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Titan Title Is a Win Away

Cal State Fullerton rallies for three runs in the seventh inning of a 6-4 victory over Texas, with ace Windsor ready to go today.

June 27, 2004|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

OMAHA — Danny Dorn had not done much for Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series. Felipe Garcia was one of the few providing any offense for the Titans.

Facing Texas' all-everything closer Huston Street appeared to be a mighty challenge. Instead, the duo put the Fullerton baseball team on the path to a possible national championship.

Dorn's two-run double gave the Titans the lead and Garcia followed with a run-scoring single off Street in a three-run seventh-inning rally that lifted them to a 6-4 victory over the Longhorns in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series Saturday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.

On the brink of its fourth title and first in nine years, Fullerton has reason to be sky high going into Game 2 today. The Titans (46-22) will hand the ball to right-handed ace Jason Windsor, who has been the dominant pitcher in college baseball the last three months.

Windsor is working on a 27-inning scoreless streak and has given up one run in 35 postseason innings.

"I feel very confident," Garcia said. "Hopefully we can ride our horse all nine innings tomorrow."

Trailing, 4-3, the Titans missed an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth and it looked as if they would blow another scoring chance in the seventh. Justin Turner and Clark Hardman opened the inning with singles, but Street came on to strike out Kurt Suzuki and P.J. Pilittere.

Dorn, who had been three for 15 in four games here, hit a 2-2 pitch to deep left field. Texas outfielder Carson Kainer dived for the ball, but it went off the heel of his glove.

"I definitely feel like I had been struggling and pressing a bit," said Dorn, who also had a single. "We had first and second and Suzuki went down and P.J. went down. I was just trying to pick up a teammate like they had been picking me up this year."

Garcia, who has a team-high 24 hits in the postseason, followed with his fourth consecutive single to bring in Dorn. It is the second four-hit game for the designated hitter in the College World Series.

"I'm just feeling good," said Garcia, who went four for five with three RBIs to raise his postseason average to .471. "I'm feeding off the other guys right now."

Said Fullerton Coach George Horton of the junior college transfer: "I'd be in Yorba Linda right now sitting in my Jacuzzi with my family [if it wasn't for him]."

It was the second consecutive blown save for Street, a first-team All-American who led Texas to the 2002 title as a freshman.

"If Carson makes that catch, it'd be an unbelievable play," he said. "I can handle the failure. I'll be just as ready to go tomorrow."

The Titans got another strong effort from sophomore left-hander Ricky Romero (14-4), who gave up three earned runs and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings. Relievers Vinnie Pestano, Ryan Schreppel and Mike Martinez shut down the Longhorns (58-14) for the final 2 1/3 innings.

"We do have a bullpen," Horton said. "I think Coach [Dave] Serrano made every move at the right time."

Now Fullerton is one game away from a championship after falling to 15-16 on April 3 and wondering if it would even make the playoffs.

But Horton said his team can't assume that Windsor was going to have another dominant performance.

"For us to not go to work and support Jason would be a silly mistake," the coach said. "Texas will fight back."

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

College World Series

Best-of-three championship series

Game 1 -- Saturday

Cal State Fullerton 6, Texas 4

Game 2 -- Today

Texas vs. Cal State Fullerton, Noon

Game 3 -- Monday*

Texas vs. Cal State Fullerton, 4 p.m.

Times PDT, All on ESPN. * if necessary

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