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COLLEGE BASEBALL

Tournament Will Test Fullerton

February 23, 1996|LON EUBANKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton's baseball team is 9-1, Mark Kotsay is playing as well as he did last season when he was college player of the year, and the Titans already have shown signs of being a contender for a second consecutive College World Series championship.

But Fullerton, ranked No. 1 in one poll and second in another, will get its first test in a tournament atmosphere when the Titans host the third Anaheim Hilton & Towers Baseball Classic, beginning today at refurbished Titan Field.

USC (8-2), which lost to Fullerton in last year's national championship game, joins Florida State (7-0) and Oklahoma (5-1) in the field. Florida State and Oklahoma also were among the eight teams at the College World Series in Omaha last season, and Oklahoma won the title in 1994.

Today, USC plays Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. and Fullerton plays Florida State at 7. The round-robin tournament continues Saturday and concludes Sunday with USC and Fullerton playing at 5 p.m.

The Titans have won nine in a row since a season-opening loss to Stanford. Kotsay has been a key figure in the fast start. He's batting .425, with seven home runs in the last eight games. He has 18 runs batted in and three game-winning hits.

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