Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on May 25, 1990 · Page 23
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 23

Jackson, Mississippi
Issue Date:
Friday, May 25, 1990
Page 23
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r 1 111 SCOREBOARD 2 FISHING REPORT 3 CLASSIFIED 6-12 O, 'LAI THE CLARION-LEDGER JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI FRIDAY, MAY 25, 1990 ri"""""i w ice nVr ( BUTCH JOHN I lew ' . t Columnist f The Clarion-Ledger White-flag time: USM's finest hour turns nightmarish B ATON ROUGE, La. It was worse than your worst nightmare, surely worse than Hill Denson could have dreamed up on a bedtime pepperoni-and-chocolate pizza. ' . Your girlfriend meets Warren Beatty five minutes after she's accepted your marriage proposal. The jerk in the Jag you cussed out on the way to the office turns out to be the new boss. That kind of worse is how it went on Thursday the finest and coincidentally most horrid one day in memory for Southern Mississippi baseball. This would be USM's finest hour, and for the period between the acceptance of an NCAA bid and pregame introductions, the team and the program had never been in better shape. In seven years, Denson had brought a program that defined mediocrity to its first NCAA Tournament. If USM isn't a threat to Mississippi State, neither has it slopped around aimlessly, mired in excuses and one-more-year promises. Then Southern Cal ripped USM's ace, Damon Pollard, for four earned runs in the first. Then three more runs in the third. And the fourth. Pollard did not have his curve or slider. USC hitters, they owned his fastball. "A couple of pitches ..." Pollard said, shaking his head. Pitchers always think like that, but the truth is more like 20 pitches. Or 30. Suddenly, 3 23 innings of game time and an hour on the clock, Pollard was gone. So were the Golden Eagles, whose NCAA debut was a humiliation from that start to its 23.-5 conclusion. Pollard longs for another shot This was painful to watch from any perspective, drawing sympathy from even notoriously pitiless LSU fans. Denson's view of things: "From the third inning on, it was sheer misery." If was a perfect moment for gallows humor the coach was happy to supply. . "I wish," Denson said, "that they had a little white flag you'd wave in games like this, but the rules say you have to stay out there." Good thing they had a new scoreboard here, because the old one might have broken from the weight of USC's runs. Denson grinned, sort of, through the whole thing. Reporters approached as if they expected . Denson to impale himself on a sharpened bat. He would not. As more than one sage fan saved Denson the strain of revealing, that's baseball. Pollard, a strong 13-3 heading into disaster, deserved better. Without him, the Golden Ea-Ej gles' gray uniforms would have been packed, the bats stacked and the balls . . . deflated, or whatever, for the summer months. In return, Pollard had hoped for a shot at All-America status. Now, he is a senior asking only for another chance to pitch. If USC shortstop Bret Boone has his way, it'll be against the Trojans once more. Boone hit two opposite-field homers off Pollard and said, "I was impressed with him." Uh huh, and the NFL used to be impressed by the Saints. Will the damage do them good? The Golden Eagles get a second shot today against Southwestern Louisiana, a loser to LSU on Thursday. It is also a last chance. One more loss and it's homeward bound. That, coupled with the significance of this one game, appears the most galling aspect of the whole affair. New Orleans pounded USM 23-7 earlier this season with no lasting damage. "If this had happened to us at the beginning of the year, that would have been fine. But, to have it happen when it did, that's kind of demoralizing," Pollard said. "All that we can do now is try to bounce back. What else?" ' Now we come to the point of yet another postmortem where we'll ask, Is USM that bad? Or USC that good? Or both, neither or something in between? The answer is, baseball teams can't be dissected in a one-game laboratory. USM won 41 games this season, made it this far and is not dead yet although it is unlikely USM could defeat USC in the unlikely event of a rematch. The question of one loss negating a 41-win, landmark year was put to Denson. "Right now you feel that way, that it tarnishes the season," Denson said. "But regardless of how the thing comes out I'd rather been here and lost one like this than not been here at all." Southern Cal humiliates USM 23-5 The Eagles try to avoid elimination against Southwestern Louisiana today. By Robert Wilson Clarion-Ledger Staff Wrltar BATON ROUGE, La. A Southern California earthquake shook up Southern Mississippi Thursday afternoon. And if the Golden Eagles don't recover, their stay in their first NCAA baseball tournament will be over today. Southern Cal leveled USM 23-5 in the first round of the South I Regional at LSU's Alex Box Stadium before 1,728. No. 5 seed USM, 41-24, faces No. 6 seed Southwestern Louisiana, 47-17, today at 11 a.m. in an elimination game. USC pounded five USM pitchers for a season-high 23 hits, including nine extra-base hits. It was the third-most runs scored against USM in school history. Delta State won 27-4 in 1974 and Florida State won 24-3 in 1985. "Southern Miss ran into a buzzsaw today," USC winning pitcher Randy Powers said. "It's the best we have swung the bats in the four years I've been at USC." "Everybody was hot. It wouldn't have mattered who was pitching today," said USC shortstop Bret Boone, who hit two home runs and two doubles, scored four runs and had four runs batted in. Thursday's pitcher was USM senior right-hander Damon Pollard. Before Thursday, he had a 13-3 record and a 2.92 earned run average. Pollard left with a bruised ego and an inflated ERA. "I didn't have my slider or my curve," Pollard said. "All I had was my fastball. And they hit it well." Pollard walked leadoff batter John Jackson to open the game. Jackson went to second on a wild pickoff throw by Pollard. It only got worse. Pollard allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in the first inning. He left after 313 innings. Pollard allowed South I Regional At Baton Rouge, La. Thursday's results LSU 8, SW Louisiana 0 Southern Cal 23, USM 5 Houston 4, Ga. Tech 2 Today SW Louisiana (47-17) vs. USM (41-24), 1 1 a.m. LSU (48-16) vs. Ga. Tech (46-24), 3 p.m. Southern Cal (38-20) vs. Houston (42-2 1), 7:30 p.m. eight hits and 10 runs in 3 13 innings. "We have nine tough outs," said Jackson, who had four See USM, 4C South II Regional AtStarkville Thursday's results Florida State 7, Lafayette 2 Illinois 8, Central Michigan 6 Mississippi State 16, Brigham Young 5 Today Lafayette (26-1 6) vs. BYU (42-24-1 ), noon Florida State (54-13) vs. Central Michigan (38-8), 4 p.m. Mississippi State (46-18) vs. Illinois (42-19), 8 p.m. Box scores, 2C n o 1 is r-t. v lax ' ' - ft i -O 10 1 i l "v. 1 f tZm " ' " ' ' Scott Boyd The Clarion-Ledger State's Jim Robinson tries to disrupt the throw of BYU's Matt Norman on an attempted double play. MSU will meet Illinois, an 8-6 winner over Central Michigan, tonight. By Rusty Hampton Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer STARKVILLE There was not a whole lot of suspense Thursday in Mississippi State's opening game of the NCAA South II Regional. The second-seeded Bulldogs took a 13-0 lead after four innings, then coasted past Brigham Young 16-5 before 6,905 at Dudy Noble Field. State, 46-18, advanced to today's 8 p.m. game against third-seeded II-linois. BYU, 42-24-1, plays Lafayette today in a noon elimination game. State got so far ahead that backup infielder Charlie Anderson made his first career pitching appearance in relief of winner Bobby Reed. Reed, 14-2, gave up no runs in five innings. Tim Henderson pitched an s inning, then Anderson, who pitched in high school but has never even thrown batting practice at State, took over. Anderson gave up two home runs, but also struck out six in three innings, and did just what coach Ron Polk hoped he would finish the game, saving other pitchers for the weekend. "I was impressed with his slider," Polk said. "That's the first time I've ever seen him pitch. Who knows, he might be the next Bobby Thigpen." Anderson's pitching provided some late-inning excitement in a game that State put away early. Even Burke Masters' quest for the Southeastern Conference career hits record lacked suspense. Masters entered the game with 280 hits, two shy of the mark held by Georgia's Roger Miller. Masters broke the record in his first three at-bats, with singles in the first and second innings and a solo homer in the third. Masters, a fifth-year senior, entered the dugout after his homer, but returned to the field and tipped ! his cap to the grandstand fans who I gave him a standing ovation. "That was a big thrill for me," 1 Masters said. "Especially after I hit the home run and they gave me a ! standing ovation. It was one of the ! best moments I've ever had here." ! Masters didn't stop with three hits. He added an RBI single in the fourth to give him four hits, three ! runs scored and two RBIs. He was one of many hitting stars ; for State, which got 16 hits and was aided by seven Cougar errors. Jon Shave, l-for-21 in the SEC Tournament, also had four hits, including a double. Tommy Raffo had four RBIs three on a first-inning homer to move past Will Clark into third on the school career list with 200. And Tracy Echols hit a three-run homer. "I think we're peaking at the right time," Shave said. "We've got some momentum going. "I think it was good for us to play at home, too. We haven't been home for awhile, it was good to see the big crowd." The Cougars, who finished second in the Western Athletic Conference, would have preferred a smaller gathering, much smaller. Starting pitcher Mike Switzer, a 24-year-old senior, lasted just 113 innings. He gave up seven hits and eight runs. "I was very surprised at how negatively affected he was by the crowd," said BYU coach Gary Pul-lins. "I know our kids were nervous, but I thought the crowd would wake us up. Usually the bigger the challenge the better we play. "That's the first time we've let down and played bad in a big game. We didn't even show up. We were overmatched tonight." Polk, already looking ahead to a possible Saturday matchup with top-seeded Florida State, said Tracy Jobes, 7-5, is the probable starter for tonight's game against Illinois. Metro Conference talks are far from an accord Little progress is made on issues of football, expansion. By Rick Cleveland Executive Sport Editor DESTIN, Fla. The gusting winds of change that seemed to be blowing through the Metro Conference may have slowed to a gentle breeze at the annual league business meetings here this week. Metro athletic directors Thursday addressed the issues of expansion and football for the first time, but made little headway. "It's going slow, slower than expected," said Virginia Tech's Dave Braine, the spokesman for the athletic directors. Still, some of the league's athletic directors hope to reach some kind of consensus when meetings continue today. A joint meeting of athletic directors and faculty representatives is scheduled this afternoon. From that meeting, a recommendation will be made to league presidents, who ultimately decide on such issues as expansion and the addition of football. The league presidents will meet May 30 in Atlanta. Expansion or football would have to receive unanimous approval to go into effect. "We had open and frank discussions but we reached no conclusions," USM AD Bill McLellan said. "Everyone has their own position and that's generally what is best for their school." The only change of stance on the footballexpansion issue seems to be at Louisville, which was reportedly pushing hard for a total sports conference. Said Louisville AD Bill Olsen, "We're happy with the status quo in the Metro. Ten years ago, we weren't, but we are now. We still feel it is our best interest to play football." Louisville, Cincinnati and Memphis State have been courted by a proposed Midwestern Athletic Conference that has been spearheaded by DePaul. "I don't see the Metro Conference disintegrating or anyone walking away," said Olsen. Florida State and South Carolina re main opposed to football. Said FSU AD Bob Goin, "We enjoy our relationship with these people, and I don't think they want to handcuff us." Goin reiterated his stance that FSU can not afford to share its football revenue. Revenue sharing seems to have become almost a moot point. Athletic directors disagree on what comes first football or expansion. Goin says expansion is possible without football. Memphis State AD Charles Cavagnaro strongly supports the idea of Metro foot-ball, but isn't optimistic. "I just don't think you're going to see anything substantial here this week," he said. TV today The best: Baseball abounds today. The American League West-leading Athletics play the Indi-ans at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN. At 6:30 on TBS, the Phillies, led by Jackson resident Lenny Dykstra, play the Braves. The rest: The Astros and Cubs play at 1:20, and the White Sox and Tigers play at 6:30 on WGN. The Giants and Pirates are on ESPN at 6:30. Thursday sports by the numbers COLLEGE BASEBALL South I Region Houston 4 Georgia Tech 2 Southern Cal 23 USM 5 LSU 8 SW Louisiana 0 South II Region FSU 7 Lafayette 2 Illinois 8 Central Mich. 6 Miss. State 16 BYU 5 Northeast Region North Carolina 3 Rutgers 2 Georgia 7 Connecticut 2 Maine 4 Iowa 3 West I Region Stanford 7 Campbell 0 Fresno St. 3 S. Illinois 2 San Diego St. 18 Middle Tenn. 6 Texas League San Antonio 2 Jackson 1 Shreveport 5 Wichita 2 El Paso 6 Arkansas 5 Tulsa 19 Midland 11 American League Athletics 13 Brewers 1 Red Sox 4..... Royals 1 Rangers 3 Tigers 2 White Sox 5 Orioles 3 Twins 5 Yankees 4 Indians 5 Mariners 3 Angels 4 Blue Jays 3 National League Cardinals 3 Giants 2 Dodgers 15 Cubs 6 Reds 7 Expos 1 Padres 5 Mets4 Phillies 8 Braves 4 NHL Stanley Cup Oilers 4 Bruins 1 Inside B Jackson native Jeff Barlow of Florida is tied for the lead after the first round of the NCAA East Regional men's golf tournament. Hattiesburg native Kristi Coats slips from fifth to 15th in the NCAA Women's Championship, 3C. If Brigham Young advances to Sunday's play in the NCAA South II Region at Hattiesburg, there will be a delay in play, 4C. Biloxi beats No. 1 Clinton 6-4 to force a deciding game in their best-of-3 5A semifinal baseball series, 5C. J.

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