Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

College World Series game blog: Arizona beats Florida State in 12 innings

Arizona's Kurt Heyer throws to first base during the second inning. Photo by Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

Bottom of the 12th:

– John Holland flies out to right on a 3-2 pitch for the first out.

– Seth Miller is hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count. He goes to second on a wild pitch with leadoff hitter Sherman Johnson at the plate.

– Johnson grounds out to second, Miller goes to third. Two outs.

– Mathew Troupe strikes out Devon Travis swinging on a 3-2 pitch … and the game is over.

Troupe threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one hit and striking out three.

How big is it to win the first game of the College World Series? As ESPN noted late in the telecast, 28 of the past 31 champs have won their first game.

Arizona wins 4-3 and will play UCLA on Sunday at 6 p.m Tucson time. Florida State will play Stony Brook in an elimination game starting Sunday at 2 p.m.

* * *

Johnny Field delivers with out out. He cranks a double to right-center to drive in Joey Rickard for a 4-3 lead. FSU intentionally walks Alex Mejia to set up the double play with one out.

But that’s it for the Cats. Robert Refsnyder strikes out looking and Seth Mejias-Brean grounds out to second.

Now, it’s up to the bullpen in the bottom of the 12th.

* * *

Arizona had been 0-for-10 against Robert Benincasa before Joey Rickard launches a one-out double into the left-center gap. Johnny Field and Alex Mejia up next.

* * *

More good work for the Arizona pen. Mathew Troupe allows a one-out hit to Justin Gonzalez, but then used a quick pick-off move to throw out the FSU shortstop diving back to the bag. Troupe finishes off Josh Delph with a strikeout to end the inning.

Going to the 12th!

* * *

Robert Benincasa showing his All-American form. The FSU closer has been filthy, throwing three perfect innings and striking out the side in the top of the 11th. He has needed only 25 pitches … so the Cats might see him again … if they can get the game to the 12th.

* * *

How about Riley Moore’s night? The freshman catcher has three singles and he throws out Devon Travis trying to steal second (on a failed hit-and-run) for the second out of the bottom of the 10th inning.

* * *

Arizona in trouble in the 10th.

Devon Travis leads off the inning by squirting a grounder through the hole and into left field. That brings up All-American James Ramsey, who works the count to 2-0 before Tyler Crawford comes back behind a huge curveball, freezing Ramsey for strike two and striking him out on a breaking ball in the dirt.

Nice job by Crawford, but that’s his final batter. Andy Lopez goes to righty Mathew Troupe to face right-handed batter Jayce Boyd.

* * *

That was quick. Arizona makes three outs on four pitches in the top of the 10th.

* * *

Tyler Crawford doing his job. Four batters faced, four outs. Going to the 10th. Bonus postseason baseball.

* * *

Clutch time. Freshman catcher Riley Moore leads off the top of the ninth with his third single of the game. Florida State coach Mike Martin won’t mess around. He will go to All-American reliever Robert Benincasa, who has a 1.25 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Trent Gilbert bunts with two strikes, but third baseman Sherman Johnson pounces and gets the force at second. Arizona catches a break as Gilbert then goes to second on a passed ball.

But Benincasa strikes out Joey Rickard looking for the second out (ESPN’s K-Zone showed the pitch was clearly outside), and Johnny Field grounds out to shortstop on a really close play to end the inning.

Still tied at 3, headed to the bottom of the ninth.

* * *

Andy Lopez goes with Kurt Heyer as far as he can. Heyer gets through 7 2/3 innings, throwing 128 pitches, and Lopez brings in left-hander Tyler Crawford to face lefty-hitting Josh Delph.

Looks like Heyer has something left in the tank, but he was on a 130-pitch limit, so the time was right … and everyone has to think about his future and making sure that right arm stays healthy. The St. Louis Cardinals appreciate it.

And Crawford gets a groundout to end the inning. Tied at 3 going to the ninth.

* * *

Power forward … er, relief pitcher … Hunter Scantling is in for Florida State in the eighth. Scantling (6-8, 270) sets down the Wildcats in order, with no harm down with a slight collision in the outfield as FSU gets the third out.

* * *

Through seven, tied at 3. Heyer at 121 pitches.

* * *

Arizona’s small ball is at work again (the softball team would be so proud). Trent Gilbert walks to lead off the seventh and advances to second on a sac bunt to first base by Joey Rickard.

And that’s as far as he gets. Johnny Field walks with one out, but Alex Mejia lines out to first base and Robert Refsnyder grounds out to shortstop.

With the scored tied at 3, Kurt Heyer might not have much more than an inning left for the Cats … and the late-game bullpen situation favors FSU, which has an All-American closer.

* * *

Florida State gets the first runner on in the sixth, as a wide throw from third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean pulls Brandon Dixon — who just came in the game as a defensive replacement — off the bag. (Or not. Replays show an awfully close play.)

Either way, that was costly. Kurt Heyer strikes out the next two batters, but then walks Josh Delph. Designated hitter John Holland then drilled a shot into the left-center gap to drive in two runs and tie the game at 3.

That’s the way it stands as we go to the seventh.

* * *

Kurt Heyer with 69 pitches through four innings. He has a limit of 130 pitches. He needs to be more efficient to get all the way to the end tonight.

UPDATE: He needs just 12 pitches to set down FSU in order in the fifth.

* * *

Everything going Arizona’s way. Robert Refsnyder gets an RBI hit on a check-swing single to the right side that drives in Johnny Field. The FSU second baseman is able to smother the ball and catch Alex Mejia in a rundown between second and third, but shortstop Justin Gonzalez drops the ball … so Mejia is able to avoid an out and get to third.

It’s 3-1 Arizona … and the Cats are still cooking.

(And now it doesn’t. A double play ends the inning. Arizona up 3-1 through 4 1/2 innings.

* * *

Arizona chases Brandon Leibrandt with one out in the fifth. He hit leadoff hitter Joey Rickard and allowed a one-hit to Alex Mejia, who advanced Rickard to third base. The new pitcher is Gage Smith, who is 5-0 with a 3.12 ERA. Leibrandt pitched well, but FSU coach Mike Martin is going to a sidearm righty in this big spot against right-handed clean-up hitter Robert Refsnyder.

* * *

Kurt Heyer shuts down Florida State after a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth. He’s at 69 pitches, so a complete game might be out of the question. We might be seeing Mathew Troupe, Tyler Carwford and/or Stephen Manthei tonight.

* * *

Here’s an impressive stat: Arizona pitchers hadn’t issued a walk in 22 innings before Kurt Heyer delivered four balls to James Ramsey with one out in the third. If you have to walk someone, it might as well be a power-hitting first-round draft pick.

* * *

TD Ameritrade is a big ballpark, but it’s not big enough to hold a line-drive homer to right field from Sherman Johnson, leading off the third inning for Florida State. That wouldn’t have been out at Hi Corbett.

* * *

One of the most impressive things about the Arizona lineup, which entered the College World Series hitting .333, is how well it handles the bat. The Wildcats are great at small ball, with Andy Lopez not hesitating to call for sac bunts from every spot in the order.

His approach pays off in the third inning. Riley Moore leads off with an opposite-field single, and Trent Gilbert immediately puts down the bunt to get him to second. (Notice that Florida State didn’t bunt after its leadoff hit in the second inning.)

After Moore got to second, Joey Rickard singled to center for the RBI and a 1-0 Arizona lead.

A single, a sac, and a single … just like the Cats have done it all season.

But the Cats weren’t done. Alex Mejia reached on a two-out fielding error by Justin Gonzalez to put runners on first and second. Robert Refsnyder made the ‘Noles pay with an RBI single to center for an unearned run against starter Brandon Leibrandt.

Cats lead 2-0 going to the bottom of the third.

* * *

Kurt Heyer not as efficient as he would like, with 42 pitches through two scoreless innings. At this rate, he might not pitch much more than six innings … ah, who are we kidding? Andy Lopez might bend whatever pitch count limits he has tonight.

* * *

Kurt Heyer gives up a single to fellow St. Louis Cardinals draft pick James Ramsey, whose one-out hit puts runners on first and second. Heyer dodges trouble in the first inning with a line drive out to right and a lazy fly to center.

Considering that Heyer gave up 17 hits in 9 1/3 innings in his last outing, allowing two hits is right on pace.

* * *

We’re underway. The Cats are the visiting team and got something going when Alex Mejia bounced a two-out single to center, splitting the middle infielders, and then stole second. But Robert Refsnyder fouled out to first base to end the inning.

* * *

Florida State senior outfielder James Ramsey, the 23rd overall pick in the baseball draft this week, is the key batter to watch for the Seminoles. The lefty hitter is batting .382 with a team-high 13 home runs.

“We’ve got to control Ramsey,” UA coach Andy Lopez said at a press conference Thursday. “But if he’s on base, they’re going to get going. Every time I’ve watched him, if he gets on base, that offense is clicking into a new gear.”

* * *

You did know that Dan Hicks was the P.A. announcer for home Arizona baseball games in the mid-1980s, right? Read all about it:

* * *

Arizona going with the usual lineup:

1. CF Joey Rickard
2. LF Johnny Field
3. SS Alex Mejia
4. RF Robert Refsnyder
5. 3B Seth Mejias-Brean
6. DH Bobby Brown
7. 1B Joseph Maggi
8. C Riley Moore
9. 2B Trent Gilbert

* * *

The Arizona Wildcats are set to begin its run at the College World Series in Omaha, with its game against Florida State set to begin at 6:10 p.m. Tucson time.

The first game of the CWS is in the books. UCLA defeated Stony Brook 9-1. The winner of the UA-FSU game will take on the Bruins on Sunday; the loser gets Stony Brook in an elimination game.

Junior right-hander Kurt Heyer (12-2, 2.28 ERA) gets the start, of course, for Arizona.
TD Ameritrade Park is considered pitching-friendly, and Heyer has been superb on the road, this season, going 4-0 with a 1.96 in five starts.

The Seminoles counter with freshman left-hander Brandon Leibrandt, who is 8-2 with a 2.58 ERA. He hasn’t been fazed by postseason play, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings.

Check back during the game for updates and analysis, and, perhaps, some of the best from the Twitter world. Here are a couple of tweets from earlier today …


How an 11-year-old helped Andy Lopez win the 1992 College World Series

Scott Terrell: This week in the Pac-12: CWS preview

Search site | Terms of service