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Archive for Saturday, June 19, 2004

Surging Texas drills Arkansas; Georgia rallies past Arizona

June 19, 2004

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— J.P. Howell and two relievers combined on a two-hitter, Dooley Prince drove in four runs, and Curtis Thigpen scored four times to lead Texas to a 13-2 victory over Arkansas in the College World Series on Friday night.

The top-seeded Longhorns have scored 10 or more runs in three straight games and in four of their last six.

For the Razorbacks, who are in the CWS for the first time since 1989, it was the most lopsided loss in 83 games.

"I'm just disappointed with the score being the way it was," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "The game got away from us early, and you have to give Texas credit. They got after us."

Arkansas is one of four Southeastern Conference teams in the College World Series. In the first game Friday, Georgia of the SEC scored four runs in the fourth inning to come from behind and beat Arizona 8-7.

The Bulldogs (44-21) play Texas on Sunday, and Arizona (35-26-1) will play Arkansas in an elimination game.

Texas (56-13) won its opening CWS game against Miami by the same score last year.

Howell, the Big 12 Conference pitcher of the year and a first-team All-American, struck out eight and held Arkansas (45-23) hitless until Scott Hode led off the fourth inning with a clean single.

Howell (15-2) lost his shutout bid in the seventh when Scott Bridges hit a two-out home run over the right-field wall.

Howell then put Jake Dugger on base with his sixth walk of the game and was replaced by J. Brent Cox. Buck Cody pitched the ninth.

Thigpen had three singles and a triple and reached base a fifth time on an error. Ryan Russ drove in three runs for the Longhorns.

"I think the only statement is we won the first game," Thigpen said. "We feel like we're playing well."

Howell pitched out of trouble in the second and fifth innings.

After walking two of the first three Arkansas batters in the second, he struck out Devin Day and got Bridges to groundout.

The Hogs loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and an error. But Howell escaped when he threw out Clay Goodwin on a hard comebacker to the mound.

Arkansas starter Charlie Boyce (10-3) struggled, hitting three of the first eight batters he faced.

The teams combined for a CWS-record eight hit batsmen, five by Arkansas pitchers.

In the day's first game, Joey Side hit a two-run single that capped Georgia's four-run fourth, and Will Startup pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth for the Bulldogs.

Side drove in the go-ahead runs as Georgia turned a 6-3 deficit into a 7-6 lead.

The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the seventh when Jason Jacobs scored from third after Arizona catcher Nick Hundley threw into center field trying to pick off Jonathan Wyatt at second base.

Startup, the All-Southeastern Conference closer, came on in the seventh and struck out the side.

He ran into trouble in the eighth. Arizona made it 8-7 when Brad Boyer beat out a potential double-play grounder, allowing Hundley to score. Trevor Crowe then singled and Jeff Van Houten walked to load the bases.

Startup ran the count to 3-2 against Jordan Brown before Brown struck out swinging at a fastball.

"When you get into those situations, whatever happens, happens," Startup said. "How you react to it is how the team will react to it. He ended up swinging and missed. I knew my defense would have my back no matter what."

Startup pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 11th save.

Johnny Dobbs (6-2) gave up two hits and no runs in 2 2/3 innings after Arizona had rocked Georgia starter Paul Lubrano for six runs on nine hits the first 3 1/3 innings.

Arizona starter Koley Kolberg (9-7) gave up 12 hits and eight runs, six earned, in 6 2/3 innings.

"We didn't play that well," Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. "We shot ourselves in the foot defensively. We did not play great baseball by any stretch of the imagination."

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