Putnam's Blast Puts Stanford In Championship

June 19, 2003

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Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. - Danny Putnam hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning to send Stanford into the College World Series championship round with a 7-5 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night.

Putnam, 2-for-5 with three RBIs, hit a 2-2 pitch from Darric Merrell into the right-center field stands after Ryan Garko led off the inning by getting hit by Merrell's first pitch.

The win set up a best-of-three championship matchup, starting Saturday night, between Stanford (50-16) and Rice (55-11), which advanced Wednesday with a victory over defending champion Texas.

The Cardinal, playing for the championship for the third time in four years, are looking for their first CWS title since winning back-to-back titles in 1987-88. The Owls are trying for their first NCAA title in any sport.

It was the first extra-inning CWS game since the Cardinal beat the Titans 5-2 in 10 innings in 2001.

Jonny Ash hit a two-run homer - the first of his career - off Titans closer Chad Cordero in the seventh to tie the game at 5.

Chris Carter also homered for the Cardinal, and David O'Hagan (7-1) scattered three hits over 4 1-3 relief innings for the win.

The game-winning homer was Putnam's second of the tournament and 16th of the season. He also drove in five runs with a homer, double and two singles in a 13-6 elimination-game victory over South Carolina on Tuesday.

The Titans (50-16) took advantage of a record five hit batsmen by Stanford starter Matt Manship, usually the Cardinal's closer, to build a 4-1 lead.

Danny Putnam celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the 10th inning against Cal State Fullerton.

There was a scary moment in the third when Fullerton shortstop Justin Turner was hit in the face by a pitch by Manship while attempting to bunt. With his face bloodied and swollen, Turner left the game assisted by trainers. X-rays taken at a hospital revealed contusions but no fractures and no teeth were broken. He also sprained his ankle trying to avoid the pitch.

Turner returned to the dugout in the 10th inning, limping and the left side of his face badly swollen.

Stanford made it 4-3 on Carter's two-run homer in the sixth, but Cal State Fullerton added a run in the bottom of the inning on Justin Smyres' RBI single.

Ash tied it in the next inning after Sam Fuld hit a one-out double.

Manship hit two batters in the third and both led to runs. Ronnie Prettyman singled in another run in the fourth for the Titans after Danny Dorn became the fifth Titans player hit by a pitch. P.J. Pilittere tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth for the three-run cushion.

Fullerton loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but O'Hagan got Kyle Boyer to fly out to end the threat. The Titans stranded 13 runners through eight innings, including nine in scoring position.

Merrell (4-1) allowed two runs and one hit without retiring a batter.

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