June 11, 1957 - College World Series Semi-final

By Olson

Editor's Note: This is the Final Part of a four part series over the weekend.

In that semifinal game of the ‘57 College World Series the Irish met Penn St. (who came into the Series undefeated). The game was an exciting one-especially the final 2 innings.

The score was tied 1-1 after 7. But Penn St scored 2 runs in the 8th to take a 3-1 lead. The Irish loaded the bases in the bottom of the 8 but only scored once to trail 3-2. In the top of the 9th Penn St pushed across two more runs-helped by an Irish throwing error. Trailing 5-2, for the second straight inning the Irish had the bases loaded-this time with no out and one run already across. The next two Irish batters made outs although another run scored on a fielders choice-making it 5-4 with two outs. The Irish had the tying run on third base (Morris) with Duffy at bat. But Duffy ground out to end the game and the Irish season.

Penn St. advanced to the Championship game the next day but lost to CAL.

Jim Morris (RF) was 10 for 14 in the series. That .714 batting average is still the record for the College World Series.

More on Morris-Jim Morris came to ND from Quincy, Illinois on a football scholarship (fullback) in 1954. Morris was one of only 18 players to receive a football scholarship that year. Jim hurt his knee during football season that freshmen year and decided to concentrate on baseball.

Morris played 3B most of the ’57 season but lost his starting job after a number of costly errors (4 in one game). Rather than sit Morris down and lose his bat, Irish Head Coach Jake Kline found a new position of Jim-Right Field.

Morris was on third base with the tying run (as mentioned above) when Duffy grounded out to end the Penn St semifinal game. In an interview years later (in a very fine Blue & Gold Illustrated article written in 1997), Morris claimed that he thought about stealing home. He thought that by stealing home in such a key situation he could prove to the MLB scouts that his knee was sound. Of course if he hadn’t made it (and instead made the last out trying to steal home) Jake Kline would have killed him. Besides Duffy had already doubled in the game (in addition to being the leading home run hitter for the Irish that year). So attempting to steal home and taking the bat out of Duffy’s hands wasn’t really an option-even though Gene grounded out to end the game.

After college, Morris signed with the Yankees and played one season of minor league ball.

Keywords: baseball, college world series, penn state, gene duffy, california, jim morris, jake kline, new york yankees

Posted On: 2012-06-11 00:15:02 by Olson


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