Monday, June 3, 1985
Mississippi State first baseman Will Clark learned his lesson against Arkansas pitcher Fred Farwell in a hitless game May 1.
Clark put that lesson to good use Monday night, batting in four runs to lead fifth-ranked Mississippi State to a 5-4 win over No. 4 Arkansas in the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Mississippi State, 50-13, boosted its record to 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament. The Bulldogs will rest until Thursday night's game against the winner of tonight's 7:10 Texas-Miami game.
Arkansas, 50-14 overall, is 1-1 in the series and will meet Stanford at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday.
Each of Clark's three hits off Farwell Monday night either tied the score or put the Bulldogs ahead.
Clark tripled in the third to tie the game 1-1, homered in the fifth to tie it 3-3 and singled in the seventh to put Mississippi State ahead 5-4.
"I have a good memory," Clark said. "I know what pitchers will throw me in certain situations."
Clark, picked by San Francisco as the second player overall in the regular phase of Monday's major - league freeagent draft, said he wasn't concerned about his ability to hit Farwell.
"I hit the ball hard off him before," Clark said, "but the ball just didn't fall in."
Farwell pitched a 13-1 victory May 1 in Little Rock, beginning a 17-game Arkansas victory streak that ended Monday night.
Clark said he went with the pitch on each occasion Monday night.
On the home run, Clark said, he hit a fastball on the outer part of the plate. The lefthanded hitter sent the ball far over the left-field fence.
"I knew it was out as soon as I hit it," Clark said.
The homer was his 24th of the year.
The triple, Clark said, was off "a hanging curve in my face." The drive hit the right-center field fence.
"I thought it was out," Clark said, "but it hit a strong wind."
Clark's final hit, the single in the seventh, drove in Gator Theisen from third with the run that gave Mississippi State senior right - hander Jeff Brantley, 18-2, the complete - game pitching victory.
"Ahead in Count'
Mississippi State Coach Ron Polk said Brantley didn't have his breaking pitches and relied on fastballs and changing speeds.
"He got ahead in the count," Polk said. "He survives on location."
Brantley extended his Southeastern Conference record for career victories to 45 on a night when he gave up 11 hits.
He yielded a leadoff triple to Ralph Kraus in the first inning, making it a game of catch-up for the Bulldogs for much of the night.
The Razorbacks weren't through after the Bulldogs finally went ahead in the seventh.
Mike Loggins, a late insertion in the Arkansas lineup, and Jeff King singled to open the eighth inning.
Arkansas Coach Norm DeBriyn later second - guessed himself for not sacrificing.
"I thought Norm Roberts might battle for a hit," DeBriyn said.
The hunch backfired when Roberts hit into a double play.
"We came up dry in that inning," DeBriyn said, "and we didn't threaten after that."
Frank Davis, the No. 9 hitter in the Mississippi State order, twice led off innings with hits and scored.
In the fifth, he singled and was aboard for Clark's home run. In the seventh, he doubled and scored on Thiesen's triple to right field.
Clark's hit scored Thiesen with the final run of the game, pinning the loss on Farwell, 11-2.
Trailing 4-3, the Bulldogs got an opening in the last of the seventh when left fielder Roberts' diving catch of Davis' fly to short center was disallowed.
Center fielder Mark Jackson fell down, leaving Roberts as the only one with a chance to make the play.
"I know I had it,"Roberts said. "I was trying to grip the ball to show it to the umpire."
On the next play, it was Polk's turn to argue.
He disputed plate umpire Gus Steiner's calling Dave Van Cleve out for being hit by his own bunt.
"I wanted Steiner to ask for help from another umpire," Polk said, "but he said he saw it all the way."
Thiesen's ensuing triple and Clark's RBI single cured the sting.
Clark said he did not feel any pressure because of being the second player picked in the draft Monday.
"I'm not worried about what people think," Clark said. "I just try to do my best."