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Colleges

Hogs eliminate FSU

By ZACHARY SPAIN
Published June 13, 2004

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - For a fourth consecutive season, Florida State will not be involved in the College World Series.

The Seminoles lost 4-2 to Arkansas Saturday in a best-of-three Super Region series as No. 8 seed Arkansas swept FSU to advance to the CWS in Omaha, Neb.

Errors doomed FSU and prolonged the Seminoles' longest drought in the eight-team CWS field since they were absent for five straight between appearances in 1980 and 1986.

Arkansas scored three runs in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead, thanks in large part to two FSU fielding miscues.

Devin Day led with a double over the head of leftfielder Gibbs Chapman, then reached third on misfired pickoff throw to second base by starter Eddie Cannon. A miscommunication in left-center between Chapman and centerfielder Shane Robinson on a fly ball by Scott Bridges led to a Robinson drop. Bridges reached third and Day scored.

Jake Dugger followed with a single that drove in Bridges. Consecutive fielder's choices moved him to third. He scored on a single through the left side by Scott Hode.

Chapman dropped a fly in left for the third error of the inning, but it proved insignificant.

With two on in the ninth, Eddy Martinez-Esteve struck out in FSU's final chance. Jay Sawatski got his second save of the tournament and seventh of the season.

FSU (45-23) tried to spark a comeback in the fifth after Aaron Cheesman singled and Razorbacks start Charley Boyce hit Matt Sauls with a pitch. Gibbs Chapman, the first batter Trey Holloway faced, singled to rightfield, but an accurate throw from Bridges to catcher Brady Troops beat Cheesman to the plate, ending the inning and leaving two FSU runners stranded.

Boyce (10-2) lasted 52/3 innings for the win.

Arkansas (45-22), making its fifth trip to Omaha and first since 1989, ignited the on-campus Super Region record crowd of 10,027 into a frenzy in its first at-bat. Jake Dugger led off with a home run inside the foul pole in leftfield off Cannon (9-7).

FSU tied it at 1 in the bottom of the first when Matt Sauls drove in Cheesman.

Other games

SOUTH CAROLINA 4, EAST CAROLINA 2: Michael Campbell went 2-for-3 and drove in a run as the host Gamecocks won the opener. South Carolina (49-15) has won 17 of 19 and was one win away from a third straight trip to the CWS. East Carolina (51-12) is 0-3 all-time in super region play. The Pirates had runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings. But East Carolina came away empty, going 0-for-6 and leaving six on base, including two strikeouts by Conference USA Player of the Year Ryan Jones.

"I felt like I had a couple of good swings on pitches, but I swung on a couple of bad ones as well," Jones said. South Carolina's Matt Campbell came through again in a pressure game. Campbell (10-4) pitched five shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out six to get the win. The Gamecocks handed Pirate ace Greg Bunn his first loss of the year. Bunn (10-1) allowed two earned runs and five hits and struck out eight over five innings.

GEORGIA 5, GEORGIA TECH 3: Jonathan Wyatt, a light-hitting, backup outfielder, hit a two-run homer in the eighth - the first of his freshman season - and the Bulldogs rallied to sweep the super region in Atlanta.

Georgia (43-21) advanced to the CWS for the second time in four years and fourth overall.

During his career at Harrison High in metro Atlanta, Wyatt had a total of only three home runs, including one as a senior. He had none in his first 44 games with the Bulldogs, so when he came up with the score tied at 3, he appeared an unlikely candidate to hit one.

Wyatt took a ball, then drove the next pitch from Brian Burks well over the wall in right-center. Jason Jacobs, who was hit by a pitch, scored ahead of Wyatt, who was mobbed by teammates when he crossed the plate.

"At the start of the game, they threw me a lot inside fastballs," he said. "That at-bat, I was looking for a pitch. My entire focus was to drive the ball, that was all I could think about."

"I kind of had a feeling something was going to happen," Georgia shortstop Justin Holmes said.

In April, the Bulldogs lost two in a row at LSU to fall to 21-15, and they were four games under .500 in the SEC. A 12-4 victory the next day started their season-ending run to a share of the SEC title and a home NCAA region.

There, they survived two games on the final day against Clemson, winning the finale with three home runs over the final two innings. Two more victories over Georgia Tech has them headed to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.

Georgia is 22-6 since that second loss to LSU.

TEXAS 10, VANDERBILT 2: The top-seeded Longhorns clinched a third straight trip to the CWS with a sweep in Austin. Texas (55-13) jumped ahead in the first inning on Curtis Thigpen's home run. Thigpen finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Sam LeCure (9-3) gave up two runs in 51/3 innings while striking out five for the win.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

[Last modified June 12, 2004, 23:37:23]


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