June 17, 1999
OMAHA, Neb. – Sam Scott delivered at the plate and Zach Diaz did it on
Scott’s towering two-run homer capped Florida State’s four-run sixth inning
and the Seminoles rallied to beat Stanford 8-6 on Thursday night in the College
The Seminoles (56-13) forced a rematch Friday with the Cardinal (50-14).
Both teams have one loss in their double-elimination bracket, and the survivor
will play Miami in Saturday’s championship.
Stanford brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.
After reliever Diaz (4-1) walked leadoff hitter John Gall, he got Joe
Borchard to foul out, popped Josh Hochgesang out to first and got Damien
Alvarado to ground to second for the force.
Diaz faced 14 batters in 4.1 innings. While he had just one strikeout, he
threw effectively and retired six in a row at one point.
“I’d like to say I was getting ahead early, but that didn’t happen a lot of
the time,” Diaz said. “I was just trying to throw a lot of fastballs.
Fortunately when they did hit it hard, it was at someone.”
Florida State came back from a 6-2 deficit, tying it on Scott’s shot into
the right field bleachers. Reliever Mike Wodnicki left a fastball too high and
Scott hit it high and deep.
“I was just looking for something,” Scott said. “I wanted to hit the ball
hard and just get it up in the air.”
The Seminoles celebrated in their dugout and greeted Scott at the plate.
“I think any time you’re dealing with young men, age 18 to 22, the emotions
are a roller coaster,” Florida State coach Mike Martin said. “Gosh, we’re one
game from playing for the whole enchilada. So yes, I think we were a little bit
moody when we were down four runs.”
Before that, the Seminoles struggled to find their offense, going 0-for-10
with runners in scoring position to that point.
“We had our chances,” Martin said. “I think there you just credit
Stanford. They made some extremely good pitches. I was incredibly pleased with
the fight our ball club showed.”
Wodnicki replaced right-hander Brian Sager with runners on first and second
and no outs. Marshall McDougall welcomed him with a double off the wall in
center to score the inning’s first two runs.
Pinch-hitter Karl Jernigan put the Seminoles ahead for good in the seventh.
With no outs and runners on first and second, he hit into a double play that
brought in Brett Groves, who led off with a double to left.
Matt Diaz, who is Zach’s brother, added a double off the center field wall
to score McDougall from first, making it 8-6.
“He was trying to come inside,” Matt Diaz said. “I was thankful for that
because I was looking for a fastball. I hit it good, but I didn’t think it was
For a change, the Seminoles are sticking around Omaha. While Florida State
has made 18 trips to the College World Series, it’s only the sixth time the
Seminoles have won more than twice.
It’s also Florida State’s longest stay since 1989. Four times during the
1990s the Seminoles had a 1-2 record and twice went 0-2.
“It’s a shame we can’t enjoy this for a long period of time,” Martin said.
“That was obviously a great win for us, but we know tomorrow is now the most
Diaz replaced starter Nick Stocks in the fifth, inheriting a bases-loaded,
two-out situation that the Cardinal turned into a 6-2 lead after Eric
Bruntlett’s sharp grounder past third produced two runs.
Although Stanford was ahead, coach Mark Marquess said he didn’t relax.
“I don’t think you feel comfortable at this stage against a quality
opponent,” Marquess said. “You look at the numbers, you know they’re
dangerous and you know they can hit. So, no, we didn’t feel comfortable.”
Stocks, a first-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, went 4 2-3
innings, allowing six hits, two walks, hitting two and striking out two. Half
of his six runs were unearned.
Sager, a freshman who rejected a $1 million signing bonus from the Arizona
Diamondbacks to attend Stanford, threw into the sixth, when the Cardinal’s run
of dominant pitching in Omaha ended.
The Seminoles should have scored more. They stranded 16 runners, nine in
Dan Rich (3-1) came in after Wodnicki threw 11 pitches and got one out. Rich
lasted 1 1-3 innings, allowing the go-ahead runs.
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer