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College World Series: Tuesday's notebook

6/19/2007

OMAHA, Neb. -- Oregon State and Rice both had a chance to
relax Tuesday, knowing they were one win away from the championship
game of the College World Series.

And as long as his team plays well, OSU coach Pat Casey doesn't
care how his players spend their free time.

"I'm not worried about what our guys are doing before the game,
I'm really not worried," Casey said. "If Darwin [Barney] likes to
text message somebody and somebody else likes to sleep -- somebody
else likes to play ping pingpong and I like to watch video of the
other team -- I ask them when they cross the line that we're going
to do it together."

Both teams practiced Tuesday. Rice, which last played Sunday in
a 14-4 win against North Carolina, visited an orphanage Monday and
planned to take it easy before Wednesday's game, freshman third
baseman Diego Seastrunk said.

"We're not getting into too much," he said. "I think we're
going to have an autograph session for most of the guys. Nothing
too stressful, just trying to keep everybody relaxed."

But the Owls still paid attention to the game, listening on the
radio and watching on TV to learn they would play North Carolina
again.

"We went and ate at some steak place and watched some of it
there, then watched the rest of it at the hotel," Seastrunk said.

Tuesday's day off was a welcome change for Oregon State, a team
that spent most of the series last year trying to stave off
elimination.

"Having this day off is just going to be relaxing," Barney
said. "It's nice to be able to watch the club that you're going to
play, just get mental images of the people you're going to play
against."

Barney said his team didn't consider Tuesday a day off. He used
it to prepare for the next game.

"That's really what our sights are set on right now," he said.

Umps react
A top NCAA umpiring official had to explain the NCAA
rules for hit batsmen as the plunks have been plentiful this CWS --
most notably Monday when Cal State-Fullerton tied the CWS
single-team record for hitting five batters.

"If the batter intentionally gets hit by moving or rolling any
part of the body into the pitch, the batter shall not be awarded
first base," said Dave Yeast, NCAA national coordinator for
baseball umpires.

Five more players were hit by pitches Tuesday in the North
Carolina-Louisville game, bringing the nine-game CWS total to 33
hit batsmen before Arizona State and UC Irvine played in the
nightcap.

The inside throws became especially important when Irvine's
Taylor Holiday was hit for the third time Monday to lead off the
13th inning. Fullerton coach George Horton was kicked out of the
game for arguing that Holiday leaned into the pitch.

Holiday was thrown out at the plate, but the Anteaters won the
game on the next play.

"The application of this rule requires the umpire to make a
split-second determination of the intent of the batter," Yeast
said, adding that the Division I baseball committee would review
the ruling.

Winning without hitting
One team has won with fewer hits than
North Carolina had Tuesday, and that club scored more runs.

In an opening-round game in 1968, Brigham Young pitchers Ken
Crosby and Fred Caviglia combined for a two-hitter against Southern
California. But three errors cost the Cougars as the Trojans won
5-3.

Short hops
Louisville struck out once in every inning against
North Carolina except in the eighth and ninth innings, when it
struck out twice in each. … Oregon State is the first defending
champion to win its first two CWS games since LSU in 1997. The
Tigers won the CWS again that year to become the most recent
back-to-back title winner. … Rice has the nation's most wins with
56. … The Owls are hitting .377 in Omaha. … A CWS-record 96
baseballs were used in Monday's 13-inning UC Irvine-Cal
State-Fullerton game.… Irvine coach Dave Serrano spent a few
minutes before Tuesday night's game playing catch with 13-year-old
son, Kyle, who stood in center field as his dad threw fly balls
from the left field line.