here we didn't.
Rodriquez jumped high to snag McCray's grounder and threw him out. In the sixth, he went into the hole to field Nandy Serrano's grounder and started a double play, and he turned a key 3-6-1 double play that helped Fullerton get out of a seventh-inning jam.
"I had been thinking about that error a lot and was anxious to get back on the field," said Rodriquez, a transfer from Laney College in Oakland. "I did my best to stay confident, but it was tough. My teammates didn't treat me any differently, though, and the coaches backed me, so that made it easier."
Oh-maha--"Same book, different chapter," Florida State Coach Mike Martin said as he took his seat in the postgame interview room, ready to discuss his school's 12th College World Series appearance without a trophy.
"I don't know what the Lord has in store for me," Martin said, "but we're going to win this thing, one of these years."
Last year was supposed to be the year, when Florida State came to Omaha top-seeded and was eliminated after two games.
This year, according to Martin, the Seminoles were supposed to be waiting for the next one. "If you saw us early in the season," Martin said, "you'd have said this club won't get out of Quincy, Fla. Yet, we got to The Show, and we finish fifth.
"Last year, we were the No. 1 seed and supposed to win it and it's 0-2 and barbecue. What we did this time, by comparison, was not too shabby."
Martin stuck around long enough to feel comfortable in making this prediction: Miami will play Pepperdine for the championship.
"The teams in the winners' bracket that are 2-0 are going to for it," he said.
Accolades: The post-season honors continue to roll in for Fullerton third baseman Phil Nevin and catcher Jason Moler.
Nevin, Baseball America's player of the year, was named to the American Baseball Coaches Assn. Converse All-American first team, and Moler made the second team.
Texas designated hitter Brooks Kieschnick was named ABCA Converse player of the year. Pepperdine reliever Steve Montgomery, a Fountain Valley High graduate, made the second team, and El Dorado High graduates Pete Janicki, a UCLA pitcher, and Matt Luke, a California outfielder, made the third team.
Staff writer Mike Penner contributed to this story.