OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Texas is back on top with another College World Series championship.

Kyle McCulloch pitched 6 2-3 strong innings in 93-degree heat and David Maroul and Chance Wheeless homered Sunday to lead the Longhorns past Florida 6-2 to win the school’s sixth CWS title.

Strengthened by a gutsy run through the regional and super regional rounds, when they had to win five elimination games just to get to Omaha, the Longhorns (56-16) completed the sweep of the Gators in the best-of-three championship series. They won the first game with the Gators 4-2 Saturday, and were unbeaten in five games at the CWS.

Florida (48-23) was making its first appearance in the championship round and the Gators couldn’t get their offense going until they were behind 6-0.

Reliever J. Brent Cox got the final five outs, including the clincher with a strikeout, and Texas raced to the field and piled on one another in celebration.

Texas’ six College World Series titles are second only to Southern California (12). The Longhorns’ run of success is extensive and impressive: they have made more CWS appearances (32) and won more games there (78) than any other school.

The Longhorns last won the championship in 2002 and were runners-up a year ago to Cal State Fullerton.

As veteran coach Augie Garrido said before the 2005 event began, the Longhorns are expected to play in Omaha every year. It’s a given. This year’s appearance was their fourth straight at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Longhorns’ crown is their second under the 66-year-old Garrido, who previously led Cal State Fullerton to three titles.

Maroul, who was 3-for-4 with four RBIs Sunday, was chosen the outstanding player of the series.

McCulloch (12-4), a 6-3 sophomore right-hander, threw seven shutout innings in the Longhorns’ 5-0 win over Tulane six days ago.

He struck out eight Sunday, walking one and giving up five hits, including a two-run homer to Brian Leclerc in the seventh. Randy Boone got the third out of the inning with two runners on.

Florida put runners at first and third in the eighth off Boone before heavily used closer Cox – who appeared in all five of the Longhorns’ games – got out of the jam.

Cox issued a walk in the ninth but after a double play, he struck out Stephen Barton and fell to his knee on the mound, waiting for his teammates to start rush out in celebration.

McCulloch held the Gators hitless the first four innings until Brandon McArthur beat out a hopper to deep short to start the fifth.

Wheeless, who’d hit a game-winning homer against Baylor earlier in the series, connected on a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth to put the Longhorns ahead 3-0 and drive out Florida starter Bryan Ball.

Taylor Teagarden doubled off reliever Connor Falkenbach and after a walk, Maroul delivered a three-run homer to left center to put the Longhorns ahead 6-0. It was Maroul’s second homer in as many days against the Gators.

Florida finally got its offense going in the seventh when McArthur beat out another infield single and Leclerc homered to left center to make it 6-2.

Ball (7-6), pitching on three days rest, escaped a first-and-third jam with a double-play grounder in the first, but Texas used its “small ball” approach to manufacture a run in the second with Maroul delivering a clutch two-out single for a 1-0 lead.

Wheeless singled, moved to second on a sacrifice, to third on a grounder and scored when Maroul bounced a single to left.

Texas got a break in the fourth when Gators left fielder Gavin Dickey, a backup quarterback on Florida’s football team, missed Maroul’s two-out liner for a two-base error. That allowed Teagarden, who had singled, to score all the way from the first and put the Longhorns ahead 2-0.

AP-ES-06-26-05 1838EDT


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