Stanford's Carlos Quentin misses a deep ball off the wall.
June 15, 2003
By ERIC OLSON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Cal State Fullerton's P.J. Pilittere was determined to score from first base when he saw Richie Burgos' deep fly bounce off the glove of Stanford right fielder Carlos Quentin.
"I told myself I better start running because I'm not the fastest guy in the world," Pilittere said.
As Pilittere headed to third, Titans third-base coach Rick Vanderhook signaled him to come around and score. The run turned out to be the game-winner in the Titans' 6-5 victory in the College World Series on Sunday night.
"I saw Hooky waving me, so I went as hard as I could," Pilittere said.
Quentin, a first-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, looked as if he would catch Burgos' fly as he neared the wall.
"I jumped and the ball hit the base of my glove," Quentin said. "That's all I've got to say about it."
The play was the difference in a game that featured three lead changes and was, as Fullerton coach George Horton said, a microcosm of the series between the two West Coast schools.
"We've had a lot of great battles," Horton said. "We were just lucky to get one more point than them tonight."
Relief pitchers Wes Littleton and Chad Cordero held Stanford hitless over the last four innings as Fullerton took control of their side of the bracket. The Titans (50-14) are off until Wednesday, when they'll play the winner of an elimination game Tuesday between Stanford (47-16) and South Carolina (45-21).
Burgos' triple knocked out Stanford starter Mark Romanczuk (12-1), who was the first Cardinal pitcher to win his first 12 decisions.
Littleton (7-3) took over for Titans starter Dustin Miller in the sixth and retired all six batters he faced. Cordero, the 20th overall draft pick by Montreal, came on in the eighth and earned his eighth save.
"You never feel good with a one-run lead against the Cardinal," Horton said, "but you certainly feel a lot better when Chad Cordero has the baseball."
Pilittere's RBI double in the first and freshman Justin Turner's first career homer gave the Titans a 3-0 lead.
Stanford tied it in the third on Brian Hall's two-run homer and Sam Fuld's solo shot, but Jason Corapci's RBI double put the Titans back in front in the bottom of the inning.
Stanford tied it again in the top of the fourth when Chris Carter homered, and took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Quentin's RBI double.
Turner's two-out RBI single tied it again in the sixth, and the Titans went ahead for good on Burgos' triple into the right-field corner the next inning.
Stanford coach Mark Marquess said he thought there could have been a play at the plate on Pilittere. Quentin gunned the ball to freshman second baseman Jed Lowrie, the cutoff man, but Lowrie hesitated before making a half-hearted throw home.
"You have to remember that that's a freshman, and we're not used to the noise," Marquess said. "I'm not sure we would have gotten him anyway, but it would have been close."
Romanczuk allowed six runs, 10 hits and walked four in 6 1-3 innings before giving way to Matt Manship.
The biggest factor, Marquess said, was Cordero.
Cordero threw 26 pitches after taking over for Littleton, who walked Ryan Garko to start the eighth. Cordero got Danny Putnam to hit into a double play, then struck out three in a row before Donny Lucy grounded out to end the game.
"He's the premier closer in college baseball," Marquess said. "He's tough, but he's been tough for three years. There may be guys as good as him, but there certainly is no one better. He dominated us tonight."