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Longhorns make quick work of Gators, sweep series

OMAHA, Neb. -- J. Brent Cox went to his knees in jubilation
and soon he was covered by joyous Texas teammates who raced to the
mound.

The pile of players grew high as the Longhorns celebrated their
return to the top of college baseball.

Blending power pitching from Cox and starter Kyle McCulloch with
an unlikely spark from No. 8 hitter David Maroul, Texas beat
Florida 6-2 Sunday for its sixth College World Series title.

The Longhorns entered the NCAA Tournament unseeded and went to
go unbeaten in five CWS games.

"We got hot at the right time. It was hard to stop us. It all
came together at the end for us," Cox said. "It definitely wasn't
easy. It was tough."

Maroul homered and drove in four runs for the Longhorns, who
were swept in last year's championship series by Cal
State-Fullerton.

"It's a lot better than last year's outcome, of course. A great
way to end a season," Maroul said after being named the series'
outstanding player.

"To come out and help your team out as much as you can feels
good. I just didn't think as much. I relaxed more."

Maroul, who was 3-for-4 Sunday, hit his second homer in as many
games and finished the CWS 8-for-16 with a series-best eight RBIs
in the Longhorns' five games.

Not bad for a guy who was batting .241 for the season before
Sunday's game.

"This is a guy that struggled all season and now is the MVP of
the College World Series on a national championship team," veteran
Texas coach Augie Garrido said.

"Now here is a defining moment for him. It's wonderful."

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 4-2 on 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 Sunday.

Florida coach Pat McMahon acknowledged that Texas' experience
was a plus.

"When your players have been here it is a help, an asset,
because you know the expectations," McMahon said. "I do think it
was a factor, but we were ready to play."

The Gators batted just .212 during their six games at Rosenblatt
Stadium.
"I was disgusted with myself for not showing up these last two
games," said Gators' star center fielder Jeff Corsaletti, who was
0-for-8 in the championship round.

"I thought we were a better club than we showed and we got away
from our usual approach. We didn't take advantage of the very few
chances we did have."

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 finished
second a year ago to Cal State Fullerton.

As 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.

"It's mandatory for us to be here and it is a relief," Garrido
said.

"If we fall short of being here, we've fallen short of our
first level of expectations. ...We all knew coming in this team was
one with experience. But it's one thing to have experience and
another thing to be able to use it."

McCulloch (12-4), a 6-foot-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.

"Once we got ahead and put up an early lead, the hitters tend
to press and then I tried to extend the strike zone," he said.

Florida put runners at first and third in the eighth off Randy
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 to clinch it for the Longhorns.

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

Chance 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.

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.