Thursday, June 6, 1985
Miami relief pitcher Rick Raether, nicknamed Spider, struck out Incaviglia in a dramatic ninth-inning confrontation that helped the Hurricanes' wrap up a 2-1 victory in the College World Series.
"He worked outside with three curves, then came back with a curve inside and just tied him up," Miami Coach Ron Fraser said. "He couldn't get around on it."
Raether, a 6-foot-3 sophomore righthander from Edina, Minn., picked up his 20th save of the season.
Raether replaced Miami starter Kevin Sheary to start the eighth inning. Incaviglia, perhaps the top power hitter in the history of college baseball, led off the ninth.
"I thought that kind of epitomized what the College World Series is all about," said Oklahoma State Coach Gary Ward. "You've got the tying run at the plate, a guy with 19 saves facing a guy with 48 home runs. I'd pay to watch that."
Raether, nicknamed for his long arms and legs, said he couldn't relax in the ninth.
"Incaviglia was on my mind," he said. "But I talked to the catcher and we decided we were going to throw him like any other hitter. Why change for a right-handed hitter? I've done well against all right-handers. I'm not going to change for this one."
Raether's first pitch was a ball, then Incaviglia missed with a powerful swing for strike one. He fouled off the third curve down the third baseline. Raether went inside with the fourth pitch, and Incaviglia went down swinging.
"It was a load off my shoulders," Raether said.
The loss ended the Oklahoma State season and a remarkable year by Incaviglia, who finished with NCAA records of 48 home runs and 143 RBIs in 73 games.
Fraser said he never considered asking Raether to intentionally walk Incaviglia, even though he knew one swing from the Cowboy slugger could tie the game.
"The thing with Spider is that he's been beating right-handers all year," Fraser said. "He's very confident, and I wouldn't want to take his confidence away from him. I've got to believe he's about as tough to hit as anybody around."
Incaviglia, a first-round draft pick of the Montreal Expos, came to bat three times leading off an inning.
"That was a key," Fraser said. "It's what we hoped. We didn't want him coming up with people on base. Then we have to make a big decision that can lose a ballgame."
Fraser said he replaced Sheary because he thought he might be losing some on his fastball and he wanted to give the Cowboy hitters a different look. And, Fraser said, Raether is Miami's best pitcher.
"I figured if we're going to get beat," Fraser said, "we'll get beat with our best."