Saturday, June 4, 1988
Cal State Fullerton treated a College World Series record crowd of 16,060 to a demonstration of two-out power in a 9-3 victory over Miami.
The sixth-seeded Titans scored all nine runs with two outs, including Keith Kaub's three-run home run in the fifth inning that produced a 5-3 lead and Jim Osborn's grand slam in the ninth that crushed the Hurricanes' comeback hopes.
"We've been a good two-out team and good two-strike team all year,'' Fullerton Coach Larry Cochell said. "I think four of the runs were scored with two strikes on the hitters. We've got good discipline at the plate, and the kids are good two-strike hitters.''
The Titans mixed the big home runs with a superb pitching performance by senior Longo Garcia to subdue the Hurricanes.
Garcia, a senior right-hander from Santa Ana, Calif., scattered six hits and retired the final 13 batters he faced.
Garcia, who struck out eight and walked only two, retired the Hurricanes in order in five of nine innings. He set down the last 13 Miami batters after All-American Mike Fiore singled in the fifth.
"He's what I call a closer,'' Cochell said. "If you give him the ball with the lead, he's going to be very tough down the stretch.''
Garcia, 10-5, said he couldn't recall ever retiring 13 batters in a row.
"It's kind of neat,'' he said. "I noticed the game was going by quicker.''
Miami forced the Titans to come from behind by scoring two runs in the second and one in the third for a 3-1 lead.
Fullerton opened the fifth by losing leadoff hitter Bobby Jones, thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple. But the play didn't prove too costly.
Second baseman Mike Ross made it 3-2 with an RBI double into the rightfield corner. Kaub followed with his three-run homer high over the left - field fence.
"It was a tremendous lift,'' Cochell said. "We were down when Keith hit his with two outs. Osborn's put the game away and gives you the breathing room you need. It makes it much easier for the pitcher coming out in the last inning.
"Those were two critical hits for us in key situations.''
Kaub, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound first baseman from Seal Beach, Calif., produced three hits off Miami's Joe Grahe, a third-team All-American.
Kaub also drove in Fullerton's first run with a two-out single in the first. But the homer is the hit he'll remember most.
"Being my first World Series and first World Series home run, I was really excited,'' Kaub said. "I was blowing as hard as I could, so it could go out.''
Osborn, a senior right fielder from Cerritos, Calif., also finished with three hits. Two came off Grahe and the grand slam against reliever Don Bruckner.
Osborn said he went to bat with instructions from Cochell to look for a curve ball because Bruckner threw curves and sliders to the first three batters he faced in the ninth.
"He piped a fast ball right by me first pitch,'' Osborn said. "I looked over at him (Cochell) and he said, "I told you fast ball.'
"The next thing I know I've got two strikes on me. He's talking to me, and I'm up there battling. I was looking fast ball, and he tried to challenge me. I got all of it.''
Miami's Grahe said the Hurricanes didn't get the job done with two outs.
"We were one pitch away from getting out of those innings,'' he said. "But you can't play with just two outs every inning.''
Fiore said Miami can still be a factor in the tournament.
"My thoughts are that we've got to forget about this game,'' he said. "We're a good ballclub. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. I feel like we've just got to turn the page and forget about what happened.''