Friday, May 31, 1985
Arkansas backup second baseman Keith Kerns, atoning for a squeeze play mix-up moments before, singled to become an instant College World Series hero.
"I knew I had to do something when I missed the bunt," Kerns said. His "something" was a liner to right center field, driving in Norm Roberts from second base to beat South Carolina 1-0 in the 14th inning.
Kerns ended the second-longest scoreless game in College World Series history. In 1965 Ohio State posted a 1-0 victory over Washington State in 15 innings.
The 3 1/2-hour game made up for its lack of scoring with an abundance of drama. The estimated crowd of 10,000 at Rosenblatt Stadium saw:
South Carolina starting pitcher Mike Cook forced to leave the game in a mix-up over the designated hitter rule.
Arkansas right-hander Howard Hilton lifted in the eighth inning while working on a four-hit shutout.
Submarining right-hander Tim Deitz hurl 6 1/3 innings in his longest stint of the year.
The victory go to a usual starter, Fred Farwell, who squelched a South Carolina threat in the 14th.
Thirteen leadoff batters, seven for South Carolina and six for Arkansas, reach base and fail to score.
The last of those successful leadoff batters to be erased was Arkansas third baseman Jeff King, who walked to open the 14th.
South Carolina catcher Scott Lambert ran down King when Kerns missed a low, outside delivery from pitcher Steve Boley.
But Kerns was not to be fooled for long.
"I noticed he threw a lot of curves when he warmed up coming into the game," Kerns said. After the basesloaded, no - out squeeze play failed, Kerns said he was guessing Boley would throw a curve.
"It was a curve away," Kerns said, "and I went with the pitch."
After King's leadoff walk in the 14th, Roberts' second double of the game, a line drive into the left field corner, looked like it might end the game. But King was held at third.
Boley came in to pitch in relief of Bo Taylor after Taylor issued an intentional walk to load the bases.
That brought up Kerns, whose hit pinned the loss on freshman righthander Taylor, the third South Carolina pitcher.
Cook's exit in the DH mix-up cut him an inning or two short of the distance he would have pitched, South Carolina Coach June Raines said.
"I'll take the responsibility for it," Raines said. But he didn't agree with the rule interpretation that forced Cook's departure.
In the ninth inning with a runner on second base, Cook pinch - hit for catcher Jeff Churchich, a junior-college transfer from Omaha Northwest High School.
Arkansas Coach Norm DeBriyn said he was tempted to appeal immediately when Cook went to the plate. But an assistant suggested he wait to see what Cook did.
After Cook flied out to end the inning, Cook went to the mound and then DeBriyn appealed.
According to NCAA rules, a pitcher may only pinch-hit or pinch-run for the designated hitter and be both. He may then be replaced as the DH and remain as the pitcher.
Raines said he could understand Cook being called out if he had hit safely but not Cook being forced to leave the game, a ruling upheld by the Games Committee.
Raines said he had not been challenged previously in pinch hitting the way he did with Cook.
Cook, named to the Converse All-America Team earlier in the day, allowed three hits in the eight innings he worked.
"The first couple of innings," Cook said, "I was hanging my curve because I was having trouble with the mound. I relied on my fastball and slider."