Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You’re trailing to a seemingly beatable Georgia Southern team on your own home field. Your defense keeps you in the game for most of the contest while the Eagles stay frustratingly within reach, but your offense is non-existent.
You are… a Gators fan in November?
Nope, sadly, that description is also apropos of the Florida State faithful after the Seminoles were upset 7-0 in game two of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional on Friday night.
On the flip-side Florida State will finally get Alabama. But not like they wanted. The two schools will square off in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon after both suffered defeats to their respective opponents on Friday.
The Tide lost 1-0 to Kennesaw State in the opener, Florida State lost 7-0 to Georgia Southern in the night-cap.
Neither team could muster any offense.
“I don’t remember distinctly the last time my daddy took me to the woodshed and whipped my butt, but that’s pretty doggone close to the way I feel,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin after the game. “We were totally dominated by Sam Howard, who did a beautiful job — a great job — of pitching.”
Howard, Georgia Southern’s starter, was superb against Florida State on Friday night, limiting the Seminoles to just two hits while working a complete game and striking out ten. He was dominant, mixing up his pitches, staying ahead of counts and slowly frustrating an otherwise patient Seminole offense.
“It was awesome, one of the best games I’ve ever thrown,” said Howard. “I was throwing my fastball, change-up, cutter and curve-ball all for strikes tonight, which really helped me keep them off balance.”
Opposite Howard, Florida State’s Mike Compton lasted just an inning and a third, surrendering five hits and two earned runs while retiring just four hitters. Compton struggled to keep the ball low and was hit hard by the Eagles. His short outing put the Seminole bullpen behind the eight-ball starting in the second inning.
After surrendering a lead-off single to Kody Adams, Compton gave up an RBI double to Aaron Mizell and an RBI single to Garren Palmer to make it 2-0 Georgia Southern. He started the second by putting two more on before Martin pulled him and replaced him with Billy Strode.
Strode teamed with Gage Smith to pitch the middle innings and keep Florida State in the game, but the Seminole bats never woke up and FSU was never able to mount any sort of rally to make it close again. Instead, the Seminoles showed an uncharacteristic lack of plate discipline and Howard was able to avoid working deep into counts on most occasions.
“I could [sense they were getting frustrated],” said Howard. “We knew coming into the game that they’re a very patient team and they took some pitches so once I got them deeper into the game I could see that I had them off-balance and I was just trying to keep cruising.”
The Eagles would go on to add insurance runs in the 6th and 7th before breaking it open with a couple of homers and three runs in the 9th inning. By the time the game had gone final Georgia Southern had hung seven runs on 16 hits while the Seminoles could muster just two hits, total.
Florida State will take on Alabama — who managed just five hits themselves on Friday — in an elimination game tomorrow at noon.
This NCAA Regional is still winnable for the Seminoles, but it just became an uphill battle. In addition to avoiding elimination against Alabama tomorrow, FSU must win two games on Sunday and then a final game on Monday. Not to mention the Seminole bullpen already pitched 7.2 innings on Friday.
“The only way I can say it to make any sense is — it’s called baseball,” said Martin. “You get out-hit 16-2 and make a couple of errors and the other club hits a couple of home runs, it’s very hard to figure out how you can expect to do anything but get it handed to you. And they handed it to us and you tip your hat to them.
“But I’ll tell you what, we’ll be on time tomorrow and play a very good Alabama team. The tournament’s not over, we hope that we play a little bit better tomorrow.”
[Box Score: GSU7_FSU0]
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