Rapid Recap: FSU scores run in ninth, wins pitchers duel
HawgBeat's coverage of the Razorbacks' Road to Redemption in Omaha is brought to you by Arkansas Oral Surgery, which has offices located in Conway and Russellville.
OMAHA, Neb. — On a night dominated by starters Drew Parrish and Isaiah Campbell, a pair of ninth-inning sacrifices were the difference.
Matheu Nelson’s sacrifice bunt moved the go-ahead run to third and Nander De Sedas drove it in with a sacrifice bunt, lifting Florida State to a 1-0 win over Arkansas in each team’s opening game at the College World Series.
The deciding inning started with J.C. Flowers reaching on a hit by pitch by Cody Scroggins. On a chopper up the middle by Carter Smith, Flowers knocked the ball out of Casey Martin’s glove on a slide and everyone was safe.
That set up the sacrifices by Nelson and De Sedas, which came against Arkansas closer Matt Cronin and scored Flowers. The win moves legendary Florida State head coach Mike Martin one win closer to his first national title in his final season.
The story of the early innings was Arkansas’ bad luck at the plate. The Razorbacks hit the ball hard with three line drives off Parrish in the first, but all of them were right at Florida State infielders for outs.
Heston Kjerstad was robbed of extra bases in the second inning when center fielder J.C. Flowers made a spectacular catch while crashing into the wall and Arkansas couldn’t take advantage of two two-out base runners.
The Razorbacks had another great opportunity to punch a run across with back-to-back singles by Christian Franklin and Trevor Ezell to start the third. They moved into scoring position on a hard-hit ball by Martin that the pitcher knocked down to get an out.
Matt Goodheart followed with a line drive, but it was right at the second baseman. Because he was off on contact, Franklin was easily doubled off at third to end the jam.
Florida State also put some pressure on Campbell, getting a base runner in each of the first six innings. The Seminoles got runners in scoring position against him just twice, though, and Campbell struck out all three batters in those situations - two in the second inning and one in the fourth.
Even though it came up empty, Florida State did a good job of getting Campbell’s pitch count up. He threw 83 pitches through the first five innings and needed only 18 to get through the next two.
However, at 101 pitches, the Razorbacks turned to Scroggins out of the bullpen in the eighth. He retired the the Seminoles in order that inning, but ran into trouble in the aforementioned ninth.
Flowers, who is also the Seminoles’ closer, retired Arkansas in order to earn the save and clinch the victory. The Razorbacks have now played 22 1/3 straight scoreless innings in Omaha dating back to last season.
Campbell scattered five hits and two walks while striking out 10 in seven scoreless innings. Parrish got the win by giving up five hits and two walks while striking out nine in eight scoreless innings.
Florida State moves into the winner’s bracket and will face Michigan at 6 p.m. Monday, while Arkansas will play Texas Tech in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Monday. Both games will be televised on ESPN.