The Arizona Wildcats (45-17) haven’t lost a game in the postseason this year and will look to keep their postseason winning streak alive Thursday against Florida State (50-16) at 2 PM PST.
Arizona faced the Seminoles for the first time this season last Friday night. The Wildcats won 4-3 in an instant classic in the 12th inning. Both teams had plenty of chances, but it was Arizona who walked away victorious after Mathew Troupe got Devon Travis to strike out and strand the tying run on third base, ending the game.
More importantly, the Wildcats got four and a third innings of quality work from their little used bullpen. It was more work than the entire bullpen worked in the first two weeks of the postseason.
Arizona will be the home team and will be looking for the victory behind ace Kurt Heyer. Heyer is 12-2 on the season and 1-0 in the postseason. He went seven and two-third innings on Friday, giving up three runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks. He also struck out eight Seminoles.
Florida State will counter with its ace, freshman Brandon Leibrandt. Leibrandt was on the mound the last time these two teams faced off, but only lasted four and a third innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits.
The Wildcats will look to extend their winning streak to nine games and advance to the final series for a shot at the national title. They will need help from their entire batting order, but most importantly, the heart of the order. Robert Refsnyder, Seth Mejias-Brean, and Bobby Brown (Arizona’s 4-5-6 hitters) are a combined 5-27 in Omaha. However, they account for six of Arizona’s eight RBI in the past two games.
In order to come away with the victory, Arizona will have to find a way to stop Florida State’s Devon Travis. Travis is 7-12 with a home run and three RBI in the College World Series. He is the hottest hitter on the Florida State team in the past three games.
The Wildcats will not have to face freshman designated hitter John Holland, who went 1-5 with a huge two-RBI double that tied the game against Arizona in the first match-up. Holland was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested for stealing earlier in the week.
If Arizona wins Thursday, it will eliminate the Seminoles and advance to the final round of the College World Series, a best of three set with the winner of the other bracket. If Arizona should fall, the two teams will play in a win-or-go-home rematch on Friday afternoon.