OMAHA, Neb. - George Horton wants to win the College World Series, and he wishes the best for mentor and pal Augie Garrido.
Of course, it'll be impossible for the skippers of both Cal State
Fullerton and defending champion Texas to end up No. 1, but Horton said he'll
the next best thing: A Titans-Longhorns final.
"We'd love to see each playing again on June 23 (a possible, deciding
Game 3 of the CWS championship round)," Horton told reporters yesterday,
alongside the seven other CWS coaches, including Garrido. "I did learn the
game from Augie. It means an awful lot to me to be up here at the head table
The first step for Fullerton is tonight when the Titans take on LSU at 4
p.m. PT (6 p.m. Omaha time) on ESPN-2 from Rosenblatt Stadium. The
Fullerton-LSU victor plays the winner of South Carolina-Stanford on Sunday.
In the other bracket that begins play on Saturday, Texas plays Miami
while Rice takes on Southwest Missouri State.
The Titans and Tigers represent college baseball's royalty, combining for
eight national titles (Fullerton 1979, 84 and 95; LSU 91, 93, 96, 97 and
While Garrido gives Horton all the credit for making Fullerton into
moneymaker that draws nearly 2,000 fans a game into sparking college baseball
facility, the current Titans headman said he knows who planted the roots of
greatness on Yorba Linda Boulevard.
"(Augie) gave me a lot of credit for building the facility but make no
mistake about it, George Horton could not have done that without the foundation
that he layed there at Cal State Fullerton," Horton said.
In fondly recalling the Titans first CWS team in 1975, Garrido said his
first baseman Horton personified a gritty squad that played well beyond its
"George was a good player and he was smart player and he's the best guy
at picking signs that ever lived," Garrido said. "He was a great player
because he found ways to win and that's what made him special."
But first thing's first, and that's handling the hard-swinging Tigers,
who clinched their Super Regional triumph with a 20-5 smoking of Baylor.
The Tigers have three double- digit home run hitters (DH Ryan Patterson
and 1B Clay Harris 15 and OF Jon Zeringue 13) but their catalyst is SEC Player
of the Year Aaron Hill.
The LSU shortstop hit .366 with 9 HRs and 67 RBI. But almost as
impressive, Hill drew 47 walks and nine HBP (both team highs) to gain a
It's the second straight weekend that Fullerton's faced a superstar
shortstop, and hopefully the second consecutive weekend of success.
In their Super Regional win over Arizona State, Titans pitchers slapped
an 0-for-13 collar on the Sun Devils' Dustin Pedroia (.404 BA), the Pac-10's
co-Player of the Year.
LSU coach Smoke Laval said his team will have to play mistake- free
baseball because it's unlikely Fullerton will make the crucial blunder.
"They're good, they know the game, they're well coached. It's inbred in
their program," he said. "They can do it all. The most scary thing is, I
don't like those teams that just play hard all the time, and that's one thing
coach Horton's teams have always done. They come out and go after you."