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C-USA, ACC ditched in race to Omaha

From staff and wire reports

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A pair of programs from the Lone Star State victimized teams from Conference USA and the Atlantic Coast Conference to emerge from the final day of the NCAA baseball super regionals with berths in the College World Series.

Texas (Big 12) knocked of top-seeded Florida State (ACC) to earn an opportunity to defend the national championship it won last season, while Rice (WAC) overcame cross-town rival Houston (C-USA) to advance to Omaha for the fourth time in seven years.

Neither Conference USA nor the Atlantic Coast Conference will be represented in the eight-team Omaha field.

The Longhorns and Owls join six other super regional entrants which had already grabbed spots in the CWS: South Carolina (SEC), Southwest Missouri State (Missouri Valley), Stanford (PAC-10), Miami (Independent), Cal State Fullerton (Big West) and LSU (SEC).

Following are recaps of Monday's games:

Texas 6, Florida State 5

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Augie Garrido became the winningest baseball coach in Division I history, and defending national champion Texas advanced to the College World Series with a 6-5 victory over top-seeded Florida State on Monday night.

Garrido, who has coached four national championship teams — including three at Cal State-Fullerton and one at Texas — passed former Longhorns coach Cliff Gustafson with his 1,428th victory.

``It's about a number and a moment in time,'' said Garrido, who downplayed his achievement. ``When you dig into it, it's about relationships.''

Taylor Teagarden and Curtis Thigpen homered on consecutive pitches in the third inning as the Longhorns (48-18) grabbed a 5-2 lead. Huston Street, last year's CWS Most Outstanding Player, struck out three of the first five hitters he faced and got Tony Richie to ground back to the mound with two runners on for his 12th postseason save.

Richie homered and drove in three runs for the Seminoles (54-13-1), who have never won a national title. They have also been eliminated in three straight super regionals, including the last two at home as the tournament's top-seeded team.

Texas will play Miami on Saturday in its first-round game at Omaha, Neb. The Longhorns and Hurricanes join Rice, which beat Houston 5-2 earlier Monday, Southwest Missouri State, Louisiana State, Cal State Fullerton, Stanford and South Carolina in the College World Series.

Rice 5, Houston 2

HOUSTON  — Wade Townsend struck out nine, and Dane Bubela's two-run single helped Rice advance to the College World Series for the fourth time in seven years.

The Owls (53-11) won the best-of-three series and will play in the CWS for the second straight year. Rice, 1-6 in the CWS, was eliminated with two straight losses last season.

Townsend (10-1) worked eight innings and allowed four hits, including an RBI single by Travis Tully in the first inning. He walked two and retired 11 straight during one stretch.

Bubela broke a 2-all tie in fourth with a two-out single, and Justin Ruchti added an RBI single in the sixth.

Houston was trying to reach the CWS for the first time since 1967.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

02/23/2007 10:44:45 AM

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