June 21, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. – Florida State got home runs from Tyler Holt, Mike McGee and Stephen Cardullo and held off a ninth inning rally by Florida to defeat the Gators, 8-5, in an elimination game at the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Seminoles advance to play TCU (which lost to UCLA Monday night) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., while the Gators were the first team eliminated from the CWS.
Florida State improved to 48-19 while Florida ended their season with a record of 47-17. Sophomore Brian Busch earned the victory and raised his record to 6-2 while Hudson Randall suffered the loss for the Gators. His record is now 8-4. Mike McGee earned his 13th save of the season.
The Seminoles took an 8-2 lead into the ninth inning and held on to gain the 8-5 victory. McGee, who earned his 13th save of the season, got Gator catcher Mike Zunino to line into a double play with the bases loaded to end the game. He entered the game with one out and a runner on third in the ninth inning. Despite loading the bases as he surrendered a single hit a better he closed out the win with the double play.
Holt and Jayce Boyd paced the Seminole offense with three hits each, while McGee tied a season-high driving in four runs.
Florida scored first in the top half of the first inning. After back-to-back walks to shortstop Nolan Fontana and second baseman Josh Adams – the Gators’ first two batters of the game – designated hitter Austin Maddox drove home Fontana with a run scoring single to left field.
Florida State responded quickly in the bottom of the first off of Randall to eliminate the Gator lead. Center fielder Tyler Holt, the Seminoles’ leadoff hitter, hit his 13th home run of the season to center to tie the game at 1-1.
Florida State struck with the long ball again in its half of the third inning as McGee hit a three-run home run to put Florida State up 4-1. Scoring on his home run to left were Holt and third baseman Sherman Jonson who had both reach base via walks. It was the team-leading 16th home run of the season for McGee.
McGee’s home run and subsequent single by right fielder James Ramsey chased Hudson after just 2.1 innings. It was Hudson’s second shortest start of the season. Hudson was replaced by Brian Johnson, who allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base to load the bases, but struck out Seminole second baseman Devin Travis to end the threat.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the fourth with one run. Holt scored his third run of the game on a squeeze bunt by McGee with one out to put Florida State up 5-1. Holt had reached base on a single for his second hit in the first four innings of the game.
After allowing the first batter of the game to score for the Gators, Busch quickly settled into a grove. He did not allow a hit, faced the minimum amount of batters in the second, third and fourth innings and retired eight straight batters at one point in time.
Florida caught up to Busch in the top of the fifth inning as it closed the gap to 5-2 on a home run to right by right fielder Jonathan Pigott. Busch was lifted in favor of Geoff Parker with one out in the top of the sixth. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowed two runs (both were earned) and only two hits while striking out three, walking four and hitting one batter.
Florida State increased its lead to 6-3 on a home run to deep centerfield by shortstop Stephen Cardullo. It was his 11th of the season and the third of the game for Seminoles – the second time in the last three games the Seminoles had hit three home runs.
The home runs by Holt, McGee and Cardullo marked the second time this season those three players had hit a home run in the same game. All three players went yard against Boston College in an 11-6 win in the second game of a double header victory over the Eagles on May 9.
Cardullo’s home run chased Johnson from the pitching mound for the Gators in favor of Anthony DeSclafani. Johnson lasted 3.1 innings and allowed two runs (both earned) and six hits while stroking out three and walking two.
The Seminole batters immediately went to work on DeSclafani. A single by first baseman Jayce Boyd followed by a sacrifice bunt by Stuart Tapley, and a fly out to right by Travis allowed Holt to come up with a bloop single to right to score Boyd and increase the Seminoles’ lead to 7-2. Holt’s hit spelled the end of DeSclafani in favor of Kevin Chapman. Chapman got third baseman Sherman Johnson to ground out to end the inning.
Parker was outstanding in relief of Busch. He did not allow a run in 2.1 innings pitched while allowing only four hits and striking out one. He allowed only one runner past second base before leaving the game in favor of reliever Daniel Bennett. Bennett closed out the Gators’ half of the eighth inning without throwing a pitch as he caught Jonathan Pigott too far off first base ending the inning with a picked off/caught stealing.
Florida State closed out its scoring on an RBI single by Boyd that scored McGee and increased the Seminoles’ lead to 8-2 in its half of the eighth inning.
Florida made the game interesting in the ninth as they loaded the bases on a walk, a single and an error by Cardullo. All three runners scored on a bases clearing double by Preston Tucker that eluded Boyd who was playing close to the line to bring the score to 8-5.
Following the double, Bennett was removed in favor of McGee who came into pitch after playing left field for the first 8.1 innings of the game. McGee surrendered a single to Austin Maddox and hit Matt den Decker to load the bases. But McGee induced a lineout to Cardullo at shortstop off the bat of catcher Mike Zunino, who flipped on to Travis at second for the game ending double play.