FSU Loses Game One To Hogs
A pair of RBI singles by Devin Day and Scott Bridges capped a three-spot for the Razorbacks in the bottom of the fifth, turning a two-run deficit into a 6-5 advantage.
"This has been the story of our season," junior third baseman Clay Goodwin said. "We like to make things interesting. Without the suspense, it wouldn't be any fun."
Danny Hamblin added run-scoring base hit in the eighth for the Razorbacks, who needed two come-from-behind wins last weekend against Wichita State to advance to super regional play.
The Hogs (44-22) now own the upper hand in the best-of-three series for the right to advance to the College World Series.
"That was an impressive display of poise," said FSU coach Mike Martin. "We couldn't stop them every inning they had base runner. They make you beat them we weren't able to do that today."
Arkansas hammered out 17 hits against three Seminole pitchers – ten against starter Rhett James (10-3), who took the loss. James gave up a season-high six runs – three earned – in 4 2/3 innings of work.
The unearned runs proved most costly. In the fifth, normally reliable catcher Aaron Cheesman mishandled a relay home that would have likely cut down Scott Hode at the plate to end the inning after Hamblin doubled to right-center .The deciding singles by Day and Bridges ensued.
"As soon as I saw the flight of the ball I knew it was going to be a tough play for him," Martin said. "The ball was a little in between. It wasn't a ball that you see as being a routine play."
FSU scored all five of its runs with two-outs, but the magic faded late. The Seminoles (45-22) had an opportune chance to retaliate when they loaded the bases for Ryne Malone in the sixth. After working the count to 3-1, Malone lifted a lazy fly to right to end the threat.
Razorback closer Jay Sawatski retired nine of the next fourteen hitters he faced from the point on to earn his sixth save of the season.
"We would have had him taking if we were behind more than we were," said Martin of Malone's at-bat. "But when you got a guy with his kind of ability up there, you're certainly going turn him loose. He had a good swing at the ball."
The see-saw contest featured four ties and five lead changes and not once was the side retired in order by either team.
"(Malone's at bat) was the biggest pitch of he game," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We thought about going with a change-up but decided on a fastball. We got him to pop up, caught out breaths and held on from there."
Hode – mired in a 2-for-32 slump heading into the game - led the Razorbacks with a four hit performance. Boyd Goodner (3-3) picked up the victory with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Shane Robinson had three hits for the Seminoles while Cheesman, Malone, Bryan Zech and Gibbs Chapman each contributed a pair. Chapman's two-run double in the top of fifth gave FSU a short-lived lead before Arkansas took over for good in the bottom of the frame. FSU tallied 14 hits but left 13 runners on base.
Tomorrow's game can be seen on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. EST. FSU's Eddie Cannon (9-6) will get the start opposite Charley Boyce (9-2).
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