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Ncaa Baseball Super-regionals

June 10, 2005|Eric Stephens, Ben Bolch

ARIZONA STATE

AT CAL STATE FULLERTON

Best of three: Tonight, 7; Saturday, 4 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m., if necessary

CAL STATE FULLERTON (45-16)

How they got here: Big West Conference champ won the Fullerton Regional as the No. 1-seeded team, defeating Harvard, 19-0; losing to Arizona, 6-5; and defeating Missouri, 8-6, and Arizona, 7-2 and 6-3.

Offense: Fullerton has 84 stolen bases, can play small ball, and situational hitting is a strength. The Titans have also hit 56 home runs, their most since 2001. Sergio Pedroza, whose two-run ninth-inning homer against Missouri helped keep Fullerton alive in the regional, has a team-leading 15.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday June 13, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
College baseball -- In an article in Friday's Sports section on the NCAA baseball super-regionals, former Arizona coach Jerry Kindall's surname was misspelled Kendall.

Defense: Junior Ricky Romero (12-5, 2.95 earned-run average, 132 strikeouts), tonight's starter, leads a deep Fullerton pitching staff. Freshman Wes Roemer (7-3, 3.36) won twice in last week's regional and could get the start Sunday if Game 3 is needed, and junior left-hander Ryan Schreppel (6-0, 1.83) will pitch in Game 2 on Saturday. As usual, the Titans are solid in the field, having committed only 55 errors.

X factor: The Titans are the defending national champions, but they have never qualified for a return trip to Omaha the season after a national championship, losing in regionals in 1980, 1985 and 1996. Home-field advantage could make a difference. Games tonight and Saturday are sellouts, though some standing-room tickets will be available for walk-ups.

*

ARIZONA STATE (37-22)

How they got here: Tied for third in the Pacific 10 Conference and won the Tempe Regional as the No. 2-seeded team, defeating East Carolina, 9-6, and Coastal Carolina, 11-3 and 9-5.

Offense: Travis Buck is batting .389 with 100 hits and 24 stolen bases, but Jeff Larish, whose 19 homers lead the team, has been batting leadoff. Tuffy Gosewisch is a clutch hitter who leads the Sun Devils with 67 runs batted in. The Sun Devils have 123 steals.

Defense: During its current seven-game winning streak, Arizona State has received strong performances from starters Erik Averill (9-4, 3.77) and Jason Urquidez (9-4, 4.05) and relievers Pat Bresnehan (4-4, 5.38) and Brett Bordes (5-5, 3.88). Averill, a left-hander and the Game 2 starter, must contain Pedroza and Danny Dorn, Fullerton's key left-handed hitters. The Sun Devils have committed 87 errors.

X factor: Goodwin Field has not been good to the Sun Devils, who lost a super-regional there in 2003 and in a regional last season. The Sun Devils were tested this season in the Pac-10 and also by a nonconference schedule that included Tulane, Baylor, Long Beach State, Oklahoma and Louisiana State.

Eric Stephens

*

USC

AT OREGON STATE

Best of three: Saturday, 7 p.m., Sunday, 6 p.m.; Monday, 4 p.m., if necessary

USC (40-20)

How they got here: Tied for third in the Pacific 10 Conference and won the Long Beach Regional as the No. 2-seeded team, defeating Pepperdine, 7-3, defeating Long Beach State, 6-4, losing to Pepperdine, 9-2, and defeating Pepperdine, 5-2.

Offense: Matt Cusick hit .750 with three doubles and four RBIs and was chosen most outstanding player of the regional. Jeff Clement, the third pick overall in Tuesday's Major League Baseball draft and a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top catcher, has 13 homers and 50 RBIs.

Defense: Sophomore right-hander Ian Kennedy, who will start the opener, has won his last nine starts -- including five on the road -- since giving up five runs in a 5-4 loss to Oregon State on May 20. The Trojans have been outstanding defensively, committing only 55 errors and have a .975% fielding percentage. Closer Paul Koss recorded three saves with 3 2/3 scoreless innings during the regional.

X factor: Coach Mike Gillespie knows the route to the College World Series, having guided the Trojans to Omaha four times in 19 seasons. Gillespie is one of two men who have coached and played on national championship teams. Former Arizona coach Jerry Kendall, the ESPN analyst for this super-regional, is the other.

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OREGON STATE (44-9)

How they got here: Pac-10 champion won the Corvallis Regional as the No. 1-seeded team, defeating Ohio State, 4-3, and St. John's,11-1 and 19-3.

Offense: Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has become the Beavers' catalyst since moving into the leadoff spot early in the season, hitting .424 with six homers and 38 RBIs when batting atop the order. Oregon State doesn't possess much power but has a core of solid hitters; Ellsbury (.416), Andy Jenkins (.385) and Mitch Canham (.345) each finished among the top 10 in batting in the Pac-10.

Defense: Starting pitchers Dallas Buck, Anton Maxwell and Jonah Nickerson are a combined 31-3 with a 2.62 ERA. The Beavers have held opponents to three runs or fewer in 31 games and feature a left-handed (Kevin Gunderson) and a right-handed (Nate Fogle) closer.

X factor: The Beavers are playing at home, where they are 24-4 this season, including a three-game sweep of their regional. Oregon State won two of three games against USC last month at Corvallis en route to its first Pac-10 title since 1952. That was also the last year the Beavers advanced to the College World Series.

Ben Bolch

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* COMPLETE SCHEDULE: DAY IN SPORTS

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