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Hogs get early jump on FSU

 
Published June 12, 2004|Updated Aug. 28, 2005

Florida State's super region opener against Arkansas seemed as though it would be decided in favor of the team that escaped an inning without allowing a runner on base.

That never happened, as the teams combined for 31 hits and the score was tied or the lead exchanged seven times. A finesse game it was not, but a finesse play could have helped the Seminoles take the advantage in the best-of-three series. Instead, a fifth-inning miscue helped the Razorbacks overcome a two-run deficit to win 7-5.

With two outs and Arkansas shortstop Scott Hode on first, designated hitter Danny Hamblin hit a double into right-centerfield that sent Hode toward home. FSU second baseman Bryan Zech relayed the ball to catcher Aaron Cheesman for what looked to be a certain third out, but Cheesman mishandled the short-hop throw, allowing Hode to cut the FSU lead to 5-4.

"As soon as I saw that flight of the ball, I said uh oh, because I knew it was going to be a tough play," FSU coach Mike Martin said.

Arkansas (44-22) scored twice more in the inning and relied on relief pitchers Boyd Goodner and Jay Sawatski to stave off the Seminoles in front of a raucous Baum Stadium record crowd of 9,338.

With a runner on second, pinch-hitter Daniel Wardell struck out to end the game.

FSU will try to avoid being swept for the second straight year in the super region. Game 2 airs at 8 tonight on ESPN2. As the top seed in the nation last year, the Seminoles were upset at home by Texas.

"It's a big obstacle, no question about it," Martin said.

The No. 8-seeded Razorbacks, hosting a super region for the first time, have not appeared in the College World Series since 1989. FSU (45-22) last was in the CWS in 2000.

After Florida State scored one run in the second and two runs each in the fourth and fifth off starter Clint Brannon, all with two outs, the Razorbacks stifled any FSU chances in the final four innings.

Goodner (3-3) got Ryne Malone to fly out in the fifth with the bases loaded. Sawatski earned his sixth save in the final three innings, giving up just three of FSU's 13 hits.

FSU starter Rhett James (10-3) gave up 10 hits in 4 innings, but only three of the six runs he allowed were earned.

"I didn't have all my stuff on today and when you do that and pitch against a good team like this, you're not going to get many outs," James said.

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.