Wilson, Bucknell baffle Florida
By Sean Ryan
Move over Texas Southern. Step
aside Manhattan. Bucknell became one of the biggest
giant-killers of recent college baseball history Friday night.
Mathew Wilson tossed a
complete-game, six-hit shutout as the Bison stunned Florida
State 7-0. The Seminoles, the No. 4 national seed in this year’s
NCAA College Baseball Tournament, came in hitting a nation’s
best 350 and averaging 9.4 runs a game, were held to a whimper
by Wilson, who entered with a 4.22 ERA. While it marked the
first shutout of the year for Florida State, it also was the
Seminoles’ first loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
since 1992. The victory also marked the first NCAA tourney win
“Yes, I think so, it’s probably
the biggest win for our program,” Bucknell coach Gene Depew said
in an interview with CollegeBaseballInsider.com Friday night.
“Florida State is one of the biggest stages of college baseball
there is in the nation. To be able to come in in front of this
kind of crowd and do what we did, it’s a momentous occasion for
The upset - one of several
including Lipscomb knocking off No. 8 Georgia - stirred memories
of Texas Southern upsetting defending champion Rice in 2004 and
Manhattan stunning Joba Chamberlain and Nebraska in 2006. Both
the Owls and Cornhuskers were No. 6 national seeds and
legitimate national title contenders. Neither made it out of the
If the Seminoles (48-11) don’t
survive the weekend, they’ll likely have Wilson to blame.
Wilson, a senior from Toronto who
wears No. 9, went all nine, striking out three and forcing the
Seminoles to put the ball in play. When they did, the Bison
(30-22-2) made the plays.
“Mat is a pitcher, and a
competitor,” Depew said. “He’s not an overpowering guy, an 84-85
mph guy…he was very sharp with his control. He hit his spots, he
made his pitches, he kept the ball down.”
Depew gave almost as much credit
to catcher Shawn Hirsch and said that Wilson (6-1) told
reporters after the game that all he did was throw what Hirsch
wanted and where he wanted it. Hirsch contributed at the plate
as well, going 2 for 4 with two RBI, one each in three-run
second and fourth innings. Afterward, Depew said his catcher
needed an IV for dehydration.
Jason Buursma added two hits and
two runs as Bucknell scored three in the second, one in the
third and three more in the fourth off Geoff Parker (6-2) and Bo
“We fortunately got some
offensive momentum early, two three-run innings,” Depew said.
“That shifted pressure from seeing if we could compete with them
to seeing if they could come back and compete.”
Wilson and company wouldn’t allow
it. No FSU starter, including national player of the year Buster
Posey (1 for 3), tallied more than one hit. The crowd of 4,570
at Dick Howser Stadium was quiet for much of the night.
“The best ovation they had was
when they got us out 1-2-3 in the fifth inning,” Depew said.
“With the way the game went, they didn’t have much to cheer
about. And it’s a credit to the way we started and the way the
Not a bad trick pulled by a team
that was the fourth and final seed in the redesigned Patriot
League tourney (which previously welcomed three teams until this
year). The Bison went on the road and knocked off top seed Army
the first week of the conference tourney, then traveled to Navy
and upended the Midshipmen to earn its first trip to the NCAA
postseason since 2003.
Instead of simply relishing one
of the premier trips in college baseball, Bucknell came out
Friday night and was flawless.
And the Bison arguably pulled off
one of the biggest upsets in college baseball history.