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College World Series Notebook
The College World Series, and college baseball in general, showed continued growth in Omaha.
This year's CWS set seven session attendance records at Rosenblatt Stadium and featured the four largest crowds ever. An all-time CWS record of 28,216 came to the June 23 games where Texas beat Georgia to advance to the championship series and South Carolina beat Cal State Fullerton to force another game. That marked the third-largest crowd to witness any college baseball game, following the record-setting crowds at Petco Park and Turner Field earlier this season.
The Series average of 23,339 per session sets a new record, but the 256,730 total fans fell just shy of last year's 260,091 mark, which was accomplished with one more game.
Also, ESPN2's telecast of Cal State Fullerton's 7-3 victory against Miami was the network's most-viewed and highest-rated college baseball game. It was seen in 871,536 households, earning a 1.0 rating.
The SEC proved itself college baseball's best conference during the regular season and set or tied tournament records as a league by getting nine tournament bids, six No. 1 seeds, five regional host sites and four CWS entries. South Carolina and Georgia each finished as the runner-up in their Omaha brackets, while Arkansas and Louisiana State both went 0-and-2 as the CWS ended up the story of two Southern California guys in George Horton and Augie Garrido. Before the CWS championship series began, Garrido asked Horton and his players, "Aren't you guys from the SEC?"
South Carolina and Texas each enjoyed four-homer games at the CWS, but the long ball count fell for the third straight year. Just 17 balls sailed over the Rosenblatt Stadium fences, down from 29 last year. The June 21 doubleheader that featured South Carolina-Louisiana State and Miami-Cal State Fullerton was the first without a home run since 1987.
Cal State Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki had just three hits in the tournament--he won't mind because his final one drove in the title-clinching run--but never let that affect his defense. He didn't make an error this year, and dating back to his E-free performance in 2003 has handled a record 89 career CWS chances without a miscue. Oklahoma first baseman Kelly Snyder (1974-76) went 86 chances without an error.
Texas righthander J. Brent Cox tied a CWS record by making five appearances. South California's Jack Krawczyk was the last to accomplish the feat, in 1995. Cox' teammate Huston Street finished his ninth career CWS game, tying Miami's Rick Raether (1985-86).
South Carolina outfielder Brendan Winn became the fourth player to score five runs in a CWS game in a 15-4 win against Louisiana State. Teammate Landon Powell became the ninth player to walk eight times in one CWS.
Texas lefthander Buck Cody threw a wild pitch to allow Fullerton's Brett Pill to score a game-tying run in the final game of the CWS. That wild pitch was the 21st of the CWS, tying a mark that had been reached three previous times. Arizona righthander Koley Kolberg did his part to help tie the mark, tossing three wild pitches in one inning in an 8-7 loss to Georgia. He became the 14th pitcher to throw that many in one CWS game.
In other wildness news, Arkansas became the first team to hit five batters in a game, doing so in a 13-2 loss to Texas. Longhorns pitchers hit three batters of their own, setting a single-game record of eight hit batsmen.