Game Three: Arkansas 8-10-1… def. Kent State 1-4-0
OMAHA, Neb. – Cinderella has not fared well in Omaha. First, Stony Brook dropped the 2012 College World Series opener 9-1 to UCLA on Friday and then the clock ticked closer to midnight in Cinderella’s latest twirl on the TD Ameritrade grass in Saturday’s 8-1 Kent State loss to Arkansas.
After each making stunning runs to make their first CWS journeys Kent State and Stony Brook have been outscored 17-2. Worse yet, they now each find themselves on the brink of elimination.
“We either play the number one team in the country (Florida) or the two-time defending national champion (South Carolina),” Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin said afterward of the task that now awaits his team in Monday’s elimination game.
It didn’t take long for the Golden Flashes’ glass slipper to begin to crack on Saturday. Starting pitcher David Starns, who has averaged 2.5 walks in his 18 mound appearances this season, issued three free passes in the first inning. He was bailed-out of a possible big inning for the Razorbacks when his infield turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.
Starns battled his control throughout the afternoon though. He walked six and struckout four in his 18th start of the season. He threw 102 total pitches, but just 51 for strikes. His last pitch was a double that rolled to the left field corner, scoring Derrick Bleeker and Bo Bigham.
With his seven walks in his Super Regional start last week vs. Oregon the lefty has walked 13 in his last two NCAA Tournament starts.
Arkansas pitcher D.J. Baxendale was the complete opposite of his Saturday counterpart. The Razorback right hander commanded a fastball that had the Flashes looking overmatched for a good deal of the day. Baxendale (8-5) retired the first six batters he faced and did not allow a hit until Sawyer Polen’s two out single in the fifth inning.
Baxendale finished with finished with five strikeouts and just one walk while allowing three hits in his 6.1 innings.
Kent State Lineup
CF Evan Campbell
SS Jimmy Rider
C David Lyon
1B George Roberts
RF T.J. Sutton
DH Nick Hamilton
3B Sawyer Polen
LF Alex Miklos
2B Derek Toadvine
SP – David Starn – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 4 K, 102 pitches, 51 strikes
SS Tim Carver
DH Joe Serrano
3B Matt Reynolds
1B Dominic Ficociello
RF Brian Anderson
2B Bo Bigham
LF Derrick Bleeker
CF Matt Vinson
C Jake Wise
SP – D.J. Baxendale – 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, BB, 5 K
- The Kent State baseball team wore a purple sticker with the initials CM on it in memory of junior catcher Jason Bagoly’s mother Cheryl McHenry who unexpectedly passed away late Thursday evening.
- After the game Stricklin lauded the approach that Arkansas batters took with them to the plate. He noted that Starns faced 26 batters in his 5.2 innings, but only two of them swung at a first pitch. “If they have that kind of approach at the plate they’re going to be tough outs,” Stricklin said of Arkansas’ chances moving forward in the CWS. “No question about it. With their pitching, if they have that offensive approach and play clean defense with that pitching, they have a chance to win it all.”
- The SEC is 25-10 in Omaha the last three years … Six of the 10 losses have come to SEC teams.
- Arkansas catcher Jake Wise hit his second home run of the season in the second inning. It was the third home run in as many games in the 2012 CWS. Creighton played 24 home games at TD Ameritrade Park during the season and just one total home run was hit in those games.
- Kent State’s Jimmy Rider aka “Opie Taylor” homered in the top of the sixth for the Golden Flashes. Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin recently referred to the diminutive Rider as an Opie Taylor look alike who more resembles a bat boy than a D1 baseball player. Rider is the MAC’s all-time hit leader.
- Kent State alum and current Cleveland Brown wide receiver Josh Cribbs was in the house to see the Golden Flashes in their CWS debut. Cribbs was a quarterback at Kent State in his college days. He grabbed some camera time with ESPN’s Jenn Brown late in the game.
Kent State’s Jimmy Rider discusses his CWS home run and his College World Series experience.
Game Four: South Carolina 7-12-0… def. Florida 3-8-3
South Carolina extended its NCAA Tournament record winning streak to 22 games with a 7-3 win over No. 1 Florida in the much anticipated rematch of last year’s CWS Finals participants.
The Gators held an early 2-0 lead after four innings, but the Gamecocks plated five runs in the top of the fifth inning and never looked back. South Carolina led 5-3 going into the ninth inning, but added two more runs in the top of the final frame thanks to a pair of Florida errors.
“I thought South Carolina beat us in every phase of the game today,” Gator head coach Kevin O’ Sullivan said after seeing his team commit three errors in the loss. ” They outpitched us. They obviously outhit us, and they played better defense. It was just a really well played game by South Carolina.”
South Carolina starter Michael Roth improved to 7-0 all-time in NCAA Tourney games. The senior lefty worked 6.1 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
“Anytime you play a team like the Gators and every pitch is a big deal,” South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner said after the game. “It was pretty much like that tonight. Even at the end of the game we scored a few extras, but they were coming right back and they almost got the tying run until they played at the end.”
South Carolina closer Matt Price earned the save for his 12th. He also tied the SEC record with 42 career saves.
The Gamecocks next face Arkansas in Monday’s winner’s bracket game at 8 pm CT. The Gators play Kent State in the 4 pm elimination game.
South Carolina Starting Lineup
SS Joey Pankake
CF Evan Marzilli
1B Christian Walker
RF Adam Matthews
DH Erik Payne
3B L.B. Dantzler
LF Tanner English
2B Chase Vergason
C Dante Rosenberg
SP – Michael Roth 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Florida Starting Lineup
SS Nolan Fontana
RF Preston Tucker
C Mike Zunino
DH Brian Johnson
CF Daniel Pigott
2B Casey Turgeon
LF Justin Shafer
1B Vickash Ramjit
3B Josh Tobias
SP – Brian Johnson 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
South Carolina has now won 12 straight College World Series games.
The last time the two teams in the championship the preceding year met in the opening round of the Men’s College World Series (MCWS) was 1960 when defending champion Oklahoma State met Arizona.
South Carolina’s Evan Marzilli after Saturday’s win over Florida…
South Carolina’s Erik Payne after Saturday’s win over Florida…