OMAHA — Cal State Fullerton's hitters were frustrated and embarrassed by being shut out on only three hits in the College World Series opener against Georgia Tech.
But Titan Coach Augie Garrido came up with an answer and a whole new twist for the baseball coaching manual Sunday.
"We hit from center field toward home plate in our practice session before the game," Garrido said with a smile. "Maybe that's what turned our karma around."
Fullerton scored 11 runs in a bizarre first inning Sunday night and rolled to a 20-6 victory over Louisiana State, sending the defending national champion (46-20) back to Baton Rouge with consecutive losses. The Titans (46-15) will play Florida State, a 12-4 loser to Georgia Tech earlier in the day, in an elimination game Tuesday.
"It sure wasn't something that we expected," Garrido said of the first inning. "This was a very strange game for me. Just weird. I'm just glad that I was on the right side of it."
It was the most runs the Titans had ever scored in one game in the College World Series. Notre Dame in 1957 and Arizona State in l984 share the World Series record of 23.
"I thought it was a good game--for four pitches," LSU Coach Skip Bertman said. "Then it fell apart. When you play 70 games a year, everything is going to happen to you, good and bad. And the good happened for Fullerton, but they were real good."
Titan second baseman Jeff Ferguson was two for three with three runs batted in and four runs scored, one of them on his 12th home run of the season.
The Titans extended their lead to 13-0 with Ferguson's two-run homer in the second. LSU picked up a run in the third, but Fullerton led by 14-1 after Jeremy Giambi's bases-empty home run in the fourth.
Given a 13-run led going into the fourth, Titan starter Matt Wagner gave up four runs on three hits and left the game.
The rout continued with Fullerton scoring five runs in the fourth to make the score 19-5. A two-run double by Jim Betzsold and a run-scoring single by Craig Skyberg were the key hits.
Reliever Dan Ricabal got the victory, his 11th of the season to go with one loss. It was his third victory in the postseason; he won twice in the Midwest I regional.