The College World Series got underway in Omaha on Friday afternoon with the Cinderella team, Stony Brook, facing UCLA. Maybe the first trip to Omaha got the better of the Seawolves, as they lost to the Bruins, 9-1.
Meanwhile, Stony Brook could do nothing against UCLA starter Adam Plutko. He allowed just one run on five hits and two walks over seven innings. He struck out seven. Freshman reliever David Berg came on and threw two hitless innings of relief.
UCLA leadoff hitter Beau Amaral collected two hits, as did Kevin Kramer. Jeff Gelalich, Pat Valaika, and Kevin Williams each drove in two runs in the win. For the Seawolves, Maxx Tissenbaum collected two of the team’s five hits.
The second game pitted the two hottest offenses, Arizona versus Florida State. Those two teams just battered opponents so far in the tournament. However neither team could get the offense going on Friday night.
Both teams’ defenses left something to be desired. The Wildcats scored two runs in the top of the 3rd inning. The second run came after a fielding error by FSU shortstop Justin Gonzalez (he had two of them).
The Seminoles came right back with a run on Sherman Johnson‘s solo homerun in the bottom of the third.
An RBI single by Robert Refsnyder (his second RBI of the game) off FSU reliever Gage Smith increased the Arizona lead to 3-1.
After Jayce Boyd reached to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning on an error, FSU went to work. After Heyer struck out the next two hitters, Josh Delph walked. John Holland then delivered a two-run double to tie the game at 3-3.
The game stayed tied until the 12th inning. Both bullpens were dominant until FSU closer Robert Benincasa got hit in his fourth inning of work (he was blowing Arizona away previously). Back-to-back doubles by Joey Rickard and Johnny Field gave the Wildcats the 4-3 lead. Benincasa rebounded to get out of the inning without giving up another run.
The bottom of the 12th inning was interesting. With one out, Seth Miller was hit by a pitch. He moved to second base on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a ground out. Devon Travis came to the plate as the winning run, but he struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game (with ACC Player of the Year James Ramsey on deck).
Arizona starter Kurt Heyer had his usual solid outing of 120+pitches. He allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks over 7.2 innings. He struck out eight. Tyler Crawford followed with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Matthew Troupe earned the victory, as he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings.
For FSU, freshman Brandon Leibrandt wasn’t as good as his previous tournament starts. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits over 4.1 innings. He struck out five. Benincasa ended up allowing the one run on two hits over four innings. He walked one while striking out five. Prior to Benincasa, Smith and Hunter Scantling did not allow a run over 3.2 innings.
*UCLA and Arizona will meet in the winner’s bracket on Sunday night at 9pm ET on ESPN2. Stony Brook and FSU will meet in the first elimination game of the CWS on Sunday at 5pm ET on ESPN2.