OMAHA, Neb. – Florida State was limited to four hits and left nine runners on base in an 8-1 loss to TCU in the first game of the 2010 College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Seminoles will now play Monday, June 21 at 4:30 p.m. EST against the loser of Saturday night’s game between Florida and UCLA in an elimination game. That game will be televised by ESPN2.
The Seminoles were led by four different players who had one hit each and their bullpen that allowed two runs and struck out six in five innings pitched. Sean Gilmartin, Florida State’s starting pitcher in game one, was tagged with the loss. He fell to 9-8 on the year.
If you had told me that we were going to get four hits in 27 outs, and one run, I think I would have discussed it with you,” said head coach Mike Martin. “You really gotta take your hat off to TCU. They did a great job. After we got the first couple of guys on, we had a runner on third and nobody out. That’s just a credit to TCU. They did a great job of playing defense and making quality pitches. And that’s a ball game that you can analyze. From our side, we didn’t make an error. You might just say we got our butts whipped, plain and simple.”
Florida State struck first as Tyler Holt, the Seminoles’ lead off hitter, lined the first pitch of the game into left for a single. He scored the first run of the 2010 College World Series on an infield hit by Sherman Johnson and a subsequent throwing error by TCU third baseman Jantzen Witte. Witte’s throw went up the line into right field allowing Holt to score and Johnson to advance to third.
TCU answered quickly in its half of the first of inning. The Horned Frogs banded together six hits, including two doubles, as five of their first six batters to come to the plate not only reached base but came around to score. A total of four different TCU players earned RBI hits in the inning: leftfielder Jason Coats smacked a two RBI double into left field; designated hitter Joe Weik dropped an RBI single into left field, shortstop Taylor Featherston drove a run home with a sacrifice fly and center fielder Aaron Shultz gave TCU a 5-1 lead with a run scoring single.
The Horned Frogs sent nine men to the plate and were four for five with runners in scoring position in their half of the first inning.
TCU starting pitcher Matt Purke (15-0) settled down quickly after allowing the first two batters he faced reach base. He retired seven straight Seminoles from the first through the third innings and faced one batter over the minimum in the second and third innings. After allowing the first two Seminole batters of the game to reach base via singles, he held Florida State hitless in the second through fifth innings.
Purke was removed after pitching seven innings. He allowed one run, unearned, on only four hits and struck out seven. It marked the 10th time this season he has pitched into or beyond the seventh inning.
The Horned Frogs upped their lead to 6-1 in the third inning when Witte scored on a sacrifice bunt by Shultz. Witte led off the inning with on one of three walks issued on the day by Gilmartin.
Gilmartin was replaced by sophomore Hunter Scantling to begin the fourth inning. It was Gilmartin’s shortest outing of the year in 17 appearances (15 as a starter and two in relief) as he allowed six runs (all earned) on eight hits while striking out one batter.
“They were just putting the bat on the ball,” said Gilmartin. “I don’t really know how many balls they hit hard in that first inning, but I also got behind the count. So that didn’t really help me out at all. It’s been what’s happening with me all year long pretty much,” said Gilmartin. “Get ahead in the count 0 2, 1 2, and then not finishing things off. Obviously I have to get better at that.”
Scantling was promptly greeted by a one out home run off the bat of TCU catcher Bryan Holaday to make the score 7-1. It was Holaday’s 14th home run of the season.
Purke and relief pitcher Eric Marshall effectively shut down the Seminoles after they scored in the first inning. After the first, the Seminoles had their leadoff runner reach base only four times, advanced only two runners as far as third base and left seven runners on base.
“He (Purke) used all three pitches well,” said Holt. “We didn’t help ourselves out a lot. I think it’s a totally different ball game if we’re more patient and better not swinging at that stuff that’s in the dirt. But that’s what happens when you have good stuff. It looks like it’s in the zone, then it comes out. That first inning killed us and then it kind of went on from there.”
Defensively, five Seminole relief pitchers held the Horned Frogs to two runs and only five hits after the first inning. The quartet of Robert Benincasa, John Gast, Scott Sitz and Tyler Everett allowed a total of two hits, one run and six base runners in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Gast was able to pitch out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth inning by striking out TCU first baseman Matt Curry.
TCU scored its final run of the game to make the score 8-1 on an RBI single by Coats that scored right fielder Brance Rivera. Rivera had reached base on a single to lead off the inning off Everett.
Monday’s elimination game will broadcast live on ESPN2, while fans can listen in locally on 1270 the Team, 94.3 FM and Seminoles.com.