TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State is headed to Omaha for their 21st College World Series appearance after punching their ticket Sunday night with an 18-7 beatdown of Stanford.
The Seminoles dominated Stanford over the weekend, outscoring the Cardinal 35-8 over two games to sweep the Tallahassee Super Regional and advance to Omaha, Neb.
Florida State jumped out to an early lead Sunday evening when 1B Jayce Boyd hit a two out, two-run homer to put the Seminoles up 2-0 in the first inning. In the following frame FSU tacked on four more runs behind a Stephen Spradling RBI single and a three-run Sherman Johnson bomb toright-center.
“They got some big hits tonight right off the bat,” said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. “They got those two [early] home runs, two swings of the bat they’ve got five runs.”
Stanford’s starter, Brett Mooneyham (7-6) worked just one inning, giving up five earned runs while facing just eight hitters. Before even coming to the
plate for the second time, Stanford was down 6-0 and starting to press.
“We didn’t quit,” said Stanford LF Stephen Piscotty. “Going into today, the goal was to get ahead early, but if we got down we were going to fire back. We had nothing to lose. I think our team did that.”
The Cardinal actually managed to out-hit Florida State 18-13, but failed to put together timely at-bats in big situations early on, stranding 14 runners, and hitting into three inning ending double plays.
On the hill for the Seminoles Mike Compton (11-2) worked 4 innings, giving up 11 hits, but allowing just two runs (both earned) and leaving Florida State in position to win the game.
He left before he could become the pitcher of record however, turning the game over to Gage Smith with men on in the middle of the 5th. Smith worked 2.1 innings for the win, giving up four runs, three earned, before being chased as Stanford tried to rally late in the game.
“They had us on the ropes, so to speak,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin.
“All of the sudden it’s 10-6 and the bases are loaded and [Stephen] Piscotty is at the plate.”
Down 10-2 in bottom of the 7th, Stanford batted around, knocking out Smith and reliever Luke Weaver and plating four runs before senior Hunter Scantling induced a ground-ball to third for the final out.
But with the Stanford bats heating up and the game now 10-6, Florida State looked to have lost all momentum.
The Seminoles weren’t content to ride it out and cling to a shrinking lead though.
Florida State answered Stanford’s 4-run 7th with an 8-run top of the 8th inning that included a Seth Miller grand slam. The inning put FSU up 18-6 and ended any chances Stanford had of forcing a game three.
“The 7th inning got a little interesting,” said Martin. “But the 8th inning for us was the difference, the way we kept our poise, got back in and had a big inning, of course highlighted by Seth [Miller’s] home run.”
Florida State will play Arizona in their first College World Series game in Omaha.
“It’s a year that, we’re not through [yet],” said Martin. “But at the same time we’re going to enjoy this for the next 24 hours.”