Dramatic blast lifts Texas past Baylor, into championship round

Thursday, June 23, 2005

OMAHA, Neb. -- Chance Wheeless homered leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to give Texas a 4-3 victory over Baylor on Wednesday night, putting the Longhorns into the championship round of the College World Series.

Texas (54-16) tied the game at 3-all in the eighth when Nick Peoples ran over Baylor catcher Josh Ford in a violent collision at the plate to score on a sacrifice fly.

Wheeless, who made an error that helped Baylor take a 3-2 lead in the seventh, sent a long drive to right off reliever Ryan LaMotta.

Texas, unbeaten in three CWS games, will now play either Arizona State or Florida in the best-of-three championship series beginning Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium.

In the eighth with Texas trailing 3-2, Peoples went from first to third when LaMotta made an errant pickoff throw.

Peoples raced home on Drew Stubbs' sacrifice fly to right, beating Seth Fortenberry's strong throw by barreling over Ford, who was to the left of the plate before the ball arrived. With the ball loose, Peoples crawled and touched the plate and then slammed down his helmet.

In the seventh, Baylor's Kevin Russo scored from first after Fortenberry bunted the ball back to Texas starter Kenn Kasparek and his throw was missed by first baseman Wheeless for an error.

Fortenberry made third on the play, and one out later pinch-hitter Kevin Sevigny's RBI single put the Bears (46-24) ahead 3-2.

J. Brent Cox (8-3) was the winner in relief. LaMotta (5-2) took the loss.

Arizona St. 6, Florida 1

Arizona State kept up its remarkable run in the College World Series, getting a great performance from pitcher Erik Averill and beating Florida to move within a win of the championship round.

Averill (11-4), working on two days of rest, threw a five-hitter in 92-degree heat and retired the last eight batters in his fifth complete game of the season.

The Sun Devils (42-24), who came into the CWS with the fewest wins of any team in the field, have won three straight after losing in the first round and are 5-0 in NCAA tournament elimination games.

They have to beat the Gators (47-21) again Thursday to advance to play Texas.

The game was played less than 24 hours after Arizona State's dramatic 11-inning win over Nebraska, highlighted by Jeff Larish's CWS record-tying three home runs.

This time, Travis Buck, the Oakland Athletics' first-round supplemental draft pick, homered deep into the right-field seats off Bryan Ball (7-5) in the first inning.

Arizona State added to its lead on Seth Dhaenens' RBI groundout in the fourth. Jared Kubin's run-scoring groundout pulled Florida to 2-1 in the fifth, but the Sun Devils got that run back the next inning on an RBI single by Colin Curtis.

J.J. Sferra made it 5-1 in the seventh with a two-run single. Dhaenens added an RBI single in the eighth.

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