CWS Gameday: TCU vs FSU

June 23, 2010

Wednesday night’s elimination game will be game #3 for Florida State, as they lost the opening tilt of the 2010 CWS to TCU 8-1. The Seminoles look to regroup against the Frogs, after they were dominated on the hill by freshman All-American Matt Purke, who limited Florida State to four hits (all singles) and one unearned run over 7.0 innings.

To accomplish this against what has been a very hot-hitting Seminole team is an outstanding achievement for TCU as they bucked a rather ubiquitous curse that has been especially hard on first-time visitors to Rosenblatt Stadium. TCU became the first team since Georgia Tech in 1994 to win its CWS debut (that GT team included future Boston Red Sox stars Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek, along with outfielder Jay Payton – who went on to play a decade in the big leagues).

Florida State came back in the losers bracket on Monday to finish off in-state rival Florida. According to coach Mike Martin, FSI is “just happy to continue competing here at Omaha,” as the team has taken on a survive-and-advance mantra. The victory by the Seminoles was the first time they have defeated their arch nemesis at the CWS.

TCU was quieted by UCLA All-American Gerrit Cole on Monday evening. The Bruins managed to shut down TCU after the Horned Frogs came storming back from a 5-0 deficit in the 7th inning to make a game of it, at 5-3.

With the pressure on and a packed house that was almost entirely in TCU’s favor, Cole slammed the door and pushed TCU to the brink of elimination today.

Today’s game should be a dandy as the winds have quieted down after blowing briskly in the Oklahoma-Clemson game, which was suspended after another in a series of violent thunderstorms that have been a nightmare to deal with for the NCAA schedule makers here in Omaha.

In the opening game on Saturday between TCU and Florida State, the Frogs jumped the Seminoles for five runs in the 1st inning and never looked back. Tonight’s game should feature two outstanding offensive ballclubs that can throw their fair share of aluminum around the yard.

Tyler Holt, Stephen Cardullo and Mike McGee all homered in Monday’s game against FSU and – if the Seminoles hope to grind their way home through the losers bracket – all three of those players must play a more productive role in the rematch with TCU.

TCU has been led by a trio of All-Mountain West Conference arms that have combined to go 37-3 this season. Purke improved to 15-0 with the game-1 victory on Saturday, while MWC pitcher of the year Steven Maxwell dropped to 11-2 with the loss to the Bruins. We most likely will see Kyle Winkler today (Winkler is 12-2 with a 3.16 ERA, .248 opponent batting average and 92 strikeouts this season).

It will be a tough nut to crack for FSU.

I will post the starting lineup when they become available. Game time will be 50 minutes after the completion of the Clemson-Oklahoma game, which is now in the top of the 9th … but Clemson retired the next hitter on a nice diving catch in center field for the final out (Clemson survives 6-4).

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