Monday, June 5, 1989
Texas third baseman Craig Newkirk tagged Miami freshman star Alex Fernandez with two solo home runs and an RBI single Monday night as the second-seeded Longhorns blasted the third-seeded Hurricanes 12-2 in the College World Series.
"We just got thrashed tonight," Miami Coach Ron Fraser said.
The win before a fourth-session record crowd of 14,618 at Rosenblatt Stadium advanced Texas to a Thursday night game. Miami and Louisiana State, which ousted Cal State Long Beach 8-5 in Monday's other game, play tonight at 7:10 in an elimination battle. Wichita State and Arkansas also play for survival at 4:07.
Texas Coach Cliff Gustafson, who removed starter Scott Bryant in the fifth inning even though he was pitching a no-hitter, said the lopsided game caught him by surprise.
"This probably shows what I know about the game," Gustafson said. "I thought it was going to be a low-scoring, close game if we were going to win it.
"I felt each run was going to be very, very important. The move of getting Bryant out of there when I did was based on the feeling that we were not going to score many runs the way Fernandez was throwing, even after the three-run second inning.
"For the score to wind up the way it did is really remarkable."
Newkirk, a senior third baseman from Galveston, Texas, sparked the three-run third with his first homer against Fernandez.
Newkirk made it 4-2 with his eighth homer of the season in the sixth inning. The Longhorns broke the game open with six runs in the eighth. Fraser replaced Hernandez after Newkirk's RBI single produced the first run of the inning.
Fernandez, 15-2, has suffered his only two losses this season against Texas, 53-17.
"Evidently, they play good baseball against me and hit me well," Fernandez said. "My fault today was I kept the ball up and I didn't have good velocity."
Newkirk said he hit his first home run on a fastball.
"The next time (a strikeout), he threw me two curveballs," Newkirk said. "So the third time, I guess he figured I couldn't hit the curveball. He threw a 3-2 curveball, and I was looking for it. That's why I hit it so good."
Miami, 49-17, managed five hits against two Texas pitchers.
Bryant, taken in the first round of baseball's amateur draft Monday by Cincinnati, had not allowed a hit when Brian Dare relieved him in the fifth. Bryant had walked two batters in the fourth and fifth.
Miami's Fernandez was trying to avenge his only loss of the season. The Longhorns defeated the freshman 6-5 Feb. 27 in Austin, Texas.
Newkirk jolted Fernandez in the second with a one-out solo home run deep into the seats in left field. Fernandez, a first-round draft choice by Milwaukee as a high school senior last year, had retired the first four batters he faced.
Newkirk's seventh homer of the season started a three-run inning.
Fernandez walked Lowery after Newkirk's homer. Shults followed with an RBI double down the left-field line. Shortstop Bethea made it back-to-back doubles to score Schults.
Texas came close to another run when Jones singled to right. But Bethea was called out at the plate on a throw by right fielder Rey Noriega. Fans booed loudly when plate umpire Dale Williams signaled his decision. Television replays showed Bethea touching the plate with his left hand before the tag.
Bryant, a junior from San Antonio, Texas, started the game by retiring nine straight Miami batters. He opened the fourth with a walk to Jose Trujillo on a 3-2 pitch. Bryant also issued a one-out walk to Will Vespe before getting out of the inning on Kirk Dulom's fielder's choice and Jorge Fabregas' grounder to first.
Bryant had pitched in only four games (12 innings) this season before the series. Prior to pitching against Arkansas in early May - when he struck out the only batter he faced - he hadn't pitched in a game since his senior year in high school.
The Longhorns turned to Bryant, a .390 hitter and the national leader with 109 RBIs, because of a pitching shortage. His work on the mound reportedly boosted his draft status.
Texas Coach Cliff Gustafson debated whether to use Bryant against Miami because he developed a sore arm in the Midwest Regional. Gustafson said Sunday night he planned to start either Mark Smith or Trent Turner. He changed his mind Monday morning when Bryant told Gustafson he wanted to pitch.
Gustafson relieved for Bryant in the fifth after he walked Henry Hernandez and Chris Hirsch with one out.
Brian Dare, a sophomore left-hander, replaced Bryant. Miami's Noriega greeted Dare's first pitch by barely missing a home run. Noriega's high fly hooked just inside the left-field foul pole.
Dare walked Noriega to load the bases. Trujillo followed with an RBI single to end the no-hitter. With the bases still loaded, Miami's F.P. Santangelo was hit by a pitch to force in another run.
The Longhorns kept their 3-2 lead when Noriega was called out at home while attempting to score on a pitch that got away from catcher Jon Prather.
After Dare struck out Vespe for the second out, he gave the Hurricanes an opening with a pitch in the dirt to Kirk Dulom that got behind Prather. Texas got a break in the game's second bang-bang play at the plate, with umpire Williams calling Noriga out on Prather's flip to Dare.
Miami's Fernandez settled into a groove after the second. He retired 11 of 12 batters - six on strikeouts - before Newkirk made it 4-2 with his second home run. Newkirk became the 12th batter in CWS history to hit two homers in a game.
The Hurricanes threatened again in the sixth when Fernandez, moving into the batting order as the designated hitter, doubled with one out. With two outs, Miami's Hernandez hit a drive deep to center. Jones saved a run with a fine catch as he bounced against the fence. "Jones' catch got us out of a tight spot," Fraser said.
Miami came up short again in the seventh after back-to-back singles by Hirsch and Noriega to lead off the inning. Trujillo sacrificed the runners to second and third.
Hirsch was thrown out at home by third baseman Newkirk after Santangelo hit a nubber down the line. With two outs, the 'Horns dodged another bullet when shortstop Bethea bobbled a pop down the left-field line and caught it with his bare hand.