June 24, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. – TCU (53-13) overcame a five-run deficit and scored eight runs in the eighth inning to defeat Florida State (48-20) in an elimination game at the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The big blow from TCU came in the eighth inning as Matt Curry connected on a grand slam giving the Horned Frogs a 9-7 lead that they did not surrender to the Seminoles over the final two innings. TCU will now face UCLA in another elimination game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. while the Seminoles’ season comes to a close.
Erik Miller earned the win for TCU moving to 1-1 on the year, while Mike McGee suffered the loss, his first of the season, as his record fell to 4-1.
Stephen Cardullo and Sherman Johnson paced the Seminole offense with three hits each, while both Johnson and McGee connected on back-to-back solo shots in the first inning. Eight of the nine starters in the Seminoles starting line-up registered at least one hit.
The Seminole defense committed a season-high five errors on Wednesday night as 10 of the 11 runs scored by the Horned Frogs were unearned to the team.
Johnson opened the scoring for the Seminoles in the bottom of the first inning as he hit his 10th home run of the season into the right centerfield bleacher seats with one out. His home run was followed immediately by a home run into the left field bleacher seats by McGee. It was McGee’s 17th home run of the season to give FSU a 2-0 lead.
TCU tied the game in the top of the third with help from the Seminole infield. Centerfielder Aaron Shultz reached base on a fielding error at shortstop by Cardullo and scored on an errant pick-off attempt at first base by Seminole pitcher John Gast to make the score 2-1. The Horned Frogs tied the game on an RBI single to center by Curry that scored catcher Bryan Holaday. Because of the two errors during the inning, both runs were unearned.
Florida State re-took the lead in the bottom of the third as a two-out RBI triple by right fielder James Ramsey scored Johnson who had earlier singled to center. Ramsey quickly scored to up the Seminoles’ lead to 4-2 on a single to the left side of the infield by Cardullo. Another errant pickoff attempt – this time by Horned Frog starter Steven Maxwell – sent Cardullo to third and sent Maxwell to the dugout in favor of relief Tyler Lockwood.
Florida State also went to the bullpen to start the fourth as Gast was replaced with Daniel Bennett. Gast pitched three innings and allowed two unearned runs and three hits while striking out three and walking one.
Florida State tacked on three more runs in the fifth to increase its lead. The Seminoles upped their lead to 5-2 on a sacrifice fly by Cardullo scoring Tyler Holt who led off the fifth inning with a single – his first hit of the game. A two-out, two-run double by first baseman Jayce Boyd to the gap in right center upped Florida State’s lead to 7-2. Scoring on Boyd’s double were Johnson (his third run of the game) and Ramsey (his second run of the game) who had both reached base on walks earlier in the inning.
As the Florida State bats went to work, Bennett continued to shutdown the Horned Frogs’ bats. In his first three innings of work, he did not allow a run, faced only three batters over the minimum, gave up only one hit and struck out three.
TCU finally got to Bennett with one out in the top of the seventh as Jerome Pena hit his 10th home run of the season to right field to make the score 7-3. Bennett got himself out of a two-out and two-on jam by striking out pinch hitter Kyle Von Tungeln.
The Horned Frogs continued to chip away at the Seminoles’ lead in thief half of the eighth inning. Geoff Parker started the inning and faced just three batters before being replaced by McGee after experiencing some discomfort in his right elbow after delivering a 2-2 offering to Brance Rivera.
Rivera would close the gap to 7-4 as McGee got the TCU right fielder to ground into an RBI fielder’s choice put out at second scoring third baseman Jantzen Witte from third. Witte had reached base on the Seminoles’ fifth error of the game.
After issuing a walk to Pena, McGee surrendered an RBI double to Holaday to cut the lead to 7-5. A second walk to Jason Coats loaded the bases for TCU. Curry then stepped in and after battling the count to 3-2 connected on a grand slam to straight away centerfield to put the Horned Frogs up 9-7.
After McGee gave up a single to pinch hitter Josh Elander he was replaced by Hunter Scantling. Scantling was greeted by a two-run home by Witte to make the score 11-7.
TCU scored eight runs in their half of the eight as all eight were charged as unearned runs to the team, while seven of those runs came with two outs.
Florida State refused to go quietly into the night as it loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth before McGee lined out to second base to end the threat.
The Seminoles are scheduled to arrive back in Tallahassee Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.