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Top-Seeded USC wins 3-2

May 23, 1998

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Three Southern Cal pitchers combined to limit South Alabama to five hits Saturday night as the top-seeded Trojans won 3-2 and advanced to the finals of the NCAA East Regional.

The Jaguars struck out 12 times against Rik Currier, Jason Lane (7-1) and Jack Krawczyk. Krawczyk pitched the last 1 2-3 innings to record his 20th save of the season, tops in the nation and two short of the NCAA record.

Krawczyk got South Alabama’s Tom Whitehurst to line to second base for an inning-ending double play in the eighth and struck out the side in the ninth.

“I just got my opportunity and did what I did all year,” Krawczyk said.

Fourth-seeded South Alabama (41-18) and No. 3 seed Virginia Commonwealth (46-14) will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday in an elimination game. The winner faces Southern Cal (43-16) in the 7 p.m. championship game for the right to play in the College World Series.

Southern Cal beat second-seeded Clemson 8-5 earlier Saturday to knock the host team out of the tournament.

“I’m particularly proud of the way our guys battled all day today,” coach Mike Gillespie said.

Morgan Ensberg’s two-run double off Stephen Sparks (5-5) in the first inning gave Southern Cal the lead for good.

The Trojans took a 2-0 lead, but Whitehurst answered with a homer off the right-center scoreboard.

Southern Cal stretched its lead to 3-1 on Eric Munson’s RBI single in the top of the third, but South Alabama drew within a run again in the bottom of the inning when Andy Sutley’s base hit drove home Juan Pierre.