John Burke won the battle of All-American pitchers Tuesday as his Florida Gators provided just enough help in a 2-1 victory over Fresno State and Bobby Jones in an elimination game at the College World Series. "I thought their pitcher, Burke, pitched an exceptionally good game, and I think our pitcher pitched well too," Fresno State coach Bob Bennett said. "We only had a couple of opportunities."
The loss sends No. 8 seed Fresno State home with a 42-23 record. Florida (51-20) meets fourth-seeded Louisiana State (53-18) in one of today's semifinals. LSU is unbeaten in two CWS games, owning an 8-1 opening win over Southeastern Conference rival Florida.
Burke (9-5) scattered seven hits over six innings. The right-hander, who had been bothered by tendinitis this season, struck out seven and walked one.
"I was able to relax today," said Burke, who admitted he couldn't do that in the opening loss to LSU. "I was relaxed when I took the hill. My whole body felt better."
Rob Bonanno pitched two innings before John Pricher collected his 12th save with a scoreless ninth.
"It was a tough baseball game today," Florida coach Joe Arnold said. "We were kind of tuned in to what it would take to win a game like this. Bobby Jones pitched four games and he's a great player, but we hung on."
The Gators, who averaged fewer than three runs for Burke in his last 15 starts, scored twice in the top of the sixth when Brent Killen's double followed singles by Ted Rich and Dave Majeski.
Jones, Collegiate Baseball's player of the year, went the distance for the 18th time in 20 starts. He gave up only seven hits, walking one and striking out four as his record fell to 16-2.
"I felt good and I felt stronger as the game went on," Jones said. "I thought I had good stuff and throwing as hard as I usually do. I felt good mentally and physically."
Long Beach St. 4
Steve Hinton's three-run homer capped a nine-run second inning as Creighton eliminated Long Beach State 13-4 on Tuesday night.
The victory sets up a rematch in Thursday's semifinal between the seventh-seeded Bluejays (51-21) and No. 3 Wichita State (65-12), like Creighton a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers beat Creighton 3-2 in 12 innings Monday night, their seventh win in as many games with the Bluejays this season.
The 49ers end their season 45-22.