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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi • Page 20
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi • Page 20

Jackson, Mississippi
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4CBThe Clarion-Ledger Tuesday, May 29, 1990 3SDs3lLlL Wranglers' risk-taking pays off in 5-4 decision over Mets -JaxF'sts at homo Wichita manager calls a pitchout and his team throws out the potential tying run in the ninth. Today: Wichita (Martinez 1-4) at Jackson (Elli 2-3), 7 p.m., WJDX-AM, 620, Leaf Candy Kids Night Cuddles Diaper Derby. By Jo Powell Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer ten the ground balls in his last four games," he said. "I wasn't going to rush anybody (in the bullpen)." The Wranglers have won five games in the ninth inning the last two weeks. "When it gets late, we know we can push a couple of runs across, because we've done it before," said Walters, a 23-year-old Califor-nian. He is hitting .304 with a team-high 34 RBIs. The Mets wasted stellar performances by starting pitcher Mike Miller and first baseman Alex Jimenez. Miller allowed two runs in seven innings, striking out 11 and walking none. Jimenez was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Mets, who had 1 1 hits, failed to score "I was looking for something low. I knew they were looking for a ground ball," Walters said. "They got it, but it went in our favor." After right fielder Steve Davis threw home, Graves tried to throw out Walters at second. The ball skipped into center field, allowing Mike Humphries to score. "That play broke down from the start," Hurdle said. "The ball died in the outfield, and Stevie tried to do too much. He airmailed the throw. Then Graves should have stepped up and caught it on the fly, but he waited and ended up dusting the throw to second." Hurdle defended his decision to stick with Vasquez. "He had impeccable control and had got Mets manager Clint Hurdle switched to a hit-and-run on the next pitch, which turned out to be a pitchout. Walters easily threw out Baez at second base. "Our manager (Steve Lubratich) gambled and won," Walters said. "I had my pocket picked," Hurdle said. Graves struck out and pinch hitter Jaime Roseboro, who came off the disabled list earlier in the day, grounded out. The Mets moved to 0-6 in Monday games and 4-13 in one-run games. The Wranglers rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth off Mets reliever Aguedo Vasquez, 0-4. Vasquez gave up two one-out walks before Walters grounded a ball past second baseman Rudy Hernandez for an RBI single. 1 1 The Jackson Mets walked into an ambush Monday night, and the Wichita Wranglers walked away with a 5-4 Texas League victory at Smith-Wills Stadium. The Mets opened their ninth inning with a double by Reid Hartmann and an RBI single by Kevin Baez. Catcher Kenny Graves tried to sacrifice the potential tying run to second base. The former Southern Mississippi standout's pop-foul bunt barely eluded Wranglers catcher Dan Walters. a runner from third base with less than two outs four times. "If you do it 70 percent of the time, you're doing the job," Hurdle said. "Since the 16th of this month, we're eight of 28." Miller was named Texas League Pitch-; er of the Week by Howe News Bureau. He pitched 8 13 innings and allowed two hits' in a 1-0 win over San Antonio Wednesday. 1 4U .1. J. Luck goes against Martin, Seminoles This time, fate smiles on Mississippi State instead of Florida State, giving the Bulldogs a trip to Omaha. 9 for q)ds k. 1 By Donald Dodd Clarion-Ladgar Staff Writar The junior pitcher from Long Beach has never lost in 24 career decisions at Dudy Noble Field. By Donald Dodd Clarion-Ledger Staff Writar I Him 1 Scott BoydThe Clarion-Ledger Mississippi State pitcher Bobby Reed gets a congratulatory hug from a Bulldog fan after beating Florida State. MSU From 1C STARKVILLE Florida State coach Mike Martin's voice cracked Monday afternoon when he talked about his Seminoles. Just a few minutes earlier, he saw the looks on their faces as they stood stunned and broken in the loser's dugout. Mississippi State, a loser in three straight regionals, beat Florida State, a team that's been to three of the last four College World Series, 4-3 for the NCAA South II Regional championship. This time, the cleat was on the other foot. "You hate to see a team lose like that, but gentlemen, we've lost like that," State coach Ron Polk said. Mississippi State had lost three straight regionals at home. A year ago, guys like Bobby Reed and Tommy Raffo couldn't find words to describe their disappointment after a 7-1 loss to North Carolina in the regional final. Monday, guys like Eddie Perez took their turn. "I guess it was all meant to be," FSU's first baseman said. Martin has taken Florida State to 11 straight regionals. He said this is "the best group of seniors I've ever had" and almost broke down during the postgame press conference. Florida State came up 2 feet short in a game of inches. Soooooo close. What would have happened if, with two men on and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Perez's line drive up the middle had not been caught by Reed, who doubled up the runner at first to end the inning? The play preserved a 4-3 State lead. "I believe it is (some luck involved)," Martin said. "Last year, we got a bad hop on a double-play ball and ended up beating Auburn. This year, we're first and third and the guy hit a line drive that the pitcher you've got to say literally, self-defense Martin didn't finish his sentence. He didn't have to. The double play cost FSU a run and all but sent State to the College World Series. Surprise, surprise. Mississippi State had luck on its side this time. The Bulldogs were in the same dugout and wore the same uniforms a year ago, when they lost to North Carolina. Trailing 3-1 going into the eighth inning Monday, the deja vu was disturbing. "It was in the back of a lot of our minds," said Burke Masters. "I was thinking it can't happen again." It didn't. State, 49-19, will play Friday or Saturday in the series. It will be a first trip for all of the Bulldogs, and it 1 took some of them five years to earn it. "I watched (North Carolina) on TV last year and thought that could have been us," Reed said. "It should have been us." microsecond lift of his glove. Reed doubled the runner off first to end the inning. "I commend him on his self-defense," Perez said. "There was nothing I could do but catch it," Reed said. "If I didn't, they would have carried me off the field. It was right at my head." The ninth inning went much smoother. John Marc Tamayo grounded out, Pete Grifol struck out, then Buddy Cribb hit a line drive to center field that Mitchell caught while sliding on his knees. Shave followed Raffo. Gregory got two strikes, then Shave took two outside sliders. He lined the next pitch to center field, scoring Raffo. The rest was up to pitcher Bobby Reed, who could have gone Sunday when FSU beat State 11-9 but was held until Monday. Reed, 15-2, pitched a six-hitter and gave up two earned runs. He also made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the tournament. That came in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on first and third, and one out, Eddie Perez hit a line drive that Reed caught with a STARKVILLE Seconds after Bobby Reed got the final out of the NCAA South II Regional, the pitcher's mound turned into a mass of Bulldog humanity. In the middle was Reed, whose perfect Dudy Noble Field career was cause for a perfect celebration. Reed, a career 24-0 at home, got Mississippi State to the College World Series Monday. He tossed a six-hitter and gave up just two earned runs in the Bulldogs' 4-3 win over Florida State. "I watched the last out (a line drive caught by center fielder David Mitchell) and turned back around just in time to see (catcher Jim Robinson) flying through the air," Reed said. "I caught him." Reed disappeared under a pile of players, fans and coaches. While the Bulldogs celebrated, fans scraped dirt from the red clay mound and put it in empty soft drink cups. Fans poured in from all directions, breaking down a portion of the outfield fence in the process. Southern Mississippi coach Hill Denson, whose Golden Eagles were eliminated Saturday in the South I Regional at Baton Rouge, stood in State's dugout and smiled. Reed finally emerged from the crowd, beer- and champagne-soaked, slightly dazed and heading for Omaha and the College World Series. "You always got to love winning," he said. "Our ballclub earned this shot. We played three of the best games here we played all year, and we won as a team." It is easy to play as a team with Reed on the mound. One FSU baserunner scored after reaching on an error, and another run was a wind-aided home run to right. Pete Grifol doubled in a run for a 3-1 Seminole lead in the seventh. Other than that, Reed was almost flawless. Remember the clutch pitching Mississippi State always needed in a regional final? They got it. "He was in control the whole game," Robinson said. "There was never a serious threat. We knew we always know it will be that way with him out there." Reed, a junior, is 15-2 this year and 35-5 in his career. He beat North Carolina 6-0 last year to set up a championship game in the South Regional. He pitched 5 23 innings Friday in a 16-5 win over Brigham Young and 23 of an inning to pick up a save in an 1 1-8 win over FSU Saturday. He was one of two pitchers named to the all-regional team. thing was the same." But it was different, too. "Our motto all year long was seeing it happen," said John Cohen, who singled in the decisive eighth. "Last year, I don't think we could all see us going to Omaha. This year, that's all we could talk abouUWe never doubted we had the guys to do it. We were never down, even in the eighth inning." FSU's Brad Gregory, 5-2, took a 3-1 lead into the eighth. The only run had come on a home run by Tracy Echols. At one point, Gregory retired 11 consecutive Bulldogs. "About the seventh inning, I was wondering if we were going to get to him," Polk said. David Mitchell's one-out single in the eighth gave Polk some hope. After Masters struck out, Cohen singled. Raffo followed with a line drive that just eluded right fielder Chris Brock. The ball hit the fence for a double, driving in Mitchell and Cohen for a 3-3 tie. "I was getting frustrated," Raffo said. "He was making good pitches, but he finally got one over the plate I could hit." Seeds From 1C secutive year at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb. State earned its first CWS trip since 1985 Monday by beating Florida State 4-3 in the NCAA South II Regional. State coach Ron Polk isn't sure how high his team, ranked 10th in one national poll and 18th in another, will be seeded. "I would hope we're at least fifth or sixth," he said. "Maybe seventh. We should be ahead of Georgia. But we beat Florida State. I think that should make us no lower than the sixth seed." Top-ranked Stanford, which won the West I Regional, is a cinch for the No. 1 seed, which plays the opening game at 3:10 p.m. Friday against the No. 8 seed. The other pairings: No. 4 vs. No. 5, 7:10 p.m. Friday; No. 2 vs. No. 7, 3:10 p.m. Saturday; and No. 3 vs. No. 6, 7:10 p.m. Saturday. COLLEGES Walters, No. 8 Petal clip Pearl 3-2 in 4A 9 i Aft. LSU turns back USC in South I The Tigers are one of three Southeastern Conference teams headed for the College World Series. From Wlra Sarvlca Raporta Rich Cordani hit a two-run home run and Lyle Mouton added a solo homer as LSU beat Southern California 7-6 Monday night in the final of the NCAA South I Regional at Baton Rouge, La. The victory sends LSU, 52-17, to the College World Series in Omaha, for the fourth time in the last five years. Southern Cal, 40-22, was seeking its first CWS berth since winning the 1978 NCAA championship. Atlantic: Sophomore Jeff Alkire pitched the first complete game of his career as Miami eliminated North Carolina State 6-1 and earned a berth today against The Citadel for the title at Coral Gables, Fla. Miami must win twice to qualify. The Citadel can clinch its first-ever trip to the CWS with a win today. Central: Sophomore James Popoff blanked Texas on four hits as Cal State-Fullerton upset the top-seeded Longhorns for the second time, 3-0, for the title at Austin, Texas. Fourth-ranked Texas finished 51-17. Midwest: Catcher Rob Fitzpatrick hit a grand slam in the top of the fifth inning as Georgia Southern defeated South Alabama 6-5 for the title at Wichita, Kan. Georgia Southern, 50-17, last The junior's two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning is the difference. By Alan Hinton Special to The Clarion-Ledger PETAL Freddy Walters of the Petal Panthers ran to home plate in the sixth inning Monday night in the first game of the Class 4A state baseball championship series. So what if his team trailed the Pearl Pirates by a run? So what if the bases were loaded? So what if there were two outs? Walters, you see, is in a groove. He's hitting everything, and he knew it. Walters wanted to hit. Walters' single into right-center field off Pearl pitcher Scott Beasley drove in two runs as Petal took a 3-2 victory in the best-of-three series. Game 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Pearl's Center City Park. "Every time you go up to bat you've got to believe you're going to hit," Walters said. "The last couple of weeks, I've been going up with a positive attitude. The ball's just been dropping for me." Last week, the 5-foot-8, 145-pound junior hit a grand slam that broke open the first 4A South Mississippi game against No. 5-ranked George County. Then, in the second game against George County, he hit a key double in a three-run seventh HIGH SCHOOLS inning to seal a victory. "I like to hit in the clutch," he said. The come-from-behind win by No. 8 Petal, 30-4, overshadowed a masterful pitching performance by Pearl's Beasley, who had a perfect game going for 4 13 innings. Beas- ley was working on a one-hitter un-" til the sixth inning when, with two out, he walked three Panthers and-allowed a double by Roger Gregg' and the single to Walters. That was all Petal needed in its rally. "Petal's got a good hitting team and they got the crucial hit! when they needed to," said Pearl coach Terry Hughes, whose Pirates dropped to 17-15. Pearl wasted little time at thei start, as Philip Arrant doubled in! the first and Jason Brown followed; by hitting a Brian Clark pitch over' the center-field fence some 360 away. The 2-0 lead stood up for; quite a while as Beasley, 9-6, and Clark, 14-2, engaged in a pitching duel until the sixth. "I don't know what happened," Beasley said. "Of course, after six innings you're going to get tired. They just hit me, I guess." To Petal coach Larry Watkins, that wasn't easy. "Beasley didn't give us a lot to hit," Watkins said. I "We couldn't get anything We had to earn everything we got." Scott Boyd The Clarion-Ledger State's Jon Shave completes a double play despite pressure from Florida State's Eddie Perez. dinal completed a four-game sweep through the regional and improved to 56-10. San Diego State finished 49-22. West II: Michael Daniel drove in four runs on a homer and a sacrifice fly as Oklahoma State beat Arizona State 10-5 for the title at Tempe, Ariz. The Cowboys are 53-16. The five-time national champion Sun Devils finished 52-16. a made a CWS appearance in 1973. Georgia South-em defeated UCLA 5-4 earlier in the day. South Alabama finished 44-20. West Mike Mussina pitched a three-hitter as Stanford earned its third CWS trip in four years by beating San Diego State 6-2 at Stanford, Calif. Before 4,765, the largest crowd in the history of Stanford's Sunken Diamond, the host Car-

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