Seminoles Next Face Arizona…
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The Florida State baseball team has proven in recent weeks that it can put up hits and runs in big numbers – but in Tuesday’s elimination game (a 4-1 win vs. UCLA) at the College World Series, the themes were different. The Seminoles did manage nine hits, but their two scoring innings (the 1st & 4th) featured as many free passes (walks) as hits (5). And on a pitching staff fronted by a pair of freshmen, it was junior righthander Scott Sitz who might have delivered the most clutch performance of this CWS, by any pitcher from the eight teams.
(note – see below, with more later from this game, including postgame video with Scott Sitz, Sherman Johnson and Beau Amaral.) … Video links at bottom of page, or CLICK HERE.
With the win, Florida State (50-16) has advanced to its bracket final and once again is among the NCAA semifinalists, but still four wins away from capturing that elusive NCAA title (an achievement reached just once by a team competing as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, way back in 1955 by Wake Forest). FSU now must beat Arizona (a team it lost to four days ago) on Thursday at 4 CT, then turn around and beat the Wildcats again on Friday to earn a spot in the CWS best-of-3 final series.
Sitz – sporting his trademark mustache that began early in the season as a bet with FSU closer Robert Benincasa – is one of several veteran Seminoles pitchers who had chances earlier in their careers to fill one of the top starter roles. The junior readily admitted during Tuesday’s postgame interviews that he and other veterans “had their shot” in the past but didn’t get it done.
That all changed Tuesday on the big stage at TD Ameritrade Park, with 23,000-plus looking on. Sitz worked a season-long 6.2 innings (one shy of matching his career-long outing) while allowing only one run, on five hits and a lone walk that easily was countered by eight strikeouts.
Three of those Ks all came in the pivotal top of the 6th, with the bases loaded and a run already home for UCLA (48-16). Bruins cleanup batter Jeff Gelalich was digging in at the plate, with no outs and the tying runs aboard. But Gelalich went down swinging on a 1-2 pitch from Sitz and the same fate befell Trevor Brown before a full-count battle vs. Pat Valaika produced a third straight strikeout swinging.
By virtue of its patient approach at the plate (patience is a virtue, get it?), Florida State had four baserunners in each of the first two innings but little to show for it (two runs), other than five runners left on base (a sixth was erased on a double-play).
Florida State’s first two trips to the plate produced six walks and only a pair of hits. The Seminoles tacked on two more runs in the 4th and then limited UCLA’s damage during the 6th, en route to the win.
Each of the top three batters in the FSU lineup – Sherman Johnson (2R-2B-2BB), Devon Travis (R-BB) and James Ramsey (R-BB) – hit 2-for-3 while combining to score all four of their team’s runs and drawing four of the eight FSU walks.
Sophomore righthander Zack Weiss departed early for UCLA, after recording only one out (he ultimately was charged for two runs on a hit and three walks).
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POSTGAME VIDEO … Florida State pitcher Scott Sitz stole the show Tuesday – on the mound, in the formal postgame press conference, and even in the ensuing 1-on-1 interview session. Click on the link below for Sitz’s comments immediately following the postgame press conference (links also included below for brief comments from FSU’s Sherman Johnson and UCLA’s Beau Amaral.
Note – videos may require initial download time (based on your internet speed; also may find better results based on specific browser).
CLICK HERE for Scott Sitz video interview (after win over UCLA)
CLICK HERE for Sherman Johnson (FSU) video comments
CLICK HERE for Beau Amaral (UCLA) video comments
The Road To Omaha leads to TD Ameritrade Park and The Dugout – located right across the street from TDA’s home plate entrance. The Dugouthas a ton of authentic college baseball caps – just like the ones the players wear on the field.
If you’re going to Omaha for the College World Series make sure to make your first stop The Dugout for all officially licensed CWS apparel, including a new shipment of Adidas Climalite shirts. If you can’t make it to Omaha just follow our red links to The Dugout!