And then there were six...
The Florida State Seminoles were the first to get eliminated from the 2008 College Baseball World Series with a 7-5 loss to number one Miami in the elimination game on Monday. Less than twenty-four hours later the Rice Owls became the second victim, giving up a three-run lead in the ninth inning to the LSU Tigers. Rice dropped game two, and left Omaha without a single victory.
Florida State's offense wasn't on top of their game, and just couldn't handle the pressure of the elimination game. The Miami Hurricanes' second baseman Jemile Weeks (Rickie Weeks little bro), hit his 13th homerun of the '08 season in the 'Canes four-run third inning. The round-tripper blew open a 4-1 lead for Miami, and FSU was unable to complete the comeback in the ninth. The Seminoles left 17 runners on base throughout the game, and though Miami closer Carlos Gutierrez struggled once again, FSU failed to tie the game up in the ninth. In his one inning pitched, Gutierrez allowed four hits, and three earned runs, with two walks. It's obvious Florida State didn't deserve to win this game regardless. If you leave 17 runners on base, there's no way you're gonna win the game. Catcher Buster Posey was the highlight for the Seminoles once again, going 4 for 5 with an RBI, and a walk. The key for a Miami win over Stanford tonight: Get an early lead, and keep the ball out of Gutierrez's hands. He has already proved he can't handle the pressure by losing one game for the 'Canes, and nearly losing a second.
The first game of day two of the second round of the CWS was a great one. Rice went into the bottom of the ninth inning with a three-run lead with Cole St. Clair on the mound. St. Clair got off to a nice start, forcing the first LSU batter to groundout to third. But, past that, everything was a blur. St. Clair allowed a single to centerfield, and hit the next batter with a pitch. With two guys on base, Matt Hollander hit an RBI single, and one batter later the bases were juiced. That's when LSU Tiger Blake Dean stepped up to the plate. Dean hit a base-clearing double, which gave the Tigers the dramatic walk-off win to stay alive, and eliminate the Owls. Cole St. Clair had a bad day, giving four earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched, which includes the three-run game-winning double. He was hit with the loss, as well.
The Georgia Bulldogs improved their World Series record to 2-0 after they defeated Stanford on Tuesday, 4-3. Stanford took the early 3-0 lead with the help from Jason Castro's two-run shot to right field in the third inning. Georgia's starter Nick Montgomery lasted just three innings, allowing all three of Stanford's runs, but Georgia's bullpen saved the day once again. The Bulldog relievers allowed a comined one hit, zero earned runs, and four strikeouts in six innings. Georgia shortstop, Gordon Beckham, led the way in the batter's box, going 2 for 4, and scoring two of their four runs. Georgia will attempt to capture win number three on Friday, they will play the winner of the Stanford/Miami elimination game, which is tonight at 7 PM ET.
The final game of the second round was a matchup of the number two team in the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the 1-0 Fresno State Bulldogs. My prediction proved to be wrong, as I thought the 'Heels would roll through the tournament, and come out a winner without a single loss. But, Fresno State stopped that from happening with their superb pitching, which allowed just three earned runs. Like the Georgia bullpen, the Fresno State relievers didn't allow a single run to cross the plate, and gave up just four hits in four innings. Brandon Burke was awarded his 13th save as he closed the deal, and sent UNC starting pitcher Adam Warren home with just his second loss of the year. If they want to stay in this thing, the Tar Heels are gonna have to stay on top of their game, and defeat the streaking LSU Tigers tomorrow night. If they complete that task, they will get a rematch with Fresno State in the semifinals.