The Denton Outlaws rode the pitching of Corey Kluber and timely hitting in the third inning Sunday night to beat the McKinney Marshals, 3-1 in the third and deciding game of the 2005 Texas Collegiate League Championship Series.
The Outlaws won Games 1 and 3 of the final series to earn the TCL Championship in just their first season in the league. In the two-year history of the TCL, the road team has now gone 6-0 in Championship Series play.
Kluber, who will enter his sophomore year at Stetson University, retired the first 13 batters he faced and did not allow a hit until Blake Hurlbutt's one out single in the 6th. In 8+ innings, the righthander issued just 3 hits and one run, that coming on Trey Rachal's leadoff homer in the 7th, with three walks and five strikeouts. The effort earned him the TCL Championship Series Most Outstanding Player Award.
Denton scored all 3 of its runs in the third inning off loser Austin Creps. With one out, Brett Lewis singled and Kern Watts doubled. Kyle Jones followed with a double to left to score both runners and then came home on a Brian Spear groundout to complete the Outlaws scoring.
Creps, who will be a junior at Texas A&M in the fall, then blanked Denton on 3 singles over the final 6 innings. Overall, the TCL Pitcher of the Year allowed 7 hits and 3 runs in 9 innings with one walk and a league record 15 strikeouts, 2 more than the previous mark for an individual pitcher. The righthander struck out the side in both the 6th and 9th innings, fanning the final 4 batters he faced. The loss snapped Creps' 4-game winning streak and was his 1st defeat since July 1.
Kluber, who faced the minimum 15 batters through 5 innings, allowed a walk to Scott Gaffney and Hurlbutt's single with one out in the 6th. Matt Cavagnaro then forced Hurlbutt at 2nd base, but the McKinney rightfielder was also called for obstructing Denton 2nd baseman Brian McBryde, resulting in an inning ending double play.
Rachal's leadoff homer in the 7th made it 3-1 but Kluber then retired 6 of the next 7 hitters he faced before Cavagnaro's single began the bottom of the 9th. Kurt Pessa relieved Kluber and got 3 fly ball outs to earn the save and preserve the TCL title.
Lewis and Spear each had two hits in the game for Denton. Lewis was also the only Outlaws player not to strike out out at least once versus Creps.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SHORTS: The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes due to additional time needed for field preparation. Nearly an inch of rain fell in the McKinney area on Sunday afternoon. A crowd of 914 attended Sunday's game at Gabe Nesbitt Field. Matt Cavagnaro was 6-13 in the series and batted .529 (11-21) in McKinney's 5 playoff games. Kyle Jones hit safely in all 5 of Denton's playoff contests at .368 (7-19). The previous TCL record for strikeouts in a game by an individual pitcher was 13, accomplished by both Euless' Chance Corgan and Denton's Eddie Degerman earlier this season.