Yellow Jackets Eliminated by Southern California, 6-3

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Teixeira makes a sliding catch of Garibaldi’s first-inning pop fly. (323k)
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By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) (June 3) — Mark Prior shut down the high-powered Georgia Tech offense with eight shutout innings and Southern California earned its 20th trip to the College World Series, winning 6-3 Saturday night to complete a sweep of the Yellow Jackets at the NCAA Super Regional.

Josh Persell hit a solo homer in the second — his third homer in two days — and Rob Garibaldi added a two-run shot as the Trojans (43-18) completed a sweep of the best-of-three series. Beau Craig drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and solo homer.

Georgia Tech’s Jasin Basil tries to break up a double play as Southern California second baseman Anthony Lunetta leaps out of the way during Saturday night’s NCAA Super Regional action. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

Southern Cal heads to Omaha, Neb., with a 15-game winningstreak, its longest since 1988. The Trojans defeated Georgia Tech7-2 on Friday night, then finished off the team that was ranked No.1 in two of the three major polls.

Southern Cal has won 12 national titles — more than twice as many as any other school — with the last championship coming in 1998. Tech (50-16) was seeking its second trip to the World Series, having lost in the 1994 final.

The Yellow Jackets couldn’t handle the Southern Cal pitching, which has allowed just 34 earned runs in its last 17 games. Tech, which was hitting .368 and averaging 10.5 runs per game at home prior to the Super Regional, went 15 straight scoreless innings until putting up a three-run ninth after the Trojans botched a potential game-ending double play.

Prior (10-6) allowed just one extra-base hit, a bloop double by Mark Teixeira leading off the sixth. He moved to third on a groundout but was stranded when Jason Basil struck out swinging and Derik Goffena grounded to first.

Goffena also hit into an inning-ending double play in the fourth with runners at first and second. Wes Rynders was picked off first in third, scuttling another potential rally.

Prior was replaced after giving up his sixth hit, a single by Goffena leading off the ninth. Tech loaded the bases against Ronald Flores, who failed to preserve the shutout when second baseman Anthony Lunetta failed to cover second on a double-play grounder, then threw wildly to first.

But Flores ended the game by getting Teixeira, Tech’s most dangerous hitter, on a fly to short right.

Teixeira was 3-of-4 but no one else had more than one hit, and Southern Cal played great defense until the ninth. Left fielder Abel Montanez came up with a diving catch in the fourth and shortstop Seth Davidson made a backhanded stop in the hole and then an off-balance throw to first, beating Rynders by less than a step to end the seventh.

Persell hit his ninth of the season with one out in the second, a shot to left-center against Rhett Parrott (8-3). The next inning, Montanez led off with a single and Garibaldi hit a one-out drive over the right-field wall.

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