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Stanford holds off Fullerton, 4-3

June 07, 2008|Martin Henderson | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jeff Kaplan may have been named an All-American pitcher for Cal State Fullerton, but he was not treated like one Friday night at Fullerton's Goodwin Field.

Facing Stanford in the first game of their NCAA Division I super regional, Kaplan struggled from the outset, was hit hard and took a 4-3 loss. With no margin for error in this best-of-three series, if Fullerton is to advance to its 16th College World Series next week in Omaha, it must do something twice in a row that it hasn't done in four games this season against Stanford.

Beat the Cardinal.

In front of 3,343 -- the largest crowd of the season -- Kaplan's night got off to an ominous start against Stanford (38-22-2). He went to a full count against the first three batters, and the one he walked scored on Brent Milleville's double.

Kaplan, saved repeatedly by his defense, retired the side in order only once. But no defense could save Fullerton (41-21) in the fifth inning, when Stanford's Joey August doubled and Jason Castro -- drafted Thursday by the Houston Astros -- homered to center, giving the Cardinal a 3-0 lead.

Sean Ratliff hit a leadoff home run in the sixth inning against Kaplan (11-3), a third-team All-American selection who went 6 2/3 innings and yielded four earned runs. He gave up eight hits, walked three and struck out three. He has lost his last two starts, including one to UCLA last week in the first round of the tournament.

Fullerton got one run back in the bottom of the fifth on Gary Brown's single, an errant pickoff throw, and Joel Weeks' single. Weeks reached third, but Joe Scott struck out and Josh Fellhauer grounded out.

Fellhauer's double led off the eighth inning and Erik Komatsu's ninth homer pulled Fullerton to within a run, 4-3.

Fullerton pushed the tying run to second base after Brown's leadoff single and a sacrifice, but fly balls to left and center field ended the threat.

The winner of this series, which continues today at 4:30 p.m., will face either Wichita State or Florida State in the first round of the College World Series next week.

-- Martin Henderson

Arizona 6, Miami 3 -- Jon Gaston hit a three-run home run in the top of the 11th inning, and the Wildcats beat the top-ranked Hurricanes in the opening game of their super regional at Coral Gables, Fla.

Gaston, a seventh-round draft choice by the Houston Astros earlier in the day, drove Miami reliever Carlos Gutierrez's 1-1 pitch over the fence in right field for his 12th home run of the season.

Gutierrez (5-3) struck out the first two hitters in the 11th but hit Colt Sedbrook on an 0-2 pitch. Brad Glenn followed with a single before Gaston's game-winning shot.

Wichita State 10, Florida State 7 -- The Shockers used a third-inning, two-run homer from Tyler Weber to erase a 1-0 deficit at Tallahassee, Fla. Conor Gillaspie hit a three-run shot in the sixth to give the Shockers a 9-3 lead.

Five of Wichita State's runs came as a result of walks or hit batters by Seminoles starter Elih Villanueva and reliever Jimmy Marshall.

Georgia 11, North Carolina State 4 -- Gordon Beckham, drafted No. 8 overall by the Chicago White Sox and the Southeastern Conference player of the year, had a two-run double at Athens, Ga., that gave the Bulldogs their first lead at 3-2.

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