June 21, 2010

OMAHA – The Florida State Seminoles slugged three home runs and withstood a late rally from the Florida Gators to record an 8-5 win in an elimination contest on Monday at the College World Series.

The Gators wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard, pushing across the game’s first run in the top of the first.  Nolan Fontana and Josh Adams led off with two straight walks before Austin Maddox connected on a RBI single to give Florida a 1-0 lead.

Florida State tied the score at one in the bottom of the first when lead-off man Tyler Holt took a 3-2 pitch over the center-field wall for his 13th home run of the season.  

The Seminoles took the lead in the bottom of the third on another home run, this time a three-run shot off the bat of Mike McGee, which made it 4-1.  The blast was the first non-solo home run of the MCWS and McGee’s 16th of the year.  The Gators escaped a jam later in the inning when starter Hudson Randall struck out Devon Travis with the bases loaded.

FSU added one run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-1.  Following a pair of singles with one out by Holt and Sherman Johnson, McGee laid down a successful squeeze bunt to bring home Holt from third.
Jonathan Pigott trimmed the Gators’ deficit to three in the top of the fifth by belting his third home run of the season over the right-field wall.  The shot was just Florida’s second hit of the game.

UF attempted to rally in the top of the seventh when Pigott and Fontana produced singles to put two on with one out for the second straight inning, but Seminole reliever Geoff Parker got his team out of the jam with a pair of fly outs.

The Florida State lead increased to 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Stephen Cardullo cleared the batter’s eye in center field for his 11th home run of the season.  The roundtripper marked the third homer of the day for Florida State.  The Seminoles were not done in the inning, however, as Jayce Boyd singled, and two batters later Rafael Lopez walked, setting the stage for an RBI single by Tyler Holt.
More insurance came in the bottom of the eighth when Boyd produced a RBI single through the left side after McGee led off the frame with a double to the left-center alley.

Florida threatened in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out on two singles and a fielding error.  Preston Tucker then cleared the bases with a double down the right-field line, pulling the Gators to within three at 8-5.  Maddox followed with a single, and after Matt den Dekker was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with one out.  But Zunino lined into a game-ending double play at second base and FSU held on.

Florida State, which improved to 14-19 all-time in elimination games, will play either TCU or UCLA in another elimination match-up on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.  They were led offensively by McGee, who finished 2-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBI.  Starter Brian Busch picked up the win, allowing just two runs on two hits in 5.1 innings of work.  McGee also recorded his 12th save of the season, moving to the mound from left field in the ninth.

Tucker led Florida with three RBI on the day, while Pigott, Fontana and Maddox added two hits apiece.  Randall was on the losing side of a decision for the first time since April 4, spanning a stretch of 10 starts.  He allowed four runs on four hits in 2.2 innings on the mound.

Florida finishes the season with a 47-17 overall record, while moving to 5-6 all-time in elimination contests at the College World Series.  It had previously been 2-0 all-time in such contests against Florida State at the CWS.