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Little Ball Helps Titans Deliver Big Statement in Opening Win

Windsor's strong start and Costa's home run also push Cal State Fullerton past LSU, 8-2, in first round of College World Series.

June 14, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

OMAHA — Cal State Fullerton Coach George Horton prefers the term "team offense" rather than small ball. Rather than swinging for the fences, the Titans gear themselves toward situational hitting and using the entire ballpark.

They did that and threw in a little power Friday to defeat Louisiana State in its opener at the College World Series. Shane Costa hit a three-run homer and the Titans spread out nine hits in an 8-2 victory before 23,135 at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Fullerton (49-14) advanced to a winner's bracket game Sunday at 4 p.m. PDT against Stanford. LSU (45-21-1) will play South Carolina in an elimination game at noon.

"Anytime you beat LSU in the College World Series is a great accomplishment," said Horton, who criticized the Tigers' No. 2 seeding before the postseason.

Fullerton hasn't needed the long ball to overpower opponents. The Titans have hit only 35 homers but have a .333 batting average and score eight runs per game.

Costa provided the power against LSU starter Jake Bumstead. With two on in the third, the All-America right fielder belted an 0-1 pitch into the stands in right to break a 1-1 tie.

"I was sitting on fastball the whole time and he didn't give me any," said Costa, who was drafted in the second round by the Kansas City Royals last week. "I trusted my hands. I swung at it, ran into it and it went a long ways."

The fourth inning was more the Titans' style. Kyle Boyer led off with a bunt single and stole second. Danny Dorn followed with a single and Boyer scored on right fielder Jon Zeringue's throwing error.

Two outs later, Ronnie Prettyman singled in Dorn and advanced to second on the throw to the infield. Justin Turner followed with an RBI double to right for a 7-1 lead.

"It was a different style of ball than I'm used to facing," Bumstead said. "A couple of times they led off the inning with a bunt. They did a great job of hitting me."

The runs were enough for starter Jason Windsor (11-2), who overcame early wildness to go 5 2/3 innings and give up one run. Windsor began by throwing six consecutive balls in the first inning, prompting a visit from pitching coach Dave Serrano.

Windsor threw one more ball, and then settled down from the excitement of his first CWS game by getting out of a jam with some clutch pitching.

With runners on first and third, the junior right-hander struck out Blake Gill swinging at a 71-mph changeup and then pushed a fastball by Clay Harris for strike three.

"It wasn't like him to throw seven straight balls," said catcher Kurt Suzuki, who had two hits and scored twice. "I went out there and could see he was pretty nervous. I was nervous.

"Coach [Serrano] just said to pound strikes like you know you can. He made big pitches at the right time."

Said Windsor: "Obviously my adrenaline was pumping a little bit. I just wasn't myself in the first inning. I just buckled down after that."

The Tigers threatened in the sixth when they loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and a throwing error. Senior reliever Sean Martin came in to replace Windsor and needed only one pitch to retire Ryan Patterson on a long fly ball to left field for the final out of the inning. Patterson had hit a 420-foot homer off Windsor in the second inning.

"I'm used to coming in with runners on," Martin said. "I didn't think he hit it as well as he did. When I saw [outfielder Dorn] fading back, I got a little scared."


College World Series

All times PDT

at Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha.


* Game 1 -- Stanford 8, South Carolina 0

* Game 2 -- CS Fullerton 8, LSU 2



* Game 3 -- Southwest Missouri State (40-24) vs. Rice (53-11), 10:30 a.m.

* Game 4 -- Texas (48-18) vs. Miami (44-15-1), 4 p.m.



* Game 5 -- South Carolina (44-21) vs. LSU (45-21-1), noon

* Game 6 -- Stanford (47-15) vs. CS Fullerton (49-14), 4 p.m.

Double-elimination tournament; bracket winners meet in a best-of-three championship series beginning June 21.

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