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June 16, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. It might have been a new venue, but the demons of Omaha once again surfaced for Florida State late Friday night as the mistake-riddled Seminoles dropped their CWS opener 4-3 to Arizona in 12 innings.
The Seminoles (48-16) committed two costly errors, left eight men on base, and had runners make outs on the base paths in both the 10th and 11th innings.
Arizona left fielder Johnny Field delivered the game-winning hit in the top of the 12th with an RBI double to the gap in right center.
"Sometimes you can look at a game like this and just, you know, it's over with, you move on to the next ballgame," FSU head coach Mike Martin, whose team will face Stony Brook (52-14), who fell to UCLA 9-1 in Friday's earlier game, on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET in an elimination game.
"Because we didn't kick the ball around and cost ourselves a bunch of runs," Martin said. "Arizona beat us. They did a good job. And there's no finger pointing to any of our players."
Tied at 3-3 since the sixth inning, FSU had a chance to win the game in each extra inning but couldn't come up with the plays it needed.
Devon Travis led off the 10th with a single, and after a James Ramsey strikeout, Travis was thrown out trying to steal second on a botched hit-and-run call with Jayce Boyd at the plate.
In the 11th Justin Gonzalez reached on a one-out single to right, but was picked off at first base just a few pitches later. Delph followed with a strikeout to end the inning.
Even in the 12th FSU still had a chance to further extend the four hour, seven minute duration as Seth Miller reached on a hit by pitch with one out to turn things back over to the top of the order. Johnson advanced the speedy outfielder to third on a ground out to first base, but Travis went down swinging on a full-count four-seam fastball.
"With a 3 2 count, I notice that the hitters they don't want to look," said Arizona reliever Mathew Troupe, who earned the win after working the 2.2 innings. "They don't want to strike out looking, so they're kind of swinging. I just wanted to make sure I threw a strike and I knew my defense would help me? I guess I cut it a little bit. I don't really try to do that. But, yeah, it was a fastball."
While in the end it wasn't a FSU error that led to the winning run for Arizona, sloppy fielding is what put FSU in an early 3-1 hole.
The Wildcats struck first with an RBI single by Joey Rickard off of FSU starter Brandon Leibrandt. Two batters later Leibrandt looked to have induced a ground ball out that would had limited the damage, but Gonzalez booted the ball for the first of his two errors, leading to an unearned run for Leibrandt on an RBI single.
Arizona added another run in the fifth. Gonzalez committed his second error as he dropped the ball in a rundown after an RBI single by Robert Refsnyder. While the second misstep didn't cost FSU an extra run, the earlier mistakes did lead to an early exit for Leibrandt after just 4.1 innings. The true freshman allowed three runs, two earned on six hits and now walks with five strikeouts.
In the bottom of the sixth FSU designated hitter John Holland delivered the big hit that FSU had been waiting for, smoking a two-run double to gap in left center field to tie it at 3-3.
"Definitely a big boost for John to get that hit," said Sherman Johnson, who put FSU on the board with a solo home run in the third inning. "It put us right back in the game. And it was like the whole dugout was rejuvenated."
After Holland's hit, the two teams combined for just three hits until Arizona had a pair of double and a run in the 12th inning off of Robert Benincasa. The junior closer was stellar up until his finial inning as he stuck out five and didn't allow a hit in his first three innings of work.
Troupe and fellow freshman Tyler Crawford combined to allow just two hits in 4.1 innings of work, no walks, and struck out four to end it.
"Real proud of our two freshmen coming out of the pen, Tyler Crawford and Matt Troupe," Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. "Combined, they had no walks, which I think is a crucial thing with Coach Martin's club. They do a marvelous job with the strike zone."
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