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Stanford forces final game for title
OMAHA, Neb. -- John Hudgins earned his third win of the College World Series, and Sam Fuld hit a leadoff home run to tie the CWS record for career hits as the Cardinal defeated Rice 8-3 on Sunday in the second game of the championship series.
Stanford (51-17) evened the best-of-three series, and the teams will play tonight for the title.
Hudgins (14-3) became the eighth pitcher to win three games in the tournament, and the first since Wichita State's Greg Brummett in 1989. Hudgins, who beat South Carolina in Stanford's CWS opener and Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, held Rice (57-12) to three runs on 10 hits in seven-plus innings.
In 24 CWS innings, Hudgins has allowed five earned runs, walked six and struck out 15.
"This game was all about John Hudgins," said Stanford coach Mark Marquess, at the CWS for the 13th time. "We've had some great pitchers at Stanford, but I don't think any of the pitchers from any of the teams I've brought here has accomplished what John has accomplished during these 10 days. I don't know whether it can be matched. Pressure games. Short rest. Just a phenomenal job."
The Cardinal broke open a 3-1 game with a five-run seventh, highlighted by Jonny Ash's two-run double.
Fuld, who tied Texas' Keith Moreland with his 23rd CWS hit, led off the bottom of the first with his fourth homer of the season. The Cardinal added two more runs in the third against starter Wade Townsend (11-2) when Brian Hall scored from third on Townsend's wild pitch, and Tobin Swope scored on Carlos Quentin's RBI single.
Rice made it 3-1 in the fourth when Quentin lost track of Matt Ueckert's fly ball in right field. The ball dropped between Quentin and center fielder Fuld, allowing Craig Stansberry to score from second.
Stanford, helped by Rice first baseman Vincent Sinisi's two rare errors, built its lead to 8-1 in the seventh.
The Cardinal loaded the bases when Sinisi fielded Brian Hall's bunt and threw wildly to second baseman Jed Lowrie, who was covering first. Townsend walked Swope to force in a run, and Fuld reached when Sinisi mishandled his grounder, bringing in another run.
Sinisi, who hadn't made an error all season, made one in Saturday night's loss and two more Sunday.
Then Ash, who hit the first two homers of his career in his previous two games, hit a two-run double to right-center.
Josh Baker relieved Townsend, and Quentin hit a sacrifice fly for Stanford's final run.
Hudgins left in the eighth after walking Stansberry and giving up Enrique Cruz's double and Ueckert's two-run single that pulled Rice within 8-3.