June 18, 2012

CWS Game 7 Notes


Kent State hangs on to eliminate No. 1 Florida

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder



OMAHA, Neb. – This one went down to the final pitch.


No. 1 Florida left the bases full in the top of the ninth in falling 5-4 to Kent State in the 2012 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park.


The Golden Flashes (47-19) will face the loser of the South Carolina-Arkansas contest in an elimination game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. Florida ends its season at 47-20.


KSU left-hander Michael Clark walked Preston Tucker and went 2-0 on Mike Zunino to start the ninth. Right-hander Josh Pierce came in and threw two out of the strike zone to put Zunino on. Cody Dent pinch-hit and put down a sacrifice bunt on a 3-2 pitch. Daniel Pigott was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Casey Turgeon got ahead in the count 3-0 and took a called strike. The 3-1 pitch looked wide, but was called a strike. Turgeon had a check swing on the 3-2 pitch and started toward first. Home plate umpire Phil Benson appealed to Jeff Henrichs at third, who rang up Turgeon on a strikeout. Justin Shafer sent the first pitch in the air to right, which was secured by T.J. Sutton to give the win to the Golden Flashes.


“I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish,” said KSU head coach Scott Stricklin. “We just beat a great team, a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country. And well-coached, really talented. And we were able to find a way to win. It wasn't the prettiest thing in the end. It was gut-wrenching no matter who you were rooting for. Even if you weren't rooting for anybody, that was tough to watch. But we found a way. That's what this team has done all year long, and we're still here. We're still in Omaha and proud to be here.”

Kent State got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Jimmy Rider reached on an error, moved to third in a single by David Lyon and scored on a base hit by George Roberts to give the Golden Flashes a 1-0 advantage.


Florida starter Hudson Randall (9-3, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 UE, 1 K) could not continue after the first inning. The athletic trainers attended to him behind the mound with two away in the first before he got a strikeout to end the frame. Jonathon Crawford took over in the bottom of the second for the Gators.


The Flashes greeted Crawford rudely, plating three in the second for a 4-0 advantage. Rider (2 for 5, 3 R), Lyon (3 for 5) and Roberts (2 for 4) had consecutive RBI singles with two away for KSU.


The Gators dented home plate in the top of the third. Josh Tobias was plunked to start the frame, moved to second on a one-out walk to Nolan Fontana and scored on a two-out single by Zunino (2 for 4) to make it a 4-1 contest.


KSU added a run in the fourth as Rider ripped a liner to left for a double, just missing the glove of a diving Justin Shafer. Rider moved to third and scored on a pair of wild pitches to extend the lead to 5-1.


Florida got one back in the sixth as Pigott had a one-out single and scored on a two-out double by Shafer (2 for 5) to make it 5-2.


The Gators got within one in the seventh. Taylor Gushue drew a leadoff walk, while Fontana and Tucker followed with singles to load the bases. Zunino’s base hit to center plated Gushue and kept the bases loaded. Brian Johnson grounded into a double play, with Fontana scoring on the play to make it 5-4. Pigott lined out to second to end the threat.


Florida has base-runners in every inning and stranded 12. KSU had runners in each of the first seven frames and left 10 on base.


Sawyer Polen and Jason Bagoly both finished with two hits for the Golden Flashes.


Ryan Bores (10-3) got the win, going six innings with six hits and two runs with two walks and one strikeout. Josh Pierce got the final three outs for his third save.