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Fullerton hooks the 'Horns

Associated Press
Published June 28, 2004

OMAHA, Neb. - After struggling at the start of the season, Cal State Fullerton ended it Sunday in championship style.

Jason Windsor pitched a five-hitter, Kurt Suzuki's run-scoring single capped a three-run seventh inning and Cal State Fullerton won the College World Series with a 3-2 victory over Texas.

The Titans (47-22) won the best-of-three championship series 2-0 - a surprising end to a season they started 15-16. The 22 losses are the most by a national champion since Stanford had 23 in 1988.

"I'm in shock. I'm in awe," Fullerton coach George Horton said. "These guys I've been honored to coach have kept surprising me and surprising me and surprising me. This is the greatest turnaround in Cal State Fullerton history."

Fullerton also won national titles in 1979, '84 and '95, all under current Texas coach Augie Garrido.

The top-seeded Longhorns (58-15) had moved through the tournament with a string of lopsided victories that made them the prohibitive favorite.

"It appeared by the way we were playing that we were the best team and would win this tournament, which makes it even harder for the players to understand or accept," Garrido said. "We did our best. They did better."

Windsor (13-4) was strong in throwing his second complete game of the CWS. He struck out 10 and walked one. Windsor shut out South Carolina on three hits in the Titans' opener, and pitched three innings of shutout relief Thursday in another win over the Gamecocks.

In 21 innings, Windsor gave up 11 hits and two runs, struck out 29 and was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Windsor said of his performances. "It will take a few days and some relaxation. I look at it on paper and it looks great and sometimes I don't believe it's me."

Suzuki lined a two-out single into left, scoring Ronnie Prettyman from second for the go-ahead run. Suzuki had been 2-for-20 in the College World Series before his big hit.

"I just didn't press," he said. "Every time I got out, Coach Horton stayed positive with me. I came up that last at-bat and said I want to be the man."

Fullerton, held to five hits over the first 61/3 innings, broke through after Texas starter Sam LeCure was relieved by Buck Cody (1-2) with the Longhorns leading 2-0.

LeCure stayed in the game after getting hit on the right ankle by a hard comebacker by Justin Turner in the fifth.

"I thought that was too minor a thing to take me out of the game and hurt the team's chances," LeCure said. "I felt I would be able to continue to be successful. In the seventh inning, it was getting to me. It was tightening up."

Pinch-hitter Brett Pill tripled in the seventh on Cody's first pitch, scoring Bobby Andrews to cut Texas' lead to 2-1. A wild pitch by Cody scored pinch-runner Brandon Tripp with the tying run.

Texas took a 2-0 lead against Windsor, who saw his scoreless innings streak end at 272/3 innings. Dooley Prince doubled leading off the game, Taylor Teagarden reached on a fielder's choice and Hunter Harris drove both in with a single to center.

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