By Ariel Bedford Web Editor/Blitz Series Producer
Peaking at the absolute optimum point of the season, Florida State’s Baseball Team finished off a successful week for the Seminole program with a victory that gave the school its 21st berth into the NCAA College World Series…
With seven FSU players being selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, and pitchers Mike Compton and Brandon Leibrandt being selected as Freshman All-Americans, State had plenty of momentum heading into their NCAA Tourney home series against Pac-12 titans Stanford. On the field is where FSU has been scary good as of late, blazing through the Regional round with relative ease. That trend continued in the Supers, where the Seminoles’ offense continued its late season explosion, thanks in part to a 2-run HR in the 1st by Junior Jayce Boyd that started an onslaught the Cardinal bullpen simply could not contain. In Game One Stanford’s ace Mark Appel admitted the atmosphere in the Pac-12 “was a little different than the ACC” as partial explanation for his sub-par performance, and in Game Two Cardinal Pitcher Brett Mooneyham didn’t fair much better, lasting for only 35 pitches after giving up five runs on three hits and two walks.
In the third inning Sherman Johnson, Jr. blew the game open with a 3-run HR to right-field, bringing home Stephen Spradling and Josh Delph. The bomb matched his teammate Boyd as the 4th home run on the regular season and sixth career post-season job for both players. Stanford did get on the scoreboard after loading the bases by way of Right Fielder Austin Wilson’s chopper that Pitcher Mike Compton couldn’t wrestle down in time for a clean throw to first base, scoring 2nd Baseman Danny Diekroeger from third. Ultimately, the glove and arm of FSU’s Second Baseman was the difference, with Palm Beach Central High alum Devon Travis being involved in four double plays on defense that stopped multiple Cardinal offensive threats before they could put FSU’s ticket to Omaha in jeopardy. The closest Stanford got was 10-6 in the 7th inning, but a gargantuan 8-run 8th inning that saw the ‘Noles bat through the order sealed the deal for State. In the aforementioned inning Left Fielder Seth Miller put FSU squarely in control once and for all with a grand slam to right center-field, which was even more satisfying considering all of Miller’s home-runs in 2012 have been bonafied base-clearers.
FSU’s Compton gave up 11 hits, but was bailed out by solid infield glove play and plenty of offensive cushion. Once he and Gage Smith were subbed for, the three relievers FSU used out of the bullpen only gave up 1 run and struck out five batters. The pitching has been consistent all year long, and was definitely on display in Dick Howser Stadium for the 4,673 rabid fans (including Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher who led the stadium in the infamous N-O-L-E-S ‘Noles cheer on ESPN’s live game TV broadcast) in attendance. By not letting Stanford cash in on all their hits in the game, FSU was able to run away with another W, the final score of 18-7 being proof of the ‘Noles’ control over their opponents in the post-season.
FSU’s Gage Smith said that his teammates were poised to “go all the way” after winning their Regional Tourney. With the Seminoles winning the Tallahassee Super Regionals in convincing fashion, the team is showing that it truly has what it takes to make more than enough noise in the NCAA College World Series.