TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (46-15) is headed back to the Super Regionals for the 12th time in school history following its 5-2 victory over Samford (41-23) Sunday evening in the championship game of 2012 NCAA Tallahassee Regional on Mike Martin Field inside Dick Howser Stadium.
Behind a solid outing from starter Mike Compton (11-2), the Seminoles swept through the 2012 Tallahassee Regional allowing just four runs over the three games en route to their 16th consecutive victory in regional play. The four runs marked the fewest allowed in any Seminole postseason tournament.
Compton was sharp in the early going as he retired 13 of the first 15 batters that he faced as just one batter reached second base through the first four innings. The freshman right hander went 6.0 plus innings on Sunday night allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits as he struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Gage Smith and Robert Benincasa combined to work the final three innings to preserve the win. Smith entered the game in the seventh and worked two scoreless innings as he faced the minimum.
Benincasa worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the Tallahassee Regional and 15th save of the season, moving him into a tie for second place on the FSU single-season saves list with Daniel Bennett and Tyler Chambliss.
Florida State did all its damage early scoring all five runs in the second and third innings combined. Stephen McGee and Josh Delph each drove in two runs, while Jose Brizuela recorded an RBI on a sac-fly in FSU’s three-run second.
Delph led all hitters on Sunday night with two hits on a pair of singles in his first two at-bats of the game. The freshman right fielder finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored, a walk and a stolen base.
Devon Travis, Jayce Boyd, McGee and John Holland all had a hit apiece in the win. Boyd’s single in the second extended his streak of reaching base in consecutive games to 22, a season-best.
James Ramsey, who was named MVP of the Tallahassee Regional, walked twice on Sunday and scored a run. Ramsey finished the tournament hitting .444 (4-for-9) with a double, a home run, three runs scored and a team-high six RBI. The senior captain walked four times and did not strikeout while converting on all four fielding chances in centerfield.
Florida State struck first scoring three runs in the bottom of the second to take an early 3-0 lead. Boyd and McGee opened the inning with a single and a walk, respectively, off Samford starter C.K. Irby (5-2). After a sac-bunt by Justin Gonzalez moved both runners up 90 feet, Delph brought them both home on his first hit of the evening, a two-run single back up the middle. He would later score the third run of the inning on a sac-fly to right off the bat of Brizuela to give the Seminoles a three-run advantage.
Irby would last just two innings in his second start of the season. The sophomore right hander was charged with three runs on three hits as he walked one and struck out one.
The Seminoles added to their lead in the third on a two-run single by McGee. Tyler Vanderheiden started the inning on the hill for the Bulldogs and allowed the first four batters to reach before recording an out. Travis began the inning with a single to left followed by a walk to Ramsey and a hit-by-pitch to Boyd. McGee stepped in with the bases loaded and ripped a two-run single to right center to give FSU a 5-0 lead.
Samford cut into the Florida State lead with two runs in the fifth on a two-run single by Tommy Corbin. The Bulldogs took advantage of the second Seminole error of the game as one of the two runs in the inning was unearned. Irby reached to lead-off the inning on an errant thrown by Gonzalez at short. Christiaan Durdaller followed with a double off the wall in right center as Irby scampered into third. Both would score two batters later on Corbin’s two-run single to right. Compton would get out of the inning without further damage as Zeth Stone grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Seminoles turned away a great scoring chance from Samford in the seventh as the Bulldogs got a lead-off double from Brandon Miller ending the evening for Compton. Smith entered and issued a walk to Irby, but got a big out when he picked off Miller at second for the first out of the inning. Smith then got Durdaller to ground into a fielder’s choice put out at second and then Austin Allison to groundout to second to end the inning and keep FSU’s three-run lead intact.
Smith and Benincasa proceeded to retire the next six Samford batters to wrap-up the Tallahassee Regional for the Seminoles.
With the win, Florida State improved to 15-5 in the regional championship game dating back to 1999.
The Seminoles will now await the winner of the Palo Alto Regional which features Stanford and Pepperdine as the two remaining teams playing in that regional.
Sites and dates for the Super Regionals will be announced by the NCAA Monday evening.
Tallahassee Regional All-Tournament Team
C - Mitch Slauter, Mississippi State
1B – Wes Rea, Mississippi State
2B – Matthew Britton, Mississippi State
SS – Adam Frazier, Mississippi State
3B – Sherman Johnson, Florida State
OF – James Ramsey, Florida State
OF – Brandon Miller, Samford
OF – Josh Delph, Florida State
P – Brandon Leibrandt, Florida State
P – Charles Basford, Samford
DH – C.K. Irby, Samford
Most Outstanding Player:
James Ramsey, Florida State