Florida 9, Florida St. 3 Stetson 4, North Carolina St. 1
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Allen Rutledge’s two-run single in the first inning sparked a 15-hit as Florida routed Florida State 9-3 Saturday night in the NCAA East Regional tournament.
Florida, 46-17-1, assured itself of a spot in the championship game Sunday night. The Seminoles, 50-17-1, will meet Stetson, 34-24, in Sunday afternoon to determine which team will face the Gators for a berth in the College World Series.
Earlier Saturday, Mike Senteles hit a two-run homer to lead Stetson to 4-1 victory over third-seeded North Carolina State, eliminating the 45-16 Wolfpack from the double-elimination tournament.
The Gators, 46-17-1 jumped on top 2-0 on Rutledge’s single. Florida added three runs in the second inning and one more in the third off Seminole starter Jerry Nielsen, 4-3.
Florida catcher Jose Fernandez hit a towering home run to right field off Seminole reliever Barry Johnson in the fifth to extend the lead to 8-0.
Florida State got 12 hits against Jeff Gidcumb, 16-5, but the Seminoles only managed to score single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Mario Linares closed the scoring for Florida in the eighth with a solo homer.
Florida State is hoping to advance to the College World Series for the third straight year. Neither Florida nor Stetson has made the CWS.
In the first game, Stetson’s George Tsamis, 7-9, allowed just one unearned run on seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. The junior left-hander had been shelled for seven runs in less than two innings three days earlier in a first-round loss to Florida State.
Tommy Hickox retired the last four Wolfpack batters in order to earn his 13th save, breaking the school record previously held by Kevin Wasilewski in 1985.
Senteles’ homer opened the scoring for Stetson off Wolfpack starter Brian Bark, 7-3, who gave up seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. The Hatters scored their other two runs on Tom Riginos’ run-scoring triple and Tim Farrand’s RBI single.
North Carolina State scored its only run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Gary Shingledecker.
Pat Harding added three hits for Stetson. Mark Withers and Steve Shepard each had two hits for the Wolfpack.