June 3, 2012

CBI Live: #3 Samford 3, #2 Mississippi State 2

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FSU Feeling Super

By Andrew Krause



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After watching Florida State’s veterans lead the team to victories on Friday and Saturday night, some relatively unheralded position players came through Sunday in a 5-2 victory that eliminated Samford and clinched a fifth consecutive Super Regional berth for the Seminoles.


The Seminoles (46-15) got their bats going in the bottom of the second off starter C.K. Irby, who had earned a save in Samford’s win over Mississippi State earlier in the day. Jayce Boyd (right) led off with a single, and Stephen McGee walked before Justin Gonzalez sacrificed them over to second and third.  Right fielder Josh Delph drove them both in with a sharply hit single to left field.


“I was just thinking about letting the ball get as deep as possible,” Delph said. “I struck out twice last night on curveballs, so I just wanted to make sure it got deep, and I saw it well and just used my hands well.”


Delph (2 for 3, R, BB) later scored in the inning on a sacrifice fly from the nine-hitter Jose Brizuela.


“It was huge,” Delph said of the production from the bottom of the order. “Me and Justin [Gonzalez] joked around in the locker room after the game last night that the bottom of the order is going to take over today because we haven’t been doing so hot early in the Regionals.  It just felt great.”


The Seminoles kept up their hot hitting in the third frame against Tyler Vanderheiden, who came in to replace Irby (5-2, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, K). Devon Travis singled, James Ramsey walked, and Boyd (1 for 3) was hit by a pitch before Stephen McGee drove home two with a single to right.


“He had some good stuff,” said McGee (1 for 3, R, BB). “What I was trying to do was just see the ball all the way…and it just got over the head of the second basemen. It felt great to come through like that.”


“We got off to a bad start,” Samford coach Casey Dunn said. “They punched us in the mouth right out of the gate. We tried to fight back a little bit.”


Mike Compton was able to keep the Bulldogs (41-23) quiet until the fifth inning. Irby (1 for 2, R, BB) reached on an error by shortstop Justin Gonzalez, Christiaan Durdaller doubled, and Tommy Corbin came through with a single to make it 5-2.  However, Compton (11-2) was able to bear down and get Zeth Stone to ground into an inning-ending double play.


“That was a big play, no question,” FSU coach Mike Martin (left) said. “They had a little momentum going and the guy that hit it—their leadoff hitter Zeth Stone, is a very difficult guy to double up, but Sherman Johnson made a nice play and Devon [Travis] turned it. Something we really needed at the time. Two outs on one pitch is still huge in this game.”


Samford reliever Michael Gunter helped keep the Bulldogs close, keeping the Seminoles off of the board from the fifth to eighth innings after entering in the middle of the fourth. Gunter (0 R, 3 BB) did not allow a hit and struck out six in his 5.2 innings.


Still trailing by three, Samford outfielder Brandon Miller led off the top of the seventh with a double, forcing Martin to replace Compton (6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 Ks) with reliever Gage Smith. Smith walked the first batter he faced, but was able to get out of the jam after picking Miller (1 for 4) off of second base and inducing two groundball outs. 


“That was our chance to push a couple across right there, and it’s a whole different game,” Dunn said. “It was a big missed opportunity, but at the same time I thought their guys did a great job of attacking our hitters.”


Smith (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K) worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning before giving way to closer Robert Benicasa for the top of the ninth. 


“I thought Gage, in relief of Michael today, was a big part of our win,” Martin said. “He [Compton] was around the mid-80’s [in pitch count], I believe, when we made the decision to go to Gage and Gage showed, as Compton did, great poise.”


Benicasa (1 IP, K) set down the Bulldogs in order en route to his 15th save of the year.


“If you told us at the beginning of the season it would end in a Regional final in Tallahassee in front of a packed house, we would’ve all been pretty happy,” Dunn said. “Obviously, when you end the season on a loss, it’s pretty tough. These guys played their hearts out. I can’t be any prouder of the way we competed.”



·    Florida State will advance to its 12th NCAA Super Regional and play host to the winner of the Paolo Alto Regional next weekend

·    The Seminoles now have won 16 consecutive regional games

·    Samford placed three players on the All-Regional team—Brandon Miller (OF), Charles Basford (P) and C.K. Irby (DH)

·    FSU placed four players on the All-Regional team—Most Outstanding Player James Ramsey (OF), Sherman Johnson (3B), Josh Delph (OF) and Brandon Leibrandt (P)

·    FSU freshman Mike Compton earned the win and improved to 11-2 on the year. It’s the most wins by a freshman since Sean Gilmartin (12, 2009)


(photos courtesy of FSU Media Relations Office)