Sunday, June 4, 1989
Clyde Keller frustrated heavy-hitting Wichita State with his palm ball as top-seeded Florida State handed Wichita State a 4-2 loss Sunday at the College World Series.
Keller, a right-hander from Carmichael, Calif., scattered four hits and improved his record to 13-0 in pitching the Seminoles within one win of Saturday's championship game.
Sunday's doubleheader drew 15,800 to Rosenblatt Stadium.
"I think the key to tonight's game was Clyde Keller," Florida State Coach Mike Martin said. "He was in total control of the situation. He is the story of the game when he can do what he did to an excellent ballclub like Wichita State."
The Shockers, seeded fourth and now 64-16, brought the best hitting credentials into the tournament with a .327 team mark that helped them average 10.2 runs per game.
But the Shockers had little success against Keller, a 5-foot-9 senior. He struck out four and walked two in helping Florida State, 54-16, remain undefeated in the East Division at 2-0.
The win advanced the Seminoles into a 7:10 p.m. game Wednesday. The Seminoles will play the winner of Tuesday's 4:10 p.m. elimination battle between Wichita State and Arkansas. The Razorbacks knocked North Carolina out of the tournament with a 7-3 win in Sunday's other game.
A win Wednesday night would put the Seminoles into the title game Saturday against the champion of the West Division. The team that wins Tuesday's game between Wichita State and Arkansas State would have to defeat Florida State twice to earn a spot in the championship game.
"This loss sets us back," Wichita State Coach Gene Stephenson said. "It's like starting all over again. It means we have to win three in a row to get to where we want to be.
"We took a big step forward in the first round and we took a giant step back tonight."Needed Patience
Stephenson said his hitters ran out of patience against Keller.
"We hit the ball hard at times, but I think that we got frustrated at times and chased a lot of pitches that we haven't chased in the past," he said.
Wichita State catcher Eric Wedge agreed.
"It would come in looking pretty fat, but you would get blown away," Wedge said. "It is tough to hit."
Keller blanked Wichita State for the first five innings. The Shockers tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning but Florida State came right back to regain the lead.
Rocky Rau led off the Seminoles' seventh by bunting for a single. He moved to second on a groundout and scored when Bob Reboin grounded a single into left field. Pedro Grifol gave Florida State an insurance run when he led off the ninth inning with a home run.
"They did the things they had to do to win," Stephenson said. "The guy makes a great bunt to start the seventh inning off. That's a big key right there, and they executed well there."
Reboin got the Seminoles off to a fast start when he opened the game with a double and moved to third on Marc Ronan's groundout.
Reboin scored when Rob Bargas sliced a shot past Wichita State second baseman P.J. Forbes, who would have had no chance of throwing Reboin out at the plate. Forbes was charged with an error on the play for letting the ball get past him.
Wichita State gambled in the bottom of the first and came up empty. Jim Audley led off a walk and moved to second on Forbes' groundout. Wedge ripped a 400-foot drive into the right-center field gap that Florida State right fielder Chris Brock caught on the warning track.
Audley raced to third and never stopped. Second baseman Rau's relay throw to catcher Grifol was in time to get Audley, although Wichita State Coach Gene Stephenson argued the call with plate umpire Bob Jones.
"The ball was not in the catcher's glove when he made the tag," Stephenson said later. "It was in his hand."
The Seminoles made it 2-0 in the fourth when Brock led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and moved to third on Brian Gilliland's single.
Rau followed with a single that dropped in front of Audley, the Shockers' center fielder. Brock, tagging up in case Audley caught the ball, got a late start.
He arrived at home plate at the same time that Audley's throw got to Wedge. Brock and Wedge collided, and the ball came free, allowing the run to score.
The Shockers, who had defeated Arkansas 3-1 in Friday's first-round game, tied the score in the sixth against Keller.
Audley walked with one out and Forbes followed with a double down the left-field line to cut the Florida State lead to 2-1.
Forbes, who had advanced to third when Gilliland's relay throw got past Grifol, then scored the tying run on Wedge's infield groundout.
Florida State Coach Mike Martin said he was "very, very pleased" with the poise of his club, demonstrated again in its victory over Wichita State.
"I can't say enough about 'em," he said. "Somebody is going to ask about the ball Pete hit out of the ballpark."
He was referring to the home run by catcher Pedro Grifol.
"That ball was scorched," Martin said. "We've got some people on this ballclub who can scorch the baseball. We will play Seminole baseball. We will bunt people over.
"It took Pete 30 seconds to get over his at-bat with runners on second and third when he hit the ball to the third baseman. And 30 seconds is a long time for Pete.
"He put it away and went back out there to receive. That's the key to this ballclub.
"So many guys on this level dwell on at-bats and take it out there in the field with them. They have a tremendous amount of inner discipline. They know how to win. That's what Pete did. Though he did not hit the fly ball, he went right back out there and did his job behind the plate."
Martin also praised junior second baseman Rocky Rau, the No. 8 hitter who had two hits and an RBI.
"Rocky Rau sat on the bench 35-40 games," the coach said. "He never complained, never griped, never sat in the dugout and sulked. He waited for his chance - he got his chance.
"He went out there and proved that he belongs. And Rocky Rau is the second baseman right now. The guy is a winner. We have 22 winners on this ballclub."