June 19, 2012

CWS Game 9 Notes

Sitz pitches Florida State past UCLA

By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder



OMAHA, Neb. – It was a Sitz for sore eyes.


Junior right-hander Scott Sitz was dominant as No. 3 Florida State eliminated No. 2 UCLA 4-1 Tuesday at the 2012 College World Series in front of 23,409 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.


The Seminoles (50-16) will have to defeat Arizona on Thursday and again on Friday to advance to the championship series. The Bruins finish the season at 48-16.


Sitz (4-3) worked a season-high 6.2 innings with five hits, one walk and one run. He struck out eight for the second straight game.


“We all know that the pitching was definitely the key to the game,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “Scotty was just outstanding. It was a team win, but certainly it was dictated by the outstanding pitcher.”


The bullpen was perfect for the Seminoles. Senior Hunter Scantling got the final out in the seventh and worked a 1-2-3 eighth with one strikeout. Junior closer Robert Benincasa (left) retired the Bruins in order in the ninth, striking out the final two to notch his 16th save.


UCLA’s Zack Weiss (3-3), who had not pitched since June 3, was rusty and wild in the bottom of the first. After a leadoff walk to Sherman Johnson and a one-out single by James Ramsey (2 for 3), Weiss walked Jayce Boyd and Stephen McGee to force in the game’s first run and signaled an early exit for Weiss, his shortest outing of the season. Grant Watson took over on the mound and walked Justin Gonzalez to force in a second run. Josh Delph bounced into a 3-2-3 double play to end the frame with the Seminoles leading 2-0.


The Seminoles added to their lead in the fourth. With one away, Johnson, Devon Travis (2 for 3) and Ramsey has consecutive singles to load the bases, ending the night for Watson. Boyd greeted reliever Ryan Deeter with a bunt to the left side. Third baseman Kevin Kramer overran the ball, allowing Johnson to score. Travis kept on running past third and scored when Kramer’s throw went wide of the plate. Ball four to McGee got away from catcher Tyler Heineman and Ramsey started toward home. He retreated and was out on Heineman’s throw to Kramer. Gonzalez flew out to right to end the threat with FSU leading 4-0.


In the top of the sixth, Kevin Williams drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Beau Amaral (2 for 4). Tyler Heineman was plunked to load the bases for the Bruins. Cody Keefer singled up the middle to drive in Williams with the first run for UCLA. Sitz proceeded to fan the next three hitters to keep FSU up 4-1.


“When they had the bases loaded and I had already given up one run,” Sitz said, “I was thinking to myself, that's all I get because Coach [Mike] Bell preaches to us, if the bases are loaded, the most they get is one. I was thinking to myself, this could be the last batter that I face, so I've got to get him, and I gave it my all. They stuck with me. And after that third strikeout, I don't think I've ever been more pumped up in my life.”


Florida State could have scored more, tallying nine hits and eight walks. But the Seminoles hit into four double plays and stranded nine.


Johnson reached four times for FSU, going 2 for 3 with a pair of walks and two runs.


“He's a pest,” Martin said. “That's the only way I can describe Sherman Johnson. When he faced the guy throwing 90-whatever, the guy was bringing up little bitty baseballs there in the [eighth] inning, and Sherman gets up there and goes 7 or 8 pitches. There is your consummate leadoff hitter. I've been blessed in this program for a long time with excellent leadoff hitters. He is no fun if you are in the other dugout. I just thank God I'm in the dugout wearing the same uniform he's wearing.”


Williams had a two-out single in the seventh for the Bruins, but was the last base-runner for UCLA.


“Congratulations to Coach Martin and Florida State,” said UCLA head coach John Savage. “They were the better team and they were the more aggressive team from the first pitch, and that's why they deserve to go on. At the end of the day, it was their night.”


(Martin photo by Mike Olivella)