Friday, June 2, 1989
Wichita State's Greg Brummett laid to rest memories of a loss to Arkansas with a performance that he'll never forget.
Brummett, beaten by the Razorbacks in the opening game of the season, held Arkansas to four hits in 7 1/3 innings, then watched relief ace Jim Newlin nail down the Shockers' 3-1 victory Friday night at the College World Series.
"I knew that I wasn't on the top of my game the first time I faced them," Brummett said. "I knew that wasn't me out there on the mound.
"I just knew I had to pitch like I had all year. I wasn't out for any revenge. I'm not that kind of guy. I was just trying to win any way I could."
Brummett's 16th victory of the season helped the fourth-seeded Shockers advance to the East Division winners' bracket game Sunday night against top-seeded Florida State. The Seminoles opened the 43rd CWS with a 4-2 victory over North Carolina.
Fifth-seeded Arkansas, which dropped to 50-15, will play North Carolina Sunday at 3:40 p.m. in an elimination game. The Florida State-Wichita State game will follow at 7:30 p.m.
First-round games in the West Division will be played today. Second-seeded Texas will meet No. 7 Cal State Long Beach at 4:07 p.m., with No. 3 Miami and No. 6 Louisiana State meeting at 7:10.
Friday's opening session drew a total crowd of 14,039 to Rosenblatt Stadium.
The second-game crowd watched Brummett outduel Arkansas pitchers Mark Swope and Mike Oquist, who combined to hold the Shockers to six hits. Wichita State, the top hitting team in the tournament, brought a .327 team batting average into the game. The Shockers had averaged 10.2 runs and 11.3 hits a game in fashioning their 63-15 record.
"I thought Swope pitched a marvelous game for them," Wichita State Coach Gene Stephenson said. "Other than the two-run homer, we couldn't dent him at all."
Swope, moved up in the rotation to start the opener, gave up a two-run homer to Jim Audley that put the Shockers ahead 2-0 lead in the third inning.
That was all Brummett, 16-2, needed. The senior right-hander, who allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his first meeting with the Razorbacks on Feb. 19, was at his best Friday night.
"I can't really remember that much about that first game with them, other than the first guy I faced crashed a double off the wall," Brummett said. "It was only the third time I pitched outdoors. It snowed the day before - we shouldn't have even been playing but we wanted to try to get the game in."
Brummett made just one major mistake Friday, surrendering a solo homer to Gary D'Alexander that pulled Arkansas to within 2-1 in the sixth inning. Wichita State added its final run in the seventh, when Oquist unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Pat Meares to score from third base.
Brummett, the Missouri Valley Conference's pitcher of the year, struck out four, walked three and retired 15 Arkansas hitters on ground balls.
"Too much Brummett," Arkansas Coach Norm DeBriyn said. "He threw an outstanding game and just had us off balance. It was his ballgame and, as a result, we didn't score outside of Greg's home run.
"We really didn't threaten that much."
The Razorbacks manufactured a minor threat in the eighth when Scott Pose and pinch-hitter Grayson Liles led off the inning with infield singles.
Stephenson had Newlin, the national leader with 15 saves, warmed up and ready in the bullpen. But he decided to let Brummett pitch to Troy Eklund, the Razorbacks' No. 3 hitter who brought a .327 batting average into the CWS.
"Those were not monumental blasts that got Greg out of the game," Stephenson said. "I felt good about him facing Eklund. He had handled him well all night and I thought he could again. I wanted to give him the opportunity."
Brummett struck out Eklund, then gave way to Newlin.
"D'Alexander had hit him hard in Fayetteville, and he hit him well tonight," Stephenson said.
Brummett said he offered only token resistance when Stephenson made the visit to the mound.
"When Gene comes out there, he pretty much has his mind made up," Brummett said. "I told him I felt better than I had all night. I had just blown three fastballs by their guy.
"But it's the move to make. Bringing Jim in all season has been an automatic save for us. And I felt good because of the strikeout. If I had left after giving up a hit or a walk, I would have been upset. But I was able to leave on a positive note."
Newlin worked out of the inning by getting D'Alexander to hit into a force play, then retiring Bubba Carpenter on a tapper back to the mound.
Newlin put the finishing touches on the win by pitching around Tony Gilmore's wind-blown double in the ninth to record his 16th save.
"My guys pitched a whale of a game," Stephenson said. "Greg Brummett was on the top of his game from the beginning. I know he wished he had one slider back, but other than that, I thought he pitched a perfect game.
"These guys are the greatest, both of them. And Jim Audley had a great clutch hit. It just seems like it's different people every night doing something well for us, and that's what keeps us winning."