Thursday, June 7, 1990
Oklahoma State's College World Series play is a long-running smash hit.
The Cowboys pounded Louisiana State 14-3 Thursday night for their 11th straight victory with a familiar script - lots of hits, lots of runs and strong pitching.
"It's a good script," OSU Coach Gary Ward said. "We have no problem with that at all, believe me."
The next act is the Cowboys' most important. They now take their show into the CWS championship game.
Oklahoma State's victory before a session-record crowd of 16,094 at Rosenblatt Stadium - the fourth-largest of all time - gave the Cowboys the bracket two championship in the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
Third-seeded OSU will rest tonight while top-seeded Stanford and fourth-seeded Georgia play at 6:37 to decide the bracket one winner and the Cowboys' opponent in Saturday's noon championship game.
Oklahoma State, 56-16, smacked 19 hits, including seven for extra bases, against LSU. Michael Daniel's leadoff home run in the sixth - his third of the series and 23rd of the year - ignited the Cowboys to a six-run inning that broke open a close game. LSU led 3-2 entering the sixth.
OSU's production against LSU boosted its totals to 83 runs (11.9 average per game) and 100 hits (14.3 average) in its seven games since the start of the West II Regional at Tempe, Ariz.
The Cowboys are batting .390 in four CWS games. In contrast, second-seeded LSU heads home after hitting .233 in the series.
"We feel bad that we didn't perform better," Tiger Coach Skip Bertman said. "We didn't play well in this particular tournament.
"On the other hand, Oklahoma State is the best team I've seen in many years."
Bertman said the Cowboys remind him of the Southern Cal, Arizona State and Clemson teams in the 1970s.
"They're very geared to win," Bertman said. "They're playing about as well as a baseball team can play."
Ward passed most of the credit for Thursday's win to senior pitcher Gordie Tipton, who held the Tigers to four hits and struck out seven before freshman Derek Brandow relieved him to start the ninth.
"I think the turning point was how Tipton performed after the second inning," Ward said. "He turned it around and completely dominated the game from that point. I think that lifted us more than anything. Gordie really responded."
Tipton, 10-1, allowed two runs in the first inning and one in the second. The Cowboys helped him out of the second with a double play.
"I think the double play in the second inning with the bases loaded really turned it around," Tipton said. "From then on I knew my defense was behind me all the time."
Starting with the double play, Tipton retired 15 straight LSU batters until Tim Clark singled with one out in the seventh.
Oklahoma State gave Tipton the lead and all the offensive support he needed with its six-run explosion in the sixth.
LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, 17-6, said he made a mistake to Daniel, which the Cowboy deposited in the left-field bleachers.
"I missed over the plate on him," Byrd said. "If you miss over the plate, he's going to hurt you because like all great hitters he hits mistakes well. That hurt a little bit and turned the momentum their way."
After the homer, Byrd struck out Jeromy Burnitz. But the Cowboys followed with four straight hits - Neil Szeryk's single, Steve Dailey's double, Manny Cervantes' RBI single and Danny Perez's RBI single.
"That was the inning that did me in," Byrd said, "and that was the changing point of the game."
Bobby Carlsen's two-run double and Brad Beanblossom's RBI single against reliever Mark LaRose capped the scoring in the sixth.
Carlsen, the CWS' leading hitter with a .637 average, tied a CWS record with three doubles in the game. He also doubled in the first and added an RBI double in OSU's three-run seventh.
"My swing is pretty good right now," Carlsen said. "I feel like I'm consistently hitting the ball well. I'm finding the gaps and hitting doubles instead of singles."
The Cowboys have scored 14 runs against Washington State, 17 and 10 against Arizona State, 14 against Cal State Fullerton and 14 against LSU in the NCAA tournament.
Ward isn't ready to say that the Cowboys are playing the best of any team he's coached.
"I've had several play awfully well," he said. "I've had some that have been very dominant. There's no vault to go put good play into."
The Cowboys would like to add a national championship to their vault.
OSU will be making its sixth trip to the national title game in 16 seasons. The Cowboys won their only national title in 1959.
The championship game will be the Cowboys' third under Ward. Arizona State defeated OSU in the 1981 title game.
In 1987, Stanford beat Oklahoma State 9-5 for the championship.
"I lost the first two," Ward said. "This ballclub hasn't lost anything, so they don't know anything about that.
"They're just here trying to play for the national championship. This is theirs. The last two I take responsibility for."