Saturday, June 6, 1987
Stanford didn't flinch when Texas scored three runs in the top of the first inning.
"We didn't panic," Stanford third baseman Ed Sprague said. "We knew we could come back. Obviously, we had a great comeback yesterday."
The second-ranked Cardinal, led by the superb relief pitching of Al Osuna, shut down the No. 1 Longhorns after the first inning and advanced to the championship game of the College World Series with a 9-3 victory at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Cardinal made it to the title game for the first time in school history by following a dramatic 6-5, 10-inning win over Lousiana State with a strong showing against Texas. Stanford beat LSU on Paul Carey's grand slam in the bottom of the 10th.
The championship game is a grudge match for Stanford. The Cowboys defeated the Cardinal 6-2 Thursday night in the game that matched the tournament's final two unbeaten teams. Last year, OSU kept Stanford from the CWS with two victories over the Cardinal in the Midwest Regional.
"This is definitely the team we wanted to play," Sprague said.
"Last year, we ended our season against Oklahoma State. The whole year, we've wanted to beat Okie State. We've got something to prove to them."
Oklahoma State, a CWS participant seven straight years, last played for the title in 1981, losing to Arizona State. The Cowboys won their only national championship in 1959.
Texas jumped to its 3-0 lead against pitcher Lee Plemel.
"I was very concerned, obviously," Stanford Coach Mark Marquess said. "We tried to minimize the damage. It was obvious that Plemel wasn't real sharp.
"We were hoping Al could give us four or five shutout innings. He obviously did better than that."
Osuna, a senior from Cerritos, Calif., shut out the Longhorns for 8 2/3 innings. Osuna, 9-2, scattered nine hits, struck out eight and walked only two.
Texas struck for three runs on five hits in the top of the first inning.
On the third pitch of the game, Texas center fielder Elanis Westrooks hit his second home run of the series.
Texas scored its next two runs on a weird play.
With baserunners Brian Cisarik at second and Scott Coolbaugh at first after singles, Kevin Garner drove Plemel's pitch deep to right.
The ball didn't clear the fence, but the runners circled the bases as if they thought Garner had homered.
The Longhorns needed a break to score both runs. Stanford center fielder Toi Cook threw a relay to shortstop David Esquer, whose throw to the plate beat Coolbaugh. The run counted when Stanford catcher Doug Robbins dropped the ball on the tag.
Garner ended up at second with a double.
"I didn't really see Garner's ball to say if it went out or not," Texas Coach Cliff Gustafson said. "I turned away, thinking it was gone. I looked up and saw it rattling around the bottom of the fence."
Osuna relieved Plemel after Garner's double. He gave up an single to Mike Patrick, then escaped the inning with two infield outs.
"I just wanted to get the first guy out to establish myself," Osuna said. "I didn't want them to score any more runs. I wanted to turn the faucet off right there."
Stanford followed Texas' three-run first with a solo home run by Sprague in the bottom of the first.
"I think the big thing for us was Ed Sprague hitting the home run in the bottom of the first inning," Marquess said. "If we don't get on the board there in the first, it's a letdown. Eddie hitting that home run gave us a lift. We knew were still in it."
The Cardinal took a 5-3 lead with four runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth.
Stanford loaded the bases with none out on a single by Sprague and walks to Paul Carey and Ron Witmeyer.
Sprague scored on Esquer's sacrifice fly.
Stanford tied the game 3-3 with Carey scoring when Robbins just beat the throw at first to avoid a double play.
"I think the big play was when we failed to execute that double play ball on Robbins in the fourth inning," Gustafson said. "If we get that, we're out of the inning leading 3-2. That really turned the game around."
Stanford went on to score two more runs in the fourth.
After Mark Machtolf singled, Frank Carey drilled a two-run triple into the right-field corner.
"We knew it was a just a matter of time until we hit," Carey said. "I'm glad it was before it was too late."
Curt Krippner, Texas' starting pitcher and a first-team All-American, lasted four innings. Krippner, 14-2, suffered his only two losses of the season against Stanford in the CWS.
Texas managed 25 hits against Stanford in the two games, but scored only four runs.
The Longhorns outhit the Cardinal 13-9 in Saturday's game and 12-5 in Tuesday's 6-1 decision.
The Cardinal defense backed Osuna Saturday night with four double plays.
"There's nothing more important than double plays," Marquess said. "It took us out of some big innings. It broke their back."
Texas threats died because of double plays in the third inning, fourth inning, fifth inning and seventh inning.
With runners at first and third and Texas trailing 5-3 in the seventh, the Longhorns' Coby Kerlin grounded to first baseman Witmeyer, who threw to shortstop Esquer for a force at second and took Esquer's throw to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
Stanford put the game away with two runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh.
Cook, a struggling hitter in the series, knocked in two runs with a triple in the sixth.
Marquess said pitching will decide the championship game. Stanford ace Jack McDowell is scheduled to face OSU's Pat Hope.
"Pitching-wise, there is no difference," Marquess said. "How we pitch is what matters. The last game was tight. They did all their damage in one inning."
Oklahoma State scored six runs in the sixth inning of the 6-2 victory.