OMAHA, Neb. – A three-run Florida State home run tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning but Stanford exploded with a CWS record-tying 11 runs in the top of the ninth to move into the winners’ bracket with a 16-5 victory.
Stanford (40-22-2) now advances to player the winner of tonight’s game between top-seeded Miami (Fla.) and eighth-seeded Georgia. Florida State (54-13) will player the loser of tonight’s game Monday afternoon
Stanford seemed poised to take a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning after Cardinal freshman reliever Drew Storen retired the first two batters. Two-out singles by DH Tommy Oravetz and CF Tyler Holt brought up 2B Jason Stidham, who belted a home run in the seats in right field to tie the game at 5-5.
In the ninth, Stanford sent 14 runners to the plate, had six hits three walks and were helped by two Florida State errors to plate the 11 runs. Cardinal 1B Brent Milleville had four of RBI in the inning, driving in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly and then capping the inning with a three-run home run.
Stanford got on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning when designated hitter Randy Molina’s 16th double of the season drove in Cord Phillips from third.
The Cardinal added to its lead in the sixth inning. Left fielder Toby Gerhart’s seventh home run of the season led off the inning, and catcher Jason Castro then lined a pitch off the wall in left field to put a runner at second with no one out. After Florida State pitcher Matt Fairel retired the next two Stanford hitters, Sean Ratliff singled just over the glove of Seminoles SS Tony Delmonico, driving in Castro and give the Cardinal a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Florida State cut into the lead on a leadoff home run by 1B Dennis Guinn. Delmonico then singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, DH Tommy Oravetz drove in Delmonico with a single into right field, cutting the margin to 3-2.
The scoring continued in the top of the seventh. After a double and an error put runners on first and second with no one out, Gerhart was hit by a pitch and Castro coaxed a bases-loaded walk to stretch the lead to 4-2. A 4-6-3 double play with the base loaded then scored Cord Phelps and gave the Cardinal a 5-2 lead.
Before the eighth inning rally, Florida State, which was 4-for-18 with runners on base and 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, had an chance to cut into the Stanford lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Storen entered the game with runners at first and second. After walking the first man he faced to load the bases, Storen got two infield pop flies and then got Delmonico looking at called third strike to end the threat.
Florida State has now lost its first game in each of the three rounds (regionals, super regionals and College World Series) of the 2008 NCAA Championship. The Seminoles, however, are 6-0 in elimination games during the NCAA Tournament.