USC Beats MSU

    June 2, 1998

    Associated Press Writer

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Freshman Rik Currier took care of the pitching, Brad Ticehurst the hitting and Eric Munson the postgame interview.

    Currier struck out 12 and allowed only four hits in eight innings and Ticehurst hit two home runs as Southern Cal beat Mississippi State 7-1 on Tuesday night in the College World Series.

    Mixing sliders and curve balls, Currier was simply dominant.

    "I've always had trouble in the early innings, then I start getting into it," the soft-spoken Currier said. "Rhythm. That's basically it, just getting my rhythm. It was a good night for me."

    Munson, Currier's catcher, couldn't let it go at that.

    "I want to pretend I'm Rik right now. I was awesome tonight," Munson said, drawing laughs.

    "That was the best I've seen him all season. His slider was dirty tonight. It had great bite. He was locating his pitches. He kept the ball down. Everything was working for him," Munson said.

    Currier (6-1) was bidding for the first College World Series shutout in three years until the Bulldogs scored with two outs in the eighth. Rusty Thoms beat out an infield single for his second hit and Brad Freeman doubled him in.

    Currier held Mississippi State to one hit until Thoms singled with one out in the sixth. He threw 135 pitches, allowing four hits and three walks.

    "He had control of all of his pitches," Thoms said. "His slider had a lot of body, and he threw it with any count. What can you say? He had one of those nights. Unfortunately, it was against us."

    Added Southern Cal coach Mike Gillespie: "He was simply as good as we could have hoped for him to be at any time. For him to show this kind of composure in this kind of an event is all we can ask for."

    Closer Mike Weibling allowed one hit in the ninth.

    Missisippi State (42-23) became the fourth team eliminated from the eight-team field and left fourth-seeded Southern Cal (46-17) as the highest remaining seed. No. 3 Miami's 6-3 loss to Long Beach State earlier Tuesday completed a sweep of the top three seeds, all from Florida. Florida and Florida State were eliminated Monday.

    USC plays two-time defending champion LSU on Thursday.

    The Trojans took a 3-0 lead in the second on Ticehurst's leadoff homer, Wes Rachels' run-scoring sacrifice and Robb Gorr's RBI single.

    Ticehurst homered to right in the third to make it 4-0, and he started a two-run uprising in the seventh after being hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a balk and scored on Jason Lane's double to right center. Lane scored on Rachels' sacrifice fly and it was 6-0.

    Mississippi State starter Mark Freed (6-6) lasted only 1 2-3 innings, allowing five hits, three earned runs with two walks and one strikeout.

    The last shutout in the World Series was Cal State Fullerton's 11-0 victory over Tennessee in 1995.

    SITE:  Omaha, Nebraska
           Rosenblatt Stadium

    University of Southern California vs. Mississippi State University


    123 456 789 R H E USC 031 000 201 7 12 0 MSU 000 000 010 1 5 2

  • Highlights:

  • Brad Ticehurst hits solo-homer in top of the second for the Trojans.
  • Ticehurst hits second solo-homer of the game in the top of the third.
  • Starting pitcher Rik Currier pitches 8 innings; finishes with 12 strikeouts.