Tuesday, June 2, 1987
Second-ranked Stanford challenged All-America pitcher Curt Krippner with a show of speed that rattled the top-ranked Longhorns.
The Cardinal stole a 6-1 College World Series victory before a crowd of 11,970 at Rosenblatt Stadium to join Oklahoma State on center stage of the double-elimination tournament.
"Obviously, getting six runs on five hits, we were real fortunate," Stanford Coach Mark Marquess said. "We got a few walks, and we were able to steal a few bases to put a little pressure on them."
Stanford stole five bases, including three by center fielder Toi Cook.
The Cardinal appeared to shake Krippner with its running game.
Stanford scored two runs on wild pitches. Ruben Amaro added another when Krippner balked on an attempted steal of home in the seventh.
Marquess said the Cardinal took advantage of Krippner's slow delivery.
"I thought he was fairly slow to the plate," the coach said.
"We certainly weren't stealing on the catcher."
Part of the credit, though, goes to Stanford's speed, Marquess said.
"Amaro and Cook can really fly," he said. "It was a combination of those two things. He was a little long to the plate, and we had good speed on the bases."
In the third inning, Cook stole second base, stole third base and scored on a wild pitch by Krippner, 13-1.
Stanford also had scored its second run in the second inning on a wild pitch. In the seventh, the Cardinal took a 5-0 lead when Krippner balked with Amaro charging home.
"He had that base stolen easily," Krippner said. "I just tried to get away with the balk. I think he would have been safe no matter what."
Krippner said Stanford's speed decided the game.
"You've got to respect their speed," he said. "I think that won the game for them."
The pitching of Stanford's Lee Plemel also figured in the victory.
Plemel, 9-5, held the Longhorns to five hits through the first six innings.
"I thought we would do more with him than we did," Texas Coach Cliff Gustafson said. "His overhand curve ball really gave us trouble, especially the first five or six innings."
Plemel, a junior from Laguna Hills, Calif., pitched most of the year in the shadow of Jack McDowell, a first - team All - American.
"I've said all along that Jack McDowell gets a lot of publicity, and deservedly so," Marquess said, "but Lee Plemel has won some big games for us all season.
"We weren't surprised."
Plemel left two Texas runners stranded in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings and left the bases full in the eighth.
"Their pitcher did a really good job of mixing up pitches, keeping our hitters off-balance and working out of clutch situations," Gustafson said.
Texas first baseman Brian Cisarik ended Plemel's shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the eighth.
"I thought the eighth inning was a key situation for us," Gustafson said. "If we could have gotten a couple more runs, we could have really gotten back in the game in the ninth."
With one out in the eighth and runners at first and second, Plemel struck out Mike Patrick. The Longhorns then loaded the bases on a single by Scott Bryant, but Plemel escaped the threat when Brian Johnson bounced back to the mound for the third out.
Stanford took control of the game by scoring two runs in the second inning and two in the third.
In the second, Paul Carey walked, Ron Witmeyer singled to left and Jeff Saenger walked to load the bases with no outs.
Carey scored on a sacrifice fly by David Esquer. Texas left fielder Rusty Crockett prevented Esquer from clearing the bases with one of the best catches of the series, a running grab over his head.
"We had the bases loaded and no outs," Marquess said. "I don't know how that left fielder caught that ball."
Witmeyer added Stanford's second run in the second on Krippner's first wild pitch.
Cook, who reached first on a fielder's choice, stole Stanford's first run of the third inning. The Cardinal then added another run when Carey walked, stole second and scored on Witmeyer's single to center.
Cook stole his third base of the game in the fifth, swiping second after a oneout single.
With Cook at second, Texas shortstop Coby Kerlin prevented a certain Stanford run with an outstanding play. Kerlin made a diving catch of Carey's sharp grounder up the middle and threw him out at first.
The Longhorns also escaped damage in the sixth with a good defensive play. With Stanford's Esquer on second, Texas second baseman Todd Haney made a backhanded grab on a grounder up the middle by Doug Robbins, then threw him out at first.