Scott Sitz gave up five hits and struck out eight in a season-high 62/3 innings, and Florida State won a College World Series elimination game against UCLA 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Florida State (50-16) plays Arizona on Thursday, needing to beat the Wildcats twice to reach the championship round. Arizona defeated the Seminoles in the opening game of the CWS.
No. 2 national seed UCLA (48-16) was knocked out a day after No. 1 Florida was eliminated from the opposite bracket.
Sitz (4-3) had not made it through five innings in six of his previous seven outings. The junior allowed two singles through five innings and struck out the side in the sixth after UCLA loaded the bases.
UCLA starter Zack Weiss (3-3) was pulled after getting one out. Bases-loaded walks in the opening inning produced the Seminoles' first two runs. He came into the game having lasted more than five innings twice in his past eight starts. He threw 29 pitches, including 16 balls, in the shortest CWS start since TCU's Kyle Winkler left without retiring a batter in a 10-3 loss to UCLA on June 26, 2010.
Junior rightfielder Jeff Gelalich, the Cincinnati Reds' first-round pick and UCLA's leading hitter at .365 coming into the CWS, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and an error Tuesday and was 1-for-12 with two errors in the Bruins' three games.
Tucker reflects: Preston Tucker hoped to be remembered differently. The Florida senior from Tampa Plant High had done so much to rewrite the school's record books wasn't concerned about his individual accomplishments.
It was an NCAA championship he wanted to add to his resume. So when the Gators fell far short of that this week - going two-and-out in the CWS - it took some time to sink in that his career was over.
"Well, I wanted it to be a World Series champion. But obviously, I didn't get that opportunity this year," he said. "Not a lot of people get to say that. Obviously, I gave my best day in and day out. I've been here for four years working as hard as I could. Hopefully, I think it definitely paid off."
Tucker was a big part of the most successful four-year span in Florida history (189-78, missing only a national title). He is the UF career leader in games played (265), hits (340), doubles (70), total bases (596), at-bats (1,032) and RBIs (258).
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Ex-UF pitcher Locke sues city, police
GAINESVILLE - Former Florida pitcher Stephen Locke, whose 2009 arrest on charges of driving under the influence led to a 23-game suspension before the charges were dropped, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Gainesville and the two police officers involved in his arrest.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District in Gainesville, the former Tampa King standout seeks more than $75,000 in damages.
The lawsuit alleges that GPD officers Joey Devore and Daniel Surrency pulled Locke over on the night of Jan. 24, 2009 without probable cause, then falsely accused him of driving across the double yellow line and nearly causing a head-on collision.
In May 2009, Gainesville State Attorney Bill Cervone dropped the charges, saying evidence from the officer's car video was "contradictory or uncorroborated" and did not show Locke was impaired.
The suit claims the suspension branded Locke, causing him to be selected in a much lower round of the MLB draft, which ultimately ruined his professional baseball career.
Locke was drafted by the Angels in the 22nd round and played three years of A-ball.
ORLANDO bowl sponsor: Russell Athletic became title sponsor for one of Orlando's two annual bowl games in a deal running through 2015. Formerly named the Champs Sports Bowl from 2004 to 2011, the Dec. 28 ACC-Big East matchup has its eighth sponsor since it began in 1990 as the Blockbuster Bowl.
football: Former Auburn player Antonio Goodwin was sentenced to 15 years in prison for an armed home-invasion robbery. Three teammates from the 2010 team await trial - Mike McNeil, Dakota Moseley and Shaun Kitchens.
Basketball: Notre Dame announced a 10-year contract with men's coach Mike Brey, running through June 2022. Financial terms were not disclosed. Brey has been Big East coach of the year three times.
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.