Florida State's 4-1 victory ousts Bruins from CWS

By Eric Olson

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 19 2012 10:45 p.m. MDT

UCLA catcher Tyler Heineman tags out Florida State's Seth Miller in the eighth inning of an NCAA College World Series elimination baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Florida State beat UCLA 4-1.

Dave Weaver, Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. — Scott Sitz gave up five hits and struck out eight in a season-high 6 2-3 innings, and Florida State eliminated UCLA from the College World Series with a 4-1 victory Tuesday night.

Florida State (50-16) plays Arizona on Thursday, needing to beat the Wildcats twice to reach the championship round.

No. 2 national seed UCLA (48-16) was knocked out a day after No. 1 Florida was eliminated from the opposite bracket.

Sitz (4-3) had not made it through five innings in six of his previous seven outings. The junior held the Bruins to two singles through five innings and struck out the side in the sixth after UCLA loaded the bases.

"No question the sixth inning was the big inning that Scotty showed his nickname was the 'Bulldog,' " FSU coach Mike Martin said. "You get the team as talented as UCLA, and get a run in and get out of it, is just a credit to him. Of course, we knew that there were still nine outs left, but at the same time, it was a tremendous, tremendous lift for us."

UCLA starter Zack Weiss (3-3) was pulled after getting just one out. Bases-loaded walks in the opening inning produced the Seminoles' first two runs.

UCLA scored its first run in 15 innings on Cody Keefer's bases-loaded single with none out in the sixth. With the bases still full, Sitz struck out Jeff Gelalich, Trevor Brown and Pat Valaika — pumping his arms as he trotted to the dugout after Valaika swung and missed on a 79-mph slider.

"I don't think I've ever been more pumped up in my life," Sitz said.

After Keefer's hit, Martin made a mound visit to check on Sitz.

"I was really happy they had faith in me to get those outs," Sitz said. "I know we had guys in the bullpen that could come in and get the job done. I didn't know whether the last batter even swung. I had to go back in the dugout and ask our catcher if he swung. It was just an awesome feeling."

Hunter Scantling came on with two outs in the seventh after Kevin Williams blooped a single over shortstop. Robert Benincasa pitched the ninth for his 16th save.

It was a short night for Weiss (3-3), who was pulled after getting just one out.

Weiss, who hadn't pitched since a regional-clinching win over Creighton on June 3, walked three and gave up a single before Grant Watson took over.

Weiss came into the game having lasted more than five innings just twice in his last eight starts. He threw 29 pitches, including 16 balls, in the shortest CWS start since TCU's Kyle Winkler left without retiring a batter in a 10-3 loss to UCLA on June 26, 2010.

Weiss, Watson and Ryan Deeter combined to walk seven as Florida State loaded the bases in three of the first four innings.

The Seminoles went up 4-0 in the fourth after three straight singles loaded the bases. Jayce Boyd put a squeeze bunt down the third-base line. Kevin Kramer overran the ball as he tried to field it. Sherman Johnson scored easily from third, and Devon Travis kept coming around ahead of Kramer's wild throw to the plate.

Boyd made the decision to bunt on his own, seeing that Kramer was playing behind the bag at third.

"I don't even think the pitch that I bunted was anywhere near the strike zone," Boyd said. "But I knew the element of surprise would have been gone if I let it go by."

The loss ended a tough CWS for Gelalich, the Cincinnati Reds' first-round draft pick. The junior right fielder, who came to Omaha batting a team-leading .365, went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and an error against the Seminoles and was 1 for 12 with two errors in the Bruins' three games.

UCLA, shut out 4-0 by Arizona on Sunday, generated only one run in its last 18 innings.

"The last two games, I don't know, you can't really put your thumb on it," Bruins coach John Savage said. "But Arizona was better and Florida State was better. For whatever reason, we couldn't find it."

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