June 8, 2008
Seminoles Smash Back
FSU triumphs to force Game 3
By Matt Hickman
Sports Editor, FSView
Matt Hickman is a senior at
Florida State University and looks
forward to graduating at summer's end. He hails from Lakeland,
Fla., but currently resides in Tallahassee. Matt is currently
the head sports editor for his school's newspaper, the FSView.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -
Facing elimination Saturday for the fifth time this postseason,
the Florida State Seminoles prevailed 14-4 over Wichita State.
With their season on the brink, the FSU players showed
tremendous energy and intensity - they were not going to lose
On the hill for the ’Noles was
sophomore Matt Fairel, the owner of an 11-2 record and 3.67 ERA.
Pitching against him was the Shockers’ Aaron Shafer and his 2.67
FSU was without the services of
shortstop Tony Delmonico after his injuring his ankle and shin
during Friday’s game. The team reshuffled its lineup, moving
sophomore Jason Stidham from second base to shortstop and
inserting Tommy Oravetz at second. The ’Noles got the best of
Wichita State’s pitchers despite not having one of their best
players in the lineup, scoring early and often.
WSU posted three runs in the
bottom of the first inning, capped by second baseman Josh
Workman’s two-RBI single. Fairel rebounded from his shaky first
inning to shut down the Shockers’ offense the rest of the way.
“In an elimination game
especially, you can’t lose your composure,” Fairel said. “I
adjusted. I knew I was in there for the long haul. My defense
picked me up, and the offense started rolling. After that first
inning, I had confidence in all three of my pitches.”
After scoring one run in the
first inning, Florida State added two more in the second, one
coming on a home run from third baseman Stuart Tapley. The
Seminoles’ biggest scoring output came in the third inning when
they erupted for five. Sparking the big inning was first baseman
Dennis Guinn, who fought back from an 0-2 count to collect a
singe and force Shafer to throw nine pitches in the at-bat.
“That five runs we got in the
third inning were encouraging,” Florida State coach Mike Martin
said. “We just stayed with what worked all year long. Dennis’
at-bat especially was huge because it kept the inning going.”
Catcher Buster Posey came to the
plate later in frame with the bases loaded, and the All-American
delivered once again, coming through with a two-run single to
give him 89 RBI on the season.
Shafer exited with a final line
of 2.2 innings, allowing ten hits and eight runs.
“I think the scoreboard speaks
for itself,” Shafer said. “Everything they hit in fair territory
was a hit. Nothing was at anybody. I needed one little break,
one little anything, and I couldn’t get it. They were patient,
and they didn’t miss. That sums up my whole day right there.”
Even with the offensive
explosion, the story of the game was the dominant pitching of
Fairel. The left-hander matched a career-high eight innings,
striking out six and giving up four runs. After the third
inning, Fairel permitted just three Shockers to reach base,
retiring 12 in a row at one point.
Reliever Ben Francis entered the
game in the ninth for a one-two-three inning to finalize the
victory for the Tribe.
Wichita State and pitcher Anthony
Capra now have the task of halting the FSU momentum in the
deciding game Sunday.
“We still have the same goals in
front of us as we started the day,” WSU coach Gene Stephenson
said. “We’re coming to play tomorrow, and if we get a well
pitched game, I like our chances. We aren’t going to win by
giving up 14 runs. We’ll see what happens.”
Florida State will counter with
freshman Geoff Parker in the hopes of making its first trip to
Omaha since 2000.