OMAHA, Neb. – That Florida State offense that came with such a big reputation to the College World Series? It appears to be alive and well.
The Seminoles cranked up their offense – especially with two outs – and squashed the remaining Cinderella dreams of Stony Brook in a College World Series elimination game Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park.
Two days after struggling to stir up much offensive noise in a narrow loss to Arizona, FSU blasted the Seawolves 12-2 to stay alive.
Sparked by home runs from Justin Gonzalez and Devon Travis in back-to-back innings, the Seminoles (49-16) rattled Stony Brook (52-15) for 11 hits on the way to a third double-digit scoring output in the last four games.
FSU removed most of the doubt in the third inning with six two-out runs, Gonzalez providing the crescendo with a three-run home run. An inning later, Travis socked a two-run bomb with two outs.
“Tremendous lifts when you can get five runs with two swings of the bat,” Seminoles coach Mike Martin said. “And that was a pleasant surprise.”
The way starting pitcher Mike Compton may not have been a huge surprise, but his solid outing was certainly welcome.
|Mike Compton: Improves to 12-2 with 6 solid innings in a 12-2 victory|
Compton (12-2) stymied the Seawolves for six innings, allowing only six hits and two runs as Stony Brook scored the fewest runs in a two-game CWS appearance (3) since Kansas in 1993.
The Seawolves had some early chances to put a dent in the FSU lead but they were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and caught a bad break when Willie Carmona’s double to right center field wound up in a fan’s hand, which wiped out a run Sal Intagliata would have scored easily.
“They like to string a few hits together, really get them going,” Compton said of Stony Brook. “So for me it was all about making sure I hit my spots, keeping the ball low and, especially with the offense we had (Sunday) – they were on fire – I wanted to get them back in the dugout and hitting as soon as possible.”
The Seminoles got plenty of hacks in the third inning to turn the game upside down.
Florida State generated an unconventional run in the top of the first inning when Devon Travis dashed home safely on the back end of a botched hit-and-run. Jayce Boyd struck out with James Ramsey in motion, but Ramsey alertly stopped on the base paths when he saw the swing-and-miss and got caught in a rundown long enough to give Travis a window of opportunity.
There were no flukes in the third inning, although a Seawolves’ error also helped prop the door open.
Stony Brook pitcher Brandon McNitt got two outs to start the frame before Sherman Johnson breathed some life into the FSU at-bat by rolling a single through the middle. Travis lashed another hit to left field to put two runners on for Ramsey and he dumped an RBI double to right-center field.
The inning almost ended when Boyd stroked what looked like a routine grounder to shortstop Cole Peragine. But after a clean scoop, his throw was wild to first base and that allowed Travis and Ramsey to motor around for a 4-0 cushion.
After Stephen McGee walked to keep the inning alive, Gonzalez took ball one and then slammed a ball into the left-field bullpen, padding the lead to 7-0. The six runs in the inning all came with two outs and five were unearned.
In FSU’s 4-3 loss to Arizona on Friday, Gonzalez committed two errors from his shortstop spot and both led to runs in a game when every tally was at a premium.
“Coach stresses all the time that in the game of baseball, one day you’re the hero, next day you’re the villain,” Gonzalez said.
There was plenty of company for Gonzalez.
McNitt came back out for the fourth inning and again got two outs after issuing a leadoff walk to John Holland. Travis fell behind 1-and-2 and then unloaded a screaming line drive to the same spot Gonzalez had unloaded to pad the lead to 7-0.
|Devon Travis: His 2-run home run gave the Seminoles a 9-0 lead and was one of his three hits three runs|
“You can’t against good teams make the mistakes we made and expect to survive,” said Stony Brook coach Matt Senk, who fought back tears throughout his team’s session with the media.
“If you make mistakes, good teams make you pay. And I think that we never got into a rhythm or got ourselves playing to the point where you kind of make those breaks for yourselves.”
The only time that happened was in the fifth inning when the Seawolves finally got to Compton.
Kevin Courtney started the frame with a double – Stony Brook’s only leadoff hit of the game – and with one out Travis Jankowski whacked a single to center field. Even then, Courtney couldn’t read the ball well enough to get a jump and had to scramble back to second base. An error on Ramsey, his first of the season, allowed both runners to move up, though.
Pat Cantwell rolled out to second base to score Courtney and Carmona whipped a base hit to right field to plate Jankowski.
After that, Compton settled back in and retired four of the final five hitters he faced. Three FSU relievers logged a scoreless inning to finish off the Seawolves, who were making their first CWS appearance.
“Our guys were very impressed with what Stony Brook had done,” Martin said. “We know how talented and how good they are and we went out there and tried to play as hard as we’ve played against anybody all year because we knew what this ball club from Stony Brook is capable of doing.”
Following the mild Stony Brook uprising, Florida State responded and then some to put the game away.
A walk and Seth Miller’s double with one out brought Johnson up and he uncorked a two-run double and then scored himself on Travis’ two-bagger – his third hit of the night.
The top third of the Seminoles’ batting order – Johnson, Travis and Ramsey – was a collective 7-for-13 with six runs and six RBIs.
FSU stays alive and will play at 7 p.m. Tuesday against either UCLA or Arizona in an elimination game.
NoleDigest Video: 'Noles 12, 'Wolves 2
Get inside coverage of your favorite team. Click here now to get started.