USC Downs LSU to Stay Alive at College World Series|
June 4, 1998
By TIM KORTE
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The second time around, Seth Etherton was a lot harder for the LSU Tigers to hit.
Etherton had 10 strikeouts in eight innings and Seth Davidson tripled in what proved to be the deciding run as Southern Cal beat two-time defending champion LSU 5-4 on Thursday in the College World Series.
By avenging a 12-10 loss to LSU in the opening round, the fourth-seeded Trojans (47-17) forced an elimination game Friday between the teams. The winner will meet Arizona State in Saturday's final.
Etherton (13-3), the Anaheim Angels' first pick in this week's amateur draft, surrendered six of LSU's College World Series-record eight homers in the first meeting of the teams.
"It was definitely gratifying to come back and get after these guys," said Etherton, the draft's 18th overall pick.
"I think I had a better curve ball today," he said. "It had a better snap. I was able to locate the ball better and go in and out. It wasn't that big of a difference, other than I was able to keep the ball down."
Etherton struck out slugger Brad Cresse - his second strikeout of the eighth inning - with a runner on second base to end an LSU scoring threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Davidson tripled in pinch runner Jeff DePippo to put the Trojans ahead 5-3.
"I just looked for a good pitch," Davidson said. "He gave me one with the first pitch and I drove it the other way."
In the ninth, the fifth-seeded Tigers (48-18) closed to 5-4 against Southern Cal closer Jack Krawczyk as Wes Davis scored on Jeff Leaumont's two-out single to right.
Krawczyk, who struck out two in the ninth, finished the game when he got Danny Higgins on a fly to center. It was his 22nd save this season and 48th of his career, both tying NCAA records.
He said records didn't enter his mind.
"I just had to go out and do my job," Krawczyk said. "I threw my fastball and struck out a guy. That was good. I threw the ball and got a flyout to center field. That was No. 48. That was good."
The Tigers knew it would be tough to rally against Krawczyk.
"Krawczyk is like hitting a knuckleballer without a knuckleball," LSU's Eddy Furniss said. "He throws it up there and it's just like a gravity ball. It goes up, and then just drops off."
The Tigers led 3-2 in the seventh after Cedrick Harris hit a home run to right field - the record-setting 49th homer of the College World Series. The former record was set in 1995.
Davidson singled to left in the bottom of the seventh and went to third when Wes Rachels faked a bunt and then slapped a chopper over the head of LSU third baseman Blair Barbier.
Greg Hanoian beat out a bunt when Tigers pitcher Jake Esteves (9-3) didn't cover first in time, allowing Davidson to score the tying run. Rachels went to second on the play, to third on Robb Gorr's bunt and scored when LSU was unable to turn a double play on Brad Ticehurst's grounder to second.
123 456 789 R H E LSU 101 000 101 4 7 1 USC 010 001 21x 5 11 1