June 16, 1999
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Chris Chavez got hot at the poker table, paid the price
on Wednesday morning and then rediscovered his good fortune on the mound.
Chavez went the distance while Marshall McDougall and Matt Diaz hit
consecutive home runs in the third inning as Florida State beat Cal
State-Fullerton 7-2 on Wednesday night in the College World Series.
The Seminoles (55-13) advanced to play Stanford (50-13) on Thursday. The
Titans (50-14) were eliminated.
Afterward, Chavez (8-5) described an adventure on Tuesday night at the
casinos across the Missouri River in Iowa.
“I was at the table and I was doing pretty good,” Chavez said. “I guess I
forgot about eating dinner. This morning when I woke up, I had a headache and I
was feeling nauseous.
“But my mom brought me something to eat. Once I got some food in me, I took
a nap and I was fine,” he said.
Chavez, a right-hander making his third start, usually pitches from the
bullpen. He threw five innings in relief of Nick Stocks to get the victory in
Florida State’s series-opening defeat of Texas A&M.
“I’d hate to see him if he was healthy,” Titans coach George Horton said.
Chavez was called into the rotation after freshman right-hander Blair
Varnes, the usual No. 3 starter, ruptured a knee ligament during a postgame
pileup when the Seminoles beat Auburn earlier this month.
Against the Titans, Chavez improved as his pitch count increased. After
allowing a run in the fifth, Chavez retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced,
including the last seven. From the sixth inning on, he walked one.
“Chris Chavez made it difficult,” Horton said. “He’s a bulldog pitcher, a
great pitcher, who rose to the occasion and made it difficult for us to get
To prove he wasn’t slowing, Chavez struck out the side in the ninth on 10
pitches. David Bacani was caught looking on the last one.
“I just wanted to come out and throw strikes,” said Chavez, who allowed
seven hits and one earned run, walked three and struck out six. “I wanted to
make them make contact. We didn’t make any errors and we got key hits from
Seminoles shortstop Brett Groves said it’s easy to play defense behind
“You could see in the last inning how excited he gets,” Groves said.
“What you guys don’t see out there is how he turns around to the outfield and
yells at all of us. It gets us into the game.”
The Seminoles went ahead in the second and didn’t look back. Jeremiah
Klosterman walked, went to third on Karl Jernigan’s double and scored on Brett
Groves’ single for a 2-1 lead.
McDougall and Diaz stretched it to 4-1 in the third. McDougall hit a homer
to left center and, about one minute later, Diaz hit his shot into the left
“The first one, in my opinion, was a bad pitch, a fastball up in the
zone,” Fullerton starter Jon Smith (7-1) said. “The other was a slider down
at the knees and you’ve just got to give credit to Diaz in that situation.”
The Seminoles added three runs in the fourth. Ryan Barthelemy led off with a
single and scored on pinch-hitter John-Ford Griffin’s double. McDougall walked
and Diaz singled to load the bases.
Kevin Cash singled in Griffin and Klosterman’s force play scored McDougall.
Fullerton used three pitchers after Smith allowed four runs in the first two
The Titans’ best threat came in the third, when they loaded the bases with
one out. Chavez got Chris Beck to ground into a double play, the fifth of the
series for Florida State.