Stanford's 11-Run Inning Pushes Cardinal Past Seminoles
June 14, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Stanford coach Mark Marquess would have been happy to score one run in the ninth inning against Florida State.
How about 11?
'That's one of those things that happen. You don't know why it happens,' Marquess said after the Cardinal's record-tying 11-run outburst broke open a tie game in a 16-5 victory in Saturday's College World Series opener.
'Luckily, it happened for us,' he said. 'We got a couple big hits and broke it open.'
Yes, they did.
Brent Milleville's three-run homer highlighted Stanford's biggest inning of the year and the biggest in a CWS game since Cal State Fullerton scored 11 times against LSU in the first inning in 1994. Sean Ratliff added a two-run single and Cord Phelps a two-run double.
'We're as comfortable hitting in the late innings as in the first few,' Ratliff said. 'We love to hit in those spots, get a couple hits and it starts to get contagious. We're as good as anybody at stringing hits together.'
Stanford (40-22-2) will play Monday against the winner of the game between top-seeded Miami and Georgia on Saturday night. The Seminoles (54-13) will try to stay alive Monday against the Miami-Georgia loser.
The Cardinal went into the ninth tied at 5 after FSU's Jason Stidham hit a two-out, three-run homer off Drew Storen in the eighth.
'They're a great offensive team, and you don't keep those people down very long,' Marquess said. 'I would have settled for one run in the ninth after they came back and tied it in the dramatic fashion they did. It happened to be 11. Whether it was one or two runs, that was huge.'
With a strong wind blowing out at Rosenblatt Stadium, the day appeared perfect for another of Florida State's big offensive days. The Seminoles came in averaging 10 runs a game for the season and 11 in the NCAA tournament.
But other than homers by Dennis Guinn and Stidham, Stanford's four pitchers mostly held the Seminoles in check during the 4-hour, 11-minute game - the third longest nine-inning game in CWS history.
Storen (5-3) got the win, allowing three runs and three hits in the seventh and eighth innings. John Gast (0-1), the third of the seven pitchers FSU used, took the loss.
Toby Gerhart went 3-for-4 with a home run, and Milleville and Ratliff combined to drive in seven runs for the Cardinal. Stanford had 15 hits.
It looked as if Stanford might run into hard luck in the top of the ninth when, with two men on base, first-base umpire Mike Conlin signaled foul on Jason Castro's grounder down the first-base line that kicked up chalk. Castro ultimately reached when shortstop Tony Delmonico couldn't handle his grounder - the second of Delmonico's three errors - to load the bases.
Milleville's sacrifice fly produced the go-ahead run - and the rout was on. The Cardinal's 11 runs came against four pitchers on six hits, two walks and two errors.
The Seminoles hadn't scored fewer than seven runs in a game since getting shut out by Bucknell in the opener of the Tallahassee Regional on May 30.
'When I got here and saw the wind blowing out,' Marquess said, 'I was thinking it could be a long day.'
It was for Florida State.
Down three runs in the seventh, the Seminoles failed to score after loading the bases with none out against Erik Davis and Storen. Storen got Jack Rye and Guinn to pop out, then caught Delmonico looking at strike three.
'It was a big spot,' Storen said.
Storen wouldn't be so fortunate in the eighth. Tommy Oravetz and Tyler Holt hit two-out singles before Stidham sent a 3-2 pitch that needed every bit of a 20-mph wind gusting to 32 mph to reach the third row of the right-field seats.
Florida State is in the CWS for the 19th time, but is still looking for its first national title. The Seminoles have staved off elimination six times in the NCAA tournament after losing openers in its regional and super regional.
'We obviously have our backs against the wall knowing we've got to win four games to play for the national championship, and we know that's going to be difficult,' Seminoles coach Mike Martin said. 'I don't count these guys out of anything.'