June 14, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. — Stanford scored a record-tying 11 runs in the ninth inning to take an 16-5 victory over Florida State in the first game of the 2008 College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Cardinal sent 14 batters to the plate as it had six hits and benefited from two Seminole errors and three walks in breaking open the game that was tied 5-5 heading into the final inning.
The victory sends Stanford to a winner’s bracket meeting against the winner of Saturday night’s game between No. 1 seeded Miami and No. 8 seeded Georgia on Monday. The Seminoles will play the loser of that game on Monday afternoon.
Stanford’s 11 runs in the ninth inning tied a College World Series record for runs scored in a single inning. It marked the seventh time in the history of the CWS that a team had scored 11 runs in an inning.
In sending 14 players to bat in the ninth inning, Stanford had one player with two hits and two runs scored (second baseman Cord Phelps), one player with one hit and two runs scored (right fielder Toby Gerhart), one player with four RBI (first baseman Brent Millville) and nine different players who scored at least one run.
The Stanford rally came on the heels of a game-tying three-run homer by Florida State’s Jason Stidham in the bottom of the eighth. His home run tied a well-pitched, well-played game at 5-5 entering the ninth inning.
It marks the third consecutive round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament that Florida State will play from the loser’s bracket. The Seminoles lost the first game of the Tallahassee Regional before winning four consecutive games to advance to the Super Regional. Florida State then fell to Wichita State in the first game of the Super Regional before winning the final two games of that series to advance to the College World Series.
“Let’s give Stanford a lot of credit,” said Seminole Head Coach Mike Martin. “They did a very good job of hitting and getting it done there in that inning. “They made quality pitches when they needed to. You have to credit (Erik) Davis for making pitches when he needed to (in the seventh inning).”
“It was one of those games – you talk about a roller coaster,” continued Martin. “We were as excited as we could be when we tied the ball game in the eighth inning and of course the wheels came off.”
Stanford scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning off of Seminole starter Matt Fairel. A run scoring double down the right field line by Cardinal designated hitter Randy Molina scored Phillips who had walked to leadoff the inning. The double was Molina’s 16th of the season.
The Cardinal upped its lead to 2-0 as Gerhart led off the sixth inning with a home run to right center field. It was his seventh home run of the season. Stanford added to its lead on an RBI single by centerfielder Sean Ratliff which scored catcher Jason Castro to increase its lead to 3-0.
Ratliff’s single chased Fairel after 5.2 innings pitched. He allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits while striking out three. Fairel was replaced by senior Ryan Strauss.
Florida State scored its first run of the game as first baseman Dennis Guinn hit his 19th home run of the season to lead off the Seminole half of the sixth inning. He hit the first pitch of the inning into the right field bleachers to make the score 3-1.
Guinn’s home run ended the day for Cardinal starter Jeremy Bleich. He pitched 5.0 plus innings and allowed one run (it was earned) on six hits and struck out seven. He was replaced by Erik Davis.
Junior Tommy Oravetz, the Seminoles’ designated hitter, pulled the Seminoles within 3-2 with a run scoring single off of Davis with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. His base hot scored shortstop Tony Delmonico from third. Delmonico had singled earlier in the inning for his first hit of the College World Series.
Stanford increased its lead to 5-2 with two runs in the seventh inning on the benefit of only one hit. The Cardinal loaded the bases as shortstop Jake Schlander reached base with a double, Phelps reached on an error by Florida State’s Delmonico and Gerhart was hit by a pitch. Schlander then scored on a bases loaded walk to Castro and Phelps scored as first baseman Brent Milleville hit into a double play.
Davis doused a Seminole threat in the bottom of the seventh as he retired three consecutive batters on two infield pop-outs and a strikeout after Florida State had loaded the bases on three consecutive walks with zero out to being the inning.
Florida State tied the game at 5-5 on Stidham’s home run. He earned his second home run of the 2008 NCAA Tournament on a line drive shot over the right field fence to score Oravetz (who had singled) and center fielder Tyler Holt (who had walked). Stidham’s home run came with two outs
“When I hit the ball it’s like being at the top of the mountain,” said Stidham. “But unfortunately things didn’t go our way.”
After Seminole reliever Jon Gast surrendered a single to Phelps to lead off the Cardinal ninth inning, he was replaced by All-American Buster Posey on the mound. It marked the first time that a player both pitched and caught in the same game in the College World Series since Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech played both positions on June 18, 2006 in a 7-5 loss to Cal State Fullerton. It was Posey’s eighth relief appearance of the season and his first since May 16.
Florida State utilized seven pitchers with Gast (0-1) taking the loss. Gast was the Seminoles’ fourth pitcher of the day and was the pitcher of record in the ninth inning when Stanford took the lead for good. Gast pitched 1.1 innings and allowed one run (earned) on two hits while striking out two and walking zero.
Stanford’s Drew Storen (5-3) gained the victory in relief of Bleich. He pitched the seventh and eight innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on three hits while striking out three.