June 4, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After putting a scare into host Florida State Friday night, No. 4 seed Army picked up the school’s first victory in the NCAA Baseball Tournament as it defeated No. 3 seed South Alabama 8-5 on Saturday (June 4) in front a crowd of 1,863 at FSU’s Dick Howser Stadium.
Army continues the best season in school history as it improved to 39-13, while the Jaguars ended their 2005 campaign at 35-27. Up next for the Black Knights is a 1 p.m. elimination contest Sunday against the loser of Saturday night’s Florida State-Auburn contest.
Improving to 10-3 on the year was Army starter Justin Kashner as he threw 90 pitches in 5 1/3 innings of work, giving up just four earned runs on nine hits. Milan Dinga came on in relief to throw a scoreless ninth inning to get hits eighth save of the season. Taking the loss was South Alabama starter Tommie Major (4-2) as he surrendered eight runs, though only three were earned, on five hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.
“One of the goals that we had was to make an impact in regionals and do some things,” Army head coach Joe Sottolano said. “It is another stepping stone for our program. For the South Alabamas, the Florida States, the Auburns have been is where we want to be and a lot of teams talk about that but that is something that we really want to achieve and we have the commitment from our institution in order to do those things. Now it is our job to get it done, so today was a big monkey off our back
An eight-run third inning started with back-to-back singles by Jason Meloy and Kyle Scogin put runners on the corners. Dinga then delivered a single to plate Meloy. Catcher Schuyler Williamson followed with a single to score both Scogin and Dinga. After a strikeout, Major hit the next two batters to load the bases. The Jaguars were almost out of the inning, but an error by shortstop Guillermo Martinez kept the inning alive and allowed Army to score five more runs.
Williamson scored on the error then Meloy cleared the bases with a double down the left-field line as Cole White, Jeremy Stache and Nick Stone all crossed the plate. Scogin ended the scoring when he knocked in Meloy, who scored for the second time in the inning, with a single off USA reliever Adam Wood.
“You’ve have to give Army a lot of credit,” South Alabama head coach Steve Kittrell said. “We were really impressed with their ball club last night and equally impressed today. They scrap, they play hard and they’ve got some pretty good talent. I don’t the general public really knows how good this Army team is. We had too many big innings. Two big innings, probably in two different games, hurt us pretty much while we were here.”
It wouldn’t be until the sixth inning that South Alabama scored a run off Kashner. Patrick Weaver started the frame with a walk, the moved up to second on a single from David Freese. One out later, Quendon Montgomery pushed a single through the left side to score Weaver. A bases loaded single from Joel Collins got Freese and Montgomery across the plate and chased Kashner from the game. A single by Jeff Morris scored the fourth run of the game. The Jaguars could have chipped into the lead more but they left the bases loaded as Army reliever Monte Jones got a ground out and a pop out to end the threat.
A two-out error benefited South Alabama in the eighth as it moved to within 8-5. With two outs, Josh Stapleton walked, and then went to third on a double by pinch hitter Michael Cart. The first offering by Army reliever Dan Pluff was grounded to third, but Stache could not make the play as Stapleton crossed the plate.