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Texas to play for crown



Published: Thu, June 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Chance Wheeless' homer gave the Longhorns a 4-3 victory.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 and send the Longhorns into the championship round of the College World Series.

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

Wheeless, who'd 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-3 championship series beginning Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Baylor (46-24) had two runners on in the top of the ninth before Texas turned a double play on a fly ball.

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 ahead 3-2.

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

Arizona St. 6, Florida 1

OMAHA, Neb. -- Arizona State kept its remarkable run in the College World Series, beating Florida to move within a win of the championship round.

Erik Averill (11-4), working on two days' rest, threw a five-hitter in 92-degree heat and retired the last eight batters he faces 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 seventh-seeded Gators (47-21) again today to advance to the championship series.

ASU's Travis Buck, the Oakland Athletics' first-round supplemental draft pick, homered deep into the right-field seats off Bryan Ball in the first inning for his sixth home run.

Ball (7-5), who hadn't pitched since June 4 in the regional opener against Stetson, went six innings, allowing four hits and four runs. He walked three and struck out one.

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 off reliever Mike Pete that closely resembled the blooper to center that won Tuesday's game against Nebraska.

Dhaenens greeted reliever Connor Falkenbach with an RBI single in the eighth.

The top five batters in Florida's lineup went a combined 1-for-20 against Averill, who had thrown 76 pitches in 52/3 innings against Tennessee on Sunday.

Sun Devils shortstop Andrew Romine played with eight stitches in his right cheek. Romine was cut after a ball deflected off his hands into his face while he was batting against Nebraska on Tuesday.




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