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June 17, 2012
OMAHA, Neb.-- Chances are if Florida State shortstop Justin Gonzalez could wipe the memory of Friday night form his head he would.
The junior from Miami committed a pair of errors and was picked off at first base in a nightmare of a College World Series opener as FSU lost to Arizona 4-3.
With one swing on Sunday he may have done just that. In the third inning he crushed a three-run homer to left as FSU cruised to a 12-2 win over Stony Brook in an elimination game.
"That Friday game was a test of my faith I feel like," Gonzalez said. "To be able to bounce back like that, it wasn't me out there. It was kind of a revelation that God gives us this platform and he tests us and to be able to come out there and help my club the way I did, just shows that I was blessed today and able to do that. So as far as the game before, I mean it's just baseball, man. You're going to have your ups and downs as long as you stay level."
On Saturday the FSU coaching staff gave the team the day off from baseball as they didn't practice at all and the lone team activity was a visit to the Omaha Home for Boys, A community-based Residential Care Program that helps boys ages 10 to 18, thrive in a safe, family-style environment.
Gonzalez and the rest of his teammates said the visit was really just what they needed after Friday's gut-wrenching loss.
"It was awesome. Going to (The Omaha Home for Boys) it really put everything into perspective and showed us how thankful we should and how fortunate we are to even put on this uniform," said senior third baseman Sherman Johnson.
After the visit to the Omaha Home for Boys, Gonzalez spent the rest of the day with his family and close friend Devon Travis and his family.
Travis said he could tell Gonzalez was still down about Friday night and tried to cheer him up comfort him as they drove to Rosenblatt Stadium to see it one last time and headed out for some famous Omaha steaks with their families.
"(Saturday) was a great day for us; me and Justin spent about every minute of the day together," Travis said. "I know what it's like. I know what it's like to be the bad guy, to make a couple of errors and have a game where you're not hitting the ball like you want to. I just think as best friends like we are, you just gotta see through all that, and I tried to be that guy for him."
In the third inning when Gonzalez blasted his ninth homer of the year over the wall in left field to give FSU a 7-0 lead. As soon as the ball cleared the wall the entire Seminole dugout exploded with emotion.
"It was awesome," said Johnson, who is also Gonzalez's close friend. "It was a great swing and it was a great game for him. He had a couple of plays on defense that were nice and it was a great job bouncing back."
The hit was Gonzalez's lone knock of the game, but he looked much more comfortable at the plate as he put the ball in play in each at bat.
He wasn't the only one who looked more comfortable at the plate as FSU blasted Stony Brook fro 12 runs on 11 hits, including two home runs and four doubles.
"Coach stressed all the time that the game of baseball one day you're the hero, next day you're the villain," Gonzalez said. "We know in a series, Regional, Super Regional, College World Series, no matter what happens, we're not going to get too up or too down, we're just going to roll through it. Just having that leadership in Ramsey and having the chemistry we have on this team to pick each other up enables us to continue to roll through things, roll through punches.
"Everybody here knows what we want to do. We all want our goal was to win. And we just gotta continue to play hard, and the outcome, we're not focused on the outcome but we're just going to go out and play as if it's our last game every day."
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