CWS Diary: Standfurd Gives CSF Reality Check

OMAHA, Neb. -- Well, so much for the "fast track" to Championship Saturday. Cal State Fullerton could only manage two hits through nine innings and it wasn't enough as Stanford outlasted the Titans 5-2 in 10 innings Sunday night in the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Starting pitchers Kirk Saarloos of Fullerton and Mike Gosling of Stanford each turned in outstanding performances, each allowing only a solo homer as the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after nine innings. It wasn't a whole lot different than all those close games these two teams play every year in early February, except that much more was at stake and the weather was a tad warmer.

The Titans now must play an elimination game at 2 p.m. (CDT) Tuesday against Tulane. Stanford is the one riding the "fast track" now as the Cardinal gets to sit back, see the sights and will meet the winner of Tuesday's Fullerton-Tulane matchup on Wednesday.

Let's take a minute-by-minute look at our experiences Sunday night:

4:05 p.m. (CDT) -- We arrive at the stadium early (for our scheduled 6 p.m. start) and something's different than our first two days here ... Jesus Christ, it's hot today. With brutal humidity. As if we needed a reminder, this is why we don't live in Nebraska.

4:52 -- We find our seats. They're much further down the left-field than Friday night. But we'll have a nice view of the drunks who get ejected from the left-field bleachers.

4:59 -- As we watch the Nebraska-Tulane game, we witness Nebraksa pitcher Thom Ott getting hit in the place you least want to get hit (well, besides your head) on a hard comebacker to the mound. Ott somehow manages to make the play. But after throwing to first for the out, he collapses in front the of the mound and lays there for two minutes. That's gotta hurt.

5:09 -- Some Nebraska fan in front of us looks like he could really use a shave -- on his back. He might be related to Ed Asner.

5:26 -- Nebraska reliever Brandon Penas enters the game. Have fun pronouncing that name.

5:44 -- The Tulane-Nebraska undercard finally ends as the hometown Huskers lose 6-5 and go 2-and-out in their first-ever CWS appearance. Collect your parting gifts at the door, boys.

6:28 -- Since it's obvious that most Husker fans have called it a day, the crowd is much smaller for our game, so we sneak down to some seats closer to our dugout. What are they gonna do, throw us out?

6:37 -- Our game finally starts, only 37 minutes late.

6:57 -- Both pitchers look sharp as they complete a scoreless first inning ... looks like runs (and hits) will be hard to come by tonight.

7:04 -- Brett Kay gets the Titans' first hit, a single up the middle in the second inning. A few more of these would be nice.

7:45 -- Titans shortstop Mike Rouse makes a nice backhand stop on a shot off the bat of Jonny Ash, snuffing out Stanford's first scoring threat in the fourth inning as Sam Fuld was left stranded at second.

7:50 -- Aaron Rifkin strikes out for the second straight time. We can only imagine what Czar is posting on the message board at this moment.

7:57 -- We notice ESPN's roving camera guy in the stands is wearing a T-shirt. (Seriously, Paul).

8:07 -- Louie Lamoure breaks the scoreless deadlock with a solo homer just beyond the leap of Stanford left fielder Jason Cooper in the fifth inning. The crowd chants "Looooooouie."

8:16 -- Spider can't talk about the umpiring, but we will -- it blows. Particularly on ball-strike calls.

8:21 -- Stanford hits into its second 9-3 double play of the night, courtesy of Titans right fielder Robert Guzman. Both times, the Cardinal base-runner failed to pick up the third base coach in time. Nice base-running by the alleged geniuses from Stanford.

8:33 -- Stanford catcher Ryan Garko ties it up 1-1 with a solo homer over the left field bleachers in the seventh inning.

9:00 -- David Bacani walks with two outs in the eighth -- the Titans' first base-runner since Lamoure's homer.

9:17 -- With one out and one on in the top of th ninth, pitching coach Dave Serrano goes to the mound and calls on Chad "Chief" Cordero, as Kirk "The Man" Saarloos trots off to a standing ovation from the Titan faithful.

9:27 -- Chief induces a fly ball to Guzman with two outs, stranding the bases loaded in the ninth. What a game!

9:35 -- With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the ninth, Rouse slices a long fly ball into the left field corner. Cooper catches it just before banging into the wall. This is basically the game right here -- the flags were completely still at this moment; with any wind it all this ball goes out and we're celebrating a walk-off win. Instead, we're heading for extras.

9:52 -- Stanford's Chris O'Riordan singles to right, giving the Cardinal a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th.

9:56 -- Sam Fuld drills a two-run triple to right-center on Mike Nunez's first pitch, giving Stanford a 4-1 lead.

9:59 -- Garko's sacrifice fly gives the Cardinal its fifth run.

10:17 -- The Titans manage a belated two-out rally as Jason Corapci comes to the plate, representing the tying run after Bacani drove in Murph Norris with a single.

10:18 -- Corapci flies to center. Game over. OK, nobody said this thing was gonna be easy.

10:37 -- On our way back to our hotel, we pass by a bank sign that says it's 82 degrees ... at 10:37! Hopefully, the Titans' bats will be as hot Tuesday against Tulane.

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