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June 19, 2012

CWS: FSU looking to stay hot against UCLA

OMAHA, Neb.-- Florida State just didn't feel like themselves in an extra-innings loss to Arizona on Friday. The Seminoles got back into the swing of things on Sunday, however, crushing Stony Brook 12-2 in an elimination game.

Now the third-seeded Seminoles (49-16) will look to keep the momentum going in another elimination game against the No. 2 seed UCLA (48-15) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

"We've got 27 guys in our dugout that are feeling great about the things we did (Tuesday) and we're going to try and ride that momentum," said FSU captain James Ramsey.

"It's definitely a big momentum change," added freshman John Holland. "We got down a little bit knowing that we should have beat a team like Arizona coming in here. (Sunday) was big, not just absolutely winning, but the amount of runs that we were able to put up."

In the Super Regionals against Stanford, FSU scored 17 and 18 runs in the two-game sweep, so when they struggled to get things going against Arizona they began to press at the plate, swinging at balls outside of the strike zone.

On Sunday FSU was much more relaxed at the plate as they scored 12 runs on 11 hits, six of which were for extra bases. That includes home runs by Justin Gonzalez (9) and Devon Travis (8).

In its three lopsided victories this postseason, FSU had innings where it scored at least six runs three times, and twice the 'Noles have come back and scored more in the following inning. That was the case on Sunday as FSU put up six runs in the third inning behind Gonzalez's homer and then scored two more in the fourth on Travis' long ball.

"I think we're definitely a momentum offense," Travis said. "When Sherman's going well that helps me out a little bit, when I'm going well I guess that helps Ramsey out, it's just the domino affect. That's just the game of baseball. I think the fact that a lot of guys were out there just saying lets have fun today, let's not let it be our last game in Omaha definitely helped us out."

FSU is hoping to put together a few more big innings against UCLA on Tuesday. The Bruins are hitting .307 as a team and average 6.2 runs per game. The Bruins will start Zack Weiss (3-2, 4.04 ERA) and they have plenty of depth in the bullpen behind him with a team ERA of 3.11.

"You really are impressed when you go from day one until their last game of the regular season," said FSU head coach Mike Martin. "They beat a lot of very good clubs. Their record is extremely impressive. They're a team that you have to play well to win. You can not make mistakes and expect to be successful."

Junior Scott Sitz (3-3, 3.99 ERA) will be the man tasked with keeping the Bruins' bats at bay as he makes his 13th start of the season. Sitz started against UAB in the first game of the NCAA Tournament on June 1, but hasn't made an appearance since.

"(My arm) feels great," said Sitz. "I warmed up a few times during the first game in the bullpen, but didn't get to go in. But I felt good."

The Jacksonville Beach native had the chance to pitch in the College World Series as a true freshman in 2010, pitching a scoreless inning in each of FSU's two losses to TCU. That experience is something that Martin believes can pay off for Sitz on Tuesday.

"He was put out there just for that opportunity to show what he could do number one, and also that if we could get back that it wouldn't be something new to him," Martin said.

Ramsey said during the teams off day he and the team's other veteran leaders made sure that the younger guys in the lineup came out relaxed on Sunday and will look to do the same on Tuesday.

"We took some of the young guys aside and said listen we're not done here at all," said Ramsey. "Our best baseball has yet to be played. You guys don't realize how quick this thing can flip on a dime for you momentum wise."



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