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19 posts from June 2013

June 05, 2013

Randy Spetman Out as FSU AD, Will Become Advisor

Randy-spetman

Florida State University Athletic Director Randy Spetman was set to address the FSU Board of Trustees tomorrow and the topic was to be a five year athletic plan (estimated at around 100 million dollars) aimed at making the Seminoles even more nationally competitive.

Problem is, as of tonight (Wednsday, May 5), Randy Spetman is no longer the FSU Athletic Director. He will not be overseeing the implementation of the plan he was the architect of. At least not directly. And he will no longer be presenting the plan at the BoT meeting.

Per FSU president Eric Barron:

Effective today, Florida State University Athletics Director Randy Spetman will take on a new role as senior advisor to the Athletics Department.

During his five-year tenure, Randy established an enviable record for Florida State Athletics and has done so with the highest level of integrity and commitment.

I am pleased, therefore, that through mutual agreement, Randy will continue to advance the Athletics Department’s Strategic Plan by working with a full range of stakeholders to gather additional information that will help shape the future of Florida State athletics.

He has agreed to take on this position through the length of his current contract, which ends in February (2014).

Randy is a person of incredible character and impressive dedication to athletics. He is truly appreciated by our student athletes, because they know he genuinely cares about their success.

The overall performance of our athletic activities under his leadership, as reflected by our stellar standing in the Director’s Cup, has been the highest during the past three years in the history of the institution despite an athletics budget that is considerably smaller than athletics programs of peer universities.

What’s more, Randy oversaw those accomplishments while always ensuring compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.

I have appointed Senior Associate Athletic Director Vanessa Fuchs as the Interim Athletics Director, and the university will soon begin a search for a new director.

So while Spetman is not out entirely, per se, he is also no longer the one manning the FSU athletic department. There was no comment from Spetman on the release.

There are some around the program who believe this has been a while in the making after issues over conference affiliations and the departure of Bobby Bowden have been perceived as problems during Spetman's tenure. 

Last year he was given a one-year extension with no pay-raise that indicated he may not be in his current role much longer. The other shoe apparently fell today.

As for FSU, there's plenty of speculation as to who could become the next AD. I have my hunches but we'll have to see how it plays out over the next few weeks. 

Keep posted...

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

June 04, 2013

Hoops: Charlton Young Replaces Corey Williams on FSU Coaching Staff

HC-Charlton_C.Y._Young

There wasn't vacancy on the Florida State coaching staff for long– not even a whole 24 hours.

Leonard Hamilton and Florida State University acted quickly to replace the recently departed Corey Williams and hired former Georgia Southern head coach Charlton Young as an assistant coach on Tuesday. Williams took the head coaching job at Stetson on Monday after six seasons at FSU.

On Tuesday the university announced his replacement.

“We are fortunate to have a coach of Charlton’s caliber join our staff," said Hamilton.  “He is an extremely knowledgeable basketball coach, a great skill developer and an outstanding recruiter.  Charlton is a great addition to our program because he complements our staff extremely well and we look forward to him being a part of the success we intend to have as we continue to establish Florida State as a program of national significance.” 

At Georgia Southern, Young was a combined 29-65. His team went 15-15 and finished second in their division of the Southern Conference in 2011-12. But last year the Eagles went 14-19 and Young was let go.

Before that he was an assistant at Georgia Tech and also has coached at Auburn, Northeastern and Jacksonville. 

As a player Young was a three-time all conference selection at Georgia Southern, in 1992 he lead the Eagles to an NCAA tournament berth. After a year of pro ball in France he returned to the United States in 1994 and began his career in coaching.

“As a native Floridian, I am excited to be part of coach Hamilton’s staff and proud to be part of the Florida State basketball tradition,” said Young.  “Coach Hamilton is one of the coaches I have watched intently and learned a great deal from during my career.  The opportunity to work alongside him as well as Stan Jones and Dennis Gates is very exciting to me.  Coach Jones is one of the top assistant coaches in the country and I recruited Dennis relentlessly when I was at Northeastern.”

The Seminoles hope Young's skills on the recruiting trail will put themselves to immediate use. 

 

For all the latest news and updates on Florida State follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Football: Seminoles Announce Next Two Years Worth of Opponents

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Today Florida State University released their scheduled opponents for the next two season. Part of the comprehensive five-year athletic plan that Randy Spetman will present to the University's Board of Trustees on Thursday includes intiatives to get the ACC to schedule opponents earlier so that schools may save money on costs.

Today, the ACC announced the next 11 seasons of ACC cross-over opponents and the Seminoles announced their schedule opponents for the next two seasons.

Florida State's 2013 Football Schedule

2014 looks to be a brutal year for the Seminoles. There's one beater-school in the whole bunch, The Citadel, and beyond that the easiest opponents scheduled are conference foes. Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Florida count as the other three out-of-conference opponents and a tough ACC slate awaits that year as well.

FSU's schedule opponents for 2014 are:

Home
Florida (11/29)
Notre Dame
Virginia
The Citadel (9/6)
Boston College
Clemson
Wake Forest

Away
Louisville
NC State
Miami
Syracuse

Neutral Site
Oklahoma State (8/30)

Boom. That's one hell of a home schedule, plenty of good dates to see the Seminoles square off with top competition in Doak. Between UF, Notre Dame and Clemson, FSU fans should have plenty to get excited about on the home schedule in 2014. The flip side of that is that if FSU has some brutal road games. At Louisville, at Miami and in Dallas at Cowboy Stadium against Oklahoma State (which will feel like an away game given the stadium's proximity to OSU).

It loosens up a bit in 2015.

Home
Louisville
NC State
Miami
Syracuse
Texas State (9/5)
USF (9/26)
Tennessee-Chattanooga

Away
Georgia Tech
Florida (11/28)
Boston College
Clemson
Wake Forest

There's a few more easily winnable games on that slate, but the one I think plenty of Florida State fans will have circled is USF's first return trip to Tallahassee since they upset FSU, dropped them to 2-4 and all but ended Bobby Bowden's career.

As I mentioned, the ACC also announced the next 11 years worth of cross-conference opponents. Florida State's look like this:

2014 - Virginia (home)

2015 - Georgia Tech (away)

2016 - North Carolina (home)

2017 - Duke (away)

2018 - Virginia Tech (home)

2019 - Virginia (away)

2020 - Pittsburgh (home)

2021 - North Carolina (away)

2022 - Georgia Tech (home)

2023 - Virginia Tech (away)

2024 - North Carolina (home)

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

June 02, 2013

A Final Look Back at the Tallahassee NCAA Regional

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The 2013 Tallahassee NCAA Regional is over. Florida State swept through it going 3-0 by a combined score of 32-4. The Seminoles will now move on to host their sixth straight Super Regional next weekend- the longest active streak in the country.

Below you'll find complete recaps of all six games played in Tallahassee this weekend, as well as the All-Regional team. Take a chance to catch up on any of the action you may have missed and get ready for next weekend when FSU tries to pave its way to Omaha for the 22nd time in school history. I'll be back mid-week to preview the upcoming matchup and breakdown the numbers a little more, but for now take a look back at the weekend that was the 2013 Tallahassee NCAA Regional.

Preview: A Quick Look at the Tallahassee Regional

Game One: Troy 5, Alabama 2

Game Two: Florida State 10, Savannah State 0 (Newspaper Version)

Game Three: Alabama 3, Savannah State 2 [SSU Eliminated]

Game Four: Florida State 11, Troy 0 (Newspaper Version)

Game Five: Troy 9, Alabama 8 [Alabama Eliminated]

Game Six: Florida State 11, Troy 4 (Newspaper Version)
[FSU Wins Regional]

Luke Weaver Named Regional MVP, All-Regional Team Announced 

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Luke Weaver Named NCAA Tallahassee All-Regional MVP, All-Regional Team Announced

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The Tallahassee NCAA Regional has now come and gone. Florida State rolled easily through the weekend, going 3-0 by a combined 32-4 margin to earn the right to host their sixth straight Super Regional. FSU has now won 19 straight NCAA Regional games.

Not surprisingly, the All-Regional team is loaded with Seminoles after this particular Regional was dominated by them. Six Seminoles were named to the All-Regional team, including Luke Weaver who was named the Regional MVP.

Weaver was superb on Saturday night, striking out a career high 14 batters and holding Troy to just four hits and no walks without allowing a run. A potent Trojan lineup was rendered impotent by Weaver's fastball and his pin-point control.

Joining Weaver on the All-Regional team are Jose Brizuela, DJ Stewart, Seth Miller, Marcus Davis and Scott Sitz. Stewart hit a Regional-best .636 and was definitely worthy of MVP honors himself. Brizuela hit .400, McGee .500 and drove in five RBI's and Davis his .333 and drove in six. Sitz of course went seven scoreless innings on Friday to get the Seminoles into the Winner's bracket after their opener with Savannah State.

Here is the complete Tallahassee All-Regional team and below, is my own personal ballot.

Tallahassee All-Regional Team

C - Brett Booth, Alabama
1B - Trae Santos, Troy
2B - Kyle Overstreet, Alabama
SS - Mikey White, Alabama
3B - Jose Brizuela, Florida State
OF - DJ Stewart, Florida State
OF - Josh McDorman, Troy
OF - Seth Miller, Florida State
DH - Marcus Davis, Florida State
P - Luke Weaver, Florida State
P - Scott Sitz, Florida State

MVP - Luke Weaver, Florida State

 

My Personal Ballot: C- Brett Booth, Alabama, 1B- Trae Santos, Troy, 2B- Darien Campbell, Savannah State, SS- Todd Haggen, Savannah State, 3B- Kenny Roberts, Alabama, OF- DJ Stewart, FSU OF- Seth Miller, FSU OF- Josh McDorman, Troy, P- Luke Weaver, FSU, P- Mike Oczypok, Alabama, DH- Marcus Davis, FSU, MVP- DJ Stewart, FSU

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

Florida State Wins Tallahassee NCAA Regional, Bests Troy 11-4

FSU__Team

Once again the Florida State Seminoles have swept an NCAA Regional and will host a Super Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. FSU has now won 19 games in a row in Regional play and will host their 6th straight Super Regional next weekend after beating Troy 11-4 to cap their sweep of the Tallahassee Regional.

"We count this almost as a second season," said catcher Stephen McGee. "Every game is important to us but as soon as we get to that playoff it's almost like we're starting new again, we go out there with a whole new determination and we're just fighting for every game, all nine innings, all 27 outs."

"For any real baseball fan, or real baseball man, the consistency of what [Mike Martin] has done has been phenomenal," said Troy head coach Bobby Pierce. "Words can't describe what he's done with this program. I'm certainly pulling for him and them to win the college world series, because I think he's earned it.

"But regardless of that, the numbers across the board, there's nobody that can touch his numbers, and Florida State's numbers." 

Just hours after the Trojans of Troy came back from three down in the bottom of the ninth to knock off the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida State and Troy squared off in the championship game of the Tallahassee regional.

After rallying back from what was at one point a four-run deficit, Troy entered the evening game with plenty of confidence and momentum. That only seemed to grow in the early innings as Troy managed to work out of a couple of jams- stranding five FSU runners in the first two innings alone- and then took a lead on Florida State for the first time in the Regional.

In the first, the Seminoles pressured freshman starter Levi Tate and loaded the bases with one out but only managed to push one run across after a Troy pitching change, an unsuccessful Jose Brizuela squeeze attempt and a ground out by John Sansone. 

They stranded two more the next inning before Troy used a bloop single to left and a Danny Collins double to pull ahead 2-1.

The Seminoles evened the score at two in the bottom of the inning when Brizuela hit a solo home run to right field. But the very next frame, in the top of the 4th, the scrappy Trojans added another run on a nearly identical bloop single over Giovanny Alfonzo's head at short to make it 3-2.

"I really thought we might be [the team of destiny]," said Troy head coach Bobby Pierce. "Sometimes I think I believed that more than my team did though."

Florida State apparently never believed that.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Seminoles exploded for seven runs and all but knocked Troy from the game. Trailing 3-2, Alfonzo lead off with a single and Josh Delph reached on a one-out walk. A throwing error on a fielder's choice let DJ Stewart reach at first and advanced the other runners into scoring position, loading the bases.

Stephen McGee earned an RBI for being plunked, it was the 98th time a Seminole batter had been hit by a pitch this year (a new school record) and tied the game at 3. Marcus Davis brought two more in on a double to left-center to put the Seminoles ahead 5-3, then a few batters later with the bases once again loaded, Brett Knief hit a grand slam to left field to bust the game wide open and put FSU up 9-3.

"I actually faced that guy yesterday,” said Knief. “I knew he had a really good slider so I tried to sit on and let it go by and I got lucky, got the bat head out and I was able to help our team out."

Trae Santos would hit a solo homer for Troy an inning later, but the Trojans never got close to the Seminoles again as the FSU bullpen combined for four shutout innings to help secure Brandon Leibrandt's tenth win of the season.

Leibrandt wasn't his sharpest on Sunday, he labored through five innings and got to 100 pitches quickly, giving up eight hits, four runs and a two walks along the way. But he avoided the big inning and kept things tight until the Florida State offense could take over the game.

"I thought Leibrandt had a little problem to day, but to show you what kind of guy he is he kept battling, kept battling, kept battling," said Martin. "We're very, very proud of him, the way he gets out there every time and no matter what he battles. He got to 100 pitches after five innings and that's why we got him, but I can't say enough about our bullpen."

Once again DJ Stewart had a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a run while Giovanny Alfonzo was 3 for 4. Knief lead the way with four RBI's while McGee drove in three runs himself. All in all the Seminoles used 11 hits and 8 walks to score over ten runs for the third game in a row- the first time they have done that all season.

"We're obviously elated to be in position we're in," said Martin. "But we also know that there's a very good team coming in here."

The Seminoles will likely host Indiana next weekend in the Super Regional.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

Troy Walks Off On Bama, Eliminate Tide With Heartbreaking 9-8 Comeback Win

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Headed into the bottom of the ninth inning Alabama was holding tight to an 8-5 lead, just three outs from staving off elimination and moving on to face Florida State in the championship game of the Tallahassee NCAA Regional.

Just a half hour later they were sitting at a press conference, still stunned from a heartbreaking 9-8 loss that ended their season and left them with a sick feeling in their stomachs.

"You never want to go out that way," said senior OF Andrew Miller. "It happened and we’ll just have to learn to live with it and move on, but you never want to go out that way just like we just did."

Head coach Mitch Gaspard called it one of the most painful losses of his entire life.

"It is, it is [one of the most painful]," said Gaspard. "It’s really an unfair way to finish the season as hard as this team has played."

"Obviously tough, tough way to lose there, I thought our guys competed really hard and you know this has been a season where we’ve been on the edge like that some late in games and to be honest we’ve been able to pull a lot of those out, today we weren’t.”

Down three in the bottom of the ninth Troy stayed patient, worked counts and took advantage of control issues from Alabama closer Ray Castillo. 

"The game’s always centered around the fastball and command of the fastball," said Gaspard. "I think that’s one thing you get when you have a young pitching staff at times you get some command issues and we’ve had that for a good part of the year."

Just a day after setting the Alabama freshman record with his 12th save of the season against Savannah State, Castillo struggled to locate his pitches against the Trojans. After plunking the first batter he faced, Castillo was able to strike out Logan Pierce but walked the next hitter to put two on with one out. 

Kyle Brown came through in the next at bat with a two-run double to make it 8-7 and put the tying run in scoring position. Castillo walked the next hitter before issuing an RBI single to Matthew Howard that tied the game and put the winning run 90 feet from home. After another hit batter to load the bags, Castillo walked the winning run in when he lost Brandon Brown on a 3-1 count.

That brought the winning run in a broke the hearts of many of the Tide faithful.

“He’s been so good for us in the ninth inning," said Gaspard. "If I’m not mistaken that’s the first time where it’s happened this year, and that’s the thing about a closer- it’s going to happen. It’s just it happened in the finale and obviously a lot more emphasis is put on that but that kid’s been great. He’s been great for us.”

This game was definitely Alabama's to lose heading into the 9th.

The Crimson Tide combined for 15 hits and 8 runs and had already managed to stave off a Troy comeback attempt earlier in the game.

Alabama used a couple of sacrifices to push runs across in the early going. Georgie Salem hit a deep flyball to center that brought in Chance Vincent in the third and in the fifth the Tide got another on Mikey White's grounder to first.

But it was back to back RBI singles in the top of the sixth that put Troy's backs up against the wall the first time. Kyle Overstreet ripped a one-out single to right-center that scored Kenny Roberts and Ben Moore followed up with an RBI single of his own to bring 1B Austin Smith in and make it 4-1 Alabama.

But the Trojans dug in and came back with a three-run bottom of the sixth that made it 4-4 heading into the final three innings. 

With the bases loaded Josh McDorman cranked a two-run double over Salem's head out in centerfielder to cut the Bama advantage to 4-3. A batter later Matthew Howard hit a sac-fly to even the score at four.

But Bama didn't buckle, they matched Troy's three-run 6th with a three-run 7th of their own and jumped back ahead 7-4.

Back-to-back doubles brought in three Tide runs when Brett Booth drove in two and Austen Smith brought Booth in with a two-bagger of his own in the next at-bat. An inning later Alabama made it 8-4 on Georgie Salem's second sac-fly of the afternoon.

But it wasn't enough, Troy never gave up hope and managed to steal one away in the final frame.

“It’s just one of those things you can’t explain," said Troy 3B Logan Pierce. "I told [Tyler Vaughn] in the top of the ninth that I’d seen crazier things. That’s what happened something crazy. That’s what it takes in the postseason and it’s just a great thing that everyone stepped up and did.”

“That was a great example of who we are and what we’ve been all year," said Troy third base coach Mark Smartt. "To get four in the ninth in this environment was a special thing. I couldn’t be prouder of all our players and it took everybody. We had pitchers running. We had guys getting big hits. I give Brandon Brown a lot of credit for taking the walk. That’s hard to do but it showed a lot of spirit, a lot of character, a lot of heart. The words ‘all in’ really do mean that and I couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

Troy moves on to play Florida State this evening, Alabama heads home with a sour taste in their mouths. 

“Too many opportunities that we allowed Troy to have," said Gaspard. "They did a good job to get some big hits there in the ninth inning, but it doesn’t take away I think our guys competed extremely hard and I think our young guys learned a lot from the tournament and now we’ve just got to regroup and get ready for next year.”

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

June 01, 2013

Weaver, Seminoles Mow Down Trojans 11-0

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Luke Weaver sat in the post-game press conference with shaving cream matted in his hair, his eyes still blood-shot and stinging from some celebratory post game tomfoolery. 

That's what happens when you strike out 14 batters and dominate an NCAA Regional like Weaver did on Saturday. You get shaving creamed by Justin Gonzalez and Scott Sitz.

"You know, they only do it when you get interviewed on the field and nobody knew about it, I wasn't telling anybody about [the on-field interview]," joked Weaver. "During the whole interview I was just peeking the whole time thinking somebody was going to come."

But Sitz blindsided him in the lockerroom and after a brief chase around the clubhouse, Weaver just resigned himself to his fate and took a couple pies full of shaving cream from Sitz and Gonzalez to the face.

"My visions alright now, but it burned," he said laughing.

Unfortunately for Troy, Sitz and Gonzalez were the only ones that managed to catch up to Weaver on Saturday evening. The sophomore was virtually unhittable during eight scoreless innings that kept the Trojans thoroughly off balance.

"His fastball was really jumping on us," said Troy head coach Bobby Pierce. "We couldn't really make an adjustment to it, we were trying to, we were attempting to, but he hid the ball very well, he had good velocity, he commanded it well. Probably a season high in strikeouts I would imagine, didn't walk anybody in the process.

"We never really could get much stirring in any inning, really."

It was, in fact, a season high for strikeouts. It was the most strikeouts any FSU pitcher has thrown since 2006. Weaver also didn't walk anybody. He faced 26 batters, struck out 14, gave up just four hits, no walks and Troy never managed to string together anything beyond an attempt to score from first by the slow-footed Trae Santos on a double in the bottom of the 4th.

"A lot of times the team that scores first seems to get a little momentum, and certainly that was a big play [at home]," said Martin. 

Instead Florida State got on the board first with a three-run top of the 5th inning sparked by more good leadoff work from Seth Miller. After battling Troy starter Tanner Hicks for a walk, Miller ended up on third following a Giovanny Alfonzo single and an errant throw.

John Sansone and Josh Delph both made productive outs in the next two at-bats to bring Miller and Alfonzo in before DJ Stewart capped the inning with a mammoth solo home run to right-centerfield to make it 3-0.

Miller has been one of the Seminoles' biggest offensive weapons in the Tallahassee Regional. The senior CF has lead off five innings and reached in four of them. Overall he's hit 3 for 5 with five walks, a triple, two doubles and an RBI. Miller's on-base percentage in the regional has been .800 and he has sparked a three, a four and a five run inning by getting on to lead things off. On Saturday it was once again Miller who got the ball rolling for the 'Noles on offense.

"When I lead off it's my job just to get on base," said Miller. "We manufactured runs [tonight], that's just Seminole baseball."

The game got out of hand late when Troy went to its bullpen, but the final result wasn't indicative of how tight this one was for the first six innings.

"We’re just very proud of the way we played overall today,” said FSU head coach Mike Martin. “We knew it would be a tough ball game- it was. I know people might see the score and thing it was a so-called cakewalk, but it was a long way from that.

"We happened to get a home run in the sixth to go up 4-0 and [John Nogowski] hit one to make it five, and of course Coach Pierce was then looking at the future like any other coach would do, we just happened to score some more [late]."

Said Pierce: "We've scored in big numbers so many times this year we all thought that inning would come. It never did. But you credit Weaver for that."

Weaver wasn't even 100%. In the middle of the week the sophomore was forced to visit a doctor because of a fever and flu-like symptoms and was prescribed a Z-pak.

“I’m just very proud he wasn’t about to try to say ‘I don’t feel like I can go today,’” said Martin. “I already checked, he took his pill this morning and I may be looking for some of them bad boys myself.”

After DJ Stewart, Stephen McGee and Marcus Davis did the heavy lifting on Friday, driving in 9 of the team's ten runs, it was the bottom of the Florida State order that carried them on Saturday. The 5-9 hitters in the Seminole lineup combined for eight hits and drove in eight runs. 

John Nogowski connected with his first home run of the season in the 8th, he also tripled and drove in three. All Weaver needed was the three-run 5th, but FSU provided him with plenty of insurance beyond that.

Florida State has now won its two Regional games by a combined total of 21-0.

Next up the Seminoles will play the winner of tomorrow's Alabama-Troy elimination game at 5 PM with a chance to close out the Regional with a victory.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)

Oczypok, Roberts Help Alabama Eliminate Savannah State

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The Alabama Crimson Tide staved off elimination and sent the Savannah State Tigers packing instead on Saturday afternoon in the Tallahassee NCAA Regional.

Leadoff man 3B Kenny Roberts went 3 for 4 to set the table for the Tide and starter Mike Oczypok fought off a blister to toss seven shut-out innings, but a late Savannah State rally pushed Alabama to the brink before they could escape with a 3-2 win.

"Right now this time of the year you'll take an ugly win," said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard afterward. "That's certainly what it was today."

Alabama struck first when they pushed two runs across in the top of the 4th inning. 2B Kyle Overstreet singled to lead things off and SS Mikey White added a one-out single to put two on for 1B Austen Smith.

Just as he did when he homered yesterday, Smith came through with some offense for the Tide- this time in the form of an RBI double. The next batter Brett Booth added an RBI on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Alabama.

The following inning the Tide added another run to their lead when CF Georgie Salem sent an RBI single to right to make it 3-0.

That ended up being all the offense Alabama could muster though.

Savannah State starter Jack May was solid on the day for the Tigers, working six innings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs while walking one and striking out two. Unfortunately, the SSU offense was able to provide little support for him against Oczypok.

"Give credit, I thought Mike Oczypok was tremendous," said Gaspard. "He developed a blister in about the third inning that he really battled through and got through seven innings with."

After failing to register a hit the first couple of innings the best the Tigers could do against the Bama freshman was threaten as Alabama's defense helped Oczypok escape jam after jam.

In the third inning 2B Darien Campbell lead off with a single and made it to third on a couple of sacrifice bunts, but Savannah State couldn't get him across. After stranding another runner in the fourth, the Tigers once again got a runner to third base in the fifth inning but left him hanging 90 feet from home when a ground-out ended the inning. 

Perhaps the Tigers' best opportunity to score against Oczypok came in the bottom of the 6th when SS Todd Hagen lead off with a double. After a couple of quick outs, RF David Richards singled through the right side of the infield on an 0-1 pitch but Hagen was gunned down at home on a perfect throw from Alabama RF Ben Moore.

"Missed opportunities," said SSU head coach Carlton Hardy. "Again, give credit to their starting pitcher, when we got a guy in scoring position, he went to his breaking ball and threw some quality pitches and their guys made plays behind him."

An inning later the Tigers stranded two more runners. Campbell hit a two-out single and 3B Michael McHugh got plunked by a pitch, but Oczypok rared back and struck out CF Antonio Scott swinging for the third out.

Perhaps most impressively, Oczypok did it without his best pitch.

"We had to get rid of the two-seam fastball, what I usually throw," said Oczypok after the game. "But our trainer did a great job of getting it ready before each inning, ever since before the game, throughout the whole game when it really started ripping open and then in the last inning it literally just ripped open."

That blister- and not the SSU offense- ultimately forced the Bama freshman to exit the game. Oczypok finished the afternoon after seven shutout innings having given up just six hits and a walk while striking out four.

Things came apart when Tucker Hawley relieved Oczypok in the bottom of the 8th though. After being unable to pick up any timely hits against Bama's starter, the Tigers quickly jumped on Hawley. Hagen picked up his second hit of the day on a leadoff single and 1B Kevin Herlihy brought him in on a double for Savannah State's first run of the weekend. 

Drew Quinney pinch hit next and hit another double, scoring Herlihy, to cut the Tide lead to 3-2. A passed ball would bring the tying run to third, but once again the Tide's defense helped them work out of it.

A one-out squeeze backfired and the lead runner was caught at home on the throw, a batter later C Chris Arnold grounded out and ended the threat.

"When that runner got to third, I just knew we were going to get out of it," said Roberts. "Tucker's an older guy, I felt he was going to step up and that's what he did."

Fortunately for Alabama the ninth proved much less eventful, Ray Castillo came on to pick up his 12th save of the season. The freshman did issue a walk, but a Tide double play quickly erased it and ended the ballgame.

Alabama will play the loser of tonight's FSU-Troy game tomorrow at noon. Savannah State's season is now over after going 0-2 in Regional play.

 

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Syrkus)


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