June 5, 2011
By Bob Thomas
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State starter Mike McGee turned in a grade-A performance in Sunday’s Tallahassee Regional championship game, but was saddled with an `Incomplete’ mark when play was suspended for the night due to a severe thunderstorm.
The top-seeded Seminoles are leading Alabama 8-1 with the Crimson Tide batting in the top of the sixth inning, following Taylor Dugas’ solo homer. That’s where the action will resume Monday at 12 p.m. after a storm that brought lightning, heavy rain and hail settled over Dick Howser Stadium. Play was suspended at 7:45 p.m. and tournament officials called it a night around 9 p.m.
“We just thought that the decision that was made was best for all concerned,” FSU coach Mike Martin said. “It was just a situation where that field was probably not going to be ready – 11:30 (p.m.) would have been the best we could have gotten the field ready to play. That’s not the best for the student-athletes.”
Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard, whose team advanced to the final with a 12-5 win over UCF in Sunday’s mid-day heat, was in complete agreement.
“Obviously it’s been a long 24 hours for us, or so,” Gaspard said. “Our guys didn’t get in until late last night after the ballgame and was back in the (batting) cages this morning at 10. We had a long, hot game and obviously a pretty rough first six innings. I know our guys are looking forward to getting out of here at 9:45 and getting back to the hotel for a while and getting some rest.”
The Crimson Tide certainly won’t mind the fresh start.
Florida State came out swinging against Alabama’s depleted pitching corps and built an 8-0 lead after five innings. The `Noles got on the board with three runs in the second, added three more in the fourth and two in the home fifth.
Meanwhile, McGee was mowing through Alabama’s red-hot batting order. The Crimson Tide came into the game hitting a tournament-best .376, but managed just three hits off FSU’s senior right-hander, who had three strikeouts and did not issue a walk. Dugas’ leadoff homer to start the sixth spoiled the shutout bid and McGee was ahead in the count – 1 ball, 2 strikes – to Brock Bennett when play was stopped.
McGee, who will not return to the mound when action resumes, had helped his own cause by driving in three runs on two of FSU’s 10 hits. Taiwan Easterling has already matched his career-high with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate against the Tide, who have already used three pitchers.
“That’s obviously a disappointment because Michael was throwing very well,” Martin said of McGee’s performance. “That’s just the nature of the beast. … Michael was really hitting his spots and it was a shame that the rains came.”
“Obviously [McGee] was pretty dominant for six innings,” Gaspard added. “We dug ourselves a deep hole. We knew going in that when you come through that loser’s bracket and you’re down on pitching, you’re going to have a special outing from a kid. I thought the guys did the best they could. Hopefully we can scratch a few (runs) and get back in it and see if we can get somebody to get some outs. Florida State is playing really well.”
When play resumes Monday, Sun Sports will pick up the televised coverage live, while the Tallahassee radio broadcast will move to 1270 AM, WNLS. An audio stream of the game will be available at Seminoles.com and a live video feed of the action will be carried at NCAA.com.
There will be no tickets required for fans to come to the remainder of the suspended game. If Alabama comes back and wins to force a deciding game, the action will begin 50 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest. The stands will be cleared following the conclusion of the first game and tickets will be required to gain entry for the final contest of the Tallahassee Regional.