June 13, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Saving its staff ace for the decisive third game, Texas A&M rode the solid pitching of sophomore Michael Wacha and a big first inning to prevent the Florida State baseball team from earning its 21st College World Series berth with an 11-2 victory on Monday evening in the NCAA Super Regionals at Dick Howser Stadium.
Wacha (9-3) kept the Seminoles (46-19) off-balanced at the plate all evening. He scattered just three hits and allowed two runs in 7.1 innings pitched as FSU could not feed off its 23-run effort in game two of the regional.
With its top arm on the hill for the biggest game of their season, the Aggies (47-20) padded their lead with six runs in the opening inning, keeping pressure off Wacha and allowing him to just throw strikes and let his defense do the work. FSU entered tonight’s contest as the top hitting team in NCAA postseason play with a .368 batting average, but finished 4-for-30 at the plate. FSU uncharacteristically batted 2-for-14 with runners on base, failing to capitalize on any hits or walks issued by Wacha.
It was an inauspicious beginning for Florida State. Starting pitcher Hunter Scantling (3-3) surrendered a single to Tyler Naquin to open the game, then allowed a walk and infield single to load the bases with no outs. Jacob House drew a free pass on four pitches to begin the scoring, as reliever Brian Busch entered the game to get out of the bases-loaded, no-out jam. Krey Bratsen advanced home on a wild pitch, and two batters later Kevin Gonzalez hit a two-run double centerfield.
Brandon Wood followed with an RBI groundout, and Kenny Jackson’s RBI single to left field pushed Texas A&M to a 6-0 lead. It added two more runs in the second inning on a two-out, two-run home run by Adam Smith to left field, making it 8-0 through two frames.
FSU attempted to chip away in the top of the third inning, as Stuart Tapley continued his torrid streak at the plate with a solo home run to left field, his seventh of the season. The blast was also Tapley’s third of the NCAA Super Regionals.
Second reliever Daniel Bennett entered the game with one out in the fourth inning, getting his first two batters out to end the frame. However, Bennett allowed a run in the bottom of the fifth, albeit an unearned run, on a self-induced overthrow when he faked a throw to third base and threw back to first base on a failed pickoff attempt. The throw sailed over the head of first baseman Jayce Boyd and allowed Jackson to score from third base.
The senior sidearm specialist worked a season-high 3.2 innings, eclipsing his previous high of 3.1 at Virginia on March 18. His four strikeouts matched a season high.
The Aggies tacked on two runs in the bottom of the seventh, with the first coming on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that inconclusively hit the leg of batter Matt Juengel to make it 10-2. House then recorded an infield RBI single to the right side to pad the lead.