Oregon State 3, Cal State Fullerton 2
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June 16, 2007
Beavers' Santschi homers, drives in two to beat Titans
Updated: June 17, 2007, 1:55 AM ET
OMAHA, Neb. -- Shoulder surgery in the offseason and an inconsistent regular season left Scott Santschi hopeful that he could play a small part in Oregon State's bid to repeat as national champion.
Santschi played a starring role Saturday night, hitting his first homer of the season and driving in two runs in the Beavers' 3-2 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the College World Series.
"I was thinking before the game that I wanted to be able to do anything I could to help this team," Santschi said. "Winning the first one is always big. I've had some ups and downs this year, going through my surgery in October and trying to get back."
The Beavers (45-18) had to survive some nervous moments before moving to a Monday game against Pacific-10 rival Arizona State (49-13), which beat UC Irvine 5-4 on Saturday. Big West members Fullerton (38-24) and UC Irvine (45-16-1) will meet in an elimination game Monday.
Jorge Reyes, Joe Paterson and Eddie Kunz combined to allow six hits for the Beavers, trying to become the first repeat champion since LSU in 1996-97.
Fullerton's Wes Roemer struck out seven to become the school's career leader. Otherwise, it was another disappointing CWS start for the Arizona Diamondbacks' first-round draft pick.
"To beat a pitcher like Wes Roemer in the opener is a good way to start it," Beavers coach Pat Casey said. "It's always good to win the first game of this tournament. It takes a little pressure off you."
Mike Lissman homered in the first and Santschi singled in a run in the second to put the Beavers up 2-0.
Roemer retired the next 13 in a row and 15 of 17 before Santschi homered to right with one out in the seventh to make it 3-1.
It was Santschi's first home run since June 11, 2006, the day the Beavers swept a super regional against Stanford to set the stage for their first championship.
Santschi, who had two home runs last season after hitting one in two years in junior college, has been in and out of the lineup all season. He's appeared in 37 of the Beavers' 63 games and started 22.
The .261 hitter was in the No. 8 hole and starting in right field Saturday.
"There are mental things you go through, and I feel I'm a better and more mature player and person now that I've gone through those things," Santschi said. "I'm glad I'm able to come out and be in the lineup and help us win ball games now that we're in the World Series. It feels great, because I have battled mentally and physically, and I'm playing well right now."
The Beavers, holding a one-run lead, got two quick outs to start the ninth before the Titans made things interesting.
Evan McArthur hit a short fly, and shortstop Darwin Barney and left fielder John Wallace couldn't decide who would catch it. Barney peeled off at the last moment, leaving Wallace in an awkward position to make the play. Wallace took a step left, then lunged to his right, with the ball popping out of his glove.
"I got called off," Barney said. "But being a leader of this team, being a shortstop, I have to take initiative. Wallace feels pretty bad. But I told him I should have had my hands up calling it all the way. "
Kunz came on and gave up a single to pinch-hitter Jon Wilhite, putting runners at the corners. Kunz then got pinch-hitter Joel Weeks to ground out to end the game.
The Titans, who got a home run from Nick Mahin in the third, were set up for a big inning in the eighth. With runners on first and third and none out, the Titans tried a safety squeeze play. Paterson fielded Josh Fellhauer's bunt and caught Joe Scott in a rundown between third and home.
Clark Hardman and Fellhauer moved up to second and third on the play before Mahin's sacrifice fly pulled the Titans to 3-2. Paterson got John Curtis to fly out to end the inning.
Fullerton coach George Horton said it was a "no-brainer" to call the safety squeeze. The problem was that Fellhauer was supposed to bunt toward first base.
"We didn't do it exactly right," Horton said.
Reyes (6-3) allowed three hits and one run in six innings before giving way to Paterson to start the seventh. Kunz earned his 12th save.
Roemer (11-7), who came into the CWS off three straight complete games, worked eight innings. He struck out seven to run his career total to 365, one more than Adam Johnson (1998-2000).
Roemer, one of the country's most dominant pitchers for three years, is winless in three CWS starts. He had a no decision and loss against North Carolina last year, getting worked over for six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in his second meeting with the Tar Heels.
He has allowed seven home runs in 19 innings in Omaha.
"In my career here I have left a few up," Roemer said. "I thought I pitched a decent game today. I just made to mistakes. Unfortunately, those two mistakes were the difference in the game."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press