Friday, June 1, 1990
Too many mistakes proved too much for Georgia Southern to overcome Friday in its opening game of the College World Series.
The Eagles' six errors in the 5-4, 10-inning loss to Stanford were three off the CWS single-game record of nine shared by Northern Colorado (vs. Arizona, June 13, 1955) and Texas (vs. Oklahoma State, June 8, 1984).
"The key to our success this year has been doing the right things when we've had the opportunity," Georgia Southern Coach Jack Stallings said. "We did not do that today. We made a lot of errors, which is very obvious.
"We also made a lot of mental mistakes - mistakes running the bases, mistakes at the plate, mistakes in the field. We did things on the field that didn't show up on the scoreboard but when that happens in a close ballgame, it's a miracle if you win."
Catcher Rob Fitzpatrick said the Eagles' mental lapses hurt more than the physical mistakes.
"You expect to make physical mistakes and you learn to play through them," he said. "But the mental mistakes kill you." Aggressive Defense
Losing pitcher Joey Hamilton was charged with two of his team's errors. The second, Stallings said, was a result of his team's aggressive approach to defense.
Stanford's Roger Burnett singled to lead off the 10th inning and Troy Tallman followed with a sacrifice bunt. Hamilton fielded the ball and threw wildly in an attempt to force Burnett at second. Burnett went to third on the play and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly.
"We teach aggressive defense on bunts," Stallings said. "We want our infield going after bunts and the lead runner. It was a physical error but not a mental one."
Hamilton's first error gave Stanford its first run. Troy Paulsen tripled with one out in the first inning but Hamilton got David McCarty to hit a bouncer back to the mound. Hamilton fielded the ball as Paulsen broke toward the plate.
Had Hamilton ran toward Paulsen, he could have put the Stanford player in a rundown. Instead, Hamilton looked at Paulsen, then turned and threw the ball down the right-field line, allowing Paulsen to score and McCarty to wind up on third base.
"I can't tell you what I was thinking at the time," said Hamilton. "I looked at him and I froze. If I go after him, we have him in a rundown. I just froze up." Cardinal Catch Break
Stanford Coach Mark Marquess, whose team won CWS titles in 1987 and 1988, said his team was fortunate against Georgia Southern.
"In postseason play, when all the teams are fairly even, you need breaks, whether it's a bad hop, a jam base hit or a close call," Marquess said. "Obviously, we got a break today.
"We played sloppy baseball. If that one ball did go out of the ballpark, we got a break on a call. But that's part of the game. We may have a game where we don't get the breaks but today, we certainly got a couple." Winds of Rosenblatt
Gusty winds at Rosenblatt Stadium provided some added excitement to Friday's two games.
"Every fly ball was an adventure," Mississippi State Coach Ron Polk said. "I've never been to Omaha and seen the wind blow like that."
The winds were from the southwest at 12 mph at the start of Friday's first game between Georgia Southern and Stanford. By the time Mississippi State and Georgia took the field, the wind had shifted to the southeast and was gusting to 32 mph.
"The conditions weren't as bad as they looked," said Burnett, the Stanford shortstop. "You just had to be careful on your throws." Concession Stands Added
Fans attending the CWS should get a chance to concentrate on the action between the white lines instead of spending time in the concession line.
Terry Forsberg, public events manager for the City of Omaha, said the addition of five portable concession stands in the stadium's concourse should help get fans back to their seats quicker.
"The two biggest complaints we've been getting in recent years have been the long lines and parking," Forsberg said. "We're cognizant of the fact that people were spending too much time waiting in line for concessions. This is our attempt to try to get people served as fast as possible."
Spot checks during Friday's opening session indicated the new stands were serving their purpose. The long lines in recent years, which sometimes snaked through the concourse, were absent.
Many of the stands, Forsberg said, were manned by volunteers.
"We have a lot of church groups and other organizations who are running the stands," he said. "They're using it as a money-raising project. They get a percentage of what they sell, and for them it's a good deal."
Forsberg said another improvement should make the CWS a brighter event for the participants. Lights in two of the stadium's eight towers have been replaced with stronger floodlamps.
"We're planning on doing two towers a year until we relight the entire park," he said. "When finished, our lighting will be up to major-league standards."