Regional Insider

<b>Rhett James </b>had more on his mind than the Central Florida Knights Saturday afternoon. A senior who has emerged from the bullpen to become the ace of the Florida State Seminole staff knows he has an opportunity that didn't seem possible during stretches this season.

Rhett James had more on his mind than UCF Saturday afternoon. A senior who has emerged from the bullpen to become the ace of the Seminole staff knows he has an opportunity that didn't seem possible during stretches this season.

"I wanted to throw a great game not only for the team but for the fans," he said.

"I wanted to show them we were going to Omaha. A lot of guys are stepping up and that's what we need to go to Omaha. We were underestimated at the beginning of he season but now were playing well and showing people that we are Florida State and were going to do what we've been doing for the past 25 years."

That competitive fire was evident when coach Mike Martin came with the hook in the eighth inning. James took two steps into the dugout before hurling his glove into a trashcan.

"I'm a competitive person," said James. "I don't care if were up 15-0 and they need to get some other guys work, I never want to come out of the game. That's the way I am. It usually takes me half an inning or so to cool down."

Said Martin of the change: "He wouldn't talk to me. He's such a competitor. He did not want to leave the game. But where they were in the lineup…we have people in the bullpen that are very reliable and we didn't hesitate."

NO MEAT

Once again the middle of the order was relatively silent for FSU. The 2-4 hitters (Stephen Drew, Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Aaron Cheesman) for the Seminoles are a combined 3-for-22 so far in the tournament.

It hasn't mattered.

No. 9 hitter Dennis Anderson turned in a 3-for-3 day and against UCF, Matt Sauls kick started the offense with a double off the right field screen.

"You almost expect it at this time," Sauls said. "It seems like every week there's a new guy stepping up. You don't really think about the guys who aren't hitting so well, you have to get up there and do what you always do. Of course you need those guys to continue stepping up but you can't just rely on your top three guys to go to Omaha."

Helping matters – the first five hitters in the UCF order managed just one hit.

WELL RESTED

The FSU bullpen has thrown just two innings in two games. Kevin Lynch faced just one batter, throwing five pitches before giving up an RBI double to Marshall Bernahrd.

Every arm with the exception of James and Eddie Cannon will be available tomorrow, a huge asset given the possibility of a doubleheader.

Mark Sauls will get the ball in the first game.

MISC.

UCF, Oklahoma State and a handful of fans watched Birdsong overtake Smarty Jones in the homestretch to win the Belmont on the Dick Howser jumbotron. Birdsong's victory was met with a chorus of boos…..A moment of silence was observed for late President Ronald Reagan after a PA announcement an the flag in center field was lowered to half mast. ……Wichita State defeated Arkansas 4-3 in 11 innings

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I've bit my tongue way too many times; sometimes you have to do a Bobby Knight. I just don't think we get the respect. Were talking about officiating. ….When the other coach comes up to you and tells you that your pitcher got screwed, you deifintly have to say something. It's just ridiculous. These kid have earned the right to be here…I'm embarrassed for the officiating and the people who were picked to do those games."
Bethune coach Mervyl Melendez

GAME 3: OKLAHOMA STATE 4, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 1

Melendez recognizes that with tradition, comes respect. And according to him, a lack of both contributed his team's 4-1 loss to Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon.

The defeat – their seventh straight in Regional play – eliminated the Wildcats (27-28) from NCAA tournament contention.

B-CC starter Jahsan Page (6-4) was laudable in defeat aside from some first-inning struggles and a mental miscue in the seventh. Page, hampered by a perceived inconsistency in officiating, gave up all four Cowboy runs in seven innings of work.

"I don't think we get any respect," Melendez said. "We're talking about officiating. It's really sad we've been to six Regionals and we still have games called the way they have been in the last two days."

Page, visibly aggravated by the numerous ball calls on close pitches, walked six.

"I was throwing the ball on the inside corner of the plate and (the umpire) wasn't giving it at all," he said. "The way he was squeezing me I didn't have much to work with."

Jason Jaromillo's three-run homer to center provided all the offense the Cowboys would need. When Melendez called for Page to intentionally walk Jaromillo in the seventh, an errant pitch allowed Rusty Ryal to score from third.

The Wildcats never untracked their bats against Thomas Cowley (8-3), who tossed a complete game. B-CC struck for both its hits in the seventh when Roberto Rodriguez crossed home on a groundout by Luis Turmero. Rust was a factor.

"Hitting is timing," said Melendez, whose team had played just three games in the three weeks leading up NCAA play. "If you don't have that you're not going to swing the bat well. Were definitely a better hitting ballclub."

The sentiment was the same as it was after B-CC's loss to host FSU; for the second straight day the Wildcat's had beaten themselves before their opposition had the opportunity.

"I was let down," Rodriguez said of the competition. "I was expecting a little more to tell you the truth. Not to take anything away from the teams we played, but I don't think we brought our A-game."


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