Florida State made short work of Stanford’s pitching staff.
FSU celebrates its victory with a dog pile on the pitcher's mound.
Just like they did two nights earlier against Stanford ace Mark Appel, the Seminoles chased Brett Mooneyham early on Sunday night.
Now, the Seminoles are Omaha-bound.
And behind a five-RBI night from Sherman Johnson, along with three crucial double plays in the middle of the game, FSU grabbed an 18-7 win over Stanford to win the Super Regional in two games.
FSU (48-15) will now make its 21st College World Series appearance and opens against Arizona. The Seminoles will open play in the CWS as early as Friday in a pool that includes Arizona, UCLA and Stony Brook.
“It’s a feeling that can’t get old, that’s for sure,” said Devon Travis, who is making his second trip to Omaha. “What an incredible year. Where we started. Maybe a little bit on the outside. The expectations weren’t as high.”
The expectations were low, but the finish couldn’t have been sweeter – a three-game sweep in the Tallahassee Regional and then two routs of a Stanford team that brought starting pitchers who were among the top 120 picks in the MLB draft.
FSU pulled away early on Sunday, just as it did two days before. Johnson had a three-run home run in the second inning and added a two-run single in the sixth that gave FSU a 10-2 lead. In regional and Super Regional play, Johnson has gone 7 for 17 with 11 runs and seven RBIs.
FSU had 13 hits, including three apiece by Johnson and Josh Delph. Jayce Boyd went 2 for 5 and gave FSU the early lead with a two-run blast over the screen in right-center field in the first inning.
Stanford closed the gap to 10-6 with a four-run seventh inning, making the crowd of about 5,000 at Dick Howser Stadium a little nervous.
But not for long. FSU answered right back to score eight runs in the eighth, punctuated by Seth Miller’s grand slam. Miller has three home runs in 2012, and all have been grand slams.
“I like situations like that where you can put a team ahead,” Miller said. “That happened to be a grand slam for me. If that’s the way it works, I’ll take them all day long.”
Johnson was in the on-deck circle when Miller hit the slam. And he celebrated with the knowledge that FSU had wrapped up a win.
“We needed that,” Johnson said. “I think everyone really understood the game was over.”
Mike Compton allowed 11 hits in four innings but survived by inducing double-play grounders. He allowed just two earned runs but needed defensive help in the third and fourth, aided by inning-ending double plays.
“A lot of those plays were really big plays,” Travis said. “They were not spectacular, but they were just plays that needed to be made. Plays that we worked on 1,000 plays a year.”
Gage Smith (5-0) earned the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the seventh.
FSU pitchers ran into trouble at times Sunday but the Seminoles still allowed just 12 runs in the five combined regional and Super Regional games.
That performance on the mound was in stark contrast to Stanford, which boasted a daunting pitching rotation.
Appel and Mooneyham were 17-6 combined coming into the Super Regionals. They pitched a combined five innings over the weekend and allowed 10 earned runs against FSU.
FSU’s success at the plate in generating 35 runs in two games, plus the pitching and defense were the reasons that Mike Martin was able to finish the postgame press conference with a smile.
“I'm going to say my four favorite words – see you in Omaha," Martin said.