2003 College World Series

June 13, 2003 - June 23, 2003  •  Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, Nebraska  •   Attendance: 260,091

College World Series 2003, Owls blasted Stanford to win national title

Owls blasted Stanford to win national title

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Series highlights

Rice completed a 12-year journey from baseball doormat to champion by walking all over Stanford to win the College World Series.

No team in the history of the CWS had ever posted a larger margin of victory in the final game than Rice did in mauling the Cardinal 14-2 before 18,494 at Rosenblatt Stadium. The lopsided victory in the third game of the best-of-three championship series left the Owls 58-12 and a national champion in any sport for the first time in school history.

For 67-year-old coach Wayne Graham, the title provides an exclamation point to his statement that Rice was capable of winning a national championship. Rice? When Graham arrived, the school had never played in the NCAA tournament nor won a conference championship.

Graham's kids put on an impressive show in turning what had the potential to be an exciting matchup into the biggest title game mismatch in CWS history. The teams had split the first two games of the championship series, with Rice pulling out a 4-3 win in 10 innings on Saturday and Stanford coming back Sunday, behind the extraordinary pitching of CWS outstanding player John Hudgins, to win 8-3.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Hudgins wasn't available the next day to stop a Stanford meltdown on the mound. Starter Mark Romanczuk lasted just one inning, allowing Rice to break to a 4-0 lead. Five relievers contributed to the demise as the six Cardinal pitchers gave up 14 hits, walked 12 and hit one.

Most Outstanding Player

John Hudgins, Stanford

The junior ace earned three wins in nine days, threw 131 pitches in Sunday's 8-3 Cardinal win on three days' rest.

Hudgins joined a short list of CWS most outstanding players who didn't win a national championship. Winning MOP on a losing team had happened only three other times in the previous 30 years.

The most dominant pitcher at the 2003 CWS finished the series with a 1.88 ERA in 24 innings. He held teams to a .195 batting average and became the first pitcher since 1989 to win three games in Omaha.

In his first win against South Carolina, Hudgins allowed two hits in eight innings. With Stanford facing elimination against Cal State Fullerton five days later, Hudgins allowed two earned runs on five hits, going the distance to keep the Cardinal alive.

Series notes

All-Tournament Team

Ryan Garko, Stanford, c, Sr.
Curtis Thigpen, Texas, 1b, So.
Enrique Cruz, Rice, 2b, Jr.
Jonny Ash, Stanford, 3b, Jr.
Justin Turner, Cal State Fullerton, ss, Fr.
Carlos Quentin, Stanford, of, Jr.
Danny Putnam, Stanford, of, So.
Chris Kolkhorst, Rice, of, Jr.
P.J. Pilittere, Cal State Fullerton, dh, Jr.
John Hudgins, Stanford, p, Jr.
Jeff Niemann, Rice, p, So.

Games played in 2003 CWS

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