June 8, 2013
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The road to Omaha just got a little bit bumpier for the Florida State baseball team as the Seminoles fell to Indiana, 10-9, in the first game of the Tallahassee Super Regional Saturday.
The Seminoles (47-16) now face their first must-win game of the 2013 postseason Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dick Howser Stadium against the Hoosiers (47-14). A loss would end the ‘Noles’ season; a win would set up decisive showdown Monday at 1 p.m. with the winner sent to the College World Series.
“I tip my hat to Indiana University,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “They did a great job. They got the job done. It’s one of those situations I guess when you look at the opportunity that we had, but they got it done. I’m very, very proud of the fight of our ball club to put themselves in a position, but that’s the game of baseball.
“You tip your hat to the other team and get ready to play tomorrow.”
FSU has overcome a Super Regional-opening loss before. In 2008, the host Seminoles lost to Wichita State to begin that Super Regional but responded by taking the next two games against the Shockers to reach Omaha, Neb. for the first time since 2000.
If Florida State wants to accomplish a similar goal this time, generating more runs from its base runners will be critical. The bottom of the ninth was indicative of what plagued the ‘Noles all day: too many runners left stranded. Despite cutting Indiana’s lead to just one run with one out and runners push across the potential game-tying or -winning run.
In nine innings, the Seminoles left 13 runners on base.
In a game that lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes, both teams also combined to use 11 different pitchers and commit six errors. FSU’s errors were especially costly as Indiana manufactured runs because of the miscues.
“It’s always frustrating when you make errors and give up runs, but you have to give credit to Indiana, they swung the bats great,” FSU first baseman John Nogowski said. “They seemed like every chance they had, a guy in scoring position, they got him in. I know we will be ready tomorrow and those errors won’t happen again.”
Starting pitcher Luke Weaver tossed six innings and allowed seven hits, five runs and two walks while striking out five. It marked the first time since May 11 that Weaver allowed at least three earned runs — and that game against NC State was also a ‘Noles defeat.
Gage Smith (4-2) took the loss for FSU after giving up two runs on two pitches in a four-run seventh inning for the Hoosiers. FSU also utilized Bill Strode, Peter Miller and Bryant Holtmann on the mound.
Brian Korte (1-0) picked up the win for Indiana.
Kyle Schwarber led Indiana with four RBIs.
Weaver cruised through three complete innings before giving up his first hit of the game: a Will Nolden single on the first pitch of the fourth inning. One batter later, Schwarber mashed his 18th home run of the season for the game’s first runs and a 2-0 Indiana lead with no outs.
After Sam Travis lined out, Scott Donley singled to left field and then stole second to get into scoring position. Donley then sprinted and slid home three pitches later thanks to Michael Basil’s RBI single up the middle. Basil then scored from first on Casey Smith’s double off the wall to push the Hoosiers’ lead to 4-0.
The ‘Noles got something going in the bottom half of the fourth as Nogowski was hit by a pitch and Jose Brizuela walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. After Indiana yanked starter Joey DeNato in favor of reliever Scott Effross, Knief pelted a single up the middle that plated Nogowski and cut FSU’s deficit to 4-1.
Alfonzo then strolled to the plate and did the same thing as his RBI single sent Brizuela home. John Sansone then grounded out but Josh Delph was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out and Stewart’s RBI chop to the short stop scored Knief on the fielder’s choice. Trailing just 4-3 at that point, McGee’s RBI single brought in the game-tying run before struck out to end FSU’s come-from-behind inning.
In the fifth, FSU captured its first lead of the day as Knief’s sacrifice bunt helped set up Alfonzo’s RBI single that scored Nogowski. But that advantage only lasted a half inning as Dustin DeMuth’s RBI double knotted the score at 5-5.
“They’re a great team, a great hitting team,” Weaver said. “Especially when I got ahead of them, when I got to two strikes, they were hacking. They took a lot of mistakes I left over the plate and did a good job of capitalizing on them. They got the key hits here and there. I credit them. They came out ready to hit today. I didn’t have my best stuff. I was trying to grind through that game.”
The bottom of the sixth then saw Delph reach base and advance to third before Davis’ RBI single through the right put the ‘Noles back on top, 6-5. After Davis stole second and advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error and Nogowski walked to put Seminoles on the corners, Indiana pitcher Brian Korte, who had come on in relief earlier in the inning, got Brizuela to line out to left and end the inning without anymore damage done by FSU.
Smith’s first pitch of the game resulted in a Chad Clark single and then Justin Cureton pushed him to second a batter later because of a Nogowski error. With two on and no outs, Smith was quickly replaced by Strode, who walked a batter and then gave up a two-run RBI single by Schwarber.
Travis then singled to score Chris Sujka and all of a sudden Indiana boasted an 8-6 lead with no outs. Two outs later, McGee’s throwing error to third trying to pick off the runner resulted in another Hoosiers run and Indiana took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
Indiana would later add one run in the top of the eighth to mark just the third time all year that FSU allowed 10 runs in a game. But down 10-6 FSU wasn’t out of fight and thanks to Indiana’s third error of the game cut into that deficit when Nogowski blasted a two-run home run to left field that scored McGee, who was on base because his fly ball earlier had been dropped by the center fielder.
In the ninth, Alfonzo and Casey Smit reached base on a single and walk, respectively, and Alfonzo then scored on Stewart’s RBI single to center field as the crowd cheered on anxiously. McGee then flied out and Davis sustained the same fate to end the game.
“This team is one like I’ve never played on before,” Alfonzo said. “When we are down it doesn’t matter if we are down one [run] or if we are down nine [runs] going into the ninth inning, we are out there to fight. I feel like this team that we have here, a young group of guys that are wanting to win, and be the energy you feel going back into the dugout for that last chance is unbelievable.
“You always have a chance when you have this uniform on.”
Some general admission tickets are still available for Sunday’s and Monday’s (if necessary) game. Call 1-888-FSU-NOLE or visit the online ticket page for more information.