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Closers Go Long as Texas Eliminates Georgia

June 24, 2004|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

OMAHA — Texas took a gamble by using star closer Huston Street in the top of the seventh inning. Georgia responded in the bottom half by bringing in its finisher, Will Startup, for the third time in this College World Series.

The Longhorns got the last word. Carson Kainer's double off Startup in the seventh broke a tie and Street shut down the Bulldogs over the final two innings to give Texas a 7-6 victory Wednesday and send the Longhorns into the best-of-three championship series.

Texas (58-13) scored twice in the sixth on a homer by David Maroul and a run-scoring single by Seth Johnson for a 6-5 lead. Coach Augie Garrido then turned to Street, who was the College World Series' most outstanding player in the Longhorns' 2002 title run, but Georgia tied the game on Marshall Szabo's base hit that scored Josh Smith.

"My goal was to go out there and hold the lead," Street said. "After I did give up the run, I had all the confidence in the world that my team would pick me up."

Georgia Coach David Perno brought in Startup after Dooley Prince led off with a double. Startup, who had 12 saves this season, got Ryan Russ on a grounder to third, but Kainer hit a shot down the third-base line to bring in Prince.

In the second, Georgia (45-23) had five hits, three stolen bases, a walk and an error, sending 10 batters to the plate and grabbing a 5-0 lead.

Texas, the top-seeded team entering the NCAA tournament, answered by using the long ball. Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run homer and Michael Hollimon, Johnson and Maroul had solo shots.

Texas has hit only 54 home runs, but 14 have come in eight postseason games.

"Championships are won by doing the unexpected," Garrido said. "The thing that is least likely to change the dynamics of the game happens."

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