OMAHA, Neb. — Florida State and UCLA clash in a College World Series elimination game on Tuesday night, and as both teams play in their third game in five days in Omaha, each will be depending on their No. 3 starters to help them survive another day.
The Seminoles will start junior right-hander Scott Sitz (3-3, 3.99 ERA), while sophomore righty Zack Weiss (3-2, 3.47 ERA) will get the nod for the Bruins.
Neither pitcher has seen any action since the NCAA Regional. Sitz, FSU’s usual Sunday starter in the weekend rotation, opened the NCAA Tallahassee Regional on June 1 against UAB. He worked 4.1 innings, and struck out eight – the second-highest total of his career – in no-decision that the Seminoles eventually won 2-1.
But will there be any rust after an 18-day layoff?
“He’s a competitor and he’s not really worried about the fact he hasn’t thrown in a while,” FSU senior centerfielder James Ramsey said.
UCLA is in the same boat with Weiss. He has not pitched since starting UCLA’s 13-5 win against Creighton on June 3. Weiss gave up three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings pitched. It was the first victory in seven starts for Weiss, but like Sitz his routine has been thrown off a bit by the hiatus.
Regardless, UCLA head coach John Savage said his team will be ready to play. The Bruins, who fell to Arizona 4-0 on Sunday, boast a 12-2 record following a loss this season.
“One thing this team has done all year is been able to take blows,” Savage said. “Whenever you get in the other bracket, you just have to respond.”
Sitz will be making his seventh career appearance of the NCAA postseason, and third in the College World Series. He appeared in relief twice in the 2010 CWS, tossing a scoreless inning in two different games against TCU.
”Being able to go out to Omaha and throw two innings in front of all those people – at first it was definitely nerve-wracking and I was kind of nervous, but you have to think of it as it could be the last time I pitch for the rest of the year,” Sitz said. “I’ve got to make it good and help my team out.”
“His chance to pitch here in 2010 — one of the reasons why he was put out there was to get him some experience if we got back here,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said.
While Weiss was not a member of UCLA’s 2010 squad that played in Omaha, he started an NCAA tournament elimination game – an NCAA Regional contest against UC Irvine — during his freshman season. Weiss, who was drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school in 2010, tossed eight innings of UCLA’s eventual 4-3 loss to the Anteaters. He gave up three runs on six hits and three walks, but did not get the decision. He struck out six batters – the second-most of his career – in that outing.