May 30, 1999
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Top-seeded Cal State Fullerton spotted Michigan an early three-run lead, then roared back late to defeat the Wolverines 9-4 and win the South Bend Regional title in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.
Fullerton never led until the sixth inning when designated hitter Aaron Rifkin’s one-out, two-run home run nudged the Titans on top 5-4. The winners iced it in the seventh with three more runs, one scoring on a wild pitch and two on an error by Michigan shortstop Scott Tousa.
Rifkin and shortstop Shawn Norris each had two hits for the Titans, who also defeated Michigan in an opening-round game Friday. Ryan Owens hit his 20th home run for Fullerton in the second inning with a man on.
The Titans added single tallies in the third, when Reed Johnson eventually scored after reaching on another Tousa error, and also in the eighth on a Johnson sacrifice fly.
Michigan struck quickly, putting three runs on the board in the first inning. Mike Cervenak singled in two runs for the Wolverines and Mike Seestedt’s single knocked in a third. Despite three more hits than the Titans, Michigan managed only one more run the rest of the way, that coming on a solo, two-out home run by Rob Bobeda in the fifth. Brian Bush, Cervenak and Bryan Besco had two hits each for the losers.
Senior Marco Hanlon pitched the first six innings for Fullerton for the win, and reliever Kirk Saarloos’ three-inning, two-hit appearance earned him a save. The loss went to Michigan reliever Bobby Korecky, who came in with none out in the sixth, gave up the home run to Rifkin and left after giving up two singles to start the seventh.
The most outstanding player award for the regional went to Fullerton pitcher Adam Johnson who threw a complete-game victory Saturday in the Titans’ winners’ bracket victory over Notre Dame.
Fullerton (47-11) advances to play Columbus (Ohio) Regional winner Ohio State in a best-of-three-games super regional that begins Friday. The site for that series will be announced Monday.
Michigan finishes its season at 34-30.
MICHIGAN 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 -- 4 12 4 FULLERTON 0 2 1 0 0 2 3 1 X -- 9 9 0
Bryan Cranson, Bobby Korecky (6), Luke Bonner (7) and David Parrish. Marco Hanlon, Kirk Saarloos (7) and Craig Patterson.
W-Hanlon (6-1). L-Korecky (1-5).
HRs-UM: Rob Bobeda (5);
CSF: Ryan Owens (20), Aaron Rifkin (4).