Towson to open with Mississippi State

May 21, 1991|By John W.Stewart

Towson State (27-21-1) will face Mississippi State (40-19) in the opening round of the Northeast Regional at Orono, Maine, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball tournament begins Thursday.

With six teams at each of eight regional sites, the survivors of double-elimination play will advance to the College World Series, in Omaha, Neb., beginning May 31.

The first-round lineup at Maine will have top-seeded Clemson (56-8) vs. Princeton (22-20) at 11 a.m., followed by Towson State-Mississippi, 3 p.m., and Maine (45-16) vs. Villanova (37-13-1) at 7 p.m.

Towson State's second East Coast Conference championship ensured its second NCAA appearance. In 1988, the Tigers, featuring pitchers Chris Nabholz, now with the Montreal Expos, and Jay Eck and a solid array of hitters, lost to the University of Miami, defeated Virginia Commonwealth and lost to South Carolina.

Senior pitchers Larry Raynor and Kurt Klebrowski are the only veterans of that team, although senior catcher Bruce Rupp, a transfer from West Virginia, was a reserve on the Mountaineers' 1987 NCAA team.

Recalling the experience -- he did not see action -- yesterday, Klebrowski, a left-handed pitcher out of Calvert Hall, said: "It gave me an awareness of dealing with pressure situations that were different than anything I had seen. I found out how the big time operates and what you have to do to concentrate. I'm sure Larry and I are better for it."

Looking at how far this young team -- four freshmen and three sophomore starters -- has come since the beginning of the season, Klebrowski said: "We have definitely matured, and we play well together. We don't have a dominant pitcher, but we have a knack for winning.

"And, except for Sheetz [Erik Sheetz with school records of 16 home runs and 58 RBI], we're not a home-run-hitting team. We utilize our speed well and seem to manufacture runs. We're not impressive, but we have a good feeling for what we have to do."

Klebrowski, 6 feet and 175 pounds, was Towson State's top winner last year (5-3), and went 3-2 this season with six starts among his 13 appearances. He was used in relief in two of his team's three ECC tournament games, getting the win over the University of Maryland Baltimore County when he gave up the tying run before pitching out of an eighth-inning jam, then was the beneficiary of the Tigers' seven-run ninth inning.

For his career, Klebrowski is 10-15 with a 5.96 ERA, 87 strikeouts and 61 walks.

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