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NCAA Regional Recaps

FULLERTON WALLOPS MISSISSIPPI STATE, 13-2
Mike Rouse homered three times and Kirk Saarloos won his 15th straight game as Cal State Fullerton cruised to a 13-2 victory over Mississippi State in the first game of super-regional action on Friday.

The Titans used an eight-run second inning to give Saarloos a huge cushion early. The senior right-hander improved his record to 15-2 after allowing four hits and two runs in 7.0 innings of work. He struck out nine and walked only one.

Cal State Fullerton improved to 45-16 with the win while Mississippi State fell to 39-23.

Rouse led off the second with his first home run of the game, a mammoth shot to straightaway center field off Bulldog starter Tanner Brock. After a Robert Guzman RBI-double and Brett Kay sacrifice fly, Rouse came to the plate with two outs and two runners on base. He promptly belted a three-run homer to right center field to send the Goodwin Field record crowd of 3,412 into a frenzy. That hit chased Brock out of the game, as he lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing five hits, three walks and eight runs.

Rouse, a sophomore shortstop, was not finished with his power display. He crushed a solo homer to left-center in the fourth to extend the Titans' lead to 11-0. Rouse finished the game 4-for-5 with three runs scored and seven RBI.

Guzman went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Chris Stringfellow had a 4-for-5 performance for the Titans.

Cal State Fullerton is now one win away from earning its 11th trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. First pitch for game two of the best-of-three series between the Titans and Bulldogs on Saturday is 7:00 p.m.

TITANS HEADING TO OMAHA AFTER 9-3 WIN OVER MISSISSIPPI STATE
First it was Mike Rouse. Then it was Aaron Rifkin's turn.

Rifkin, a senior first baseman, tagged three home runs -- one to each field -- helping Cal State Fullerton (46-16) on Saturday to a 9-3 victory over Mississippi State (39-24) and a berth in the College World Series.

Rifkin was the second Titan player in two nights to record a trio of homers, delighting the sellout crowd of 3,412. Rouse, a sophomore shortstop, went deep three times (also to each field) in CSF's 13-2 win on Friday.

The Titans outscored the Bulldogs 22-5 to win the best-of-three super-regional and advance to the 11th College World Series in school history. Cal State Fullerton will be attempting to win its fourth national title (1979, 1984, 1995). The Titans have a tough draw in their first game, taking on hometown favorite Nebraska at Rosenblatt Field in Omaha, Neb. on either June 8 or 9.

The date and time of all CWS games will be announced by the NCAA on Monday.

Cal State Fullerton fell behind 2-0 in the first to Mississippi State, who was the designated home team. But the Titans got one run back on a solo homer by Rifkin in the second and he gave them the lead with a two-run shot in the third.

The game was close until the Titans erupted for four runs in a pivotal seventh. David Bacani had an RBI-double to score Louie Lamoure, who led off the inning with a single. With runners on second and third and two outs, Rifkin delivered his third roundtripper of the evening, and the Titans led 8-3. Prior to Rifkin's heroics, the Bulldogs thought they had escaped the inning when Jason Corapci swung and apparently foul tipped a 3-2 pitch into catcher Jason Burkley's mitt. But the umpires ruled the pitch had glanced off Corapci's foot first before reaching the catcher's glove, keeping the at-bat alive. Corapci then drew a walk, and Rifkin hit a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence.

Rouse hit his fourth homer of the super-regional in the sixth.

Freshman Darric Merrell overcame a tough start and battled for 6.1 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, and striking out three. He earned the win to improve to 7-4.

Junior Chris Stringfellow put an exclamation point to the Titan celebration when he made a diving catch on a drive to the left-center field gap off the bat of Phillip Willingham.

Cal State Fullerton 9, Texas Tech 2 (FINAL)
Senior pitcher Jon Smith threw seven and two-thirds innings of four-hit ball in leading Cal State Fullerton to a 9-2 triumph over Texas Tech in the championship game of the Fullerton Regional on Sunday.

The left-hander silenced the Red Raider bats, which had produced 20 runs over its previous two games. Smith allowed single runs to Texas Tech in the second and eighth innings, but otherwise stayed out of trouble.

The Titans broke open a close game with a four-run sixth inning for a 6-1 lead. With runners at the corners, Chris Stringfellow drove home Aaron Rifkin with a bunt single. Shane Costa followed with a two-RBI double and scored the final run of the inning on a double steal.

Costa went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three doubles in the game. Rifkin also collected a pair of doubles and went 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Cal State Fullerton advances to next weekend's Super Regional against Mississippi State, which won the Columbus Regional. The host site for the best-of-three series will be named tomorrow by the NCAA Committee.

Notre Dame 11, UC Santa Barbara 10 (FINAL - 10 innings)
UC Santa Barbara wasted a solid offensive effort and had its third consecutive sub-par pitching performance in an 11-10, 10-inning loss to Notre Dame on Sunday. The Gauchos were thereby eliminated from the Notre Dame Regional.

No Gaucho starter last more than four innings in the three games. The Fighting Irish belted freshman Matt Vasquez, today's starter, for 11 hits and seven runs in three and two-thirds innings.

In three games, the Gaucho pitching staff allowed opponents to score a combined 40 runs.

The Gauchos held an 8-7 lead after six innings and a 10-9 advantage after eight, but Notre Dame tied the score in the top of the ninth. UCSB's James Garcia allowed the winning run in the 10th and took his second loss of the regional.

UC Santa Barbara's Mike Kolbach went 3-for-3 with two RBI, while Tyler Von Schell had a 2-for-5 performance with a pair of RBI's. Dave Molidor, Jared Schumaker and Donovan Warrecker each added three hits.

Texas Tech 11, Cal State Fullerton 5 (FINAL)
Texas Tech jumped out to a 8-0 lead through three innings and cruised to an 11-5 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the championship game of the Fullerton Regional on Sunday. The win sets up a second championship game between the two teams, starting at 4:25 p.m. (PDT).

Texas Tech hurler Matt Harbin went the distance, scattering 10 hits and allowing only one walk. Cal State Fullerton freshman Darric Merrell was ineffective, yielding seven runs (six earned) and five hits in two and one-third innings.

The Titans produced all of their offense on home runs. Aaron Rifkin, Brett Kay and Louie Lamoure all hit longballs, but it was not enough.

Cal State Fullerton 13, Arizona State 3 (FINAL)
Cal State Fullerton homered three times en route to a 13-3 victory over Arizona State on Saturday to move to 2-0 in the Fullerton Regional.

The win puts the Titans in Sunday's championship against Texas Tech, which defeated Arizona State, 9-8, in an elimination game Saturday evening.

Since this is a double-elimination tournament, Texas Tech must beat Cal State Fullerton twice to win the regional. A win by Texas Tech in the 1:00 p.m. game would set up a second championship game 45 minutes after the completion of the first.

Cal State Fullerton needs only victory to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals. The Red Raiders are 2-1 in the regional, having already lost Friday's opener to Arizona State.

Despite California's electricity problems, the Titans put on a power display against the Sun Devils. With a 2-1 lead in the fourth, Cal State Fullerton's Louie Lamoure banged a two-run homer to left-center field for a 4-1 lead. One inning later, Brett Kay slammed another two-run homer, scoring Aaron Rifkin, and the Titans enjoyed a 6-1 advantage.

Arizona State closed to within 6-3 in the seventh, but the Titans pulled away with a four-run eighth. Chris Stringfellow and Shane Costa started off the frame with back-to-back singles, and Shawn Norris walked to load the bases. The Sun Devils moved the infield in with no outs, and David Bacani promptly smacked a two-run single for a five-run cushion. Rifkin later added another two-run single to make it a 10-3 game.

Norris closed out the scoring with a three-run homer in the ninth, giving him 10 RBI's over the regional's two games.

Kirk Saarloos, who was named a Louisville Slugger First Team All-American this week, pitched six and one-third innings and allowed four hits, three runs (one earned) with four strikeouts. He raised his record to 14-2 and Chad Cordero hurled the final two and two-thirds innings for his 13th save.

UC Santa Barbara 13, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 12 (FINAL)
UC Santa Barbara erupted for 12 runs in the first three innings and held on for a 13-12 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee in an elimination game at the Notre Dame Regional. The game, which was postponed due to heavy rains on Saturday, resumed at 8:35 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday morning.

The Panthers responded with four runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth to cut the lead to 12-7. That onslaught knocked UCSB's starting pitcher out of the game for the second consecutive day. Rylie Ogle lasted four innings, allowing 11 hits and seven runs.

The Gaucho bullpen did not fare much better. Jeremy Sugarman gave up four runs in the sixth inning as the Panthers trimmed the lead to 12-11.

The score was tied 12-12 entering the top of the ninth inning when the Gauchos used some heroics. Junior Jed Stringham blasted his 14th home run of the year to put UCSB up 13-12. Jamie Gonzales closed out the ninth inning and picked up the win to move to 3-1.

UC Santa Barbara plays Notre Dame in another elimination game tonight, for the right to advance to Monday's championship game against Florida International.

Marist 7, Long Beach State 6 (FINAL)
The Stanford Regional did not treat Long Beach State very well. The Dirtbags made a valiant comeback, but could not overcome a six-run deficit and lost, 7-6, to Marist at the Stanford Regional. The loss eliminated the Dirtbags from the postseason.

After allowing 11 runs to Texas in their first game of the regional, the Dirtbags were victimized for seven runs in the first three innings. Nate Beucler came on in relief and tossed five effective innings of no-hit ball. Beucler allowed LBSU to make a comeback, as it scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth.

Russel Rohlicek lasted only one inning in relief, and yielded four hits and four runs (two earned).

Bobby Crosby had four hits in the game, including a homer to lead off the ninth inning.

LBSU finishes its season with a 35-23 record.

Cal State Fullerton 17, Temple 3 (FINAL)
Cal State Fullerton defeated Temple, 17-3, in Friday's second game of the Fullerton Regional.

The host Titans exploded for 10 runs in the second inning, capped off by a Shawn Norris three-run homer. Senior David Bacani had three hits in the contest, including a double and a triple while junior Brett Kay went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.

Temple starting pitcher Greg Powell was charged with 10 runs (nine earned) in 1.0 innings of work. Cal State Fullerton's Mike Nunez tossed 3.1 innings of two-hit ball before leaving with tightness in his tricep.

The Titans banged out 20 hits, with eight players recording two or more. The win moves Cal State Fullerton into the winner's bracket, where it will meet Arizona State at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. ASU downed Texas Tech, 12-3, in Friday's first game.

Florida International 17, UC Santa Barbara 4 (FINAL)
Florida International scored six runs in the fifth inning to blow open a tight game in game two of the Notre Dame Regional in South Bend, Ind., cruising to a 17-4 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Friday.

FIU touched UCSB starter James Garcia for nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits, and knocked him out of the game after only four and one-third innings. Garcia, an All-Big West First Team pitcher, was also called for three balks. FIU's Mickey Torello had a home run as part of the big fifth inning.

Chad Peshke, Tyler Von Schell and Jeff Bannon collected two hits apiece for the Gauchos, but the vaunted Gaucho offense was mostly shut down.

UC Santa Barbara meets Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 10:00 a.m. (PDT) on Saturday in an elimination game.

Texas 11, Long Beach State 2 (FINAL)
Texas pounded Long Beach State, 11-2, in the first game of the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto, Calif.

Long Beach State starter Matt Paz was roughed up for all seven runs in four and two-thirds innings before being replaced by Chad Bentz. The Longhorns used a five-run fifth inning to chase Paz out of the game. Paz fell to 8-8 on the year.

Freshman Paul Macaluso hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, his sixth of the year, to provide one of the two runs for the 49ers.

Texas starting pitcher Gerrit Simpson struck out 12 batters and walked none as he tossed a complete game.

Jeff Jones and Edgar Varela had two hits apiece for the 49ers.

Long Beach State is next in action on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. against Marist in an elimination game. Marist nearly pulled off an upset of Stanford, losing 4-3.

 

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