Matt Diaz hit two home runs and reliever Chris Chavez put down a bases-loaded, no-outs threat in the fifth, leading Florida State to a 7-3 victory over Texas A&M today in the College World Series opener for both teams.
"I was happy to see the wind blowing out in right field," Diaz said after going 3 for 5 with three RBI. "I was thankful because I could really groove my swing."
Diaz said he felt overshadowed by teammate Marshall McDougall, who last month hit a record six home runs in a game at Maryland, but had no problem with it. Diaz said he has seen better pitches by batting third in the order, behind McDougall and ahead of .321 hitter Kevin Cash.
"Marshall McDougall hasn't had just one good game. He's had a heck of a year," Diaz said. "Then we had John Halliday behind me earlier in the year and now Kevin Cash.
"People are scared of them, so I've been seeing pitches all year long."
Diaz's two homers gave him 20 for the season.
Chavez, meanwhile, retired 12 straight Aggies and struck out six for the second-seeded Seminoles (54-12) after replacing starter Nick Stocks with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth and Florida State ahead 4-3.
"It was a big momentum shift to get three outs with the bases loaded and no outs," Chavez said. "It took the wind out of their sails."
Chavez proceeded to strike out the side on 14 pitches, 11 of them strikes.
"You load the bases with nobody out and you're feeling pretty good about yourself," Texas A&M Coach Mark Johnson said. "So that was pretty discouraging."
The victory moved Florida State into Monday's game to meet Stanford, a 9-2 winner tonight over Cal State-Fullerton. The seventh-seeded Aggies (52-17) will play Cal State-Fullerton, also on Monday.
Stocks, taken in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 36th pick in last week's amateur draft, pitched into the fifth, allowing all three A&M runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Stocks walked the first three Aggies he faced in the fifth on 14 pitches.
Aggies left-hander Casey Fossom, a first-round pick by the Boston Red Sox, pitched 7 1/3 innings. He gave up seven runs on seven hits with four strikeouts, but walked a career-high eight.
"I was maybe trying to get a little too fine," Fossom said. "Then I left a few pitches out over the plate."
After Ryan Barthelemy sent an 0-2 fastball over the wall in right to give the Seminoles a 2-1 lead in the second, Fossom hit Michael Futrell before Diaz extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-run shot to right.
Diaz homered to the same spot to open the fifth. As a freshman in 1998, Diaz hit four home runs in an NCAA regional victory over Oklahoma.
STANFORD 9, C.S. FULLERTON 2: Josh Hochgesang, Edmund Muth and Joe Borchard homered and right-hander Jason Young went the distance to lead the Cardinal.
Hochgesang gave the sixth-seeded Cardinal (49-13) a 3-0 lead in the top of the third when he hit a breaking pitch into the stands. Muth hit the first pitch of the fourth into the right field stands to make it 4-0. Borchard went deep in the fifth with a shot that cleared the bleachers.
Young (12-3) held the third-seeded Titans (49-13) to one hit through four innings before Shawn Norris opened the fifth with a triple and Craig Patterson followed with a homer to pull Fullerton within 5-2.
Young regained his rhythm, striking out the next three as he retired nine in a row.
After Young struck out Ryan Owens for the first out of the ninth, Norris reached on an error and Ryan Moore hit a pinch-hit double to right. Young struck out Robert Guzman and got David Bacani to ground out to second for the first complete game in the World Series in two years.
Young struck out eight, walked two and hit three batters while allowing six hits.
Adam Johnson (10-4) was the starter and loser for Fullerton.