Titans lose their first in CWS, 5-3
|||College World Series
At Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, Neb.
Georgia 8, Arizona 7
Cal State Fullerton 2, South Carolina 0
Arizona 7, Arkansas 2, Arkansas eliminated
South Carolina 15, LSU 4, LSU eliminated
Georgia 3, Arizona 1, Arizona eliminated
Texas 7, Georgia 6, Georgia eliminated
Georgia 005 000 1006 12 1
Dobbs, Lanier (4), Boggs (6), Woods (6), Startup (7) and Sammons; Simmons, Cox (3), Street (7) and Thigpen, Teagarden. WStreet, 6-1. LWoods, 2-3. HRs Texas, Johnston (7), Teagarden (10), Maroul (5), Hollimon (5).
South Carolina 5, Cal State Fullerton 3
South Carolina 012 000 2005 12 1
Fletcher, Blackwell (7) and Powell; Martinez, Schreppel (7), Pestano (8) and Suzuki. WFletcher, 6-1. LMartinez, 8-3. SvBlackwell (20). HRSouth Carolina, Triplett (8).
Cal State Fullerton (44-22) vs. South Carolina (53-16), 1 p.m.
Texas (58-13) vs. Cal State Fullerton-South Carolina Winner, 1 p.m.
Texas vs. Cal State Fullerton-South Carolina Winner, 9 a.m.
Texas vs. Cal State Fullerton-South Carolina Winner, 1 p.m., if necessary
South Carolina (53-16) and Cal-State Fullerton (44-22) will play again today (1 p.m. HST) with the winner advancing to play Texas in the best-of-three championship series that starts Saturday.
Texas (58-13) eliminated Georgia, 7-6, in yesterday's earlier game, and will be playing for its sixth national title and second in three years.
Fletcher (6-1) went six innings and allowed all five Fullerton hits. He and Blackwell combined to retire 16 of the last 17 batters after Ronnie Prettyman's bunt single in the fourth inning.
"Last night when I got the word I was going to start, I had chills going all night," Fletcher said. "I tried to call everybody I knew to let them know they should watch the game tomorrow. We deserve this, to be out here and still playing."
Blackwell earned his nation-leading 20th save.
"That's a little bit long for a closer to go three innings, but if you don't win, you don't play, so we ran him out there and it worked out for us," Gamecocks coach Ray Tanner said.
Mike Martinez (8-3) took the loss after allowing five runs and 11 hits in 6¡innings.
"Everybody wanted a day off tomorrow, but we're working," Fullerton coach George Horton said. "We got outplayed, plain and simple."
Felipe Garcia's two-run double in the first inning gave Fullerton the lead, but South Carolina scored in the second on Brendan Winn's RBI single and went ahead 3-2 in the third on Triplett's two-run homer.
The Titans tied it at 3 in the fourth after Sergio Pedroza walked and took third on P.J. Pilittere's single. Pedroza came home on Prettyman's squeeze.
The Gamecocks took the lead in the seventh inning. Davy Gregg bunted and reached third when Martinez threw wildly to first after going to his knees to field the ball.
"I felt like I had to dive and I didn't pick it up cleanly, and I made an off-balance throw," Martinez said. "It got away from me."
Triplett followed with a tiebreaking single and Steve Pearce added a run with an RBI single.
Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki, a 2001 Baldwin High graduate from Maui, went 0 for 3 with a run scored.
In the first game, Carson Kainer, the last regular player in Texas' lineup without a hit at the College World Series, got the most important one of his young career as the Longhorns advanced to the finals.
Kainer doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and Huston Street pitched three innings of one-run relief to help Texas rally past Georgia.
"Championships are won by the unexpected," Texas coach Augie Garrido said. "We did what it took at the right time, with Carson getting his first hit."
Georgia (45-23) was eliminated, losing twice to top-seeded Texas.
"They're a championship ballclub that continues to answer everything their opponent brings at them," Bulldogs coach David Perno said.
The Longhorns' rally marked the first time in the CWS that a team had come back from five runs down to win since Stanford erased an eight-run deficit to beat Tulane in 2001.
"I believe that's the 27th time we've come from behind to win," Garrido said, "so it wasn't our first rodeo."
The Longhorns, who trailed 5-0 in the third inning, broke a 6-all tie with two doubles to take the lead in the seventh. Dooley Prince led off with the first, chasing reliever Matt Woods (2-3).
Will Startup, the All-Southeastern Conference closer, came on and got one out before Kainer doubled down the left-field line for his first hit in 10 at-bats in the CWS.