College World Series Notebook
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Cal State-Fullerton right fielder Robert Guzman made two great defensive plays in the Titans’ 9-2 loss to Stanford on Saturday night.
In the top of the first, Guzman collided with center fielder Reed Johnson at the wall on a deep fly by Joe Borchard. As the two crashed into the wall and each other, Guzman caught the ball as Johnson grabbed his glove.
The play saved a run when Jeff Rizzo was stranded at third.
In the fourth, Stanford’s John Gall hit a high-arching shot to right. Guzman had been playing near the first-base line and had to turn his back and sprint for a chance at the catch.
Guzman stretched his left arm and leaped, making a backhanded catch before he bounced on the grass and skidded to a stop with his face in the warning track. At least one run would have scored on that play without the catch.
Both catches ended the inning and Guzman was cheered each time as he jogged back to the Fullerton dugout.
Guzman wasn’t finished. In the eighth, he started a double play by catching a hard-hit liner by Borchard. He threw back to first to get Gall, who had been running on the play.
TOBACCO AWARENESS: Creighton University dental students Eric Elmquist and Chad Araki did their best Saturday to promote clean mouths.
Elmquist, from St. Peter, Minn., and Araki of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, stood on the crowded concourse below the Rosenblatt Stadium stands, passing out brochures about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.
``I hope we’re making a difference,″ Araki said. ``A lot of people only associate tobacco with smoking. They need to be aware of the dangers of mouth, esophageal and stomach cancer, too.″
A non-profit group, the National Spit Tobacco Education Program, set up the booth across from concession stands and near restrooms. The booth featured posters of decayed mouths and other tales intended to discourage use of smokeless tobacco.
``People need to know about it,″ said passerby Jerry Luke, 46, a banker from Atlantic, Iowa. ``Everybody hears about the importance of quitting smoking and they might think chewing is OK.″
Chewing tobacco is banned in the minor leagues and college baseball, although Florida State sports information director Rob Wilson said about two or three Seminoles use it.
``It used to be, 10 years ago or so, about 33 of the 35 players on a college baseball roster used it,″ Wilson said. ``Now, it’s the other way around. Maybe just a couple of guys on a team do it.″
Seminoles outfielder Chris Smith said he doesn’t touch the stuff. As he autographed baseballs for elementary school-age fans, he was asked if he had any advice about chewing tobacco for youngsters.
``You won’t like the taste, so don’t even try it,″ Smith said. ``It’s a bad habit. It’s disgusting. It looks gross. Why would anyone want to put that stuff in their mouth?″
OFF TARGET: Cal State-Fullerton reliever Marco Hanlon had a hard time finding his targets on three pickoff attempts.
Fans cheered sarcastically when Hanlon successfully threw to first to hold Edmund Muth. But Hanlon missed again at the plate a few seconds later, hitting batter Eric Bruntlett, and Fullerton coach George Horton took him out.
Nick Day scored to make it 8-2 right after Hanlon, who committed three of Fullerton’s five errors, was replaced by George Carralejo.
RECORD ATTENDANCE: The crowd of 23,302 for the night game between Stanford and Cal State-Fullerton was the third straight time the Rosenblatt Stadium fans had set a record for the session.
BATTING BOX DANGER ZONE: Cal State-Fullerton’s Adam Johnson hit a batter. So did Hanlon. Stanford’s Jason Young hit three.
The five hit batsmen established a College World Series game record. The previous mark was four numerous times.
WATCHING FOR KEVIN: About a dozen people clustered on the Rosenblatt concourse near the press box entrance after actor Kevin Costner visited the broadcast booth to spend an inning on ESPN.
Costner came to Omaha to watch his alma mater, Cal State-Fullerton, play Stanford. He also came when the Titans played in the 1995 tournament.
The fans who waited for Costner went away disappointed. Security officials said he left the press level through a back exit.
AGGIE-FRIENDLY CROWD: Among the 19,745 fans who filled the stadium for the afternoon game was a legion of Texas A&M supporters. Maroon T-shirts and caps littered the stands.
Many fans of the Aggies sat behind the A&M dugout, and they made themselves known early. Loud cheers went up when Steven Truitt led off the top of the second with a double down third and scored on a single by Greg Porter.
The Texas A&M fans, famous for the coordinated cheers that shake the Kyle Field press box on football Saturdays, even tried to start the wave in the third. Moments later, they cheered again when Shawn Schumacher homered to right.
NICE HAIR, DUDE: During Thursday’s pre-series news conference featuring coaches from all eight teams, Florida State’s Mike Martin said left-hander Mike DiBlasi was the team oddball.
Now we know why. When the Seminoles lined up on the third-base line for the national anthem, DiBlasi removed his cap to reveal red and gold streaks through his short crop.
ANOTHER ONE FOR JENNINGS: For the second time this week, Baylor pitcher and designated hitter Justin Jennings won a player of the year award.
This time, it was the Dick Howser Trophy selected by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. On Thursday, Jennings was awarded by Baseball America magazine.
Previous winners of the Howser Trophy have included Robin Ventura (Oklahoma State, 1988), Jason Varitek (Georgia Tech, 1994), Todd Helton (Tennessee, 1995), Kris Benson (Clemson, 1996) and J.D. Drew (Florida State, 1997).
Jennings was taken by the Colorado Rockies as a pitcher with the 16th selection of this month’s amateur draft.
Last season at Baylor, Jennings hit .386 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs and led the Big 12 with a 13-2 record on the mound. He also had 172 strikeouts in 146 2-3 innings with a 2.58 ERA.