See also: CWS Game Two Box Score
|GAME AT A GLANCE|
|Turning Point: Robert Benincasa was a starter in the past but had not pitched more than 2 1/3 innings all season. Arizona’s bullpen held Florida State in check and Benincasa finally wore out in his fourth inning of work, giving up back-to-back doubles in the 12th to Joey Rickard and Johnny Field to give Arizona the lead.
The Hero: Arizona freshmen relievers Tyler Crawford and Mathew Troupe—henceforth to be known as “The Artichokes”—share the honor. Crawford got five key outs, and Troupe earned the victory, getting eight outs with a pickoff, three strikeouts and solid defense behind him on batted balls.
You Might Have Missed: Justin Gonzalez had a nightmarish game for the Seminoles, despite rapping two of the team’s eight hits. He made two errors, one that led to a run—a booted grounder in the third extended the inning for Robert Refsnyder’s RBI single. He also whiffed on a catch during a rundown in the fifth. Then in the 11th, Florida State’s leading basestealer (13-for-15 entering the game) was picked off first by Troupe.
OMAHA—Florida State was supposed to win a battle of the bullpens against Arizona.
Nobody told that to Wildcats freshmen relievers Tyler Crawford and Mathew Troupe, who tossed the final 4 1/3 innings for Arizona in a 4-3, 12-inning victory. Joey Rickard and Johnny Field hit back-to-back doubles in the 12th to account for the game-winning run as the Wildcats (44-17) advanced to face fellow Pac-12 member UCLA in a bracket showdown Sunday evening.
“We’re being interviewed first without these two guys doing that,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said, referencing how the losing team goes to the interview room first. “We do not win tonight without Crawford and Troupe doing what they did.
“It will be kind of fun to play a Pac-12 team in the College World Series.”
The first interview Friday night went to Florida State (48-16), which faces an elimination game against Stony Brook on Sunday afternoon.
This game wasn’t the cleanest ever played, with three errors, runners picked off and caught stealing and some less-than-graceful swings. It also lasted 4 hours, 17 minutes and ended at 12:18 a.m. local time, with less than half of the 22,391 fans staying all the way through the night at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha to watch the ending.
Arizona blew a 3-1 lead, and Florida State’s bullpen held the Wildcats to two hits in its first 6 2/3 innings of work. Seminoles closer Robert Benincasa retired the first 10 batters he faced, four by strikeout, before Rickard lashed a double to the gap in left-center field. Field followed with another key postseason hit, giving him a streak of seven straight games with an RBI, including all six of Arizona’s postseason games.
“Tonight I wasn’t seeing the ball real well early; my first few at-bats weren’t too good,” said Field, who was 0-for-4 with a walk in his first five plate appearances. “I made an adjustment to try to go middle-oppo. He threw one over the plate, and I was lucky enough to get the barrel on it. . . . I kind of stayed back on it and put a good swing on it.”
Included in that streak was a seven-RBI effort in the regional final against Louisville, as he was named the regional MOP. The Pac-12’s regular-season batting champ extended his hitting streak to 12 games with the double. It marked just the second loss of the season for Benincasa, who gave up just his eighth run of the season in 40 innings.
“We definitely couldn’t have extended him anymore,” Florida State coach Mike Martin said of Benincasa.
While Field was the hitting hero, Crawford and Troupe got the job done in relief of righthander Kurt Heyer, who threw 127 pitches in a 7 2/3 inning effort. Crawford, a southpaw, came in during a stretch of five lefthanded batters out of six in the Seminoles lineup and retired all the lefty bats he faced, including a strikeout of Florida State senior star James Ramsey in the 10th. Troupe came on at that point and gave up only one hit in 2 2/3 innings, stranding a runner at third in the 12th by recording his third strikeout.
“I’m real proud of my two freshmen coming out of the ‘pen,” Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. “They combined to have no walks, which is a crucial thing with Coach Martin’s club, who did a good job of getting Heyer to a high pitch count.”
Florida State had precious few chances against Heyer but tied the game thanks to a key two-out hit in the sixth. Trailing 3-1, the Seminoles got Jayce Boyd to lead off the frame on an error by Arizona third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean. After a pair of strikeouts, Heyer walked Josh Delph, and DH Josh Holland delivered a two-strike, two-run double to left-center that tied the game.
The Seminoles had just four baserunners the rest of the way, however, and two were erased with a caught stealing in the 10th and a pickoff in the 11th. Both teams gave up unearned runs and had errors that led to runs.
Florida State will have to beat Stony Brook to avoid a record fifth 0-2 finish by coach Mike Martin in the CWS. The ‘Noles will have to hit better against the Seawolves than they did against Arizona’s surprising bullpen Friday night to stay alive.