Baseball Goes To College World Series After Winning NCAA Super Regional
June 2, 2001
LOS ANGELES--Rik Currier pitched a 5-hit, 11-strikeout shutout and his Trojan teammates pounded out 11 hits as No. 2 USC advanced to the its second consecutive College World Series by beating No. 19 Florida International, 6-0, to complete a 2-game sweep of the Golden Panthers in the NCAA Baseball Los Angeles Super Regional before a standing-room-only crowd of 2,286 fans at USC's Dedeaux Field on Saturday afternoon (June 2).
USC, seeded third overall in the NCAA Championships and winner of an unprecedented 12 College World Series, improved to 44-17.
Troy is headed to its 21st College World Series, which runs from June 8 to 16, but this will be its first back-to-back visit to Omaha since the national championship years of 1973 and 1974. This is the first time since USC's 1978 national championship season that the Trojans clinched a berth to Omaha at home. The win also was USC's 200th post-season victory.
Unseeded Florida International concluded its season with a 43-21 mark.
Currier, a senior who is the USC and Pac-10 career strikeout leader, upped his record to 12-2. He walked only 2. His 11 strikeouts helped the 2001 Trojan staff set a school season record for strikeouts, which now stands at 580.
'Rik Currier was spectacular,' said 15th-year USC head coach Mike Gillespie, who now has guided the Trojans to a fourth College World Series trip (his 1998 club won the crown)--the third in the last 4 years--and also won a CWS title as a player with the 1961 Trojans. 'It's something we've come to expect from Rik in big games. We also got a lot of clutch hitting. We're excited to be going back to the College World Series. It has not been an easy road this season.'
After getting 2 runners on in the first inning without scoring, USC got a run in the second off of Florida International ace William Collazo, who entered the game with a 13-0 record and a 2.86 ERA. Josh Persell walked and Bill Peavey singled to open the inning, they moved over on Michael Moon's sacrifice bunt and then Persell came in on Abel Montanez's sacrifice fly to right.
USC added 2 runs in the third. Seth Davidson took Collazo's first pitch of the inning over the left field wall for his second home run of the season. Brian Barre followed with a double, moved to third on Alberto Concepcion's sacrifice bunt and scored on Anthony Lunetta's sacrifice fly to the right field wall.
The Trojans picked up another run in the sixth. Peavey got aboard on a fielder's choice, went to second on a balk and came home on Montanez's single. The 6-4, 250-pound Peavey ran through a stop sign by the third base coach Andy Nieto and had to tap dance around catcher Michael New's tag at home.
USC kept up its offensive assault in the seventh as Davidson knocked out Collazo with his leadoff double. Two outs later off of reliever Arthur Santos, Golden Panther shortstop Mickey Torello threw away Lunetta's grounder, allowing Davidson to score and sending Lunetta to second. Persell's single then plated Lunetta.
Persell had 3 hits for USC, while Davidson and Barre added a pair each.
Collazo took the loss, dropping his record to 13-1, while giving up 8 hits.
Florida International--playing as the home team--threatened only once, in the bottom of the third as Barry Paulk and Matt Huntingford singled and Hector Nunez walked to load the bases with 2 outs. But Currier struck out Mike Quintana to get out of the jam.
Paulk and Daniel Bustamante each had 2 hits for FIU.
'We just couldn't come up with that one hit or run,' said Florida International head coach Danny Price. 'Currier was ahead all day. They were getting our leadoff hitter out all day and we were behind in the count all game. That makes for a tough day. It was our dream to get to the College World Series. We just came up short.'